This is the third in our anti-aging article series.
We’ve established a couple of things so far in this series:
- Aging is not a disease.
- Hormone output declines naturally as we age because that’s what nature does. Not because there’s a problem.
If you don’t feel well, of course taking thyroid or testosterone or some other hormone will potentially help you for a while. Hormones are the most powerful substances the body makes and, as a result, their effects are not only immediate and direct, they are also widespread and affect mood, energy levels, mental function, sleep, and pretty much everything else.
As outlined in my previous article, the problem with taking hormones is that you can build up tolerance, meaning that it takes more and more of the hormone to keep you feeling the same. And… the glands that make the hormone essentially shut down (or at the very least dramatically reduce their output of the hormone).
Ever-increasing doses of hormones and shrinking glands are something I’d personally like to avoid, if at all possible. If you’re with me, then I’ve got a few things that will help you do just that.
If you’ve read more than one of the articles here in the Academy, you know that I’m a huge believer in, fan of, and advocate for your body’s innate healing intelligence. Whereas you may hear from other quarters that as we age our bodies “break down”, I beg to differ. I feel that, properly cared for, your body will age gracefully, even beautifully.
The aging process is not a defect. It’s part of nature’s amazing blueprint that, when supported, always yields clarity, purpose, strength, and resilience.
What I’m going to share with you now is my “Big Five” anti-aging secrets. They’re not really “secrets”… They’re more like common-sense measures, really.
Sadly, though, I find them all too rare in their application to modern life.
I’ve already elucidated the modern aging crisis — that in our time we are obsessed with the “shiny, new object” and have largely lost our reverence for experience, wisdom, and the archetypal sage that embodies these principles.
Are my tips going to “make you look ten years younger”? Mmmmm… Maybe. Each case is different.
But, this is not about a cosmetic, superficial anti-aging process.
This is about enabling you to DO YOUR WORK. To SERVE YOUR PURPOSE. To be strong, resilient, and… dare I say… TRULY HAPPY.
Am I saying people who take medications (including hormones) can’t be happy, too? Absolutely not.
What I am saying, however, is that happiness is born from inner strength, and inner strength has NOTHING to do with age or appearance.
And, while taking medications can help you create the conditions to cultivate your inner strength and purpose, medications simply cannot provide you this treasure in and of themselves.
OK, so let’s get to it.
Age-Defying Tip Number One – Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard. Be Gentle On Your Body.
This flies in the face of standard American philosophy. We should always go go go, right?
Feel tired? Work out harder…
Feel that time is catching up to you? Run faster.
But, the wise sage knows this is not how to age gracefully. In fact, it is a way to exponentially compound tissue damage and, in turn, accelerate the aging process.
Again, remember, this is our time for wisdom and giving back. The younger generation needs our guidance and support but not in a physical way. Even if they won’t listen to it, our wisdom is valuable at this stage of life. It is the most valuable thing we have.
So, our metabolism slows down and we become more cerebral. And, that slower metabolism also means longer time for recovery and healing.
I will stand and applaud anyone 50+ who runs marathons and triathlons and Iron Mans… It’s an amazing accomplishment.
But it comes at a price. The energy required to complete feats of long endurance — and the energy to make a full recovery — puts a tremendous strain on your healing system at this stage of life. At 21, Michael Jordan could sprain his ankle during a game, limp around for 5 minutes, then come back in the game and dunk on someone instantly. Same guy, at 40, has to retire if the ankle sprain is severe enough.
The only difference between 21 year-old and 40 year-old MJ? Diminished regenerative capacity, which depends heavily on growth hormone, metabolic state, and tissue integrity.
Exercise is absolutely necessary and I am not at all advocating against it. But, as we age, it is important to soften it, let it be gentle.
An easy way to think of this is, as we age, movement trumps intensity.
A daily 20-minute brisk walk, along with regular stretching, is all that is needed, honestly. Of course, Tai Chi, or Yoga, which are both low-impact and involve a lot of stretching, are also great forms of exercise.
Another trick: Instead of lifting weights or using equipment, use body resistance. It’s easy to use machines at a gym, but when you do isometric and body-weight exercises, you don’t get to cheat. You simply can’t do push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and squats effectively if you’re significantly overweight… So doing these will encourage you to keep your body mass in a healthy range.
If you must run marathons, finish triathlons, and be an “Iron Man (or Woman)”, then just understand that sooner or later there will be consequences in the form of joint damage, spinal disc injury, even cardiovascular problems (yes, I said it — excessive cardio as we age actually causes degenerative changes to the circulatory axis in our bodies).
Don’t let me discourage you from pushing the limits. Just know when your body’s had enough, it will make you stop one way or the other.
