Exercise to beat cancer, disease, and aging

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Your chance of getting some sorta chronic disease is pretty big. Simply put, you can age better and substantially reduce your chance of becoming chronically ill by exercising.  Here’s why and how.

age better

Credit: http://iamupperechelon.com/the-fab-four-exercise-for-baby-boomers/

ABOUT A week ago, I was reading the findings of a new British study that concluded:

“Men who played sports in mid-life were more likely to be active in old age than those who did other types of physical activity in mid-life. That was especially true of those who played sports for many years.” (1)

That got me wondering about what other age-related issues could be prevented or ameliorated by exercise – and not just for men, but women as well, of course.

So, I googled around and peeked at some other articles I’ve written on the subject, and can now definitely say something you already know:

To age better, you must get off your duff and exercise!

Yes, stating the obvious. Exercise is important. But what might not be blatant is just how important consistent exercise should you wish to live a long and strong life without many of the chronic, age-related diseases that much of the U.S. population suffers from.

Indeed, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States:
  • 133 million Americans – 45% of the population – have at least one chronic disease.
  • Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of ever 10 deaths in the U.S., killing more than 1.7 million Americans every year.
  • Chronic diseases can be disabling and reduce a person’s quality of life, especially if left undiagnosed or untreated. For example, every 30 seconds a lower limb is amputated as a consequence of diabetes. (2)

You don’t have to one of the 45%!

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why sport might be better than plain ole exercise;
  • The longevity hormone boosted by exercise;
  • Why exercise can reduce your chances of getting cancer and diabetes; and
  • How five simple exercises will make you age better.

Let’s dig in…


Age Better By Picking An Invigorating Sport and Don’t Let Go

Let’s begin with that British study mentioned above, because it speaks to the general notion that exercise improves our experience of life in our golden years. Later in this piece, I’ll get to specific health issues improved by exercise, such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.

If you had to squeeze the conclusions of the British study into a nutshell, it would be anti-aging medical expert Dr. Ronald Klatz’s statement about anti-aging efforts,

“Nothing replaces activity and movement.” (1)

In this case, the health of 3,500 British men was evaluated for 20 years. Here’s a summary of the findings:

  • Those who were physically active in mid-life were nearly three times more likely to be active at the end of the study period.
  • Those who played sports in mid-life were more likely to be active in old age than those who did other types of physical activity in mid-life.
  • Men who played sports for 25 years or more were nearly five times more likely to be physically active in old age than those who didn’t play sports.

I no longer play sports with any consistency, relying instead on exercising by myself; therefore I was particularly interested in the conclusion that those who played sports in mid-life as opposed to those who did other types of physical activity (perhaps like I do) were more likely to be active in old age.

Why would that be, I wondered?

The authors of the study explained it this way:

“One possibility is that people’s enjoyment of sport may be more likely to persist into old age than preferences for other types of activity.”

Makes sense to me. Thankfully, I actually enjoy working out by myself, but surely if you can find a sport to engage in with others that is fun, compliance (doing it on a regular basis) will be higher.

My last point about this study before I move onto how exercise improves specific age-related chronic conditions that befall so many of us is that there’s no reason why the conclusions of this British study would not pertain to women.

They do.


Physical Exercise Boosts Concentration of Longevity Hormone

Klohto is a longevity hormone that delays aging, reduces age-related symptoms and helps us to stay fit and healthy in old age. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reportthat physical exercise can help increase the amount of this hormone the body produces.

Klotho circulates around the body in two free forms – alpha and beta klotho. It’s not currently known what beta-klotho does, but alpha-klotho functions as a rejuvenating hormone.

Muscles produce klotho, and exercise speeds up the metabolic rate of muscle cells. So are active muscles capable of producing more klotho if they get more exercise?

That’s the question at hand.

To answer it, the University of Pittsburg researchers performed studies on both young and old mice and young and old(er) women. (After all, women don’t get old, only radiant.)

With mice, it was clear that “age attenuated” exercise intensity (meaning, younger mice exercise with more intensity than their older brethren), was directly correlated with the production of klotho.

But with the women, the results were more nuanced:

“These differences in training intensity may confound the age-related differences in the response of klotho to acute exercise and further clinical studies are warranted.” (3)

Taken together, these findings in murine [mice] and human models suggest that exercise is a potent stimulus to increase plasma klotho levels, but that the response may be dependent on physical fitness level as well as age”, the researchers wrote. (3)

The bottom line:

  • You must get the exercise intensity right to increase klotho, perhaps similarly to how high intensity interval training (HIIT) is required to boost Human Growth Hormone.
  • Exercise intensity requires a baseline level of physical conditioning, so perhaps the klotho increase in the women studied were not as consistent as they were for the mice because the older women could not exercise with sufficient intensity.


Exercise Reduces the Chance You’ll Get Cancer

According to recent epidemiological studies, approximately 40% of cancers can be prevented by avoiding unhealthy environments and lifestyles. (4)

Forty percent is a debatable number. The LA Times reports that bad luck in combination with random DNA errors is responsible for two-thirds of cancer mutations; whereas the The Washington Post wrote about a study that said up to 90% of cancers are due to lifestyle choices and the environment.

The spread between 40 and 90% is wide, but even 40% is a big enough potential for me to take seriously and act on the possibility that I can influence the outcome.  The science says I can, and you can, through exercise.

Physical exercise may improve lung cancer survival chances

As reported by ergo-log.com, lung cancer is one of the most fatal forms of cancer — Only 15% of patients are alive after five years after being diagnosed.

The good news: That percentage may increase if lung cancer patients get more exercise, suggests an animal study that American oncologists at Emory University published in 2014 in Cancer. (5)

According to the study, physical exercise activates the anti-cancer p53 gene, which has become deactivated in many forms of cancer that are difficult to treat.

Here’s the summary of the Emory University study’s findings:

“Targeting tumor suppressors by pharmacologic means has proven to be difficult, but exercise appears to be a promising anticancer therapy that improves p53 tumor suppressor function.” (5)

This bar chart tells the tale:

The bar chart shows that exercise activated much more of the “suicide enzyme” caspase-3 in the mice that exercised. This enzyme is normally activated by the p53 anti-cancer gene, a gene that is damaged in about half of the tumors of people with lung cancer, and in many other tumors the gene no longer functions well because of other damage.

Strong muscles protect against cancer

More than 10,000 men were studied over the course of 25-plus years.

The bottom line:

Men who could shift heavier weights with bench presses and leg presses were less likely to die from cancer. (6)

Yes, again, this was an all-men study, but the conclusions are pertinent to women. That nonsense about women needing to lift weights differently than men or they’ll bulk up is nonsense.

Muscle is muscle in both genders, the primary difference being the amount of testosterone in men and women, which is largely why men can grow more muscle mass than women.

In any event, this studies finding is relevant to both genders:

  • If you have average or high muscular strength your chance of developing cancer is 30% lower than if your strength level is low.
  • Muscle strength reduces the chance of developing a fatal form of cancer regardless of your body weight.
  • Best of all is being fit and strong: if you’re not fit, the protective effect of your muscular strength is less.
  • Promoting regular resistance training involving the major muscle groups of the upper and lower extremities at least two days per week can reduce cancer mortality death rates.
  • Resistance and aerobic exercise should complement each other.

The researchers think that the protective effect of muscle mass comes from the fact that muscle cells remove anabolic hormones from the body. The hormones that are responsible for muscle growth, such as IGF-1, also stimulate the growth of tumors.

Every intensive exercise session kills cancer cells

Sports scientists at the University of Copenhagen performed experiments with blood samples taken from women who were being treated for breast cancer.

This is what they found:

“Every time you do intensive exercise, your body produces substances that kill cancer cells. The effect of a single session is limited, but the effect of a lifestyle that has included intensive exercise several times a week for years on end is probably considerable.” (7)

The women did an intensive training session that included strength and cardio training once a week over a six-month period.


Exercise Can Reduce Your Chances of Getting Diabetes

Blood sugar is not kind to us as we get older. Depending on the source, anywhere from 90 to 100 ng/dL is in the pre-diabetic range.

Notice in the graph below that the typical 60 year old is right on the cusp:

Blood sugar increases with age, as does diabetes.

Source: http://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2016/09/16/nutritional-geometry-2-carb-restriction/

I’ve written several articles about type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar and was concerned about my own before my doctor told me that I was a nutty hypochondriac and he wished his blood sugar numbers (fasting, postprandial and hemoglobin A1c) were as good as mine.

Harvard University did a blood sugar/type 2 diabetes study. They found that combining strength training with an active lifestyle could reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by a third or more, depending on what specifically you’re doing:

  • You could reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by a third with half an hour of strength training per day, or three 50-minute sessions per week.
  • You could reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes by 60% if you add some aerobic conditioning to your strength-training regimen, such as cycling, swimming, jogging or even walking.

This is good news to people who don’t have access to a pool or bike, and have joint issues preventing them from jogging, for although such aerobic exercises can help prevent type 2 diabetes, all you need to considerably lowering your chances of getting it is strength training.

Don’t belong to the gym, nor have a set of weights?

Well, presuming you have a body, that’s all you need, as I’ll address next.


Age Better With These 5 Exercises

At this point, I hope you’re convinced that regular exercise is one of, if not the most important keys to increasing your healthspan, and perhaps your lifespan, too.

You’ve seen that your exercise routine should include strength and aerobic training. If you’re confounded about how to put together an exercise regime, read on.

Outside Magazine has a pretty good summary of simple five-exercise strength routine that you may do with minimal equipment, or none at all.

These are the five exercises:

  1. Pull-up
  2. Goblet Squat
  3. Push-up
  4. Standing Lunge/Split Squat
  5. Single Leg Deadlift

The order of these five exercises is purposeful. Together, they will workout your entire body, moving from an upper body movement to a lower body movement, which if done with minimal rest we have the greatest metabolic, fat-burning, anaerobic/aerobic (depending on intensity) effects.

“This workout hits four major basic movements: push, pull, squat, and hinge,” comments Michael Lord, a sports chiropractor who treats and trains elite athletes in Northern California. “It also uses full ranges of motions, so it’s accomplishing mobility work within a strength routine.” (8)

Before I get into each of the five, here are some pointers about sets, reps, rest and frequency relative to what you’re trying to achieve:

To get aerobically fit, make the exercises easy enough to do so that you can cycle through them with minimal rest, or none, the objective being to maintain a fairly steady heartbeat relative to your age. (Here’s how to calculate that.)

♦ To get anaerobically fit, perform the exercises at a rep range and degree of difficulty that makes you breathe laboriously as your muscles begin to quiver.  So, for instance, you’d blast through each exercise, back-to-back with minimal rest, doing each in a way that’s difficult for you.

To get strong and build muscle, do the exercises with a degree of difficulty such that you can only do between five and eight reps or less per exercise, resting between them sufficiently to be able to do the prescribed reps.

Now, let’s examine how to do each exercise.

1. Pull-up

Few people who do not regularly practicing pulling exercises are strong enough to do a pull-up without assistance.

If that’s you, don’t despair.

You can use bands, like the Lifeline Pull-up  or have a friend hold your legs and give you a boost.

Or you can forget about a pull-up bar, per se, and instead place a broom or dole between two chairs facing each other, or any other two properly positioned, stable, elevated surfaces.

Stretch out under the “broom” such that when you pull up to it, your chests touches the broom. Aid yourself with your feet, if needed.

Note that you’re strongest with your hands in the neutral grip, then supinated and lastly pronated.

Here’s Scooby coaching you through it:


2. Goblet Squat

Look around the gym and you’ll see people doing squats with horrible form. The Goblet Squat kind of forces you to do a proper squat.

Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, feet pointing slightly out. Hold a kettlebell by the “horns”, or a dumbbell close to your chest. Squat down, keeping your heels on the ground and your knees tracking over your feet. At the lowest point, your butt should be parallel to or just below your knees. Then squeeze your glutes and push up to a standing positioning.

If you don’t have a kettlebell or dumbbell, grab a pail of water. If you’ve never or have done very little squatting before, you’re body weight will suffice.

Marc Lobliner explains how to do a Goblet squat:


3. Push Up

 There’s gotta be at least 50 ways to do push ups, but you just need to know (and do) a few… or maybe just one kind… to build some strength in your chest and anterior deltoids.

Begin with your chest down on the floor, palms pressing into the ground, thumbs at or a little outside of your nipples, perhaps your hands rotated out a bit if that’s comfortable. Press up, making sure that your elbows are neither pressed against your body nor out perpendicular to it, but somewhere between these extremes. Gently lock your elbows at the top. Lower your back all the way down, so your chest hovers just a centimeter or two off the ground. Press up again. Repeat. Be sure to tuck in your stomach and keep your core tight throughout the movement so you have minimal arch in your spine. Do not let your head hang… lead with your chest.

Let fitness pro Jeff Cavalier show you some variations:

4. Standing Lunge/Split Squat

To do the Standing Lunge (sometimes referred to as the Split Squat), stand straight, toes pointing forward, feet about six to eight inches apart. If you’re using dumbbells to increase the challenge, hold an equal weight in each hand at your sides, arms straight. Step forward with either foot so your knee is above your ankle. Push through the heel of the forward leg to return to an upright standing positioning. Repeat, this time stepping down with the opposite leg.

Tala does a pretty good job of demonstrating the Split Squat, though I suggest that your knee NOT come so far forward over the toe:


5. Single Leg Deadlift

This is one of my favorite movements. I find it gives my glutes and lower back a good workout and improves balances, something very important to maintain as we age.

Stand on one leg, keeping your knee slightly bent. If you’re using one dumbbell, hold it on the same side as the leg you’re standing on. Bend forward at the hip, extending your free leg straight behind you for balance. Continue lowering until your chest is parallel with the ground, dumbbell almost touching the floor. Then press back to an upright position.

As you get stronger, try using a lighter dumbbell in the hand opposite of your standing leg. This will workout your core powerfully, so start light and only after you’ve become adept with the basic move.

Here’s a demo:


If you’d like to check out more exercise options, I’ve written many, including these:


With all that said about exercise, if perchance you’d rather drop dead than exercise, well, rather than that, simply relax.


A Simple Relaxation Technique with Anti-aging Effects

Researchers at the University of Shahrekord in Iran discovered that muscular progressive relaxation exercises reduce fatigue, increase vitality, improve daily physical functioning, help the brain to work better and increase emotional stability, reports ergo-log.com.

The researchers got 30 people with an average age of 65 to perform muscular progressive relaxation exercises three times a week for three months.

During the 45-minute sessions, the participants tensed different muscle groups in turn and then relaxed them.

The relaxation exercises made the participants physically and psychologically fitter. They reported that they found it easier to do everyday physical activity and that relaxation reduced aches and pains. In addition the participants felt they had more vitality. Cognitive processes and memory improved, their emotional stability increased and the percentage of participants with serious fatigue was reduced.

Thus, if you’re allergic to exercise or feel you’re too old or compromised to try it, take heart with the researchers conclusion:

“Regarding the findings of the present study, we can conclude that the elderly quality of life could be promoted, their fatigue severity can be mitigated, their independence in doing daily activities is further increased, and finally, they can help achieve a prosperous and healthy aging through implementing a regular program of progressive muscle relaxation.” (9)


Your Takeaway

You need to find a way to move, frequently, regularly and under resistance (body weight, dumb bell, barbell, kettlebell)

Of course, you need to start with where you’re at.  Perhaps that means walking and doing some basic strength conditioning like pushing yourself away from a wall until you get strong enough to do knee-on-the-floor push-ups, progressing on to regular push-ups. Likewise with all the five exercises I showed you.

Nothing we know of will do more to give you a relatively pain-free, disease-free and mobile golden years as exercise, so get to it.

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Three Nutrition and Exercise Tips for Your Long and Strong Life

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.


Food and exercise is medicine, particularly the right types of food and medicine. Read about the scientific-based nutrition and exercise tips to activate cellular health and keep you young.

OVER THE last couple of weeks, I’ve bumped into a few articles on the Interwebs (and one demystifying infographic) about nutrition and exercise tips that speak to increasing longevity, and more importantly, health span — the number of years you’re healthy as opposed to barely alive.

Rather than summarize each for your edification, I’ve cobbled them together to present one fine, if bumpy, road that you may choose to travel in order to build a long and strong life for yourself.

I refer to it as a “bumpy” road, because, inevitably, we will stumble a bit when trying to make a habit of something new. The road to reach a substantially longer healthspan must be built with many different cobblestones, sorta speak, and some are large enough for you to trip over from time to time.

But that doesn’t mean that the journey’s not worth taking!

Some people will trip on the required exercise, others on the nutritional necessities, and still others will stumble on developing the proper mindset.

My longevity process incorporates 12 building blocks that make up four Pillars, which I introduced in blog post, and which is the subject of book.   It would be natural and expected that anyone trying to embrace all 12 of these “building blocks” would trip up from time to time.

So what!?

You start with what is your lowest hanging fruit, and then gradually climb the tree.

OK, before you’re completely exhausted paving your road with cobblestones, constructing pillars with building blocks and climbing trees, let’s get into what’s right here for you to explore.

In this article, we’ll cover some nutrition and exercise tips that speak to:

  • Foods that activate a special protein that helps keep your cells healthy and youthful
  • A simple way of judging how much of each food type you should eat for your size
  • Which types of exercises are best to extend your healthspan
  • A crazy but amazingly effective technique to get the right mindset to do it all


Let’s dive in…


#1 Eat Foods That Boost Nrf2

Nrf2 is a special type of protein that plays an important role in cellular health. It does that by regulating the expression of antioxidant proteins that protect against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation. (1)

Researchers working at the University of Warwick in England discovered that Nrf2, continually moves in and out of a human cell’s nuclei to sense their health and vitality. When exposed to threats to the cellular health, Nrf2 oscillates faster and activates an increase in the cell’s defense mechanism, including raising antioxidant levels.

Professor Paul Thornalley at the University of Warwick Medical School says that by understanding how this Nrf2 process works, healthier foods and improved drugs can be devised. (2)

But you don’t have to wait for that, because there are two foods you can chow down right now that activate Nrf2:

  1. Broccoli, and
  2. Onions.

The Warwick researches observed that sulforaphane in broccoli, and quercetin in onions, are capable of increasing Nrf2 movement. Typically the Nrf2 protein oscillates in and out of the cell nucleus once every 129 minutes, but when the team found that sulforaphane and  quercetin were consumed, the cycle sped up to once every 80 minutes. (3)

The simple reason you should care about your Nrf2 activity speaks to the Free Radical Theory of Aging which states that organisms (like us) age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time. What scientists are now discovering is that Nrf2 activity (oscillation) can be augmented by certain foods and supplements and thereby become a more effective free radical scavenger.

I was surprised that the Warwick study didn’t go further and identify other foods containing sulfoaphane and quercetin that speed up Nrf2 oscillation, for many other foods contain these two compounds. In fact, I bet that many of billionaire David Murdock declared to be the 33 healthiest foods on the planet contain much sulforaphance and quercetin.

Murdock funded the research and the apparatus that identified the 33 health foods; namely, a two-story, 950-megahertz, 8-ton superconducting magnet. It is reputedly the largest and most powerful magnet in the world and facilitates the examination of both plant and human cells at the most minute level.

I learned about David Murdock via an Oprah Winfrey interview, and wrote about it in, 86 Year-old Billionaire’s Recipe for Longevity. The list of 33 foods is listed in that article.

If you already know that you won’t eat broccoli or onions with any regularity (or want to super boost your consumption of them), you may consider supplementing for sulforaphane and quercetin.

Two such supplements I mention in How Not To Die, Part 1 are Solgar’s Quercetin Complex and Source Naturals’ Broccoli Sprout Extract.

Now that you know about what to eat to boost Nrft2 activation and thereby quash free radical damage, let’s spend a few minutes thinking about how much food (as in how many calories) you should eat.


#2 Eat From Your Palm

Enter #2 on our list of three nutrition and exercise tips for your long and strong life, which is the informative and easy-to-comprehend calorie control guide created by Precision Nutrition, a science/experiential driven nutrition consultancy.

They made the following infographic:




A few things to note about the infographic contents:

  • Palm size turns out to be a good measure for estimating food consumption, as it closely correlates with a person’s overall size. Since size tends to determine caloric requirement, apportioning food quantities based on palm size should, on average, be a good indicator for consumption levels.
  • Macronutrients are protein, carbs and fats, and they’re not all equal; meaning, some are better for you than others. If you eat animals, balance your protein between different kinds. Choose meat and poultry that are grass/range fed, and aren’t fed hormones and antibiotics. Try to include vegetable-sourced proteins, such as from beans and legumes. (Chickpeas and lentils are good sources.). Carbs should mostly be from vegetables and whole fruits (not fruit juices), and should be “complex carbs”; meaning that they’re slowly absorbed into the blood stream and thereby does not require the pancreas to overwork by constantly making a bunch of insulin to move the carb sugars into the bloodstream to make energy. Get more fats from omega-3 sources such as hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and fish oil.
  • Active means Active and so don’t fool yourself by thinking your daily walk to the bus stop means your active enough to require extra calories, especially if you’re carrying extra pounds of body weight.

(Read Precision Nutrition’s explanation of the infographic guide here.)

#3 Move Your Body (A Lot)

Now that you’re getting dialed into what and how much of foods to eat to sustain a youthful body, let’s discuss moving it.

Yes, to live a long and strong life, you’ll have to move your body, ideally under stress, which it’s well equipped to do. Most every body comes with legs and arms, and they exist for a reason. The purpose of the legs is not to fold over a chair, and the purpose of the arms is not to curl food to your mouth.

Now, when I say “stress”, it’s not a reference to the stress that makes you an emotional mess as your cortisol rages and messes with your health. In this context, stress refers to load. The “load” is something that makes you work as you move, and thereby puts a good kinda stress on your muscular skeletal system.

For many people, walking a mile up a steep hill is sufficient load to stress their muscular, aerobic and anaerobic systems to cause a response that makes these systems stronger.

According to a review of research on senior athletes by the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (JAAOS), physical activity significantly improves musculoskeletal and overall health, and minimizes or delays the effects of aging, particularly in regard to lessening bone and joint health decline. (4)

These were the JAAOS findings by category studied:

Resistance Training
  • Prolonged, intense resistance training can increase muscle strength, lean muscle and bone mass more consistently than aerobic exercise alone.
  • Moderately intense resistance regimens also decrease fat mass.
  • Sustained lower and upper body resistance training bolsters bone density and reduces the risk of strains, sprains and acute fractures.


Endurance training
  • Sustained and at least moderately intensive aerobic training promotes heart health, increases oxygen consumption, and has been linked to other musculoskeletal benefits, including less accumulation of fat mass, maintenance of muscle strength and cartilage volumes.
  • A minimum of 150 to 300 minutes a week of endurance training, in 10 to 30 minute episodes is recommended.
  • Less vigorous and/or short-duration aerobic regimens may provide limited benefit.


Flexibility and balance
  • Flexibility exercises are required for active adults to maintain range of motion, optimize performance and limit injury.
  • Two days per week or more of flexibility training are recommended, such as sustained stretches and static/non-ballistic (non-resistant) movements.
  • Progressively difficult postures are recommended for improving and maintaining balance.


