The red dot is back. A new version of an operating system or app has come out and it’s time to update to the latest version.
Because improvements have made it better with “bug fixes” for less crashes. It doesn’t really mean that much to us non-techies but we do it to keep our tech to running smoothly.
But when was the last time you upgraded your personal operating systems to be the best version of you?
Just as we have advances in technology to make our lives easier, we have advanced our understanding about exercising and eating to improve our health. With these advances happening so fast, it’s hard to keep up.
It seems like biohackers are leading the way to find the smarter not harder health hacks.
What is a Biohacker:
Someone who finds new and clever ways to do things for health and wellness
As in my previous blog on Blue Zones, I like to study the habits of those people in live in the countries known for their long lifespans. I had learned about some of their behaviors and habits on a podcast by Ben Greenfield a biohacker and fitness guru. His podcast addressed a variety of “biohacks”, upgrades or edits you can make to your lifestyle to lead a healthier life.
Ben Greenfield’s Longevity BluePrint by Mindvalley
Shortly after this, I learned about an 8 week “quest” through Mindvalley hosted by Ben called Longevity Blueprint. Over the course of the program we would learn strategies to improve our longevity and beauty.
Improve longevity and beauty?
Sounds like and win-win to me….I was in
My Exercise Biohack
As a result of the Longevity Blueprint I not only gained new tools in my exercise toolbox but have a new perspective about exercise and health. Each week Ben showed us about exercises and shared a little of the science about how these exercises are beneficial.
With my new exercise toolbox, I can plan out my week doing a different exercise each day that has one or more benefits. I’ve learned about new concepts like minimal effective dose exercise so now I’ve been able to fit in exercises on even my busiest day. I have incorporated practices to improve cardiovascular fitness that can be done daily, weekly or periodically. Some improve stamina and endurance. Some increase strength to muscle mass ratio to add to one’s beauty and improve longevity. And of course recovery days are included as well.
I have a whole new appreciation on the role environment and temperature have on our physical health. I now consider it another pillar along with diet and exercise. The time of day to do certain exercises or exposure to environmental stressors can improve metabolic efficiency and increase mitochondrial density. More on that later.
The best part is that it did NOT place increase demands on my time or resources. Most of the exercises could be done anywhere, at home or in a hotel room when I travel. Because the exercises are abbreviated and efficient exercising is more convenient and less stressful. I’m worrying less about having time to get a work out in.
A word about weight
A key point I would like to make is that exercising that provides cardiovascular benefit may not result in weight loss. In fact at one point in the program, many of us shared that our weight was unchanged or had even increased slightly. But inspite of our weight, we liked the changes we were seeing in our bodies both in terms of capability and appearance. We all were feeling better with more energy regardless of what we weighed.
In reality, what you weigh might not be the best measurement of your health or even beauty.
Maybe we should put less “weight” on weight.
So if beauty is “in the eyes of the beholder” and longevity clearly cannot be measured in the short term, how do I know if I met my objectives?
I did complete a pre and post “fitness” test and am proud to say I achieved a significant improvement from my starting point. There are however labs and biomarkers to track longevity. (More on those in an upcoming post)
New Tools to Do Life Well
Included in the program was access to a facebook group so we could share how we were applying what we had learned that week.
Surprisingly a post about the experience from another participant actually ended up making a huge impact. Over the course his wife was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Since he was an avid exerciser and loved going to the gym he struggled with the idea he would need to give up his gym time since knew his wife needed him and he wanted to be there for her.
If it weren’t for this exercise upgrade he would have otherwise been forced to choose between taking care of his own physical health or caring for his wife.
So many times I hear from my patients that they started to do something for their own health but somehow life got in the way and they were forced to choose caring for themselves or caring for someone else.
What was so awesome was that now he had new exercises to choose from each day he wasn’t forced to choose between caring for his wife or caring for his own health. He would go for walks with her and if she was tired he could stay home but still be able to work out. Over the course of the quest his body fat percentage had decreased and his physical capability had increased.
Hearing his story about how he was able to care for himself and for his wife inspired me to really think about what doing life well really is.
And what’s even better than doing life well?
Doing life well together.