Age-Defying Tip Number Two – Kick the Caffeine and Push the H2O.
Caffeine is today’s most abused drug. And, YES, it’s a drug.
Want to understand what I’m talking about? Go park your car outside any coffee shop at 7am (you know those big-brand coffee shops that have popped up on just about every street corner). Just watch for about an hour.
I call it the modern methadone clinic. People lining up for their “fix”. It’s a habit, but it’s also an addiction.
Just calling a spade a spade.
Caffeine, in moderation, is not a big deal. One serving a day (about 80mg), is perfectly fine and our bodies aren’t so fragile they can’t handle that.
However, a “Tall” brewed coffee at Starbucks contains, on average, 260mg of caffeine. That’s two hundred and sixty — in one “regular” sized cup.
Let’s talk about how that causes accelerated aging. Because, well, it DOES.
Caffeine wakes you up by stimulating your body to secrete stress hormones. Those stress hormones do three main things that make you more alert and active:
- They raise your blood pressure by constricting your blood vessels and causing your heart to pump harder, which pushes more blood upward into your brain.
- They cause a rapid release of stored blood sugar, to give you more energy.
- They cause the release of stimulatory neurotransmitters that up-regulate your nervous system.
Read those three things again. Higher blood pressure, constricted arteries, blood sugar surge, and nervous system stimulation… Do those sound like things that, over time, are going to make you more healthy?
No. They don’t.
In fact, that ONE medium-sized Starbucks cup is like a double-dose of liquid stress. You might as well go out and find your nearest carjacker or jump into a lion cage. That’s what you’re doing to your biology.
Over time, the continual stimulation and sugar surges — and the constant push of your adrenal glands — depletes your body of critical minerals and other nutrients, and the insulin secreted to manage all that excessive blood sugar can have permanent degenerative effects on everything from fat cells to brain cells and even liver cells.
Add to this the fact that caffeine is a diuretic, significantly interrupts sleep, and causes a sugar “crash” — and you have the recipe for become a dried-up, exhausted addict. You age faster because you’re dehydrated, your cardiovascular and nervous systems enter a state of chronic depletion, and, well, you aren’t resting as well.
Add to this the moodiness that comes with dependence on caffeine and, well, it’s not a pretty picture.
Wow. That was dark. But, unfortunately, it’s true. And, I’ll go toe to toe with anyone who wants to debate me on the subject.
So, what’s the solution? Simple. Drink less caffeine, and drink more water.
That’s it. More H2O equals more energy, more efficient metabolism, healthy detoxification of tissues, healthy immune function, more mental acuity. The difference is that when you are hydrated vs. strung-out on caffeine, your body is producing the energy, the focus, the positive mood on its own, naturally, using its innate ability.
Have your caffeine in the morning – a regular, nice little cup of coffee or, even better yet, green tea which has been shown in study after study to actually have neuro- and cardio-protective effects.
Then, drink water. At least 3 liters for the rest of the day. That six 0.5L bottles. It’s not that hard, really. You can do it and, trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
Another benefit of water — it’s amazingly good for your skin. So, you’ll actually feel and LOOK better!
Age-Defying Tip Number Three – Breathe Deeply and Often.
Shallow, rapid breathing is another “silent aging accelerator” that you can very easily correct.
Our bodies depend heavily on oxygen (as if that isn’t the most obvious thing ever written). But, we rarely think of just how important oxygen is, and nobody really ever tells us or teaches us about proper breathing (unless you grew up with a Yoga teacher parent which, I’m assuming, is happening more often these days).
The oxygen in the air is a primary metabolic fuel. Without continual inflow of oxygen we die within minutes. That’s how critical it is.
Oxygen is also a cleanser. Our bodies, well-oxygenated, express enhanced, healthy detoxification. Several studies have demonstrated that ample oxygen supplies are critical for proper liver, kidney, and lymph function. Not to mention that some recent studies seem to suggest that a higher oxygen concentration helps the body fight cancer more effectively.
To breathe properly, it’s important to use your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing fills the whole lung with air, as opposed to the more common chest breathing which only fills the top parts. In addition, breathing with the diaphragm is a gentle, but profound massage for the abdominal organs including the liver and the digestive organs, even the ovaries and uterus. It helps gently squeeze them so they more easily expel old blood and bring in fresh blood and nutrients.
I call it “belly breathing”. And, it’s a vital practice for calming the nervous system AND oxygenating your tissues. A double anti-aging benefit!
Age-Defying Tip Number Four – Take Time for Daily Meditation.
Continually running around, trying to be “productive”, is another age-accelerator.
