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When she was 116 years old, the Guinness Book of Records announced Kane Tanaka as the oldest woman in the world whose age is unquestionably confirmed. Since then, she hasn’t stopped breaking records, and this January (2022) celebrated her 119th birthday.

During her birthday celebration, people were curious as to the happiest moment she has ever experienced in her life. She surprised and touched them deeply by answering with just one word: “Now.”

Kane Tanaka
Tanaka in 1923, aged 20

When you think about a woman who’s been around since 1903, you may believe that her life wasn’t very active or eventful. But Tanaka actually makes it a habit to wake up at 6am every morning and passes her day studying Mathematics and calligraphy.

Many along the way have asked her about her secret for longevity, to which she answered that it all has to do with a belief in God, the family that surrounds her and her healthy sleep habits. If you’re wondering, even at her venerable age, Tanaka does not give up on coffee, and drinks at least three cups a day, as well as fizzy drinks.

Kane Tanaka Birthday
Tanaka at the Guinness record award ceremony

Tanaka’s story teaches us that there’s always hope for change – despite and sometimes thanks to the difficulties we encounter during our lives. When she was “only” 103 years old, Tanaka was diagnosed with colon cancer, and against all odds – managed to beat it. Sixteen years have passed since that moment, and all that’s left for us is to wish her many more healthy years to come.

Earthing is an ancient practice that has been recently rediscovered by environmental medicine. Though it is a simple process, it has potentially incredible benefits for those who practice it. In a society that is dominated by electronics, it should be no surprise that simply reconnecting with the Earth can make people feel healthier and happier.

Earthing, also known as grounding, is the process of “walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body.” (1)

Grounding is best viewed as a preventative lifestyle that can help prevent and reverse the damage that is being done to our bodies by the modern lifestyle which often does not include being outdoors on a regular basis.

By practicing Earthing on a regular basis and actively connecting with the electrons flowing through the earth, it is possible to undo much of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscle damage that has occurred in a person.

earthing and grounding
Earthing on a regular basis and actively connecting with the electrons flowing through the earth

Is there Science Behind Earthing/ Grounding?

Although grounding is a newer field of study, there has already been some research that has shown that regular earthing can help improve the health of those who live with cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions, chronic pain, and muscle damage. (2)

When viewed as a form of bio-hacking, earthing has also been shown to reduce a person’s stress levels and can significantly improve a person’s mental health and well-being by reducing depression, stress, and fatigue. 

In addition, when combined with healthy changes to diet and exercise, earthing has the potential to increase a person’s longevity and healthspan. (3)

These benefits can be achieved in a number of ways. The simplest, and most effective way, to practice grounding is to simply walk barefoot on the ground. It is important to note that direct contact with the earth is necessary for this to work, so walking on dirt, sand, grass, etc. is essential. These benefits cannot be achieved when you are walking on concrete or other man-made substances.

Submerge yourself or go swimming in a natural body of water such as the ocean, lakes, rivers, or streams

Another method of grounding is to lie directly on the ground or to submerge yourself or go swimming in a natural body of water such as the ocean, lakes, rivers, or streams.

It is not always possible to practice earthing outdoors. In cases of extreme weather, metropolitan living, or in cases where age or health conditions may not allow it, alternative methods of grounding should be utilized. These may include grounding mats, sheets, socks, or patches that mimic the electric current of the earth. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Earthing?

There are a number of health benefits that directly result from Earthing. These benefits can be felt after 30 minutes of direct, barefoot contact with the ground, and many people report feeling the positive effects after their first-time grounding. 

Not only has earthing been shown to improve both a person’s healthspan and lifespan, but it also has a number of other incredible health benefits including: (4)

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced pain
  • Lowered levels of stress
  • Improved blood flow
  • Improved energy
  • More restful sleep and better sleep quality
  • Reduces chronic fatigue
  • Improves sleep disorders
  • Reduced blood pressure levels

While grounding is generally recommended for everyone, it is still important to discuss it with your doctor if you have any serious underlying medical conditions. Earthing should not be used as a replacement for any medications or other treatment options that you may be currently undergoing without first talking with your doctor.

earthing benefits
Many people report feeling the positive effects after their first-time grounding

How Long Does It Take to Experience the Benefits?

Some of the immediate benefits of earthing, such as improved blood flow, improved energy, and reduction of pain and inflammation have been reported as soon as 30 minutes after a grounding session.

In one study, a diabetic woman with a persistent open wound on her ankle reported significantly decreased pain after 30 minutes of grounding treatment with an electrode patch. After one week of daily 30-minute treatments, she reported a pain reduction of 80%, and the limp that she had initially presented with was completely gone.

After two weeks of the daily treatments, she was completely pain free and her persistent wound, that had resisted all other forms of treatment for eight months, was almost completely healed. (5)

How Often Should Earthing Be Done?

If possible, grounding should be performed for at least 30 minutes every day. Simply going outside and lying on the grass in your backyard, taking a barefoot walk on the beach, or standing in the grass at a park can all provide the above health benefits.

It may not be possible for everyone to regularly practice holistic grounding however. If possible, a person should try to practice grounding as often as they are able to. Even once or twice a week can provide some of the health benefits, such as decreased depression and increased blood flow.

For those who do not have regular access to nature, grounding mats may be utilized to mimic receive similar benefits.

Immediate benefits of earthing include improved blood flow, energy, and reduction of pain and inflammation

What Are Grounding Mats?

Grounding mats are devices that are connected by a wire to the ground port of your home. It is important to note that you are not plugging directly into an electrical port, but rather the ground wire of your home. Most grounding mats come with instructions that detail how to use them and where to find this port in your home.

