Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

The best exercise and the best diet

August 17, 2017

Question: What is the best exercise?

Answer: The one you’ll do. That is, the one containing movements that you enjoy doing and can sustain doing over the months and years.

Question: What is the best diet?

Answer: The one you’ll do. That is, the one containing foods that you enjoy eating and can sustain doing over the months and years.

Movement is the holy grail of health

August 13, 2017

Sitting is a disease. Movement is the holy grail of health.

Blood flow is the life force that heals our body and removes the waste. No juice cleanse or apple cider vinegar or lemon water will compensate for inactivity. You don’t need 50 different food items, from 12 different countries, or a rare plant or berry from some remote island or jungle. That’s just another example of our desire to find things that do the work for us, passively. Thinking that we can just eat a superfood and that will make up for inactivity, when we know that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy bodyfat level is the real key to long term health.

I take a brisk 10 minute walk after each meal. Research suggests this improves digestion and reduces blood sugars, much better than a single 30 minute walk daily. Science is telling us that consistency is more important than intensity, and frequency is more important than quantity. Getting up an walking around very hour is better than exercising once at the end of the day.

— Stan Efferding

This is an excellent video by Stan Efferding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqjPuhlfO5w&list=PL8JNg3nrHrLTyntHlHg9ng2RchpWGM5zs&index=21

The three pillars of health – diet, exercise, and environmental training

January 14, 2017

A few extracts from the (excellent) book: What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength by Scott Carney

For at least half a century the conventional wisdom about maintaining good physical health has rested on the twin pillars of diet and exercise. While those are no doubt vital, there’s an equally important, but completely ignored, third pillar – environmental training.

Once you arrive at high altitude, your body automatically produces more red blood cells to compensate for lower oxygen saturation. Move to an oppressively hot environment and your body will sweat out fewer salts over time and produce lower volumes of urine. Heat will also stimulate your cardiovascular system to become more efficient and increase evaporation and cooling. Yet no environmental extreme induces as many changes in human physiology as the cold does.

A plunge into ice-cold water not only triggers a number of processes to warm the body, but also tweaks insulin production, tightens the circulatory system, and heightens mental awareness. A person actually has to get uncomfortable and experience that frigid cold if they want to initiate those systems.

Despite all of our technology, our bodies are just not ready for a world so completely tamed by our desire for comfort. Without stimulation, the responses that were designed to fight environmental challenges don’t always lie dormant. Sometimes they turn inward and wreak havoc on our insides. An entire field of medical research on autoimmune diseases suggests they originate from fundamental disconnect between the outside world and an under stimulated biology.

Exercise induces a momentary reprieve from the past and future

September 11, 2016

“The iron (i.e., weightlifting) has saved my life, repeatedly” (Tom Platz, bodybuilder)

“Indian marathon runner enters a state of Samadhi (enlightenment) and continues running long after crossing the finish line.”

There is a moment during intense exercise where fatigue sets in and the mind can no longer race with thoughts about the past or future, and can only be in the present. At that moment of being totally in the present, you are in a state of enlightenment (spiritual bliss).

Relish every minute of every day

August 10, 2016

When I exercise I typically set a certain number of reps as a goal. I then perform the reps, always focusing on the goal. Sigh. What a missed opportunity…

Oftentimes we focus on the goal and pay little or no attention to the journey to get to the goal. This includes big goals, such as graduating from college or getting married, as well as little goals such as getting to the top of the stairs or in an exercise finishing the desired number of reps.

The problem is that most of the time is spent in the journey. So if we ignore the journey then we miss most of life.

From now on I will make the journey the objective. I will walk up the stairs and consider each step the objective. I will exercise and make each rep the objective. I will stand in line at a store and focus on my breath. I will relish each minute of each day.