Something I’ve learned, and have put into practice, is that my value as a person is not defined by how much I’m doing or not doing. So many of us feel “guilty” for resting, as if we’re wasting time.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Ever seen a lion sleeping? It’s a beautiful sight. So majestic and natural.
Ever seen a lion walking fast? Nope. A lion walks slowly, conserving its energy until it needs to run to catch its prey.
This is how nature works. Efficient, simple, effective use of energy. Movement when you need it… Stillness when you don’t.
As humans, we were built for long walks, for adventure and expedition. We naturally build things, and continually seek out new horizons of self-expression. But, our value is not based on this.
Like the lion, we are majestic just being ourselves. There is no need to hurry, to prove anything, to continually busy ourselves with activities to feel worthwhile.
Meditation is one of the most powerful practices of rejuvenation there is. You sit, quietly. You allow stillness to take over. There is no need to go anywhere, do anything, or be anybody.
The moments you spend in meditation, you’re free. And, you’re NOT accumulating excess damage and stress. You’re actually REVERSING it.
Slowing down, being still, and devoting time to quiet solitude is one of the most recharging things you can do — and as you age this precious stillness and quiet becomes even more essential to support healing and rejuvenation. Do it, and do it daily.
Age-Defying Tip Number Five – Big Breakfast. Small Dinner.
Your body is literally a symphony of rhythms — heartbeat, breath, hormonal pulses, daily metabolic rhythms, seasonal and life-cycles.
I could write an entire book just on the various rhythms your body continually expresses, and not even scratch the surface.
One of the foundational rhythms that you can harness to slow down your aging process is your circadian — or daily 24-hour — biological clock. This daily ebb and flow of hormonal signals is what drives your metabolism, blood sugar levels, and other daily wake/sleep cycles.
Your metabolism is literally linked to the sun. When the sun is down, your body naturally wants to reduce it’s metabolic rate, cool down, and rest. This is an essential aspect of biological regulation that promotes not only alertness but deep tissue healing.
When the sun is rising, your metabolism is “coming online”, or “turning on”. It is an ideal time to eat a large meal because, as that fire grows in your belly, there will be food to feed it and keep it going through the day.
By eating a large breakfast, you’re ensuring that you won’t have the ups and downs in blood sugar that happen when you start the day off with nothing. By NOT eating in the morning, you’re essentially putting a massive burden on your adrenal glands and liver, among other systems, to keep your metabolism stable despite not having an external source of fuel.
But the important thing here is to eat the RIGHT KIND of breakfast. And, the standard diet of bread, cereal, juice, and milk isn’t going to cut it.
In fact, eating bread, drinking milk and eating fruit or drinking fruit juice first thing in the morning is a recipe for disaster. All of these foods are very high in simple sugars, and rapidly spike your blood sugar.
When your blood sugar spikes first thing in the morning, your body will spend the rest of the day trying to recover. It’s like dropping a big rock into a completely still pond. There’s a huge splash and big waves form, and it takes a good while before everything calms down again.
When your breakfast is high protein and high fiber, however, you are setting the stage for a very smooth and easy metabolic day. Your appetite will be more controlled. Your sugar cravings will be less or even completely absent. And, your energy levels and productivity will skyrocket.
Conversely, in the evening your metabolic system starts to wind down as it prepares to rest. This downward shift in metabolic temperature is triggered by the gradual darkening of the sky as the sun moves closer to the horizon and eventually sets.
When you eat a large, complex meal during this metabolic downshift phase, your body simply can’t process the food. It’s more difficult to break it down into micronutrients and absorb it efficiently. Additionally (cue the forboding music), if you’re at rest, your body will take EVERY OPPORTUNITY IT CAN TO STORE SUGARS AS FAT.
On top of this, the more your body is working to try and digest and metabolize all that food you ate at 8:30pm, the less it’s able to focus on restorative function.
In other words your body can’t fully heal while you sleep if it’s full of food.
Bottom line: Eating a big meal late at night is a sure-fire way to add stress to your body and dramatically increase your chances of gaining weight, even developing obesity — along with all the complications that brings.
What to do next…
First, read this article again. The second time you read it, you’ll understand it on a deeper level. It will also help the information sink deeper into your subconscious mind, which will make it more likely you’ll incorporate the changes.
Second, try one or two of the items above. Take a moment to meditate each day and drink more water. Or, do a deep breathing exercise daily and eat your big breakfast and small dinner. Take baby steps, and you’re more likely to succeed.
Third, leave comments below and let me know what you think! I’m always here to help!
Also, if you’re interested in working directly with us to implement what we call “REAL anti-aging medicine”, your first step is your free consultation.