Data is everywhere. The dawn of the Internet has afforded us fingertip access to information at lightning speed. In a split second the mass of data grows geometrically, but so does the interference, if you will. The Internet is a platform for millions of opinions, and there is no filter for the uninformed or ridiculous. So how does one parse the data? How does someone filter out the essentials from the background noise?
First of all, take a step backward, or maybe two, and default to the basics. Instead of being victimized by the online huckster peddling meritless advice, defer to that quantum computer resident between your ears. Rely on logic instead of emotion to guide your actions.
1. Make Health A Priority: This is your first step, without question. A healthy vision begets a healthy body. You must “see it” first. Don’t expect your doctor to do this for you. Take charge of your health.
2. Get Your Blood Work Done: Start gathering hard physiological data. Health is a function of one’s biochemistry. So why not take an internal snapshot of your biochemistry? A low-cost blood draw (such as that from discountedlabs.com) will afford you a bird’s-eye view of body inflammation, insulin sensitivity, vitamin, and hormonal levels. These are measurable numbers you can act upon.
3. Consult With A Progressive Physician: Guidance is critical. Seek out credentialed professionals with board certification in anti-aging medicine. Does your physician stay current with emerging research? Does he practice what he preaches? Hypocritical as it may be, there are both cardiac surgeons and pulmonologists who still smoke.
4. Strength Train: Iron is the most critical element in your quest for rejuvenation. Lean muscle mass (both its acquisition and its presence) exerts many health benefits. Unlike fat, muscle is metabolically active tissue and by virtue extracts glucose from the bloodstream, improving insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing one’s likelihood of diabetes. In physique-conscious athletes who eat mostly low-glycemic carbs, muscle utilizes fat as an energy source for ATP generation. You want to shed that spare time? Amass muscle. You want to stay mentally sharp? Same answer. All the information points to the same conclusion. Adopt any of the training programs published in Iron Man and make them yours.
5. Seek Professional Help: This goes for anything but is particularly important for those of us engaged in heavy strength training. If you want to progress like a pro, train like one. Shy away from peers who dream big but never deliver because of their flawed technique and the resulting injury. Instead, seek out instruction from a professional who will perfect your movement and, more importantly, keep you safe. And steer clear of the newbie diplomat with the weekend certification from the trendy proprietary training system.
6. Understand Insulin’s Role: What is the single proven life-extending modality in experimental animal models? Caloric restriction, known as CR. Potentially translatable to humans, the benefits of CR are purportedly derived from the low-insulin state in which these individuals exist. Believe it or not, the genes that get “switched on” in calorically depleted individuals are protective of the body and thought to confer longevity. We’re not suggesting that you adopt the CR lifestyle; we are, however, saying that low serum insulin levels are associated low bodily inflammation and a lesser incidence of age-related disease. Insulin levels are easy enough to check. It’s a simple lab test. Strive for low levels by maintaining reduced carbohydrate consumption, particularly if you are trying to shed fat. You may also consider checking hemoglobin A1c, or glycosylated hemoglobin, levels, as this is a direct measurement of long-term glucose control. Shoot for levels of five or less. Resveratrol, cinnamon, and chromium supplementation will assist in this regard.
7. Consider Carbohydrate Cycling And Intermittent Fasting: In the context of the above, consider these two strategies to maintain low body-fat levels, which reduce bodily inflammation, a catalyst for age-related disease. While schematically different, they exert their salubrious effects by favorably modulating insulin levels. If you haven’t done so thus far, in your mind start to equate lower bodily insulin levels with improved health and longevity.
8. Educate Yourself: This is critical. Expand your health-knowledge base. Do not rely on your physician in this regard. Read voraciously and come to your own individualized conclusions. And most importantly, ask questions. Consider it an investment in your future. Reading promotes neurogenesis, or the formation of new brain cells. Put simply, smart people read. Check out our books Get Serious and The Definitive Testosterone Replacement Therapy Manual for excellent resources that are relevant for health-minded individuals.
9. Sleep: Misunderstood for centuries, sleep remains the unknown frontier. And while its inner workings have remained elusive to human probing, sleep is the understated element of health. Consider for a second how we learned about the functionality of different brain regions. Wartime surgeons would witness an injury to a certain region of the brain and the resulting loss of a particular function: paralysis in the case of frontal lobe injury, or visual loss in the case of occipital lobe injury. The same goes for sleep, except its dysfunction has much more sinister implications. It’s like a bullet to the brain, albeit a much slower process. Lack of sleep predisposes one to a whole host of diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
10. Commit for Life: Don’t for a second think this is going to be easy. The health burden in this country wouldn’t be increasing if that were the case. But don’t be discouraged! A chronologically aging body is not necessarily a biologically aged one. You can stem the aging tide with knowledge, execution, and defiant conviction. IM