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6 Warning Signs You’re going to End up a Crippled Person at Old Age and How to Prevent It

6 Warning Signs You’re going to End up a Crippled Person at Old Age and How to Prevent It
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Admit it. Exercising is a drag. You’ve always hated the feeling of getting ready and preparing your mind and body for something you call a “chore” more than anything else. You would rather dedicate your precious time counting the strands of hair on your scalp.

So you go in, you do what you think is “right” which is exercise, but still your mind wanders, your thoughts are floating around looking for a valid reason as to why you should continue to exercise. And nothing. The motivation starts fading away faster than that last bit of sitting water in a scorching desert. The only thing you’ve gained lately is depression with trying to get over the hump.

You go into a downward spiral and start making bad diet choices, have low energy, and put yourself in a worse situation than where you started from. Think you need a personal trainer beside you to smack you with motivational lines?

Don’t bother. Once you understand how your health is at stake if you don’t exercise regularly, you’ll easily do an about-face and appreciate every ounce of sweat you pour out. This could be all the motivation you need to get up, get moving, and finally working out to reverse these warning signs.

1. You’re Getting Stupider Everyday

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. And yet do you go above and beyond to protect it? You might find yourself feeling that you’re not sharp enough, not thinking critically, or in a problem solving manner. Or maybe you find it difficult to learn and memorize at times.

Thinking critical, problem solving and memorizing are all areas that can be compromised from a functional standpoint of your brain. And proper nutrition and sleeping aren’t a sure bet to help you protect your brain. But can exercise help prevent all problems that can possibly be damaging?

Well, according to The Society for Neuroscience in Brazil, researchers ran a study on how the levels of brain activity respond to exercising and weight training.

Results showed that subjects that were on a training regimen performed better on tests of learning and memory, as opposed to subjects that were sedentary.

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Simply put, the higher the workload and the more rigorous the training program the subjects had to manage, the more brain plasticity was produced within their brains. This increase of plasticity is caused by neurotropic factors, these factors promote the initial growth and development of neurons in your central nervous system and peripheral systemThese same factors and neurons keep the nervous system sharp and on point in transmitting the messages to and from the brain.

The nervous system is extremely crucial – it is a network that relays messages back and forth from different parts of the body. Without these proper functions, the onset of brain fatigue, a decline in processing information, and comprehension could arise. The human brain is extremely complex, but also extremely vulnerable. Exercise can help you revitalize and keep these parts sharp.

Factoring the benefit that exercise has on the brain is outstanding and should help keep your brain where it needs to be: both processing and functioning more effectively than your own home computer. But, more importantly, a healthy and strong brain can help ward off depression, boost your happiness and make a workout session that much more enjoyable.

2. You Are Aging Faster Than You Thought

Do you long to return to your youthful days? Or better yet, just to arrest the effects of aging? Well stress can damage your body and is also be known as “the silent killer”.

With that, below are a few consequences of stress:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Constricted Blood Vessels
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • And cell damage, which has been linked to Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer

The amount of stress you absorb can dictate how you age. One of the best remedies against aging is, yes you guessed it, exercise.

We now know that a quick 30-45 minute session of exercise can increase levels of your feel-good hormones like, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The hormones that are notorious for helping you deal with stress.

But here’s the kicker: not only has research helped us confirm that exercise helps block stress, but research from Princeton University found that physical activity reorganizes the brain and helped reduce its response to stress.

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In addition, anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function. Physical activity in particular produces a large increase in the number of new neurons in the hippocampus. This region in the brain has been shown to regulate anxiety.

You deserve to be feeling your best, even exercising at least 30 minutes can ignite the “feel-good” hormones your body needs to help ward off stress and keep those ageless years in front of you. Your body will thank you.

3. You’re Sure that You’re Going to End Up Living in an Alzheimer’s Unit

Here’s something you should know: The Hippocampus is an important component of the brain in humans. It plays critical roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation.

