Autoimmune diseases: When the body fights against itself

When the body’s immune system starts to attack itself, disorder erupts. There are up to 80,000 different autoimmune disorders ranging in severity. The immune system falls on a spectrum of very low functioning to being overly active. When the immune system is deficient, the body is unable to protect itself to ward off infections. When the immune system is hyperactive, the body starts to attack and damage its very own tissues. The immune system is meant to fight off infections, but with an autoimmune condition, the body starts to produce antibodies.

Doctors don’t exactly know the root cause of autoimmune disease. The most common symptoms include fatigue, achy muscles, hair loss, and skin rashes. Flare ups decide when they want to occur. Women do acquire this condition 2 to 1 compared to men. The disease usually begins in childhood and teenage years. Many types run in families such as multiple sclerosis and lupus. Researchers believe environmental factors may be the culprit since the rate of these diseases are on the rise. Eating high fat, high sugar, and processed foods also wreaks havoc on the immune system.

Some of these conditions are more common than others or terms you have heard of before. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body produces antibodies that attack the joints. This causes pain, inflammation, and swelling to the areas of the joint. Multiple sclerosis is when the immune system attacks the nerve cells. Muscle spasms are a common symptom. Inflammatory bowl syndrome (IBS) occurs when the immune system starts to attack the lining of the intestine. As a result, bowel movements can become uncontrollable, diarrhea can occur, as well as rectal bleeding. Type I diabetes is also an autoimmune condition that occurs when antibodies attack the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Thyroid diseases are also in the autoimmune class. Grave’s disease, also known as hyperthyroidism, is when the antibodies produce excess amount of the thyroid hormone. Hashimoto’s has the opposite effect, taking place when the antibodies destroy the cells that produce the thyroid hormone. Lupus is when the antibodies attack different tissues in the body such as the lungs, joints, and kidneys.

Many of the symptoms overlap so diagnosis can be difficult as well as treatment. Blood testing is the most informative tool. The idea is to suppress the overactive immune system. Living with an autoimmune condition can be debilitating so practice self-care, and do all that you can to keep yourself in the best health possible at all times.


Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.

The Basics Of Running- What To Keep In Mind Before You Start Running

Think about the most basic cardio exercise and running would pop up in your head. It’s undoubtedly the easiest form of exercise and you need almost nothing to get started with it – apart from a good pair of shoes and motivation, of course. Running is common as an exercise among all age groups and you can start it anytime as long as you’re medically fit for it. P.S – Running from responsibilities and adulting is still not counted as cardio, sad! 

Benefits of Running

 It’s a very general idea that running is good for your cardio health but it has quite some benefits, you’ll be surprised. Just getting yourself out of that door for a run helps your body to raise the level of good cholesterol, enhance the lung functions and blood circulation. It also reduces the risk of having breast cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart stroke. That’s not all – running  helps to burn calories which results in weight loss, it also triggers hormones in your body that help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Isn’t it amazing?

Following are some dos and don’ts for the budding runners: 


Slow and Steady

Remember that your mind and your body works in different ways, your decision to start running won’t necessarily support your physical strength to do so. Just like every other workout even running should be started at a slower and comfortable pace. Experts say that it’s best to run your first kilometer with a pace that can still allow you to have a conversation. It will save you from cramps, overexertion, side stitches, etc. Now you won’t enjoy that, right? Being slow in the beginning is definitely better than running out of breaths. 

Add Variations To Your Running

Consider adding variety to your running schedule  only a week after your consistent running. Now that your body is more habituated with your running routine, this is the right time to bring in a few changes or rather, challenges. No, don’t go overboard, what we are suggesting is a different type of running routines or exercises that’s slightly similar to this. The types of running variations that you can try are basic recovery run, base run, long run, progression run, hill repeats, farther and many more. You can even try changing the terrain you’re running on, like switching from the park or pavement to a rocky or uneven off-road. It’s fun and spices up your running routine. 

Intervals and Rest

We can’t emphasize much on the fact that intervals and rest days are as important as your running routine. When you take intervals during running, your body gets a chance to prepare itself for the next sprint and your heart gets to take time off heavy circulation cycle. So it’s advised to take timely intervals while running and not only when you’re maximally exhausted. Rest days are equally important and it’s a globally accepted fact that rest days help your body restore energy, repair, and develop the muscles to make you all fit and fabulous for your next run. 


Don’t Overeat

So many believe that heavy meal first thing in the morning helps keep the body energized throughout the day. Well, they ain’t entirely wrong about this, but you need to put a tab on what you’re eating and how much you’re eating, especially if you are planning to go for a run just after that. The best way of doing this is by knowing more about pre-workout and post-workout meals – What to eat before and after a workout? – Pre and Post-Workout Meal.  For starters, you can choose to have bananas, oats, and some dry fruits to grab some fuel for your run. 

Skipping Your Warmup

Shaking and stretching your muscles before any kind of workout is mandatory even if you’re going for a run. Most people tend to skip warm-up before running because it’s unlike the conventional workout, which may result in muscle pull, cramps or sore heels. You can do basic stretching exercises for hips, quadriceps, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings to get your body pumped-up before you start. To know more about stretching read Everything You Wanted To Know About The Art of Stretching.

Wrong Choice of Footwear

The seasonal runners would swear on how important good footwear is for a satisfying morning run. Being the only asset that you’ll have to spend a few bucks on, good shoes will surely take your running regime to the next level. Not only will it help you to avoid unwanted injuries but also make running easy. Experts say that shoes come with an expiry age of 500 km. The wearing off your shoes also depends on other factors like your body weight, the maintenance, your running style, etc. 


Needless to emphasize, make sure you’re treating your body with enough fluid at the right intervals. It’s very important to remember that having too much fluid might end up getting side stitches and having too little while exhausting you resulting in fatigue. Find the right balance according to your body and never forget to carry a reusable water bottle for your run. 

Pro Tip: You might feel like laying on the ground or even taking a nice nap after a long run, abort that thought right away, refuel, stretch, and get going with your day! 

Comment down if you have any tips that you’d like us to add here, happy running fellas!

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