OK, that wraps it for your three nutrition and exercise tips for a long and strong life, but there’s more.  I have one more Tip to share that will help you enormously. Let’s call it a “Bonus Tip” for those of you who made it this far.


Bonus Tip #4: Brain Synchronization

Brain synchronization happens when the various parts of your brain begin to resonate at the same frequencies, causing neural pathways to fire more rapidly. This is also sometimes referred to as “whole brain functioning” or “hemispheric synchronization”. 

When synchronized, the left and right sides of your brain begin to work in concert. The brain’s electrical activity and energy patterns become more widespread throughout the brain instead of remaining confined to certain areas. When this happens, your brain reaches extraordinary levels of performance not normally attainable without years of practice. (5)

Anything you attempt to do that’s extraordinary requires the development of the proper mindset, which is one of my Pillars for longevity. Certainly, if your aim is to extend your lifespan and be healthy in the process, it will require reorienting your attitudes about aging.

You will need to cultivate a different mindset than you may now have.

Developing a mindfulness/meditation practice that, in part, incorporates brain synchronization can propel you by leaps and bounds toward getting the mindset that you’ll need.

You could spend a lot of time disciplining yourself to mediate like a monk, or you could get a boost by listening to Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones while doing your mindfulness/mediation training.

This is a big topic, which I’ve covered elsewhere on this site, but suffice to say that you can soon achieve brain synchronization by putting on some stereo headphones and listening to sounds and tones that help you produce specific brainwaves associated with different levels of consciousness.

Prepare to get blissed out.


Your Takeaway

Let’s summarize the nutrition and exercise tips covered here, one point per Tip:

  1. Eat foods that activate Nrf2, which at minimum include broccoli and onions, as well as many listed here, and the supplements above mentioned. Begin by choosing three foods, and then add another each week.
  1. Measure the amount of food that you eat from the three macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats – by the size of your palm, as the infographic explains.
  1. Move your body regularly by doing strength training, aerobics and mobility exercises. A body that does not move, or moves little, deteriorates. It’s that simple.
  1. Develop the right mindset for whatever you want to achieve in life by cultivating a mindfulness/mediation practice. Brain synchronization techniques can help enormously. Do yourself a favor and check out the links I listed above.


P.S.  If you still have anything left in the tank, check out Life Extension Foundation’s article, Halt Age-Related Muscle Loss.

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

HIIT It Hard for Your HGH Boost

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Our human growth hormone speedily decreases after adolescence, and with it goes the lean body mass, energy and healing capacities of our youth. You can supplement with HGH, but by far the best way to get your HGH boost is by high intensity interval training. In this post, I’ll tell you why this is so.

high-intensity-interval-trainingWHILE DOING some research for an “age-proof course” I’m developing, I wanted to get the skinny on whether Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) supplementation actually works.

I knew that some people with hefty wallets can afford the cost of monthly injections, but was there some other way that the rest of us could benefit from augmenting our HGH?

“Why bother”, you ask?

Let’s start with a picture:

If you’re younger than 20, please return to this post in a few years. The rest of you, read on…

OK, so HGH declines precipitously soon after puberty, and then slows down by age 40, at which point we have less than a third of the HGH production of our youth.

Should we care?

It depends on what kind of life you wish to experience. HGH is rejuvenating. If you want to feel youthful longer, then your HGH production will be important to you.

The rejuvenating powers of HGH are no secret to those affluent enough to afford the more than $1,000 per month tab, and willing to get injected up to twice a day.

The specific reasons they would take the time and spend the money for HGH injections is to experience a handful or more of this:

  • Fat loss
  • Higher energy levels and enhanced sexual performance
  • Regrowth of heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, and other organs that shrink with age
  • Greater heart output and lowered blood pressure
  • Improved cholesterol profile, with higher HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower LDL (“bad”) 
  • Superior immune function
  • Increased exercise performance
  • Better kidney function
  • Stronger bones
  • Faster wound healing
  • Younger, tighter skin
  • Hair regrowth

I’m going to tell you how HGH can do all this, but first I need to mention that there are now alternatives to expensive injections. One is easy to do, relatively inexpensive and controversial; the other is hard to do, costs basically nothing and is indisputable.

The easy, but controversial way to get your HGH boost is to supplement with homeopathic remedies.

The hard, but indisputable way to get your HGH boost is by HIIT – “High Intensity Interval Training”.

How HGH Works

Remember that bullet-list of magic results above? How does HGH make all that happen?

Let’s begin by presenting a basic description of what hormones are and how they work, and for that I’m going to rely on Jon Barron’s excellent ebook, Lessons from the Miracle Doctors (pages 78 and 79).

Hormones are the body’s chemical messenger system that tell the body what to do and when. As the name suggests, HGH is a hormone. It’s produced in the pituitary gland and released in a series of microscopic “pulses”, mostly in the evening, but throughout the day as well.

These HGH pulses are basically signals that instigate a number of body functions relative to aging and the production of other hormones, such as DHEA and melatonin, and various parts of the endocrine system, including the hypothalamus (considered to be the “master gland”).

HGH’s most important function is telling the liver to produce insulin-like growth factor 1 (“IGF- 1”), the main key to anti-aging. Specifically, the benefits of HGH can be measured in terms of how much it increases the body’s production of IGF-1.

Any number above a 20% increase in IGF-1 is significant as it relates to anti-aging.

What about prostrate cancer?prostrate cancer

Well, there were some in vitro studies that showed IGF-1 stimulated tumor cell growth, and a Harvard School of Public Health  study that equated high levels of IGF-1 with an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition, we’ve all read with amazement stories about people nearly eight feet tall that die of cancer due to an overactive IGF-1 that stimulated both height and tumor cell growth.

On the other hand are numerous studies involving thousands of patients receiving growth hormone over many years with no observed increases in prostate cancer. This makes sense, because both HGH and IGF-1 levels decline as we age – as that graph up there prominently shows — yet the incidence of prostate cancer increases as these levels decline—the exact opposite of the expressed concern.

What about mad cow disease?

Yeah, well, that concern did put the brakes on using HGH harvested from human cadavers.

Thirty years ago, the only source of HGH was human cadavers. As mentioned, injecting this was expensive, but that paled in comparison to the fact that this method occasionally caused the human equivalent of mad cow disease.

Not to be deterred from such madness, scientists learned how to alter the DNA of a single-cell from yeast so that it would produce large amounts of growth hormone –molecularly identical to real HGH — safely and inexpensively. Because this growth hormone is identical to HGH, people often use the terms growth hormone and human growth hormone interchangeably, but it should be referred to as a “plant-based growth hormone.

OK, so now you have this good, inexpensive source of growth hormone, but another problem remained: the growth hormone molecule contains 191 amino acids, which it too large to be absorbed when taken orally. That meant it could only be administered by injection, which required a doctor and, as already pointed out, is very expensive.

Scientists and marketers went to work and developed three alternatives to HGH injections.

Homeopathic, Secretagogues and Sprayable HGH

If wallet-emptying injections are not for you, there are three alternatives to consider, hopefully with your doctor in the jump seat to help ensure that you don’t harm yourself.

The three HGH alternatives are not as powerful as growth hormone injections, but some medical types (see below) insist that these formulas are effective (provided your pituitary is functioning well) without the downside of injections.

The three HGH supplements are:
  1. HGH secretagogues, amino acid–based formulas typically containing ingredients such as glutamine, tyrosine, GABA, arginine, and lysine;
  2. Homeopathic HGH, which makes use of real plant-based HGH diluted down to homeopathic levels; and
  3. A new form of real plant-based HGH that could be sprayed into the mouth and absorbed orally.

The two downsides to the three HGH supplements are that they might not work and there’s little quality control.

The controversy surrounding all three can be more or less distilled down to the arguments against the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine.

Homeopathy is a branch of science whereby minute quantities of organic material are introduced into the body to stimulate its natural healing response.

My sister has used a whole medicine cabinet of various homeopathic remedies to heal her daughter of the typical avalanche of illnesses that beset children before their immune functions are fully developed. So, she’s a believer, and she has some good, if not sparse, company among the medical establishment.

Consider two medical doctors, Leon Cass Terry and Edmund Chein, who ran a study on homeopathy that produced
affirmative results. After being injected with small doses of high-frequency HGH for six months, participants showed measurable improvement in levels of strength, healing, flexibility, energy and vitality. (Source)

In his book Feeling Younger with Homeopathic HGH, Dr. H. A. Davis states,

When growth hormone is combined with homeopathic preparation, the results are truly on the leading edge of anti-aging benefits. People taking the homeopathic growth hormone have noticed the same effects as the molecular (injectable) HGH.


But, as mentioned, there are plenty of naysayers, particularly among those in mainstream medicine. On his popular site, Quackwatch, Dr. Stephen Barrett eviscerates homeopathic medicine, and concludes his post on Growth Hormone Schemes and Scams saying:

So called “growth-hormone releasers,” oral “growth hormone,” and “homeopathic HGH” products are fakes.

The bottom line here is: buyer beware.

High Intensity Interval Training

Most supplement formulas will increase IGF-1 levels by a minimum of 20%, with some even approaching 100%, if two things are true: Drs. Terry and Chein are right/Dr. Barrett is wrong; and the supplement you use maintains consistent quality batch after batch.

I have no direct experience with HGH supplementation, and therefore can not share anything personally about it. But when it comes to high intensity interval training (“HIIT”), I can breathlessly gasp that I pummel myself sprinting stairs twice a week, and it might be one contributing factor to why I seem to be aging more slowly than most.

The science backs up my gasp.

HIIT promotes longevity in at least two ways:
  1. It activates the enzyme telomerase which in turn keeps telomeres long ; and
  2. It boosts HGH and IGF-1 which reduce or reverse age-related degenerative processes. (Source.)

And get this… with HIIT we’re not talking an increase in IGF-1 increase of 20 or even 100%, but over 700% during the workout and for some hours afterwards.

Yes, it’s harder than spraying potions in your mouth, but with HIIT you’re assured that your HGH is increasing, and you’re getting fit to boot.

Here’s what to do for your HIIT sessions:
  • Choose an activity that you can get completely breathless, bent over heaving, after 30 seconds of full-out effort.
  • Perform up to eight sets of that activity, 30 seconds “on” and 90 seconds “off” with active rest, like walking.
  • Do it twice a week, unless you’re a well-conditioned athlete, as you’ll need time to recover.

I do my HIIT by sprinting stairs. I find that it’s easier on my Achilles tendons than sprinting on flat ground.  Drs. Mercola and Campbell use either a recumbent stationary bike or standing elliptical machine.

Sprinting up stairs boosts HGH production

Start slowly, even if you exercise regularly.  Do the first two or three at half speed.  I didn’t heed my own advice and wound up bruising an Achilles tendon which then sidelined me from HIIT for several months, so what did I achieve by pushing myself before my body was ready?

Don’t make this mistake.


Your Takeaway

Remember the following points:

  • Human Growth Hormone is what keeps us youthful.
  • It naturally declines real fast after puberty.
  • You can boost it by supplements and HIIT.
  • HITT works better and improves many other psychological conditions as well.

If you want to supplement, read what Web MD has to say about it, and then get a high-five from your doctor.

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Six Rules For Injury Free Fitness

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.


The same attention must be paid to when you are exercising as when you’re not, or you’ll soon be injured.

To consistently exercise vigorously, particularly as you age, requires the discipline of these six rules for injury free fitness:

  1. Get plenty of recovery time,
  2. Activate muscles before and stretch after every workout,
  3. Increase mobility,
  4. Ingest proper nutrition,
  5. Cycle between intense and gentle exercise regimes, and
  6. Listen to your body.