Unfortunately, without stimulating this area with exercise, it is one of the first regions susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects millions of people each year but it is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age.

A fascinating piece of research from Dutch researchers found that inactive people who were in fact genetically prone to Alzheimer’s were four times more likely to develop the disease than those who carried the trait but worked out regularly.

This proves that exercise helps stimulates even the most vital of places with a great payoff for your future in overall brain function and health. Remember that a disease that affects a vast majority of the population is not a disease to take lightly, just like an exposed grape from its vine, the brain can also deteriorate.

4. You’re Afraid That You’ll Get Cancer

It is extremely difficult to experience or even fathom the thought of cancer. While it can be frightening to know of the consequences that arise from cancer, exercise can help in preventive care.

To start, regular exercise can prevent obesity, which is linked to many types of cancer. Obesity has an effect on:

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  • Estrogen – producing too much of estrogen contributes to many forms of cancer, such as breast cancer
  • Insulin – excessive insulin can possibly lead to the overproduction of cells, which can result into cancer.

If that’s not enough, another benefit of being physically active is that it can help boost your body’s immune system and how it responds in reducing inflammation, which in turn helps your own body fight the development of cancer.

But how much time should you dedicate to working out?  Well according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, a recommended of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, and 60 minutes of daily activity is even more beneficial.

Anything that gets your heart beating more quickly and makes you breathe more deeply can count as moderate exercise and help you create a great defense against cancer.

5. You Don’t Know How to Strengthen Your Heart

Now do you know what the top leading cause of death in the United States is? Heart disease. There’s no other disease in the United States that kills more Americans than Heart Disease. But there is relieving news revolved around the benefits for cardiovascular health and heart disease prevention.

A captivating study by Scott R. Collier, Ph.D., of Appalachian State University, the research measured blood vessels and how it widened in response to an increased blood flow from exercising and how it can lead to a longer-lasting drop in high blood pressure after exercise, a contributor to heart disease.

The results support previous studies reporting which stated that exercise has an effect on arterial stiffness, high blood pressure and limb blood flow. With the rate of deaths correlating with heart disease, this is not a matter to take lightly. A heart attack sometimes doesn’t give second chances and one can put you six-feet deep.

Now ask yourself, why take the risk? Why not tackle this epidemic now? Exercise is your savior for this deadly disease, now get up and zap it away with 10 reps!

6. You’re Not Aware of How To Prevent the Constant Pain of Athritis

More than 21 million Americans suffer from arthritis, a disease that practically immobilizes individuals.

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Many traits or risk factors are associated with arthritis, below are the most common:

  • Obesity: Being overweight puts extra stress on your joints, which then increases wear and tear, and increases the risk of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.
  • Age: As we get older, the risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, will increase.
  • Gender: In general, arthritis occurs more frequently in women than in men.
  • Other factors: Some jobs that require heavy lifting without proper technique or form can stress the joints and/or cause an injury, which can lead to arthritis.

But, it still can affect practically anyone at any time. The onset of pain is one that can lingers and affects you permanently. And if addressed to late, would need to be addressed by surgery or waived with other drastic alternatives.

However, great news from Tufts University on arthritis: There was a program was conducted with exercise on patients with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. After the sixteen-week program, the patients confirmed a 43% decrease in pain, an increase in muscle strength and general physical performance.

This is because, exercise will supplement muscle strength and help by protecting joints from the surrounding muscle that are worked on in that area. For example, squats and deadlifts focus greatly on your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. The muscles that surround the knee joint then help protect the joint (medial and lateral meniscus, anterior and posterior ligaments, along with others).

Your biggest fight against joint pain is exercise. This might not have enough value to you unless its too late and those areas are affected and it becomes a greater issue later on. Help by exercising now, you’ll protect and help lubricate your joints, your body will thank you later.

So start exercising now because you only have one life to live. Now go out there and make it count.

Featured photo credit: CC0 Public Domain via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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