Do you want to look good, feel good, be happy and improve your Health, so you can optimise your life and Healthspan by avoiding the four biggest killers, then read on.
So what are the 10 things I do on a regular basis, that transformed my life for the better and maximised my Health Happiness and Strength. It is quite simple!
5. Weight training.
6 Breathing exercises.
Walking is a very underrated activity, that will help you to improve your health. It helps to produce a chemical called 'brain derived neurotropic factor' (BDNF), that will stimulate growth of new neurones (brain cells). It improves blood, lymph and cerebrospinal fluid circulation. It decreases cortisol secretion (stress hormone), particularly during walking in nature. It strengthens muscles, ligaments and tendons in your hips, knees and ankles; it stabilises blood sugar, especially when done following a meal, and not least, improves breathing.
Try to aim for around 10000-12000 steps a day. I use an Apple Watch and an Oura ring to track my own steps, but there are many other devices out there to help you track your goal.
Light pollution is a major problem in our modern society. We first discover the problem when we suffer from eyesight issues, headaches or sleep disruption. The use of mobile phones, computers and bright light, particular from LED and florescent lighting can bombard your retina with photons. Young people are particular at risk, as they often use their mobile phones to check social media. late at night. The way I combat these issues is to not to use my mobile phone or computer between 11 pm and 6 am. I also switch my phone to red light mode at night. After 9 pm I reduce overhead lighting to the minimum, to prepare myself for a good nights sleep. If you're indoors or use screens a lot, I recommend you do the same. Also read my blog on "Sleep like a baby".
Regular sweating or getting hot in an infra-red or dry sauna results in endurance, red blood cel resilience, muscular, brain and stress resilience, and blood sugar management benefits. Most notably, using the sauna four to five times a week for 20-45 minutes can decrease most causes of all-risk mortality, dementia, and Alzheimer's, particularly in men. Listen to my Podcast on "Getting HOT". I try to use my sauna 3 times per week, often listening to Podcasts, doing some breath work and planking. Using the sauna 4-5 times per week would be even better. I then finish with a 2-3 minute cold shower to get the cardiovascular and immune benefits of hot-cold contrast therapy.
Cold, similar to heat causes a mild stress to the body (hometic stress), which strengthens the immune system and cellular resilience. It helps with fat loss. If you use cold in a fasted state, you will benefit even more. It also seem to improve sleep by helping to regulate the circadian rhythm and reducing your core temperature. I always finish all my showers with cold for about 2-3 minutes. Listen to my Podcast about "The Wim Hof Method".
5. Weight training.
Putting your body under some sort of heavy load several times per week will benefit all your biological systems. In the past, our bodies were used to activities such as farming, gardening, lifting rocks, building fences, carrying loads at a construction workplaces, etc. But nowadays we have to do these activities via "hitting the weights". I personally use the local gym 4-5 times per week. I also use a 28 kg kettlebell, that I carry up and down the stairs in my house every time I use the staircase.
6. Breathing exercises.
The way you breath is a way you can control your autonomic nervous system. A system we recently thought was automatic and not under conscious control. You can activate both your sympathetic, fight-and-flight nervous system and your parasympathetic rest-and-digest nervous system. If you don't manipulate the way you breath, you're missing out on a big part of the full human experience, and a free way to tap into a host of health benefits: from increased nitric oxide, to a stronger immune system, to better sleep, to higher energy levels and cellular oxygenation, better sex, psychedelic experiences without the use of substances, and much more. The best place for you to begin to learn breath work would be by studying the Wim Hof Method. I took the 10 week module years ago and it kickstarted my personal transformation in getting Healthier, Happier and Stronger.
I try most of the time to breath through my nose, thus filtering the air and introducing more humidified air and nitric oxide into my system. I also frequently use a form of relaxing breath work and two of my favorites are a “double-inhale-to-exhale” and a “4-7-8” pattern. These pattens I have learnt from the brilliant neuroscientist Dr Andrew Huberman from Stanford University. By breaking up one long inhale as a double inhale through your nose and then exhaling through your mouth can calm you instantly. It seems to work.
Hydration is important because your body has a lot of water in it. According to my chemistry textbook, up to 60% of the human adult body is water, the brain and heart are 73% water, the lungs are about 83% water, the skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery at 31%. In the same way that your cell membranes will have a similar composition as the fats that you eat, because they're built from those fats (yes, this means you should put down that peanut butter and grain-fed beef please), your body is comprised of the water you drink. So use a good water filter. If you buy bottled water use only clean, pure filtered water from brands such as Pellgrino, Gerolsteiner or Mountain Valley. Drink, preferably out of glass, not plastic. Re-mineralise both your water and your food with a trace mineral solution or good salt.
I would never tell you to eat this diet or that diet because there is no one single perfect human diet. But no matter what nutrition plan you are following, there are specific characteristics that are repeatedly seen in the diets of most of the healthiest and longest-living individuals on the face of the planet, namely…
1) Incorporate fasting regularly. I personally do a 12-16 hour intermittent fast every day, a 24 hour dinner-to-dinner fast one to two times per month.
2) Eat in a parasympathetic state. Prior to each meal, prepare your body with breath work, chew each bite thoroughly, don't engage in stressful work or eating on the go, and whenever possible, eat with other people so that you can engage in relaxing conversation;
3) Eat real food, as fresh and close to nature as possible. If your pantry and refrigerator is primarily comprised of packaged food from your local food store, then don't fool yourself into thinking you are optimising your health, even with those dark chocolate covered raw almonds that have been sitting there for two months;
4) Unless your gut is compromised, eat a wide variety of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, plants, herbs, and spices. If your gut is compromised, follow a more restrictive diet until it is healed, then reintroduce a broad range of real food;
5) Minimize inflammation, particularly from vegetable oils, and glycemic variability, particularly from processed sugar.
Finally, you may be wondering if nutritional supplements are necessary. I personally use them, but I don't fool myself into thinking they are going to make a bigger difference than making good choices when eating real food.
So, if you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of incorporating each of these twelve principles into your life, then simply take things one step at a time.
Get a water filter.
Disable Bluetooth and WiFi on your phone.
Take your last ten seconds of a shower in cold water.
Breathe for two minutes before bed.
Write down one thing you're grateful for every day.
You get the idea. Approach the idea of optimisation via key principles as a year-long process of habit-stacking.
Other resources from Morten:
heavencanwait.life - helping you in transforming your life, so you also can feel HEALTHIER, HAPPIER AND STRONGER.
wolffclinic.dk - Musculoskeletal health.
wolffseminars.com - Seminars for chiropractors, physiotherapists and osteopaths.
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Health, Happiness and Strength