Grounding mats come in a variety of sizes, and can be used flat on the floor, on or under a desk, or on a bed so that a person can place their bare body, hands, or feet on it. While there has been less research done on these mats that on direct grounding methods, the research than has been done on them shows promise. (6)

In particular, there has been evidence to show that grounding mats can improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and lower stress levels when used regularly and correctly.

Conclusion

Earthing provides several incredible and holistic health benefits and it is a simple process that the majority of people can do. While the most significant benefits can be achieved when earthing is practiced on a daily basis, it is still possible to see results when done only once or twice a week.

Walking barefoot on the grass, sand, or dirt allows our bodies to reconnect with the earth and allows us to absorb the electrons that can help rebalance our bodies. In turn, this can help prevent and heal several health conditions and has been proven to help those who do it regularly to improve their healthspan, longevity, and overall happiness.

Any person can access and reap the benefits of grounding with minimal effort, and it is a practice that everyone should take part in as often as possible.

Resources

(1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/#:~:text=Earthing%20(or%20grounding)%20refers%20to,the%20ground%20into%20the%20body.
(2)https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding
(3)https://publichealth.wustl.edu/heatlhspan-is-more-important-than-lifespan-so-why-dont-more-people-know-about-it/
(4)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550830719305476
(5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378297/
(6)https://www.healthline.com/health/under-review-grounding-mats

When was the last time you stood up? Was it more than half an hour ago?

While it’s true that sitting and lying down gives relief to our bodies, resting too much only causes harm. If you’re living a sedentary lifestyle, you increase the chances of chronic diseases, turbulent mental health, and even early death [1].

You might be thinking, “Well, I don’t stay sedentary that much.” 

But with how our modern society is designed, see how this daily schedule may sound familiar:

  • Wake up from a 7-hour sleep [2] and sit down for breakfast. You then sit in a car for half an hour [3] to get to your office.
  • Complete your 9-5 job inside a cubicle, where you only stand up for bathroom breaks or to have lunch—which you enjoy while sitting down.
  • Take another car ride home, where you’ll sit down for dinner and sit down to relax by the TV.
sitting too long
Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

It’s not just how technology has developed, too. We’ve been conditioned to sit down since we were young [4]. From having proper manners in school to the office, sitting still shows respect and discipline. We grew up thinking sitting down equals behaving, but it’s actually detrimental to our health.

In total, the average American spends more than half of their day sitting—a whopping 15 hours every single day [5]. This figure doesn’t even consider the coronavirus pandemic, which forced us into working from home—effectively decreasing our body movements even more [6].

Moreover, while many of us resort to doing some type of workout once a day, you can’t “make up” for the lost movement in one go [7], because our bodies should move regularly. To quote Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of the best-selling book, Move Your DNA, “There is more to movement than exercise” [8].

sitting all day
Our bodies should move regularly

You’ll need to find a way to move constantly—which is what this article will help you achieve.

How Not Moving is Harmful

Let’s take a closer look at how a sedentary lifestyle or lack of regular movements negatively affects your physical health, mental state, and overall quality of life.

Higher Chances of Chronic Diseases

Obesity. Not moving regularly limits the number of calories you burn, which leads to an increase in weight gain and often results in obesity. Plus, once you’re overweight, research shows that people with obesity sit even more than people with average weight [9], putting you in a downward spiral.

Diabetes. Sedentary lifestyles also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by 112% [10, 11]. This is because sitting for long periods without limiting your calorie intake causes an increase in insulin resistance—a key driver of type 2 diabetes [12].

Heart Diseases. Moreover, you increase the chances of having cardiovascular diseases by 147% and the risk of cardiovascular mortality by 90% [11]. You’re more likely to experience coronary artery diseases, heart attacks, higher blood pressure, and strokes if you don’t move your body enough [13].

Poorer Mental Health

Depression and Anxiety. Not only are you affecting your physical wellbeing, but being sedentary also increases the risk of developing mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and stress [14, 15]. These researches aren’t talking about just being sad, but clinical disorders identified by physicians.

Increased Mortality Rate

Accelerated Aging. A study shows that women who spend most of their day sitting and doing minimal exercises had biologically older cells by eight years more than their actual age [16]. Moreover, those who sit upwards of 10 hours and participate in less than 40 minutes of physical activities every day had shorter telomeres—the part of DNA strands that protects chromosomes from getting older. 

Early Death. There is a 71% increase in the mortality rate for those who spend more than 6 hours a day sitting [17]. Even with significant exercising, sitting for 5-6 hours a day increases your mortality rate by 50% [18]. Physical inactivity is also the fourth leading risk for global mortality [19].

The message is clear: There are serious health effects of not moving. It kills us and makes us sick—the complete opposite of how we may perceive extended periods of rest to be.

In reality, constant movement is the key to a healthy body.

In reality, constant movement is the key to a healthy body

How to Stop Being Sedentary

It’s not easy to move all the time in our modern world today. “Human beings evolved as a walking entity, exploring the world on our feet,” said James Levine, MD, the author of Move a Little, Lose a Lot [20].

But the reality is that we’re now glued to our screens to work, socialize, and even entertain ourselves.

So how can we change our sedentary lifestyle to engage our bodies like we’re supposed to? Check out these steps to incorporate movement and start living a healthier life:

Practice Functional Movements and Patterns

Functional movement exercises enhance your ability to do everyday movements. 

“These are normalized, neurodevelopmental sequences that we see from birth on. It’s basically what human beings have to do in order to live life every day,” says John Rusin, DPT, strength coach and sports performance therapist [21].