Factors that determine how much of your brain you use

April 23, 2016

I don’t think there is a single solution for maximizing how much of your brain you use. I think it’s a combination of many factors (there are many ways to influence the brain). Here are the key factors (I think) that determine how much of your brain you use:

  1. Exercise: how much exercise? What type of exercise? Frequency of exercise? Variability of exercise? Heavy or light? Endurance or strength? Balancing/coordination? Flexibility? Hormone-stimulating exercises? Walking? Running?
  2. Rest: how much sleep? Naps?
  3. Mental stimulation: reading? Writing? Debate? Games/puzzles?
  4. Food: fresh foods? Cooked or raw? Meat or no meat? Carbs or no carbs? Nutrient-dense? Fasting?
  5. Supplements: caffeine? Supplements that promote the flow of blood to the brain (e.g., Gingko Biloba)? Green tea? Black tea?
  6. Nature: how much time spent in a park? Frequency?
  7. Stress: no stress? Moderate amounts of stress? Massage? Foam roller? Body work?
  8. Music: how much? Classical or other?
  9. Social: lots of socializing? Lots of friends? A few close friends?
  10. Positive attitude: how to keep positive and motivated? Laughter? Smiling?
  11. Goals: short-term goals? Long-term goals?

One thing that I am fairly sure of is this: the body and brain adapt quickly. A strategy that works today for stimulating the brain will likely not work next week or next month. Constant change is crucial. Also, it seems that each human is unique. What works for me may not work for you.

The plank exercise as meditation

April 19, 2016

Over the years I’ve tried to meditate: sit still, note any tension in my body and let go of the tension, observe my breath and adopt a steady, slow breathing pattern. But I quickly get bored with that and soon stop meditating.

Recently I’ve been doing the plank exercise. For the first couple weeks, all I could think about while doing the plank was how unpleasant and hard it is. But then I decided to shift my focus to my breathing and on mentally observing the pull of gravity on my body. Wow! What a fantastic change in perspective. Now I love doing the plank. I love watching my breath and mentally observing the pull of gravity on my body as I perform the exercise. The plank has become meditation for me!

3 things that I will never recommend

February 29, 2016
  1. I will never recommend a particular diet (paleo, macrobiotic, raw foods, fruitarian, juicing, etc.)
  2. I will never recommend a particular exercise program (weightlifting, running, yoga, etc.)
  3. I will never recommend a particular book.

Why?

Because my views on these things are fluid, constantly changing. Today I am convinced that one diet/exercise program/book is “the ultimate truth” and the next day I realize it’s not. I have no idea what truth is. But I have a pretty good idea what kindness is, so instead of giving my version of truth to people, I will give them my kindness.

Looking fit and being fit are not necessarily the same thing

November 15, 2015

In the late 19th century, Dudley Allen Sargent – virtually the founder of physical education in America – warned that without solid physical education programs, people would become fat, deformed, and clumsy.

Fitness has become accessory to the life of the modern man. It is up to each of us to exercise or not. Most people don’t, and being out of shape has become both ubiquitous and commonly accepted. It has become okay to be a physically soft, inept grown-up. Superficial, cosmetic improvements in body shape remains the primary motivation to the few who exercise, and gyms are filled with “mirror-athletes” — people obsessed with their own reflection.

But looking fit and being fit are not necessarily the same. Being fit is being capable of performing physically in the real world with effectiveness and efficiency, and especially when the situation and the environment are challenging.

More … http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/09/12/a-primer-on-movnat/

Fitness versus sport … Fittest population this planet has ever seen

January 3, 2015

I found a fellow who has some fascinating ideas. [1]

Here’s a sample:

Sport is not the same as fitness. Sport is primarily an entertainment medium dominated by freaks.

The fittest population this planet has ever seen were the “early modern people” of the Upper Palaeolithic, also known as Cro Magnons. If skull capacity is a reliable indicator the Cro Magnons were also more intelligent than we are today. They were also taller. Today’s consumer culture is the culture of the quick fix and painless remedy. If you see the term “gentle exercise”, be on your guard! Cro Magnons had no need for gentle exercise!

[1] http://www.evfit.com/exercise.htm