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As we approach the “flu season” it is important for us to recognize some of the lifestyle dynamics that contribute to our increased susceptibility to the flu.
Our bodies have an incredible ability to adapt to their environments and maintain a state of “ease” or balance. It is this balance or proper function that creates true health and well-being. However, physical, emotional and chemical stresses adversely affect our bodies’ ability to adapt and maintain this balance.
All summer long we enjoy the outside sunshine, the warm, fresh air, and an increase in physical activities. Schedules are less hectic and there is more opportunity to relax. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance, and we tend to eat lighter, more nutritious foods.
Back to school means back to busy schedules. Time constraint and convenience has many children eating the not-so-nutritious school lunches and resorting to vending machines for quick snacks. School activities and community meetings are in full swing and every “spare” moment after school and on weekends is spent rushing from one activity to another.
Additionally, back to school means at least six hours per day when our children are slouching in uncomfortable chairs at desks and carrying heavy book bags. When summer is over, activity levels are decreased and time outside is often limited to a 20-minute recess period.
With fall comes the stress of the holiday season as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are upon us. The exhausting tasks of shopping, preparations, and hectic deadlines combined with our already busy schedules often force us to replace regular good eating habits with fast food substitutes. “Take out foods” become easier to fit into our “on the go” lifestyles than preparing home cooked meals. Additionally, foods associated with the customs of the holidays (excess carbs, fats, and sweets) add to the mix of increased chemical stress and decrease our family’s immune system function. All that preparation, all those parties, all that rushing, all of those increased stressors begin to take their toll on our family’s health. Physical stress, emotional stress, and chemical stress: a cycle of stress overload leads to decreased function and dis-ease.
It is no secret that an overload of stress affects our health. Numerous studies are being published that substantiate the direct relationship between stress overload and the body’s ability to cope and adapt. In chiropractic we recognize that an increase in these stresses adversely affect the nervous system, which in turn affects the body’s ability to function in its maximum state of health. Continuous stress overload will lead to a state of dis-ease in our bodies, and our bodies respond with decreased immune function. Considering the amount of stress our families go through returning to school and participating in the holidays, is it any wonder that the holiday season is also synonymous with flu season?