So, try to make these movement patterns [22] regularly:

  • Squats: Lower yourself and use your ankles, knees, and hips to drive yourself back up. Squatting helps you develop muscles for multiple vertical levels throughout your day.
  • Lunges: Known as a “traveling squat,” lunges engage your lower body into a single-leg stance. This practice helps your balance and control, one leg at a time.
  • Hinges: Contrary to “lifting with your knees,” hinges develop your core and back muscles to lift heavy objects. Lift weights by leaning and raising your torso like a drawbridge.
  • Pushes and Pulls: Practice pushing and pulling something away and nearer to you. Have a combination of both vertical and horizontal versions to heighten your overall balance.

Carries: Develop dynamic stability by engaging your entire body in carrying heavy objects. The idea is that you shouldn’t feel the burn in just one area, but your whole body.

Additionally, enhance any of the functional movements by adding rotation to the pattern. You want to transfer power from your lower half to your upper half through your core, getting your body to function as one unit for full-body stability. 

Start Using a Standing Desk

For a more seamless integration of movement into your working life, switch to a standing desk so you can get into an upright position without interrupting your workflow. You’ll be able to adjust the height of your table whenever you need to take a break from sitting.

Here are a few tips for using a standing desk:

  • Set intervals to alternate between sitting and standing with your desk. A good ratio to keep in mind is 1:1 or 2:1, which means you should stand around 30 to 45 minutes per hour of sitting [23].
  • Ensure that the position of your keyboard allows your elbows to sit at a 90-degree angle [24].
  • Attach arm supports to your desk to reduce the pressure on your mouse-controlling wrist [24].
  • Relax your neck and shoulders and shift your weight from one foot to another to minimize strain.
  • Don’t slouch or lock your knees to prevent any injuries from standing for an extended time.

Ensure that you’re not standing too long, because that’s just as harmful as sitting too much. Instead, use standing desks correctly to help your blood circulation, engage your muscles, and boost your mood.

Exercise with Balance Boards

Another neat item you can try out is balance boards—a fitness tool for strength and balance training [25].

A balance board has a flat top and a dome-shaped bottom, allowing the board to shift in multiple directions. Since the base is unstable, you’ll have to use your muscles to maintain balance.

Here are some ways you can use a balance board:

  • Balancing: Step up to the board with your feet hip-distance apart. Tilt the board forward and backward, having it touch the floor without you falling over. Next, try doing it from side to side. Shift your body weight from left to right, slowly feeling the floor while keeping your balance.
  • Squats: While standing on top of the board, do mini squats to engage your lower body muscles and core strength. Place your arms in front and lower yourself while maintaining your balance.
  • Planking: Get into plank position—but with your hands on the balance board. Use your core muscles, slightly bend your elbows, and maintain a steady position.
  • Push-ups: Do push-ups on the balance board to engage your core and upper body muscles. Keep your hands on the sides, bend your elbows to lower yourself, and return to the starting position while keeping balance.

You can do many other exercises with a balance board, but these simple ones should get you started. Balance boards use your body weight to develop strength and balance, increasing your physical capability to do everyday tasks.

Stop Sitting Yourself to Death

Sedentary lifestyles are not natural. It increases your chances of getting chronic diseases, gives you poorer mental health, and increases your mortality rate.

No, our bodies should move around—at least once every 30 minutes.

You need to bring movement back to your life to extend your health span, improve your quality of life, and enjoy the world like you’re supposed to. So practice functional movements, start using a standing desk, and exercise with balance boards to give yourself a better life—one motion at a time.

Need more help in breaking free from your sedentary lifestyle?

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Citations

[1] Wilmot EG; Edwardson CL; Achana FA; Davies MJ; Gorely T; Gray LJ; Khunti K; Yates T; Biddle SJ; (n.d.). Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22890825/


[2] 25, S. C. T. | M., Team, S. C., & Team, S. C. (2021, June 3). How much sleep does the average AMERICAN GET? The Checkup. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/sleep-statistics/


[3] Bureau, U. S. C. (2021, March 18). Census bureau estimates show average one-way travel time to work rises. The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/one-way-travel-time-to-work-rises.html#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20the%20average%20one,about%2010%25%20over%2014%20years


[4] Blatt-Gross, C. (2015, January 3). Why do we make students sit still in class?. CNN. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/30/living/no-sitting-still-movement-schools/index.html


[5] Leech, J. (2019, June 19). Is sitting too much bad for your health?. Healthline. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-sitting-is-bad-for-you#prevalence-of-sitting


[6] Zheng, C., Huang, W. Y., Sheridan, S., Sit, C. H.-P., Chen, X.-K., & Wong, S. H.-S. (2020, August 19). COVID-19 pandemic brings a sedentary lifestyle in Young Adults: A cross-sectional and longitudinal study. International journal of environmental research and public health. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7503726/


[7] Duvivier BM; Schaper NC; Bremers MA; van Crombrugge G; Menheere PP; Kars M; Savelberg HH; (n.d.). Minimal intensity physical activity (standing and walking) of longer duration improves insulin action and plasma lipids more than shorter periods of moderate to vigorous exercise (cycling) in sedentary subjects when energy expenditure is comparable. PloS one. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23418444/


[8] Kuklovskai︠a︡ Elizaveta. (n.d.). DP. Amazon. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0718X8N7H/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


[9] Levine JA; Lanningham-Foster LM; McCrady SK; Krizan AC; Olson LR; Kane PH; Jensen MD; Clark MM; (n.d.). Interindividual variation in posture allocation: Possible role in human obesity. Science (New York, N.Y.). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15681386/


[10] Park, J. H., Moon, J. H., Kim, H. J., Kong, M. H., & Oh, Y. H. (2020, November). Sedentary lifestyle: Overview of updated evidence of potential health risks. Korean journal of family medicine. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700832/