And you know what?  If you do these six things, you probably still will not sail throughout your long, fit, vigorous life without injury.

Don’t wish to put any ju ju on you, but the stats are the stats.  Certainly, I’m a data point.

Through my many years of pounding weights, riding bikes, running and yoga, I’ve been served more than my fair share of injuries.  I won’t bore you with them all here, but suffice to say that the latest injury is my right leg Achilles tendon.

It’s sore, makes me limp, is (I think) related to hip joint soreness, keeps me from sprinting the stairs for my high intensity interval training, and pisses me off!

How I severed my Achilles tendon on my left leg

About twenty years ago, I popped the left leg’s Achilles tendon while playing basketball.  “Pop” is the right word for it, cause that’s exactly the sound it made, like a bat slamming a fast-pitched hardball.

I had the basketball, took a fast step to the right, intending to drive to the basket, and heard the “pop”.  I had no idea what happened, but immediately stopped, dropped the ball, and actually twirled around to face the nearby baseball field with my arms up and fists clenched.

Yes, in that instant I actually thought that someone had hit my lower leg with a baseball bat.  Actually, it wasn’t a thought, but a reaction.  Of course, no one was there.

For three days, I flopped around trying to convince myself that this was another of my awful ankle twists that playing competitive basketball so generously provided.  Finally, common sense prevailed and I went to an orthopedic surgeon who showed me the simple test for discovering if your Achilles tendon is still working.

If you have a friend handy, lie on your stomach and bend the offending leg. Your friend places his hand around your lower legs so the thumb is against the tendon, an inch or two below where the calf seems to begin.  Squeeze.  If your foot moves, your Achilles tendon is intact, although it could be partially severed or otherwise compromised.

If you don’t have a friend handy, kneel on a sofa with your feet dangling off it behind you.  Reach back and do as described above.

Now, the right Achilles tendon is acting up

I’m thinking that maybe I have some congenital Achilles tendon defect.

Looking back to assess how I got this long lingering (three weeks now) sore Achilles tendon, it becomes clear that I violated two of my “six rules”; namely, numbers five and six:

#5  Cycle between intense and gentle exercise regimes, and

#6  Listen to your body.

I was so intoxicated about how much I was improving with my stair sprinting that I did not cycle in and out of this intense routine, nor did I stop when I got my first twinge that something was wrong.  I slowed down, but did not stop.

So the tendon got worse and now I’m not even walking up stairs much, just hobbling along like an old man. (Although I am working on healing the thing, as I show you in the video below.)

With that overlong prelude, let’s now dive into each of the “six rules”.

Six Rules for Injury Free Fitness

1. Recovery time must relate to exercise intensity.

The more intense an exercise session, the longer and more thoughtful must be the recovery period before you can duplicate the effort again.

The length of recovery is dependent on conditioning and age.  Generally, the more fit and better conditioned you are, the less recovery you need; however, as you age you need more recovery time, even if very fit.

When I say “thoughtful” I refer to what you’re doing during the recovery phase.  Athletes who work out intensively must actively recover.  By “actively” recovering, I mean applying rules number two, three and four during the recovery period:

#2 Activate muscles before and stretch after every workout,
#3 Increase mobility, and
#4 Ingest proper nutrition.

Consider what NBA players do in order to quickly recover between games.  They stretch, get stretched, massaged and fed proper nutrition.

2. Activate muscles before and stretch after workouts.

Prior to exercising, it’s very helpful to move all the major muscles in the body, paying particular attention and time to those muscles you’re about to exercise.  At this point – before exercising – you’re not stretching per se, where you hold a static stretch for a minute or more.  No, before exercise, rather than stretch, you articulate the joints.

By “articulate the joints”, I mean to slowly move each body part that hinges to a joint. Rotate the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and neck.  After this, you can put some body weight “load” on the joints as you continue to rotate them.

For some muscle activation routines, see the videos in “Section 1” of Get Strong, Muscular and Mobile (Fast).

Another good muscle warm up is to use a foam roller, as I demonstrate in the video below.

After exercising, you get static.  At this point your muscles are very warm, which is the ideal time to go into deep stretches that you hold.  Here’s where you gain new ground – a deeper stretch.

Although it’s a bit of a goofy video, I suggest you view a video of me doing my after-workout stretches in “Section 6” of Get Strong, Muscular and Mobile (Fast).

3. Increase your mobility.

When you’re doing your pre-exercise joint articulation, you’re increasing your mobility in preparation for the work your body’s about to perform.  But with Rule #3 (“Increase mobility”), you’re spending more time at it, doing more complicated movements, going deeper and increasing the range of motion around your joints… in effect, increasing your mobility.

And if you think you’re doing just fine with your mobility, I suggest you watch a child romping around. My niece is nine years old. During any ten-minute time slot, she’s sitting in the lotus position, or sitting on with her butt on the floor, both legs alongside.

If you can still do this as effortlessly, I salute you. For most of us, this type of mobility wanes year by year till we become forward slumping, shuffling immobile oldsters.

All of us have particular problem areas: Stiff shoulders, tight hip flexors, immobile ankles that compromise the quality of our workouts. Now is the time to heel this stuff. If not addressed, these become the weak “Achilles heel” that takes you down.

I have another perfect example that points to the mobility-challenged.

Have you ever tried to do the Olympic lift called the “Snatch”?  If so, you get a real quick insight about immobility.

Check out the picture below.  In order to be able to even hold a broomstick over your head while in a full squat with your buttocks nearly on your heels requires a combination of wrist, shoulder, hip and ankle mobility that few of us have. (Including me.) Imagine what it takes to do what the fella below is doing.

(Watch how the Snatch is performed here.)

Naturally, I’d like you to read the rest of this post, but once you’re satiated with this site, check out Kelly Starrett over at www.MobilityWod.com and get educated about mobility.  Search for what ails you, and do what Kelly suggests.  (I do.)

4. Get proper nutrition.

The more muscle tissue you break down during your exercise (the “catabolic” phase), the more of the proper nutrition you must ingest to build the muscle back up, plus a small increment more that results in larger and stronger muscles (the “anabolic” phase).

The proper nutrition depends on a host of factors, such as the type of exercise, the intensity level performed, and your body type.  Suffice to say that if you’re exercising to build muscle and strength, you need plenty of protein, and if you’re training to run a marathon you need plenty of high quality carbs.

Protein supplement quality is very important.  A favorite kind among weight lifters and nutritionists is whey protein.  The whey should be “denatured” and cold processed. Among the few brands that fit the bill are Dr. Mercola’s Miracle Whey Protein Powder, and Prohealth’s ImmunPlex Undenatured Whey Protein. I use and like both.

If your a vegetarian, good protein supplement selections include pea, hemp and various sprouted grains that usually come in a combination of grain, legume and bean sprouts. There are many choices. The one I like and use is Garden of Life Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein

Carbs should generally be low glycemic, meaning that they’re slowly absorbed into your blood stream.  Low glycemic candidates are vegetables, beans, legumes, and sweet potatoes.  High glycemic foods are white grains, white rice, potatoes, most packaged food and most fruit.

High glycemic foods are OK to eat right before a workout, but the amount and digestibility is key.

For instance, before an intense one-hour workout, eating something like dates is good because it provides immediately usable energy in the form of simple (aka: high glycemic) carbs without making you full.  For longer, less intense aerobic exercise, you would be better off eating something with more complex (aka: low glycemic) carbs in it because they will feed your body longer.

When Is Protein Necessary?

Unless you’re a big-time weight lifter, you typically need not worry about a pre-work out ingestion of protein.  I think that highly regarded strength coach Charles Poliquin (link below) would dispute this assertion, but keep in mind that he primarily trains weight lifters and athletes who train to be strong and explosive (I think), not lithe and enduring.

The reason that most exercise does not require protein loading prior to the work out is that exercise requires fuel, and protein is a poor fuel source.  Carbs are a good fuel source.

Soon after a work out, however, protein should be ingested, along with high quality fats (omega-3 fatty acids like flax seed and fish oil) and carbs.  How much of each macronutrient you eat depends on the intensity, length of and type of exercise you did.

The more your exercise breaks down muscle tissue, the more protein should be consumed relative to your norm. In this case you might want to take up to 40 grams of protein, along with some fruit and fish oil or flax seed oil subsequent to an exercise session that is designed to tax muscle with the objective of gaining size and strength.  The carbs (fruit) will help transport the protein to the cells via the blood glucose uptake response to them, and the fat will help quell inflammation and the inevitable cell oxidation that occurs during and after exercise.

If the exercise was long (+1 hour) and of moderate or light intensity, the mix of macronutrient in your post-exercise meal or drink should favor carbs rather than protein, along with the omega-3 type fats mentioned above.  In this case, the carbs should be of the low glycemic variety, given that you’re not looking to fuel your body for exercise, but to feed and restore it post exercise.

For an insightful post about pre and post workout nutrition, I highly recommend that you read Charles Poliquin’s blog.  You can find summaries of posts about exercise nutrition on his blog here.

5. Cycle between intense and gentle exercise regimes.

Few people can consistently workout intensely day after day without overstressing their bodies and eventually getting burned out and/or injured.

Professional athletes get all the guidance, recuperative potions and assistance that money can buy, and yet those who play intense, tightly scheduled sports such as basketball often tweak, rupture, break or bend something that forces them to stop and repair.

As I’ve written in Boost Your Human Growth Hormone in 20 Minutes, there’s much value in performing high intensity interval training (“HIIT”). By doing HIIT, you can increase the body’s own production of human growth hormone, stimulate fast muscle growth, increase both anaerobic and aerobic capacity, quickly reduce body fat, and get a fast workout.

But as just mentioned, there is a downside to HIIT given the higher probability of injury or plain old fatigue.  So, be smart about intense exercise sessions by making sure that in between them you do “gentle” exercise sessions.

By “gentle” I don’t mean the way you carry a baby.  What I do mean is that you stimulate rather than tax the muscles that you previously worked intensely.  This will bring blood into them and help them repair.

There’s one important thing to know about exercise that must be underscored here, and that is:

You build muscle after the workout out, not during it, and therefore how you recover is essential to how well your training will progress.

(See #4 “Get proper nutrition” above.)

Thus, if you do not give your body adequate time and nutrition to recover from intense workouts, you’re progress will be anemic and an injury will be lurking around the corner.

In practice, then, the day after a sprint workout you could choose to jog and at a slow pace, or do yoga.  Or the day after heavy squats and dead lifts, you could walk some stairs, or do yoga.

(Yes, I’m a proponent of yoga.)

6. Listen to your body.

There’s that old adage, “No Pain, No Gain”.  We remember it because it rhymes and resonates, and who hasn’t exercised hard without feeling pain from time to time?

Pain is memorable.

But what should be obvious is that when it comes to exercise, there’s “good” pain and “bad” pain.  The good pain emanates from the muscular and cardiovascular systems. The bad pain emanates from nearly everything else, such as overstressed tendons, cartilage, joints and bone.

You need to discern the difference, as you can learn to handle the good pain, but must stop what you’re doing when the bad pain happens.

Bad Pain = No Gain + Injury.

This is a lesson that I had to relearn once again. 

My HIIT is often stair sprinting which is easier on my body than sprinting on flat ground.  Nonetheless, as mentioned, about three weeks ago my Achilles tendon started to protest.

I eased up some, but kept at it, which for me meant doing this HIIT workout twice a week, with gentler exercise workouts in between as described in #5 above.

Not good enough: My Achilles “protest” became a jail sentence that I’m still serving three weeks later.

If I had stopped sprinting after the first twinge, and walked the rest of my stair circuits and then took some time off, I might have been able to return to this exercise full throttle.  Because I didn’t, I’m still limping – and certainly not sprinting stairs.

