Pillars of Health & Longevity
Pillars of Health & Longevity
Would you rather…..age in wellness, or age in illness? The choice sounds pretty obvious and the decision is in our hands. No matter where you are in your age or health at this moment you can make a choice to change your outcomes. According to Peter Attia, MD, in his book Outlive, there are four key pillars to changing the course of our aging process from illness to wellness – exercise, sleep, nutritional biochemistry, and emotional health. Let’s take a brief look at each one.
How many of you just moaned at the word “exercise”? What if I told you it is about moving? According to Dr. Attia, this is the “most powerful longevity drug”. This is also confirmed by the studies of Dan Buettner in the “blue zones” where there is a high percentage of centenarians. Now, you may not desire to live to 100, but what if we were able to live longer in good health? Attia says that “exercise is even more effective in preserving healthspan than extending lifespan.”
Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about exercise:
Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
- Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. To provide even greater health benefits and to assist with weight loss or maintaining weight loss, at least 300 minutes a week is recommended. But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to provide health benefits.
- Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, heavy yardwork and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of handheld weights (a couple of full water bottles is a good substitute and place to start) or weight machines, your own body weight, heavy bags (like a bag of rice), resistance tubing or resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.
One of the most profound examples I found of the effects of lack of sleep is in Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, where she tells of how sleep deprivation led to a head injury that changed her life and became a key component of her Thrive website. And, as important as sleep is for the body, it is even more important for our brain. Dr. Attia describes it this way, “The long and short term of it is that poor sleep can take a wrecking ball to both your long-term health and your ability to function day-to-day.” Sleep Number’s sleep expert and sleep medicine specialist, Peter Polos, M.D. Ph.D says, “It’s often said that sleep is the best medicine for prevention of illness, and reports have shown an increase in illness in sleep-deprived individuals.” Quality sleep, he adds, is integral to supporting and strengthening the immune system. Sleep is when our brain is activated to “clean house” and if we do not spend enough time in deep sleep the system cannot work as effectively allowing “waste” to build up on our neurons which can lead to many forms of dementia. Aim for 6-7 straight hours, but also get it when you can.
This is a whole new way to look at our nutrition. It’s not about counting calories or carbohydrates, or whether you should eat a particular kind of diet (i.e. keto, paleo, vegan, etc.) It is about figuring out what works for your body and your goals, and what you can stick to. It is also about differentiating between behaviors that maintain good health versus tactics that correct poor health and disease. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Don’t eat too many or too few calories.
- Consume sufficient protein and essential fats.
- Obtain the vitamins and minerals you need.
- Avoid pathogens and toxins.
Just those four basic guidelines can be challenging in today’s world and that is where Alaka’i Associates can help guide you.
Wise words from Dr. Attia, “Addressing emotional health takes just as much constant effort and daily practice as maintaining other aspects of our physical health…” In my caregiving journey this one became crucial and led me to my daily practice of meditation and journaling and starting and ending my day with gratitude. Here is an excerpt from my new book, Under a Full Moon and a Guiding Star, that gives you a glimpse of what paying attention to my emotional wellbeing has helped me through.
The Art of Being in Gratitude and Abundance
I came to an awareness that abundance comes in many forms and we have to train ourselves to notice it. Somewhere along my path I became keenly aware of how expressing gratitude on a daily basis could alter the journey ahead in a positive way. Practice and fortitude brings us into being with gratitude and abundance. It paves the path with smooth stones that would protect us from falling.
My daily prayer has become, “I am grateful for the abundance I have received; I am grateful for the abundance I am about to receive; and I am grateful for the abundance I am able to share.” That daily practice is part of the art of being.
I remember a moment when I was trying to visualize how my Alaka’i business would evolve and saw clearly in my mind the image of a large Asian style fishing basket. They are usually about two feet in diameter and very shallow. What I saw was the basket filling with abundance in both health and wealth for me personally but then as it continued to fill would overflow and that was the abundance I was able to share with others. I went on an extensive search to find just the right basket. It took several months but once I found it I had to get it, even though it seemed a bit pricey. To this day the basket holds a space in my office as a reminder to keep my life filled to overflow with gratitude and good works.
So, here’s to staying young, even as we grow older!
How Your Spine, Brain, and Immune System are Connected
Your spine, brain, and immune system are all interconnected. What affects one will usually somehow affect another. For example, your spinal cord connects to the brain’s cerebrum. This portion of the brain controls bodily movements, swallowing, breathing, and even your heartbeat. If you snap your spinal cord, it can affect how your brain operates with these vital functions. For 6 simple ways to biohack your spine, brain, and immune system, read more here.
Contact Alaka’i Associates for a free 30 minute consultation to help guide you on a new path to wellness. Please indicate in Message that you are interested in the free 30 minute consultation. Mahalo.
Your pre-order book “Under a Full Moon and a Guiding Star” is live in the Kindle Store and it is available for customers to purchase. Customers who pre-ordered your book have been informed of the delivery of the content.