[11] Wilmot EG; Edwardson CL; Achana FA; Davies MJ; Gorely T; Gray LJ; Khunti K; Yates T; Biddle SJ; (n.d.). Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22890825/


[12] Krogh-Madsen R;Thyfault JP;Broholm C;Mortensen OH;Olsen RH;Mounier R;Plomgaard P;van Hall G;Booth FW;Pedersen BK; (n.d.). A 2-WK reduction of ambulatory activity ATTENUATES peripheral insulin sensitivity. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md.: 1985). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20044474/


[13] U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, May 5). Health risks of an inactive lifestyle. MedlinePlus. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html


[14] Sánchez-Villegas, A., Ara, I., Guillén-Grima, F., Bes-Rastrollo, M., Varo-Cenarruzabeitia, J. J., & Martínez-González, M. (1970, January 1). [PDF] physical Activity, SEDENTARY index, and mental disorders in the SUN cohort Study.: Semantic Scholar. undefined. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Physical-activity%2C-sedentary-index%2C-and-mental-in-S%C3%A1nchez-Villegas-Ara/b0869f0e2b071fe8063a180edcbd2decec7bdbae?p2df


[15] Zhai, L., Zhang, Y., & Zhang, D. (2015, June 1). Sedentary behaviour and the risk of depression: A meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/11/705


[16] Preidt, R. (2017, January 18). Too much sitting ages you faster. WebMD. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20170118/too-much-sitting-ages-you-faster


[17] Patel, A. V., Bernstein, L., Deka, A., Feigelson, H. S., Campbell, P. T., Gapstur, S. M., Colditz, G. A., & Thun, M. J. (2010, July 22). Leisure time spent sitting in relation to total mortality in a prospective cohort of us adults. OUP Academic. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/172/4/419/85345


[18] Melville, N. A. (2014, January 12). Sedentary behavior associated with higher mortality. Medscape. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/744006


[19] U.S. National Library of Medicine. (1970, January 1). Physical activity for health. Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK305049/


[20] Levine, J., & Yeager, S. (2009). Move a little, lose a lot. Amazon. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.amazon.com/Move-Little-Lose-Lot-T/dp/0307408558


[21] Exercise science & injury prevention. Dr. John Rusin – Exercise Science & Injury Prevention. (2021, August 10). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://drjohnrusin.com/


[22] 6 essential functional movements. Oxygen Mag. (2020, June 17). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.oxygenmag.com/training-tips-for-women/6-essential-functional-movements/


[23] How to use a standing desk correctly – full tutorial. ergonofis. (2020, June 26). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://ergonofis.com/blogs/news/how-to-use-my-sitstand-desk-correctly


[24] Leech, J. (2017, June 18). 6 tips to use a standing DESK CORRECTLY. Healthline. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-tips-for-using-a-standing-desk#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8


[25] Brachman A;Kamieniarz A;Michalska J;Pawłowski M;Słomka KJ;Juras G; (n.d.). Balance training programs in athletes – a systematic review. Journal of human kinetics. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28828077/

 

What do cold showers, intermittent fasting, freediving, saunas and supplementing with curcumin, all have to do with extending your healthspan? They are all forms of hermetic stressors, a practice that involves applying stress in measured doses for a beneficial health outcome.

Surely, you are familiar with the phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” While this phrase is often used by well meaning friends to encourage you during difficult life situations such as heartbreak, divorce, and loss, resilience research now shows it isn’t always the case. Often, repeat trauma or injury that doesn’t fully heal, isn’t solid ground for growth. In terms of building both mental and physical resilience, sometimes what doesn’t kill you makes you more vulnerable. 

The opposite approach to “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is that stress is something to be reduced as much as possible. But, what if they are both wrong? And what if some form of stress could improve your wellbeing and extend healthspan? Such a form exists. It’s called Hormetic stress, or Hormesis, and it could be the answer to using stress in a way that enhances longevity.

So, what is hormesis? Hormesis involves the application of low doses of mild to moderate stressors for short periods. These stressors, referred to as hormetic agents, may include heat stress, cold stress, fasting, hypoxia, intellectual tasks, exercise, and exposure to poison in small doses. The idea is that your body adapts to the stressor and becomes more resilient (1). In the long term, it makes you stronger. But only if you let the body recover properly between stressors.

Cold Stressor
Hormesis via cold-shock therapy

In this article we will focus on reaping the rewards of hormesis with exercise.

“Hormesis is a biological reaction in which low doses of an agent that could be toxic or lethal at higher doses have a beneficial effect, such as improved health, stress tolerance, muscle growth, or longevity. Sure, exercise could kill you if you went to extremes, but in controlled doses, exercise can give you hormetic benefits, such as an increased ability to fight free radicals, manage heavy loads, or be more resilient to environmental stressors.” (8)

Exercise: Helpful or Harmful for Longevity?

Some 500 years ago, Swiss physician Paracelsus expressed the basic principle of toxicology: “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison.” This idea is popularly condensed to: “The dose makes the poison.” It means that a substance that contains toxic properties can cause harm only if it occurs in a high enough concentration. But in the right amount it can be a potent cure.

Over-exercising or the wrong type of workout can be harmful for your healthy longevity. For example, prolonged stretches of intense physical exercise, such as Iron Man training, can induce chronic inflammation which is associated with a wide range of ailments, including premature and accelerated aging. Hence the term ‘inflammaging’, a condition which is gaining attention in longevity research. On the other hand, short bursts of intense exercise stress the body just enough to trigger an adaptive response. The exercise breaks your muscles down, but they become stronger when they recover.