You can imagine what’s happened to my fitness relative to stair sprinting these last three weeks.  I’d guess that I’m nearly back to where I began when I first took up this exercise.

So what did I gain by not listening to my body?


In the video below, I show you how I’m treating my Achilles tendon issue.  As you’ll see, my assumption is that my issue resides not only in the tendon itself, but also along the whole leg and hip.

Yes, links in a chain, all connected.

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

How Genetic Testing for Exercise and Nutrition Transformed Two Women 

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Daysha, Pat and Jordan got buff. Two were guided by personalized genetic testing for exercise and nutrition. One got it going with a tip from Dad.  Learn how genetic tests may guide you to the perfect plan, and see why they might not be needed after all.

YESTERDAY, I was reading about how two women, Daysha Edewi and Pat Baily, were using personalized plans based on genetic testing for exercise and nutrition to lose body fat and get fit.

I got to thinking that relating their stories to you would be a good way to introduce this relatively new capability for your DNA to guide lifestyle choices pertaining to exercise and nutrition, among other things.

Then I bumped into another article, this one about Jordan Kohanim, who lost a ton of weight simply by listening to a clever suggestion made by her father.

So, in effect, what you’re going to get in this article is how genetic testing for exercise and nutrition can help you finally determine which path will shred the body fat and get you fit, as well as how just applying yourself to the basics can get you there as well, if you allow Jordan’s father’s trick to work for you.

Genetic Testing for Exercise and Nutrition Will Soon Be Commonplace

Dozens of companies that offer genetic testing for exercise and nutrition have recently sprouted. Their pitch is that a genetic test can help you develop the ultimate, personalized plan to improve your body composition. Sounds great and maybe it is — that is if the test results are accurate. (I throw a fly in the ointment in “Your Takeaway” below.)

This genetic, or DNA, testing potentially provides valuable information not only to get buff, but to help you extend your healthspan – the years during which you’re healthy, as opposed to compromised by chronic health issues.

Currently, much of medical practice is based on “standards of care” that are determined by averaging responses across large cohorts. The theory has been that everyone should get the same care based on clinical trials.

But people are different, and thereby respond differently to medicine, exercise and diet regimes. People want medicine, exercise and diets to be tailored to their uniqueness, and the science, techniques and technologies are quickly fulfilling this desire.

Right now you can get some degree of personalized medicine, personalized exercise workouts and personalized diets that are fine-tuned to be most efficacious for you via genetic testing.  Given the plummeting cost of genetic testing technology, various genetic testing companies aim to provide genetic testing for exercise and nutrition (and more) resulting in the perfect plan for you, so goes the pitch.

That’s what Daysha Edewi and Pat Baily did – they got genetic testing for exercise and nutrition that helped them design effective programs to substantially improve their body composition; ie: build muscle/lose fat.

As mentioned, Jordan Kohanim took a different approach – she listened to her father and lost 70 pounds.

Let’s delve into their stories one by one.

“I Tried A Diet And Fitness Plan Based On My DNA And Couldn’t Believe The Results”

Daysha Edewi and Dr. Dan Reardon

In her BuzzFeed article, BuzzFeed author Daysha Edewi describes her life-long struggle with fluctuating body weight and how Dr. Dan Reardon, the CEO/cofounder of genetic testing company, FitnessGenes, helped her get results quickly.

Daysha said:

“Growing up, my weight fluctuated a lot… I love cooking healthy meals and I dance four to five times per week. I have always been frustrated with why it’s so hard for me to lose weight. I tried all sorts of methods to lose weight and get fit, including a raw vegan diet, Weight Watchers, seeing a dietitian, doing a soup cleanse, P90X, and even getting a personal trainer. Nothing seemed to work for me.

Not ever seeing results discouraged me so much to the point that I wanted to just give up. It turned into a continuous cycle of embarking on a new diet or fitness plan, not seeing any real change after a few months, and then just giving up again.”

(If you rather watch than read, scroll down to Daysha’s video.)

Daysha goes on to say that it eventually occurred to her that weight gain issues might be tethered to her genetics somehow, and as you’ll see in a minute, perhaps it was. But I want to go out of my way here to emphasize that although tailoring your diet and exercise to your genetics is useful to tweak things a bit, it’s rare that your genetics is the most substantial reason you’re overweight and unfit.

As you’ll see when reading Jordan Kohanim’s story, you can move a mountain — in her case, 70 pounds — by just sticking to the basics.

That said, I want to compliment Daysha for going the extra mile to figure out what she needed to do. She took the FitnessGenes genetics test, saddled up next to Dr. Reardon and did the work.

This is what FitnessGenes does:

“… we combine our client’s specific fitness goals with their DNA results when creating our personalized recommendations. The actionable advice that we offer allows individuals to make positive lifestyle choices and consistent progression, so they can realize their full genetic potential in the sports they enjoy, with the physiques they desire.”

In her article, Daysha makes the following nine points:

(1) The genetics test indicated that she has a slower than “normal” metabolism. Often described as an “efficient metabolism”, Daysha’s stores energy than those with a fast, or “inefficient metabolism”.

(2) She has a gene variation for the FTO gene that’s linked to a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger. Daysha gets hungry easily, and that can easily lead to overeating. In this case, Dr. Reardon advised that she eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to control hunger.

(3) She has a gene variation in the APOA2 gene, indicating, pretty much literally, that saturated fat sticks to her more easily than the norm. Irrespective of the touted health of coconut oil (which is debatable), Daysha dropped it from her diet, along with other saturated fats such as animal products, butter, dairy products, and palm oil.

(4) Daysha discovered that the most effective time to work out is later in the day, something she suspected given that she’s “definitely not a morning person”.

(5) Her best form of exercise is “high-volume training”, meaning high sets and reps of weight training. She presumed that she needs a lot of cardio exercise, but for her (and many people) strength training was the key to getting leaner. The more muscle you build, the more fat you burn.

Her workout schedule:

  • Strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) three to four times per week.
  • Two active recovery days.
  • A brisk walk every morning.

(6) Her body doesn’t easily switch from using carbs for energy to using fat, so she needs to consume a particular balance of macronutrients, which are carbs, protein and fat. In her case, this is the macronutrient proportions she tracks, rather than count calories:

  • Carbohydrates: 40%
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 30% (less than 8% coming from saturated fats, and the main source coming from monounsaturated fats. This would include foods such as almonds, olive oil, avocado, sesame oil, and canola oil.)

(7) She metabolizes caffeine slowly. Ideally, then, green tea would be more beneficial than coffee as a pre-workout drink; 30 minutes prior to a workout for optimal energy.

(8) She needed and benefited greatly from the support of friends and family. As you’ll see in the video, Daysha used the buddy system, wherein her friends encouraged and participated in her journey.

(9) The results speak loudly. Daysha learned to trust her body:

“This experience allowed me to trust my body more than I ever have. I realized that I was always caught in this mindset that I was somehow “broken,” and that nothing would ever work for me. In reality, I just needed to learn more about my body and how I function as an individual. We live in a culture where everyone is trying to tell you what’s healthy, and this gave me the peace of mind to know what’s actually healthy for my own body. This is only the beginning for me!”

Watch Daysha Edewi tell her story:


My thanks to Daysha for being so genuine and upfront about her body issues, and for sharing her story. And now we turn to another one, that of Pat Baily, who used a different company for her genetic test, called Habit, rather than FitnessGenie.


“I Tried A Diet Based On At-Home Blood + Genetic Testing: Here’s What Happened”

Pat Baily is a certified Bhakti Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher based in San Francisco. She used Habit, a Bay Area-based company with a mission to “personalize nutrition”, or as they put it:

Habit marries our passion for food with the science of you to bring you the world’s most complete personalized nutrition solution.

Pat describes the Habit genetic testing processes in an article she wrote for MindBodyGreen.

This is the Habit testing process:

  • DNA is captured by swabbing both cheeks.
  • Blood is taken from your finger at three intervals: once in the beginning after fasting for 12 hours, once after the Habit shake is consumed, and then one more time at the end of the test.
  • The blood drops are then smeared onto a blood card.
  • You drink a “challenge” shake between the first and second blood sample that captures data about how your body responds to carbs, fats, and protein during the testing process.

Here’s a screen shot from the Habit website illustrating their genetics testing procedure:

What Pat learned (and changed) from the Habit test

Pat Baily

Pat’s test results affirmed that much of what she ate that she intuitively felt was right for her was proven to be right by the Habit genetic test. For example, she loves and eats ample amounts of broccoli, and the test indicated that it’s among her “hero foods”.

Another example: Pat’s a vegetarian, typically a low-protein diet, and her test results show that a low-protein diet is best for her genetics.

Affirming her intuition was valuable, but Pat says that the best part of the experience was the incredible amount of data collected, and the support provided by Habit to use that data to make a plan tailored for her —all based in science.

Here’s some of what Pat learned about herself from the Habit genetics test:

  • Like, Daysha, Pat metabolizes coffee slowly, so she should drink less of it.
  • She’s a “Range Seeker”, meaning in the Habit parlance that her body is forgiving regarding the proportions of macronutrients consumes; however, ideally she should aim for:
    • 50% calories from carbs
    • 30% calories from fat
    • 20% calories from protein
  • She finally eliminated some of the agitation she felt associated with wondering if she was eating correctly.
When intuition and science collide

Pat underscores the importance of affirming your intuition:

“There’s feeling and there’s knowing”, she says. “There’s intuition and there’s science. When it comes to finding what feeds you, it’s important to look at the whole picture and realize that one-size nutrition does not fit all because we are not one size, we are made up of unique DNA and metabolic systems, and these things comprise our personal biology, which gives us a map for creating a personalized nutrition plan. Habit is special because the results are uniquely yours.”

Now that you’ve got an idea about how two people used two different genetic testing services to personalize their nutrition and exercise programs, let’s turn to someone who just used a little trick to get her exercising and eating well on a consistent basis.

“My diet consisted of yo-yo and guilt”

Let’s face it, most of us are unlikely to take the time and spend the money to get a genetic test in order to discover our best diet and exercise routines.

If you don’t want to take a genetic test, but rather just jump into an effective program for weight loss, consider one more story, that of Jordan Kohanim, a teacher at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Georgia.

In a Today.com article, Jordan tells her story. She had just won the Teacher of the Year award. Pictures were taken. She saw herself in those pictures:

“I was mortified about how unhealthy I looked. It was time that I admitted that what I was doing was not working.  My diet consisted of yo-yo and guilt. I was overweight because I believed the narrative that society taught me: I was big because I wasn’t worthwhile enough not to be.”

Rather than slink off, tail between her legs, Jordan took five steps that helped a teacher shed 70 pounds, transform her life in two years.

Jordan Bailey, “before” and “after”

How did she do it?

First, she used her father’s 15-minute rule.

Then she dropped counting calories and started counting macronutrients.

The 15-Minute Rule In Action

Here’s the 15-minute rule in a nutshell:

  • Go to the gym (or wherever) and work out for 15 minutes.
  • Once there, if you don’t feel like exercising, go home.
  • If you return home without exercising, do not beat yourself up, but accept that you tried and that you’ll try again tomorrow.

Dear ole Dad was onto something.

Jordan tried her father’s “15-minute rule”. For a few weeks, she worked out 15 minutes a day, twice a week. Then, she started going to the gym three, then four, then five days a week. She discovered she enjoyed it and before she realized it, she was exercising for 60 minutes.

Jordan said:

“I vowed to do my at-least-15-minutes workout five days a week. Once the habit was made, I was able to stick to it. I work out in the morning before I am exhausted from teaching and tutoring.”

Track macronutrients, not calories

Before you say, “Uh, Joe, you’re repeating yourself”, let me say that I know I am, and have a good reason for doing so.

