Thursday, 20 January 2011

Rest and repair

Alot of people have been hit hard by colds and flu over the last few weeks and in particular seem to be taking a long time to recover. This is mainly due to a couple of particularly potent flu viruses doing the rounds but it reminded me of an article I read in the economist before Christmas.

Just as in the recent Boots adverts today's answer to a cold seems to be to dose up on flu drugs and plough on as normal. However the study quoted showed how stress disrupts the healing process. It involved giving a small cut to the hand of each individual. One group was then put under stressful conditions and the other wasn't, the cuts in the stressful group took twice as long to heal ... Yes that's right TWICE as long.

I'm sure alot of people would say they realise that stress is bad for them, but I really think most people don't really realise quite how bad it is for you.

Stress suppresses the bodies rest and repair mode, impairing healing and immune function. Which means that if you're stressed you won't just take longer to get over a cold but also any injuries you have will take longer to heal and so will any cuts leading a higher risk of infection and greater scarring.

That is why active stress management should be an everyday part of our healthy routine along with eating our five a day and getting some exercise.

So if you're taking a while to get over a bug, or have a sports injury that just won't go away then maybe its time to switch off your blackberry and put your feet up.

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