The benefits of just the right form and amount of workout goes up to your head too. Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University, said in her TED Talk, “Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your brain today.” (2)

When referring to your healthspan, the goal is to extend the years of your life in which you are in good health, instead of just lengthening your lifespan, which simply adds years to your life. To improve your healthspan, you want to promote a healthy brain and body. Through her research, Suzuki found that exercise has protective effects on the brain. This was primarily in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, the most vulnerable areas to cognitive decline as you age. Exercise is one surefire method of biohacking your healthspan by boosting your mood, energy, attention span, and long-term memory.

What Is Exercise-Induced Hormesis?

Hormesis is sometimes referred to as voluntary stress since you are intentionally putting stress on yourself. The difference between voluntary stress and everyday physical stress is that you use voluntary stress in a controlled and measured way. In the case of exercise-induced hormesis, you choose to engage in short bursts of specific types of high-intensity exercise.

How does hormesis support longevity? Over time, your mitochondria become damaged by free radicals in your environment (3). These free radicals, from environmental toxins, chemicals in your food and water, and chronic stress, can all lead to oxidative stress that reduces cell efficiency. Hormesis pushes the body to weed out weak, dysfunctional, or mutated cells, or if the cell is in good enough condition to save,  hormesis can help to fortify cellular health. When short doses of stressors are applied, your mitochondria adapt by increasing productivity to maximize your chances of survival(4).

Exercise-Induced Hormesis
High Intensive Interval Training

What Are the Benefits of Exercise-Induced Hormesis?

The main perk about the hormetic approach to exercise? It’s short! It can take 10 to 20 minutes. No matter how busy your schedule, everyone has time for that. Plus, it’s mostly free! On top of the convenience and affordability, there are plenty of science-backed benefits to exercise-induced hormesis (6):

  • Improved physique
  • Enhanced pulmonary-cardio stamina
  • Possible prevention or delay of age-related metabolic diseases
  • Emotional balance
  • Hormonal regulation
  • Maintenance of cognitive function

Using exercise strategically for its hormetic effects is a quick and effective way to impact your healthspan positively.

How Can You Induce Hormesis Through Exercise?

To enjoy the longevity-supporting hormetic effects of exercise, you must choose a physical activity that provides brief spurts of intense training. Five qualities for physical activities that support your healthspan are: brief, intense, infrequent, safe, and purposeful. What type of exercise fulfills these qualities? High-intensity interval training!

It is recognized that high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, has a particularly strong hormetic effect on cell mitochondria. They become more efficient in dealing with the stress, which increases your energy production and slows down aging at the cellular level.

Hormesis
HIIT

Some examples of exercises ideal for HIIT are:

  • Tabata
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Crossfit
  • Powerlifting
  • Resistance machines
  • Weight training

So, how does HIIT work? You exercise in short bursts at a high intensity with active rest periods between each set. During your active rest period, you continue moving your body at a low intensity. Here’s a sample beginner HIIT workout:

  • Warm-up for 2 minutes.
  • Sprint for 10 seconds.
  • Walk for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat the cycle two more times.

You’ll want to pick the work/rest ratio that best suits your abilities. Above, we used a 1:2 ratio, but if this pace is too challenging, reduce your ratio to 1:3 or 1:4. For example, sprint for 10 seconds, then walk for 30 or 40 seconds. The key is to put all of your efforts into your work period, whether it be sprinting, lifting weights, or jumping on a trampoline.

Summary

Yes, exercise breaks down your muscles. But it builds them back up even stronger and more resilient than before. In small doses. Pick a high-intensity workout and do it in short bursts with rest in between each set. Enjoy the healthspan boosting benefits of exercise-induced hormesis…

References
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248601/#:~:text=Hormesis%20is%20a%20term%20used,dose%20 inhibitory%20or%20toxic%20effect
  2. https://www.ted.com/talks/wendy_suzuki_the_brain_changing_benefits_of_exercise/up-next?language=en
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145906/#:~:text=Oxidative%20stress%20is%20characterized%20by,homeostasis%20and%20mitochondrial%20defense%20systems
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836144/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836153/#:~:text=The%20evidence%20for%20this%20is%20the%20well%20demonstrated%20health%20benefits,mental%2C%20hormonal%20and%20emotional%20functionality
  6. Greenfield, Ben. Boundless. Victory Belt Publishing, 2020.

Within the pages of the Boundless Cookbook, Ben has created an experience that will allow you to transform your cooking in an entirely new way by unlocking powerful nutrients and flavor combinations that incorporate a thrilling mash-up of ancient wisdom and modern science. For example, Ben’s Fermented Wild Plant Pesto will introduce your taste buds to indescribable flavors from the plant kingdom that actually strengthen your cells; his wife Jessa’s Sourdough Bread will take you back to when you could—without guilt—actually enjoy bread; and his twin boys’ scrumptious Pumpkin Donuts will leave you feeling delighted, satiated, and thoroughly blown away that nourishing food can taste this darn good.

Rather than presenting you with a restrictive diet, limited variety of ingredients, or tasteless “health foods,” the Boundless Cookbook instead takes you on a culinary journey that includes: Nutrient-dense wild game, fish, and even organ meat recipes… Unique and tasty rubs, salts, marinades n’ more… Biohacked smoothies and cocktails… Libido and energy-stimulating superfood concoctions… Guilt-free, healthy desserts that actually taste good… Insider kitchen secrets from the entire Greenfield family… And much more!

Boundless Cookbook

 

Buy Now

Ben’s original book Boundless is your handbook for achieving the energy and life you’ve always craved, and his Boundless Cookbook can now serve as your trusty “field guide” to keep your cells nourished and taste buds pleased every step of the way.


About the author Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield is A frequent contributor to health and wellness publications and websites and a highly sought after speaker, Ben’s understanding of functional exercise, nutrition, and the delicate balance between performance and health has helped thousands of people around the world achieve their goals and improve their quality of life.