While exercise helped Jordan transform her body, making better food choices made the biggest difference. When she first started, Jordan simply tracked her calories. Now, she follow a macros diet, where she counts macronutrients, which include carbs, protein and fat, to make healthy meals. It’s a different way of tracking what you eat.

She says:

“People don’t realize just how much of weight loss is what you eat. The truisms are truisms because they are — surprise, surprise — true.”

Your Takeaway

Genetic testing for exercise and nutrition can yield a lot of fascinating information about what works best for your DNA.

I only profiled two genetic testing services because they were associated with the two success stories I wanted to tell you about; however there are several other such companies that provide genetic tests, along online platforms to support their suggested lifestyle changes.

Along with the two here profiled —  FitnessGenie and Habit — three others worth examining are:

  • DNAFit offers a free 14-day guide about how genetics impact every aspect of your fitness and nutrition.
  • Kinetic Diagnostics is focused on athletic performance.
  • Simplified Genetics tells you the type, duration and frequency that would most benefit you, the best combination of macronutrients and the most effective supplements.
Buyer Beware

I suggest you look at these genetic testing options carefully. Despite the success that Daysha and Pat had, the results of such tests can be confusing and contradictory, says STAT reporter Rebecca Robins in her article, Genetic tests promised to help me achieve peak fitness. What I got was a fiasco.

Remember Jordan

Don’t let “perfection be the enemy of the good”.

In this context, what I’m suggesting is that you don’t indulge yourself with the thought that unless you get a genetic test to make the perfect personalized plan, there’s no point in trying anything at all.

Nearly no buff man or woman you see on TV or on those magazine covers got that way by following some genetic blueprint, which means that you should remember that Jordan Kohanim said something like, “15 minutes is good enough to start,” and with those first steps whittled 70 pounds off her frame.

And so can you!

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

The Importance of Exercise Intensity

Exercise is a uniquely beneficial health practice, one that improves health, decreases mortality, and that just generally improves overall quality of life. Anyone who exercises regularly knows the feeling of well-being that exercise causes, both during it and afterwards. But there are obviously both different kinds of exercise, and different levels of intensity. To improve physical fitness, the goal of exercise, one must pay attention to the importance of exercise intensity.

What exercise does

The effects of exercise are many. Exercise

  • improves insulin sensitivity
  • increases cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2max)
  • increases strength of bones and muscle
  • decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
  • decreases cancer risk
  • improves mental health
  • prevents frailty and decline in aging
  • helps weight control.

All of these effects are intertwined and can’t be readily separated.

The effects of exercise can be viewed according to the FITT principle: frequency, intensity, time (duration), and type.

For frequency, intensity, and duration, in general, the more the better, but it’s possible to overdo it. Why is that? Because exercise means the placing of stress on the body with the aim of improving health, and is therefore a form of hormesis, in which a low dose of a stressor or toxin results in better health and stress resistance. As such, exercise is characterized by the J-curve typical of hormesis; see chart below. (Source.)

Image result for exercise j-curve


A low to moderate amount of exercise improves health compared to being sedentary, while a very high amount (such as hard daily training at elite level athletics, or ultramarathon running, for example) can lead to overtraining and worse health. In this article, we’ll be concerned with how much exercise is necessary rather than with excessive exercise and overtraining.

Since exercise is by definition a stress, any physical activity that does not place a stress on the body doesn’t improve fitness. While any physical activity itself can improve health and is far better than being sedentary, aerobic (cardiorespiratory) fitness is a much stronger determinant of health. See chart below – aerobic capacity is twice as strong a reducer of cardiovascular risk as is physical activity.



Therefore, to lower your health risks, just moving around isn’t enough. The activity you do must be intense enough, or long enough, or frequent enough, or some combination of these, to increase fitness. Type of exercise is also important, since some forms of exercise are inherently more demanding than others. Boxing, for example, places a greater demand on the body than zumba.

Levels of exercise

Intensity of exercise appears partially to override the factors of frequency and duration. For example, higher intensity exercise improves aerobic fitness more than lower intensity, even when duration is adjusted so the the same number of calories are burned.

High-intensity interval training improves cardiorespiratory fitness as much or more than traditional steady-state aerobic exercise, in far less time.

In bodybuilding, other things equal, intensity trumps volume and frequency.

Low intensity exercise improves fitness only in people with a low level of fitness.  This is an important point.

Walking, for example, improves insulin sensitivity in obese, type 2 diabetics. These people have a low fitness level and high insulin resistance, and walking therefore represents enough of a stress on their bodies to improve their health.

Now, suppose you’re a regular reader of this site, you lift weights and/or do other forms of high-intensity training, you are of normal weight and have good insulin sensitivity. Will walking improve your health further?

Not likely. You need either more frequent exercise of the same intensity you’re already doing, a longer duration of it, or an even higher intensity.

Fitness level determines whether an exercise improves it

If you have low aerobic fitness, almost any exercise will help. Someone who’s been ill and in bed for a long time will improve just by getting out of bed. Likewise, walking can improve the fitness of someone who’s overweight and sedentary.

But how can we determine whether a given bout of exercise improves our fitness or not? In other words, how can we put this matter on a more scientific basis?

Exercise physiologists have done this, and have determined that exercise intensities below 45% of VO2 reserve in subjects with high fitness do not increase fitness, while for those with low fitness, at least 30% of VO2 reserve is necessary.

So, what’s VO2 reserve? It’s the difference between resting oxygen consumption (VO2) and maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max). VO2 reserve differs greatly between fit and less fit individuals.

In the real world, without the assistance of an exercise physiologist, probably the best way to look at exercise intensity is through metabolic equivalents, or METs.

One MET is the amount of energy expended at rest. Different types and intensities of exercise can be expressed in multiples of METs.


Image result for mets exercise chart

The above chart shows some sample exercises in terms of METs. A more comprehensive list can be found here.

High-intensity vs steady-state exercise

Steady-state exercise (“aerobics” or “cardio”) has long been prescribed as the exercise that uniquely increases cardiorespiratory fitness, but we now know that high-intensity exercise does that as well, and in less time.

One problem with steady-state exercise, such as jogging or treadmill running, is that the only way to increase the exercise stress is by increasing the duration of exercise. You see this method of training in distance runners, for example, who end up running for hours daily to increase the amount of training they do.

In contrast, using high-intensity training, you are always working out at the edge of your physiological capabilities.

So, with high-intensity training, there’s never a question whether you’re exercising intensely enough to increase your fitness, because you are always doing so.


Low-intensity exercise improves fitness only for those who are not fit. As you move up the fitness ladder, exercise needs to become more intense to improve fitness.

3 Expert-approved Anti-aging Exercise Routines You Can Do and Why You Should Bother

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

It’s been my experience, and now the science affirms, that no one thing does as much to improve the quality and robustness of life as certain anti-aging exercise routines that you can start right now.  Here’s why you should bother…
A 330 lb lift by an 84 year-old

WHAT DOES exercise have to do with living longer and healthier, so that you don’t live your last two decades of life hobbling along all achy-like and chubby and bent over as you stumble toward the grave.

Glad you asked.

Here’s the bottom line:

Exercise is about the most important single thing that you can do all by yourself (though it’s better with a buddy) that can help you age dramatcially better.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • What does skin have to do with aging well?
  • How anti-aging exercise slows down the aging process and improves the quality of life.
  • Anti-aging exercise programs that you can begin right now.
  • And don’t forget to sleep – it may decelerate aging in the brain.

Let’s begin with what exercise doesn’t do, because this is a very short list. Exercise will not do much to make your face look younger. If you struggle with the relative importance of looking – rather than being – younger than you are, reflect on a recent viral event stimulated by one women’s reaction to a skin lotion salesman.

What Does Skin Have to Do With Aging well?

This happened earlier in the week and it created quite a stir. After the confrontation went viral, various news outlets, like US Weekly, reported a story about Annick Robinson’s confrontation with an aggressive salesperson who strongly pitched her on the necessity of using his anti-wrinkle cream to avoid having plastic surgery later in life.

She demurred, and it was what she said and how she handled the scathing sales pitch that gave this story its viral boost.

Here’s how the wrestling match between Annick Robinson and the salesguy went, as she remembered it and revealed on her Facebook page, according to US Weekly:

Annick Robinson anti-wrinkle cream

Annick Robinson

Salesman: “Your skin is so natural looking, you aren’t wearing any makeup, right?”

Robinson: “I look my age and that’s OK, actually.”

Salesman: [Unsure how to handle that] “Let me show you our face serum, because if you aren’t careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper; by 45, creams won’t help anymore.”

Robinson: “What’s wrong with a woman looking 40?”

Salesman: “Well, let’s talk about the bags under your eyes, and smile lines — my eye cream could improve those in 15 minutes.”

Robinson: “What’s wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven’t slept in two years, so if I have bags, I am grateful to have them, and my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look … I don’t think I need your cream.”

Salesman: [Nervously] “They may be manageable now, but by 50, it’s too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles; unless you act now, only surgery can correct those.”

Robinson: “What’s wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can’t wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we’ll be this funny wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too, we all are. It’s kind of how life works.”

Salesman: [Glancing nervously at other customers in the store who are listening in] “Wait, if it’s the price that’s an issue, I can offer you our special this week: all three creams for $199 — that’s cheaper than Botox!”

Robinson: “I look fine now, and when I’m 45, I will look fine, and when I’m 50, I will look fine, because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don’t appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products, and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don’t want or need your cream.”

Let’s give Mrs. Robinson a high five for that exchange!

The reason I shared this with you is not to underscore some displeasure with face creams, ointments, serums and the like that may improve how one looks. As I wrote in Your Battleplan to Combat Aging Skin, some such stuff might help improve the look of facial skin, presuming that one is healthy overall. Nothing applied to the skin can overwhelm bad habits such as eating lots of sugar, unhealthy fat, copious amounts of high glycemic carbs and never breaking a sweat, combined with the potential manifestations of such habits like hormone disequilibrium, poor detoxification mechanisms, harmful gut bacteria and obesity.

Although it would be great to look young, far more important is that you function as youthfully as you can irrespective of your chronicle age. What I mean by this is to sufficiently improve your mindset, diet, hormonal balance, gut bacteria, detoxification mechanisms, skeletal muscle, functional fitness and mobility that you actually (measurably) become biologically younger.

How Anti-aging Exercise Slows Down the Aging Process and Improves the Quality of Life

Frankly, it takes a comprehensive effort to turn the clock back, which is why I’m writing a book about it. That said, there are some things you can do that have a multi-system beneficial effect on the aging process, and perhaps the best of them is exercise, as in adopting a specific anti-aging exercise program.


Yeah, OK, you’ve heard that before, and perhaps either you’re someone whose been a life-long exerciser (off and on) and feel there’s nothing more to be learned, or you’re dead set against taxing your poor delicate self by moving with more vigor than it takes to get from the couch to the car.

To the lifelong exerciser I say read on because you want to ensure that the type of exercises you’re doing maximizes the benefits to you. To the desk warrior I say read on because – miracle of miracles – there just might be some inducement you’re about to bump into that might stimulate a bit of consistent movement, especially if you grab a friend to help you along. (The “Buddy System” results in much higher compliance than doing it alone.)

Here’s what you can expect when you exercise regularly, particularly if you do resistance training:

  1. You’ll re-ignite your metabolism, reprogramming your body so you can readily start burning fat right away.
  2. You’ll reboot your endocrine system, creating a resurgence of youth enhancing hormones so can get infinitely more energy—and replace flab with lean, strong muscle while boosting your sex drive.
  3. You’ll fortify your body by regaining bone density, muscle and building a solid foundation.
  4. You’ll boost your brain power, enhancing memory and improving your cognitive function making you as sharp as a tack.
  5. You’ll dramatically decelerate your body’s aging process, such that your biological age will age slower than your chronological age—making you look and feel younger with each year that passes.