Ben is an advisor, investor and board member of multiple corporations in the health and fitness industry, and is also the founder of KION, a nutritional supplements company that combines time-honored superfoods with modern science to allow human beings to achieve peak performance, defy aging, and live an adventurous, fulfilling, joyful and limitless life.

Ben coaches and trains individuals all over the world for health, longevity and performance.

We tend to think about lifestyle factors as what you eat and how often you work out. But we now know the quality of your social life plays a big role in longevity too.

I’ve seen up close and personal the horrific effects social isolation can do. And as we go into another lockdown, I remind myself to make it a daily habit to connect with the people in my life who will be spending it alone.

The Italian island of Sardinia has more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America. Why? According to psychologist Susan Pinker, it’s not a sunny disposition or a low-fat, gluten-free diet that keeps the islanders healthy — it’s their emphasis on close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions.

Genes account for 25% of healthspan. The other 75%? The answer Susan Pinker suggests may surprise you, and COVID-19 makes this insight relevant than ever.

This talk is highly recommended as pre-lockdown entertainment:

In places like Equador, Armenia and the Himalayas, a lot more people live beyond one hundred than in places like New York, London, or Paris . . .Not many of us can up and move to Ecuador. But we can incorporate small lifestyle changes in order to make our environment more compatible to extending our lifespan. 

Is your environment slowly but inexorably robbing you of your future years? What can you do to turn things around? Read on to find out  . . .

Human longevity is determined by two factors . . .

  • Genetics
  • Environment

In this article, we focus on the second of those factors. We include lifestyle factors within the definition of environment. We’ll discover how important environment is to longevity and what you can do to make your environment as compatible to anti-aging as possible. 

During the 19th century, humankind made huge strides in terms of the availability of food and clean drinking water, along with improved living conditions and access to medical care and the reduced exposure to disease. As a result, the lifespan of humans improved. The current average lifespan for people living in developed countries in 82.3 years. 

Infographic: Where 100 is the New 80 | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

 

Where We Live Matters

It is interesting to note, however, that there are an inordinate amount of super agers, over the age of 100, who live in environments that can be best described as pristine. In places like Equador, Armenia and the Himalayas, a lot more people live beyond one hundred than in places like New York, London, or Paris. The fresh air, clean flowing water, low stress levels and simple, non-materialistic lifestyles have undoubtedly extended the lives of these people. 

A recent study that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health backs up these observations. The researchers studied data about the deaths of around 145,000 people living in Washington State in the USA. It was found that people who lived in an environment that supports healthy aging were more likely to live to a hundred years of age. (1) (2) (3)

Study author Rajan Bhardwaj, a second-year WSU medical student, concluded that . . .

Our study adds to the growing body of evidence that social and environmental factors contribute significantly to longevity, has estimated that heritable factors only explain about 20 to 35% of an individual’s chances of reaching centenarian age.

It was found that mixed age communities were very beneficial to living longer. Bhardwaj says . . .

These findings indicate that mixed-age communities are very beneficial for everyone involved. They also support the big push in growing urban centers toward making streets more walkable, which makes exercise more accessible to older adults and makes it easier for them to access medical care and grocery stores.

Twin Studies Show That Environment Matters

The effect of environment on lifespan vs genetic disposition is also shown by the example of identical twins who grow up in different environments. In many cases, the environment has been seen to play a significant part in determining the lifespan of the individual. Those twins who live in a calmer, more rural and more mixed age group environments tend to live longer. (4)

Not many of us can up and move to Ecuador. But we can incorporate small lifestyle changes in order to make our environment more compatible to extending our lifespan. Those small changes add up to have a significant cumulative effect which will help us to delay the onset of chronic illness. 

How to Optimize Your Environment for Longevity

The following environmental factors have been shown to have a positive impact on longevity:

maya_elhalal_longevity_healthspan
  • Be sociable across age groups – having meaningful friendships with people of all ages is a key to healthy living and longevity. Strive to mix with younger and older people, getting to know them on more than a surface level.
  • Breath fresh air – if you have the choice, move to an area that is amog free and where clean air permeates. If not, make the effort to escape to the mountains as often as possible, where you can breath that beautiful fresh air deep into your lungs. 
  • Drink pure filtered water – aim to take in half a gallon of water daily. Investing in a water filter or purifier will help you ingest that health giving H2O without the associated toxins. 
  • Volunteer – volunteering has a direct relationship with happiness and, not surprisingly, the happier we are, the longer we tend to live. The joy of giving, whether it is our time or our material possessions, brings us more joy than the actual act of giving. So, look for opportunities to get involved with local volunteer work in your community.
  • Reduce your stress levels – use such methods as exercise, mindful meditation, listening to music, taking walks on the beach and journaling to reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. 

References:

  1. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-06-centenarian-environment-key-longevity.html
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200617145256.htm
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/8/2828
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8786073/

Exciting anti-aging  research has been taking place under the umbrella of TAME (Targeting Aging With Metformin), a six year long series of clinical studies conducted at 1t laboratories across the US . . . In addition to controlling diabetes, Metformin has shown great promise in helping to reverse the effect of aging.

Is there a diabetes medication out there that can reverse aging? 

Type 2 Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are dangerously elevated. It is often the result of obesity, lifestyle and genetic factors. This condition can lead to a number of serious health effects. It is, in fact, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In this article, we take a look at what causes diabetes and the warning signs. We’ll also identify what steps you can take to reverse the trends nd take a look at the latest research on Metformin, a diabetes medication which may help reverse aging. 

What Causes Diabetes?

Age – As we age the regenerative capacity of the pancreas slows down and it’s ability to make insulin declines. Despite the fact that an alarming number of people under 25 are developing the condition, most people who are diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes are aged between 55 and 60. (1)

* Family History – one in every three people with Type-2 diabetes has a close family member who also has the condition. 

* Race – We don’t quite know why, but people of certain ethnic origins, such as African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans, are more likely to develop Type-2 diabetes. 

* Pre-existing health conditions – High blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, impaired glucose tolerance along with heart disease and stroke all put you at higher risk of getting diabetes. 

* Viruses – Infections such as mumps, rubella, adenovirus, cytomegalovirus and coxsackievirus B can lead to the onset of Type-2 diabetes. 

* Bottle feeding – A number of recent studies have linked formula feeding with cow’s milk with Type-2 diabetes. Breastfeeding is highly recommended as is supplementing with vitamin D. 

* Liver or pancreatic disease – Any condition that impairs the ability of the pancreas and liver to do their job is going to make you more likely to become diabetic. 

There are some vital other factors that are major contributors to type-2 diabetes. These ones come under the category of lifestyle factors – they are things that we can control and make choices around. Here are the main avoidable risk factors: 

  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking

Warning Signs for Diabetes

There are a number of warning signs for diabetes. These include:

  • Uncommon thirst and appetite
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Irritation
  • Tingling of the extremities
  • Darkening of skin and possible skin infection

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood sugar levels are elevated. It is a precursor to diabetes. It is important for people who are at risk of developing diabetes to regularly have their blood sugar levels tested. 

The test that doctors use to assess blood sugar levels is called the A1C test. It is also known as the Haemoglobin A1C test and the HbA1C test. This test will provide you with an average of your blood glucose levels over the previous three months. (2)

The A1C test is a simple blood test that can be done in a doctor’s office or a lab. The following A1C test results provide a guideline as to your diabetes risk:

Normal: 5.7% or lower

Pre-Diabetes: 5.7-6.4%

Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

The key to preventing Type 2 Diabetes is to capture the trend in rising A1C levels before it gets into the pre-diabetes range. That requires getting a regular A1C test. If you are over the age of 45, we strongly recommend getting this done annually. 

Reversing the Diabetes Trend

Incorporating the following lifestyle habits into your routine will go a long way toward helping you manage your diabetes. 

  • Take a hot shower before going to bed: By doing so, you’ll be enhancing your circulation to such vital organs as the pancreas and kidneys. 
  • Exercise: Regular exercise, including strength training, will help to control blood sugar levels. It will even reduce the need for oral medications and insulin. (3)
  • Yoga: Many people have discovered that yoga, a mental, physical and spiritual discipline that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, can do wonders in keeping diabetes in check while improving the diabetics overall quality of life.
  • Drink a daily detox liver cleanser every day.
  • Drink 10 8-ounce glasses of mineral water every day 
  • Eat a nutritious meals, consisting of lean proteins, fibrous and starchy carbs and healthy fats. (4)
  • Eliminate sugars from your diet –  use healthy substitutes such as Erythritol sweetener and stevia.
  • Get 8 hours sleep every night 

In conjunction with these positive steps, you should also remove the following from your life:

  • Sugar 
  • Alcohol 
  • Tobacco 
  • Red meat 
  • Artificial sweeteners 
  • MSG 
  • White flour, pasta and rice 
  • Instant and processed foods 
  • Canned foods 
  • Fruit and vegetable juices 

The TAME Trials: Can Metformin Reverse Aging?

Exciting anti-aging  research has been taking place under the umbrella of TAME (Targeting Aging With Metformin), a six year long series of clinical studies conducted at 1t laboratories across the US. The trials are led by AFAR Scientific Director Nir Barzilai, MD. 

The trial focuses on the ability of the FDA approved diabetes treatment drug Metformin. In addition to controlling diabetes, Metformin has shown great promise in helping to reverse the effect of aging. A number of studies have already shown that Netformin can significantly delay aging in animals. The TAME trials will determine whether Metformin has the ability to influence metabolic and cellular processes associated with the development of age-related conditions. 

This is the first major study to provide proof of concept that aging is a condition that can be reversed! (5)

Dr. David Sinclair is a world leader in the filed of anti aging research. He has done a lot of research regarding taking Metformin as an anti-aging hack. Dr. Sinclair, who is  professor of genetics, advocates taking 1 gram of Metformin per day, broken up into a morning and evening dosage of 0.5 grams. (6)

Research

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279339/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/managing-blood-sugar/a1c.html#:~:text=A%20normal%20A1C%20level%20is%20below%205.7%25%2C%20a,your%20risk%20is%20for%20developing%20type%202%20diabetes.
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11570119/
  4. https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2234
  5. https://www.afar.org/tame-trial#:~:text=Led%20by%20AFAR%20Scientific%20Director,disease%2C%20cancer%2C%20and%20dementia
  6. https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2019/02/anti-aging-researcher-david-sinclair-takes-metformin-nmn-nad-for-longevity.html

In the first three instalments of this series put forward a compelling case for a total paradigm shift when it comes to again. By transform our approach from sick care to preventative healthcare, we may be able to realize more life in out years as we grow older. In this final instalment, we focus in on the potential health spanning effects of regenerative medicine.

The Promise of Regenerative Medicine

Time seems to take a particularly heavy toll on the eyes, even with the healthiest of super-agers. The main reason is age-related Macular Degeneration (dry AMD). Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula of the eye break down due to the death of a supporting cell type called retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). Dry AMD impairs vision and it is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 60. 

There are currently no approved therapies for dry AMD. 

But, what if we could introduce the missing cells into the subretinal space? Would cells from an external source be able to halt the progress of AMD? 