Let’s start with muscle and strength, the obvious results gained by a consistent, properly executed exercise program.

Exercise Builds Muscle

As we age, muscle tends to either wither away or turn to fat. This muscle loss (called “sarcopenia”) is not just a side effect of disease and frailty, the inevitable companions of aging, but also a prime cause. Insufficient muscle contributes to imbalance and falling, metabolic dysfunction, cognitive decline, hormonal imbalances and more.


We’re not talking bulging bodybuilder muscles, but enough muscle to make you functionally fit, and that means having sufficient muscle and the strength it affords to move, push and pull your bodyweight. You don’t need to do 10 chin ups, but one should be doable. You don’t need to do 20 push ups, but women should be able to do a couple, and men, 10. And you don’t need to be able to run a mile in six minutes, but how about being able to walk up a mile-long hill in 15 to 18 minutes.

If you could care less about moving your body around because your car does that well enough, consider that muscle can also keep you alive, something useful, yes?

As we age, muscle fibers begin to perform less ably and we lose muscle mass, leading to unhappy consequences unless we do resistance training type exercises shown below.

“As men age, they can lose five to seven pounds of muscle mass every 10 years starting in their 30s, and more as they approach their 50s,” says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Quincy College, researcher, and author of more than 20 books on strength training. “They also gain about 10 pounds over the same time frame.” Now, some math: If you go down five or so in muscle, but up 10 overall— that’s 15-plus pounds of fat gained each decade. (1)

I mentioned falling. There’s a direct relationship between muscle mass and falling in the elderly. Older people who fall and break a bone and are thereby bedridden for weeks will lose even more muscle and bone mass, which helps explain why 33% of people who fracture their hip in the UK die within 12 months. (2) This is a situation that is so dire that according to WebMD, 80% of women surveyed would rather be dead than in a nursing home as a result of falling and breaking a hip. (2)

That won’t be you, you say — falling is for inattentive teeter-totters. How about eating; do you do that? If so, know that healthy muscle tissue is a major user of blood glucose, which is a type of sugar primarily obtained from ingesting carbohydrates that supplies energy to all the cells in our bodies. If your body doesn’t cope well with the inevitable post-meal blood sugar surge, it can result in type 2 diabetes. Which is why Dr. Daniel More from the University of Toronto says:

“People think of muscle as the body’s mover, but it’s really a huge metabolic organ,” (3)

Exercise Assits Detoxification

Most people don’t do anything intentionally to aid their body’s natural detoxification mechanisms, and have no intention to do so, but if you regularly exercise you’re helping your body excrete its toxic load.

In Do These 2 Anti-aging Pills Really Work, I examined, among other things, the role autophagy plays in aging and aging-related disease. In the article, I quoted longevity expert Dr. James Watson’s explanation of what is Autophagy:

“Autophagy is like having a Pac man inside each of your cells that chases down, consumes and recycles dysfunctional organelles, proteins and protein aggregates.” (4)

Another longevity expert, Dr. Anna Maria Cuervo of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, reviewed the genetic evidence in support of tight connections between autophagy, health span and aging.

She made these observations about autophagy and age-related disorders (5):

  • The age-related decline in autophagic activity will affect normal cell function and contribute to different aspects of how aging manifests.
  • Two neurodegenerative disorders of highest prevalence in our society — Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease — are both late-onset disease that are coincident with the functional decline of the different autophagic pathways.
  • By removing damaged organelles and reducing chromosome instability, autophagy acts in tumor suppression; therefore, when it decreases with age, accumulation of intracellular damage, dysfunctional organelles and chromosome aberrations increases the chances of cancerous cells forming and propagating.
  • Different aspects of the gradual deterioration of the immune system with age could be related to autophagic dysfunction, particularly affecting dendritic cells, macrophages and B-cells.
  • Defective autophagosome clearance in the aging muscle could contribute to muscle wasting (sarcopenia) characteristics of old organisms (like us).

What does this have to do with exercise, you ask?

Scientists found that the rate at which the mice were healthily demolishing their own cells drastically increased after they ran for 30 minutes on a treadmill. The rate continued increasing until they’d been running for 80 minutes.

Ah, but you’re not a mouse, I know. Humans are harder to study, and so finding out the exercise intensity and duration to reliably stimulate autophagy is tough to do. That said, one researcher in the mouse study was convinced enough by the results to buy his own treadmill.


Exercise Reduces Inflammation

It’s now common knowledge among medical types that inflammation plays a significant role in causing or aggravating many chronic diseases, and even the aging process itself. You can do much to reduce chronic inflammation by eating an anti-inflammation diet, like the one advocated by famed functional medicine doctor Andrew Weil.  It’s also helpful to take supplements containing ingredients like curcumin, fish oil and various herbal compounds blended in Zyflamed.

Not to mention, exercise!

Research shows that regular physical activity can reduce the inflammation in the body, and by so doing decrease your risk of developing related diseases and conditions—like heart disease, depression, decreased mental function, and loss of muscle mass.

Although other research has already shown that exercise has anti-inflammatory potential, a new study published in the journal Circulation followed people for 10 years to examine the long-term effects. They found that, in general, people who were more active at the start of the study, or exercised more by the end, had lower levels of inflammation.

You want a younger, healthier body? Reduce your inflammation.

Exercise Improves Cellular Lifespan

There are plenty of reasons to exercise, and in this article I’ve highlighted a few, but the effect that regular activity may have on cellular aging could turn out to be the most profound. Some years ago, Gretchen Reynolds wrote an article for the NY Times about a study that shows how exercising keeps your cells young. It was eye opening!

The scientists examined several groups of men and women of different strips:

  • The young and sedentary;
  • The middle-aged and sedentary;
  • Professional runners in their 20s; and
  • Serious middle-aged runners.

The white blood cells were examined in all participants to determine telomere size. Telomeres are tiny “caps” at the end of DNA strands, the length of which might predict lifespan. With each succeeding cell divison, a small portion of telomeres is “cut” away, leaving them shorter than before. (See my article, Three Months to Longer life.)

Telomere depiction

Those telomeres in the cells of both the active and slothful young adults were of similar size, which was unsurprising since none of them had been alive long enough for multiple cell divisions to have snipped away at their telomeres.

It was a different story for the middle-aged cohort. When the researchers measured their telomeres they discovered that the sedentary older subjects had telomeres that were on average 40% shorter than in the sedentary young subjects. This could be expected given that – all other things being equal – telomeres shorten with age. However, the middle-aged runners had remarkably youthful telomeres; only about 10% a bit shorter than those in the young runners!

Overall, telomere loss was reduced by approximately 75% in the aging runners, or as Dr. Werner, the lead researcher said:

‘‘[exercise] at the molecular level has an anti-aging effect.’’ (6)

Exercises For A Longer, Stronger Life

Now that you know why you need to exercise to avoid the ravages of aging that most people experience, it’s time to take a look at three expert-approved exercise routines. After the look, schedule the do.

#1 Built your own routine

Choose among the the following exercises to build your 10-exercise workout: (7)

  • One squat exercise, such as goblet squat, back-loaded squat, or split squat (both sides)
  • One lunge exercise, such as lateral, reverse, or front lunges
  • Two upper-body  “pull” exercises, such as standing one-arm cable row or bentover rows, pullups or lat pulldowns
  • Two upper-body “push” exercises, such as standing two-arm cable chest press or bench press, overhead shoulder press or military press
  • One arc exercise, such as chest or reverse fly, or lateral raise
  • One arm curl exercise, such as concentration, hammer, or preacher curls
  • One arm extension exercise, such as triceps kickbacks, pressdowns, or overhead extension
  • One functional core exercise, such as woodchops, reverse woodchops, or med ball slams

You only need to perform one set of functional core exercises, as the core is engaged throughout the workout.

#2 Follow this 15-minute circuit

If you need a quick exercise program, consider this 15-minute anti-aging circuit video produced by good folk at The Feelgood Plan. Each round is one minute long:


Here’s a list of the exercises in the video, along with my comments:

Exercise Commentary
1. Reverse lunge Try to ensure that your shin of the bent leg is perpendicular to the floor.
2. T-bird Men might want to load the arms with a book or light dumb bells.
3. Squat salutation Try to place your weight onto your heels and gradually squat lower. You can also come up on your toes when standing up to work the calves.
4. Stairway to heaven The lower the support (all the way to the floor) the harder the exercise.
5. Step-up Begin with a step height that will allow you to do this sequence. As you get stronger, increase the height.
6. Single leg lowering The key here is to focus on flattening your lower back to the floor and holding it there. Beginners might simple flatten and hold their legs aloft till strength is gained.
7. Stork stance You can catch your breath during this one. If you don’t need to do that, just do it once at the end of the routine.
8. Reverse lunge 8 thru 14 are repeats.
9. T-bird
10. Squat salutation
11. Stairway to heaven
12. Step-up
13. Single leg lowering
14. Stork stance
15. The finisher: no-hands stand-up This one requires as much flexibility as it does strength. Try doing it in an open doorway where you can grab the sides of it to help you stand up.
#3 A 7-minute routine for the time-challenged

If you need a quicker exercise program, consider this 7-minute workout: (8)


workout in 7 minutes

Deep Sleep, Deep Thoughts

I leave you with this:  Get some sleep.

A new study found that men who chronically skimp on sleep show signs of accelerated aging in the brain, but it’s probably as true for women.  This was reported in Men’s Health, which said:

We already know that inadequate sleep is associated with poor performance and concentration; that there’s a relation between sleep and many health issues; and that change in sleep duration over a similar five-year period is associated with an increase in premature death.

All that muscle you’ll be breaking down (the catabolic phase) will need to be built up again, ever stronger (anabolic phase), and deep, restful sleep is very necessary for that to happen.

Go get em tiger!

Oh, about that picture at the top.  It’s an 84 year-old man squatting about 330 pounds; see:

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

The Anti-aging Effects of Exercise

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.


Scientific studies show that exercise is the fountain of youth, because there are several, specific anti-aging effects of exercise.  Here’s the story…

THERE’S A lot of science being targeted at the perennial questions about why we age, and what can be done to slow it down.

Way down!

Some of the studies on aging include therapeutic interventions, such as caloric restriction, stem cells, hormonal anti-aging therapy, antioxidants and the activation of biochemical pathways like sirtuins.

The famous futurist, inventor, and newly appointed Google Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil, argues that in a couple of decades — not centuries – science will enable humans to merge with machines to become cyborg-like and enjoy lives of indefinite life spans.

{Read Ray Kurzweil’s March to Extend Life.}

Kurzweil has popularized a concept of  “three bridges” to immortality that a person will enjoy pretty much as a cyborg, part human, part machine.


Three Bridges to Immortality

Bridge 1

You eat right, ingest a bunch of supplements, and avoid getting hit by a bus, and if you’re healthy enough by time “Bridge 2” is built, and get on it, you’ll have the opportunity to live longer than anybody has before. So, the goal while on Bridge 1 is to preserve yourself long enough for Bridge 2 to be built.

Bridge 2

Here, use of gene therapy, stem cells, therapeutic cloning and replacement cells, tissues and organs will enable us to reverse our biological clocks.  You’ll live longer than any other generation while walking on Bridge 2, but what you seek is Bridge 3.

Bridge 3

This is the Promised Land, immortality!  Bridge 3 is where, Ray Kurzweil predicts, the merger of nanotech and artificial intelligence happens. He envisions that programmable, communicating nanobots will replace old-fashioned neurons and blood cells with more efficient units that can destroy infections, reverse degenerative changes and rewrite genetic code.

I have no way of knowing if Mr. Kurzweil’s predictions will happen.  What I do believe is that I’ve been skipping along on Bridge 1 for 30 years, with increasing devotion as my clock ticks, and what I’m doing seems to be working.

Basically, my live long and strong kick is comprised of nutrition, supplementation, detox cleansing, meditation, intimacy and exercise, the very strategies that Kurzweil and his writing partner, Dr. Terry Grossman, wrote in their book, Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever.


Getting into all the aspects of what it takes to age well is beyond the ken of this post, for such would fill a book. But suffice to say, one straightforward thing to do that makes a big difference is to exercise.

It is the value of exercise on longevity that is the focus of the rest of this post. Turns out, exercise is the fountain of youth. There are several, specific anti-aging effects of exercise that you’ll want to know about.


The Anti-aging Effects of Lifelong Exercise

To explain how and why exercise is the one sure-fired thing you can do now to slow down the aging process, I’ll do you the favor of summarizing and (hopefully) making more readable a scientific report by the Journal of Applied Physiology called, I am 80 going on 18: exercise and the fountain of youth

The bottom line of the report:

Maximal oxygen uptake (V̇o2 max ) in 80-year olds who were former athletes, and have remained physically active all their lives, was nearly twice that of otherwise healthy sedentary 80-year olds.

“Oxygen uptake”, or  V̇o2 max, measures cardiorespiratory fitness, which is an important indicator of mortality.

Another important indicator of health among the athletic group was body fat, of which they had less, although no stats were provided on percent body fat.

OK, so the athletic group was less fat and was more fit, as measured in ways that are predictive of a longer lifespan than their non-exercising counterparts.  But is it reasonable to suggest that they’re may be other factors to consider that impact these outcomes?

Yes, three questions come to mind:

  1. Are the genetics of the athletes responsible for their large compliant hearts with big stroke volumes?
  2. How did the athletes remain motivate to exercise all their lives?
  3. Are there additional benefits accruing to fit elders that may be instigated by their fitness regime?


The Genetics of Older Athletes Only Get Them So Far

It appears that the answer to question #1 above is yes, at least partially.

The authors of this study say that it’s reasonable to anticipate that perhaps 50% of the difference in V̇o2 max seen in the 80-yr-old athletes vs. non-athletes might be due to their baseline physiological endowment.

Meaning, they were blessed with big hearts and lungs, which potentially encouraged them to be athletes, and keep exercising throughout their lives.

This is a reasonable assertion, but the fact is when such athletes stop exercising in their middle age, their V̇o2 max values are similar to their sedentary counterparts.

Yes, the genetically advantage lose their advantage.

OK, you started life well endowed for exercise, but as the years ticked by and you didn’t keep it up, your fitness level reverted to that of the dude who sat near you in college and went to program for Microsoft whilst you headed to the NFL.


You Like What You’re Good At and Do What You Like

The answer to question #2, simply put, is that success breeds success.

It’s reasonable to suggest that the athletic individuals remained motivated to exercise as they got older because they were good at it, and were rewarded for this behavior.

Quoting from the Journal of Applied Physiology report:

“Perhaps the athletes enjoyed success as a result of superior “talent” when they were young. If they also enjoyed training and competing, then a number of central reward pathways might have been activated, reinforced, and remodeled. As they aged, daily exercise and their status as “super-fit” may have further reinforced their motivation and activated these reward pathways.”


Brains Get Better Through Exercise

The answer to question #3 is that, yes, there are profoundly beneficial ancillary benefits beyond physical fitness that lifelong exercise promotes.

It’s now accepted that overall fitness is associated with higher cognitive function and learning.  Moreover, older adults with high aerobic fitness have higher hippocampal volumes and better spatial memory, providing additional protection from the age-related decline in brain volume.

This means less chances of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s.



So, with exercise, you get less fat, more mobility, greater strength, and resistance to dreaded old age diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

What’s not to like about adopting a lifelong exercise regime?  If exercise is the fountain of youth, why not bathe in it!

If you want to experience a longer, higher quality life, at the very minimum, you need to exercise. If you’re ambitious, you might consider diet, detox cleansing, and something to bust up stress, like meditation and intimacy. This comprehensive approach will more likely get you to Ray Kurzweil’s Bridge #2.

Start where you are.

If the couch is your favorite perch, start by walking.  Grab a friend, get yourselves a fitbit, and record how many steps you take each day, with 10,000 being the goal. Then add resistance training, like calisthenics and/or weightlifting.

If you already exercise, but perhaps intermittently, find a way to do it regularly.

It’s a bit goofy, but my video, The Homestead Workout, will give you some resistance training ideas that you can do without equipment.

Given that in the United States, only 5% of adults are meeting what might be described as minimal physical activity guidelines, and with the obesity statistics getting absurd, it’s time to join the minority and have a long, strong life.

Get moving!  Enjoy your anti-aging effects of exercise.

This article was written and published on GarmaOnHealth.com by Joe Garma, and has been reproduced here in its entirety.

Why The Tsimane’s Have the Healthiest Hearts

How is it that the people with the world’s healthiest hearts watch no TV, eat mostly vegetarian and are always in motion?  Read on…

The Tsimane have the healthiest hearts.

PERHAPS YOU’VE never heard of them, but the world’s healthiest hearts beat in the people who live on a tributary of the Amazon River in Bolivia.

They’re called the Tsimane.

As Maggie Fox reports for NBC News, the research team who studied the Tsimane wrote:

“The Tsimane, a forager-horticulturalist population of the Bolivian Amazon with few coronary artery disease risk factors, have the lowest reported levels of coronary artery disease of any population recorded to date.”

The Tsimane have the healthiest hearts, researchers say, even when compared to the vaunted, long-lived, heart-healthy women of Japan. Tsimane men had lower coronary artery calcification scores than Japanese women, a population previously regarded as having the lowest coronary artery calcification scores reported for any ethnicity.

Why should you care?

Because of this graph:


Heart disease among adults in U.S

Those numbers in the bar graph above are for adults in the United States, but similar numbers are evident in the rest of the industrialized world.

Two things that stand out in the graph:

  1. As we age, the incidence of heart disease increases dramatically, this being simply a function of bad habits having more time to create cardiovascular malfunction; and
  2. More men are affected by heart disease than women, which, by comparison, makes the heart health of the Tsimane men even more outstanding.

You do not want to be a number on that graph up there.

You want to be more like the Tsiamne, and this article and the forthcoming Part 2 will help get you there.

The researchers who studied the Tsimane point to two basic lifestyle factors that give them the healthiest hearts on the planet, which most likely, none of us share in combination:

  1. Their diet is plant dominant, whereas we eat lots of fast, convenient manufactured food; and
  2. They constantly move, whereas we sit all the time – to and from work, at work and whilst watching TV (an average of 5 hours per day for Americans).

Tsimane people of Bolivia

(Click to enlarge)

Consider how a predominately plant-based diet and constant movement benefit the Tsimane:

  • Most of them live their entire life without developing any coronary atherosclerosis, which has never before been seen in any prior research.
  • Nearly none have any evidence of clogged arteries.
  • 85% had no evidence of calcification in their arteries

The researchers studied 700 of the Tsimane. They scanned their arteries, testing for cholesterol in their blood and glucose. They measured blood pressure and looked for evidence of inflammation.

Calcium in the blood vessels was a particular focus, because it’s a signal that that artery-clogging fat has built up and hardened into plaques (which can break off and cause heart attacks and strokes) – but nearly none was found.

This is in remarkable contrast to those of use who live in the industrialized world where prolonged sitting and eating crap is the norm, which hugely contribute to chronic illness and death.

According to The Heart Foundation, in the U.S. cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined, and killed almost 787,000 people alone in 2011.

In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.

In contrast, an 80-year-old Tsimane has about the same heart and artery health as the average American in his or her 50s.

So, what do you do with this information?

What are you willing to do to have the heart of a Tsimane?

Are you willing to hunt for eight hours and cover 11 miles to get your meat, or canoe, walk or bike to get anywhere?

Are you willing to spend 90% of your waking hours doing physical activity?

That’s what the Tsimane do.

Dr. Tim Chico says he’s not, and undoubtedly you aren’t either; nor am I.

Dr. Chico is a cardiologist at Britain’s University of Sheffield. He was not part of the Tsimane study, but the aforementioned Maggie Fox quoted him to say:

“So, would I live like the Tsimane to reduce my risk of heart disease? No way, but what I would learn from them is that my risk of heart disease is largely determined by what I do, not what I am, and that I can greatly reduce my risk of developing a heart attack if I am regularly active, if I eat a diet rich in vegetables and low in processed foods, maintain a healthy weight, and don’t smoke.”

Dieting Increases Appetite More than Exercising

There are two basic weight loss methods: diet and exercise. When used separately, it’s unclear how these methods affect appetite.

For this reason, a team of scientists examined how diet and exercise affect appetite. Their results were recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.




Losing weight is hard. This is because your body doesn’t really want to lose weight, and uses several tricks to prevent this from happening.

One of them is to increase appetite and cravings to compensate for any lost weight.

However, previous studies suggest that losing weight by exercising may increase appetite and calorie intake less than dieting.

Several studies have also shown that calories lost via exercise are not completely restored by increased calorie intake afterward.

On the other hand, dieting seems to have much stronger effects on appetite and calorie intake.


A group of scientists compared the effects of calorie depletion by dieting or exercising on appetite and calorie intake.

Energy depletion by diet or aerobic exercise alone: impact of energy deficit modality on appetite parameters.


The purpose of this small, randomized, crossover study was to examine the effects of dieting or exercising on appetite, appetite hormones and food intake.

A total of 10 healthy, young and relatively fit men participated in the study.

The study started with a control period, during which the participants followed a standardized diet for three days.

The participants were then assigned to two groups in a random order:

  • Dieting: During this three-day, calorie-reduced diet, the participants consumed 25% fewer calories than they needed to maintain stable body weight.
  • Exercising: For three days, the participants did aerobic exercise. The amount of exercise was carefully adjusted so that the participants would burn 25% of the calories they needed to maintain stable body weight.

Since this trial had a crossover design, all participants exercised and dieted on different occasions, separated by a 2-week washout period.

At the beginning and end of each of the three study periods, the researchers measured appetite hormones (ghrelin and leptin). Calorie intake and appetite were measured only at the end of each of the three study periods.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, crossover study comparing the effects of dieting and exercising on appetite and calorie intake.


Calorie intake increased significantly more after dieting, compared to exercising.

It was measured at a 30-minute buffet at the end of each of the three study periods. The findings are shown in the chart below.

Bottom Line: Calorie intake was significantly higher at the end of the dieting period, compared to both the control and exercising.


Dieting led to greater subjective ratings of appetite, compared to exercising, as assessed with a visual analogue scale (VAS) questionnaire.

Specifically, the ratings of “desire to eat”, “hunger” and “prospective food consumption” (PFC) were significantly higher after dieting.

The chart below shows the differences between groups.

However, there were no significant differences in appetite hormones between groups.

Bottom Line: Subjective ratings of appetite were significantly higher after the dieting period, compared to exercising.


This study appears to have been well designed and implemented. However, a few limitations should be mentioned.

First, it was a small, pilot study with a limited statistical power. Second, the study was of short duration. The long-term effects of dieting and exercising may be different.

Finally, the participants were all young, relatively fit and healthy men. The results might not apply to other groups of people.

Bottom Line: The study’s main limitations were its small size and short duration.


This study showed that if you want to lose weight, dieting may increase appetite more than exercising, resulting in higher calorie intake to make up for the calorie deficit.

However, it would be difficult to imitate this study’s tightly controlled setting in a real-life situation.

Nevertheless, if you want to lose weight, exercise may make a difference.