Regulatory clearance from the FDA and the Israeli Ministry of Health was recently granted in order to initiate a clinical trial to see if this hypothesis is true.  OpRegen, one of the therapies offered by the Cell Cure – a subsidiary of the the publicly traded biotech company BioTime – is being developed in Jerusalem, by Benjamin Reubinoff, M.D., Ph.D. The Israeli Innovation Authority awarded in 2016 a grant of $2.2 million to help finance the development of OpRegen.  

OpRegen is just one example where regenerative medicine utilizes advances in stem cell biology, biologics, biomaterials, lab-generated cells to work wonders in the body. We’ve made incredible progress in medicine. The revolution of providing healthy cells and tissues to complement the regenerative capacity that the body loses due to an illness, or altogether replace a failing organ may offer a real cure, rather than merely treat the symptoms of a disease.   

What does this have to do with healthy longevity?

 We are born with a built-in capacity to repair tissues and organs to restore normal function. Through our lifespan, we experience changes in regenerative abilities, and during aging, numerous tissues exhibit a progressive decline in homeostasis that results in degeneration, malfunction and pathology. Making healthier personal lifestyle choices, the occasional fast, and other longevity practices may help slow down this process but it can’t altogether stop it. At some point cell senescence goes into higher gear and damage that we are no longer able to repair starts accumulating. This is where regenerative medicine could come in very handy. 

What  Next?

A person’s healthspan is the length of time that the person is healthy—not just alive. The term was officially added to Mirriam Webster Dictionary in March of 2016.

Now, let’s remember the idea of doubling longevity, mentioned in our first article. But this time, let’s separate between years added to life (extended lifespan) and healthy years added (healthspan). 

What do you think has been the most significant contributor to extending our healthy longevity over the last century and a half? Many believe it’s medicine but, surprisingly, it’s not. It’s hygiene and sanitation. So far, it is the ultimate healthspan technology. It has increased both lifespan and health at the same time, not by curing illness but by preventing it.

The 4 Ps of Future Health

Is it possible that we might, at some point in the future, reach a scientific breakthrough in understanding aging or invent another technology that will further extend both human longevity and health on a global scale? 

Interestingly enough, we may have already discovered or invented it. It may be applying insights from the Blue Zones to modern life, or a personalized diet based on nutrigenomics, the key could be preventative early detection based on DNA predisposition tests, or it may be regenerative stem cell therapy. 

Probably, it’s a mix often referred to as the 4Ps of the future of health: personalized, predictive, preventative and participatory. 

The sad reality is that we are not moving nearly fast enough to explore this direction in time to save more people from falling into the chronic illness trap. The focus of medical research and healthcare systems today is treating illnesses. Earlier this year at the Undoing Aging Conference this was recognized as one of the leading obstacles we face in closing the lifespan-healthspan gap. Undoing Aging, founded by Aubery De Grey of SENS Research Foundation, is a gathering of healthy longevity scientists, investigators and thought leaders to discuss the future of healthcare and how to accelerate rejuvenation therapies. 

Systemic Challenges

Take regenerative medicine. Today, to benefit from the regenerative medicine revolution you must first be diagnosed with an illness that is listed on the WHO International Classification of Diseases. We know that biological aging is the driving force behind multimorbidities of older age. But, biological aging is not classified as a disease. That means, we must first allow senescence to run havoc in the body before we can offer any intervention or therapy. 

In a similar way to the application of OpRegen to slow down Age-related Macular Degeneration, regenerative medicine may be applied to the systemic gradual degenerative process that occurs in the body as part of normal biological aging. But for now, we must allow aging to progress to a degree that symptoms are acute enough as to be classified as a disease before regenerative medicine can be offered. 

Maintaining full bodily and mental function as long as possible (and as close as possible to the end of life), should be our next gerontological goal. Right now, the main barrier is not scientific or technological, it’s that we practice “sick-care” rather than true healthcare. Much of the healthcare infrastructure, the training of physicians, and other health professionals, therapeutic processes and procedures, not to mention insurance, is geared to curing a contagious illness that derives from a single cause or treating an injury or an acute medical event like a stroke. 

The Challenge Ahead

A system-wide change of mindset, infrastructure, training and compensation is required if we are to address the chronic illnesses that are today’s health reality. We must shift from putting out symptomatic fires to prevention, to systemic investigation and getting to the root causes of illness, and to regeneration.  

Hygiene and sanitation have given us the first doubling of healthspan through disease prevention. Personalized, predictive, preventative and participatory healthcare may give us the second healthspan breakthrough, but only if we apply it early enough in life. The health outcome we need to start measuring is age related disease prevention. Aiming towards lengthening healthspan may be imminent, but only if we first let go of the idea that ill health in old age is an inevitable part of life.

For Part Three: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

For Part One: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

On October 1st, 2020, some of the world’s most renowned longevity exports gathered in the beautiful ski resort of San Mortiz, Switzerland. They were there for the Longevity Investors Conference to speak before an audience of potential financial investors. 

Longevity is primed to be the next massive investment opportunity, with conference co-host Marc Bernegger saying . . .

Longevity will become one of the largest investment opportunities in the coming decades. It will disrupt not only the healthcare system, but society and the economy in general. Longevity is a topic that moves investors. Besides making a nice profit, they share an interest in staying healthy and living longer.

A key speaker at the conference, Aubrey De Grey, stated that latest innovations in cell repair are capable of transforming a 70-year old into the biological equivalent of a 40 year old. The only thing impeding such progress, De Grey, who created the SENS Research Center in California, claimed, was the amount of funding. 

The Longevity Investors Conference was designed to address that need. The enthusiastic reception that the speakers received from the investors portends positive outcomes. Lengthening healthspan may be imminent, but only if it is sufficiently funded in the coming years. That remains to be seen.