Monthly Archives: June 2016
Monthly Archives: June 2016
Diane has an incredibly inspiring story to share, including a new method of goal setting that can help all of us. Diane was born with an eye condition that caused deterioration of the retina. This condition caused her to be qualified as legally blind by age 10. She eventually lost all of her sight at some point between the ages of 30 and 35. However, that has not slowed her down. Today, Diane competes in triathlons and Iron Man competitions. Diane’s motto has always been that if she could find a way to do something, there was no reason not to do it.
Although she was blind, Diane engaged in activities such as tandem skydiving, driving a racecar, and repelling down the side of a 29-story building. When she was 47, a friend suggested that she try a triathlon. She immediately signed up for an Olympic-distance triathlon and has been participating in races ever since.
In addition to her great physical accomplishments, Diane has a great view on goal setting. In fact, she has always objected to the notion that she has vision loss. Thought she has lost her physical ability to see, she still has vision for who and what she can be and what she can achieve. Diane does not allow herself to set limits on what she can do. She always looks at SMART goals and says that often times, you won’t know if a goal is attainable or realistic until you try it. She recommends setting an initial goal that you want to achieve and making this goal number two. Then set another goal that is higher than what you originally thought possible. This is goal number one. Then, if everything is going against you, set a lower goal which would be goal number three. Diane says to aim for goal one, be happy with goal two, and be OK with goal three.
Diane believes that you have more in you than you think. Goal setting is the way to realize what you can achieve. To learn more or contact Diane, go to https://blindironvision.com/.
If you’ve been with a fitness routine for a while, you know it’s easy to get bored or possibly even plateau in your progress. To change things up, incorporate these five uncommon exercises into your program.
The first is the bear crawl, which helps to build strength and mobility. You will squat down and lift your butt up slightly so you’re essentially walking like a bear. Walk this way for about 20 yards and then return.
The second is the duck walk, which works on the mobility of your legs and endurance. You will squat down with your butt down, getting as low as possible. Then you will basically duck-walk forward for about 20 yards and then return.
The third is the wall sit. This exercise works on the strength in front of your legs. You will put your back against a wall, with your feet placed about a foot and a half away from the wall. You will then squat as though you are sitting on a chair and hold the position.
The fourth is mountain climbing. This helps to work your endurance. You will get on your hands and knees in a push-up position. You will then move one knee up toward your chest, and then alternate by moving the opposite knee forward. Do 20 to 60 repetitions of this exercise.
The final exercise is the Turkish Get Up. This builds strength in your core area and balance. It involves a five-step movement with a three to five-pound weight. You begin laying flat on the floor with the weight above your head, then move to sitting up, followed by a bridge position, then into a one-knee kneeled position, finally moving into a lunge step up into a standing position. The movement is then reversed. Five to 10 repetitions on each side is appropriate for this exercise.
A more detailed mini-course which will demonstrate these uncommon exercises in greater detail is available at older.fitness/uncommon. Be sure to check this out to get a real view of how to do these exercises.
Dr. Victor Strecher is a professor and director for innovation and social entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and is the author of Life on Purpose.
Dr. Strecher explains that purpose is a concept that has existed for thousands of years. The concept was actually refined by Aristotle 2400 years ago, when he conveyed that alignment with one’s true inner self gives deeper happiness. In last 10 years, there has been great research around this. Studies have shown that those with a strong purpose in their lives are less likely to develop a heart attack, stroke, or Alzheimer’s. They are also likely to live longer.
To find one’s purpose, Dr. Strecher explains there are six steps:
Purpose takes more energy and willpower every day. To allow yourself more of this energy and willpower, Dr. Strecher explains we need more SPACE, or sleep, presence, activity, creativity, and eating. Maintaining a level of glucose will help with this. Love and kindness meditation may also help to give greater purpose and transcend your own ego and defensiveness.
Dr. Strecher’s book, Life on Purpose, is now available for purpose through Amazon or independent bookstores. Dr. Strecher also created a free On Purpose app, where you can get instructions on how to live in alignment with greater purpose. You can find the On Purpose app here.
You may have heard of the 80/20 rule. But do you know what it is and if it would be a good fit for you? The 80/20 rule applies to the food you eat, and it basically states that you will eat well 80% of the time and have cheat meals for the remaining 20%. The rule recognizes that you can’t be on 100% of the time and so it allows a bit of opportunity for some balance.
Interestingly enough, the 80/20 rule concept originated with the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle is actually a business principle that explained that 80% of a company’s revenue is generated from 20% of its customers.
Many people seem to think the 80/20 rule is a good fit for their dieting strategy. However, quantification is an issue. There is no quantification to show that the approach is actually effective. There would be no way to know you are actually eating poorly only 20% of the time, unless you are physically tracking each and every calorie consumed. Self-estimation tends to be off. The only certainty is that you know you’re not at 100%.
However, this 80/20 approach can have its place in maintenance. If you’ve already reached a goal and are simply maintaining progress, this may be the right fit. On the other hand, if you’re starting a new healthy lifestyle, you need to be committed 100% of the time to ensure you stay on the right track.
If your program is very intense, the 100% concept may not work for you. Ultimately, you need to find the right kind of plan that you can sustain for an extended period of time to help get you to your goal. If it matters to you, you’ll give 100%. Start with your “why,” and then set SMART goals to get you to where you want to be.
Don’t think of the 80/20 rule as an excuse to fail. Leave it for the maintenance portion of your health journey. If you’re just starting out, give it 100% effort and set yourself up for success.
Dr. Christina Hibbert is a clinical psychologist, former fitness instructor, dynamic speaker, and author of 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise.
Dr. Hibbert explains that 1 in 4 American adults experience mental illness in any given year. Mental illness will affect most of us at some point in our lives and it becomes more likely as we age. This is largely because there are three components to mental health, including life experiences, brain chemistry, and physiological states including hormones. Any trauma, heartache, or loss can impact and change our brain. Over time, these brain changes are coupled with other chemistry or hormonal changes, which can then build up and cause mental distress or a disorder of some sort.
To make a change, there must first be an emotional and mental preparation. This will allow you to have commitment at a deeper level. This can involve what Dr. Hibbert describes as a pyramid of self-worth, where one works through the stages of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love. Once this has been done, one can take action and incorporate exercise into their routine.
Exercise is so helpful with mental health for a few reasons. Endorphins are chemicals that are released as a result of exercise, which makes the body feel good. Studies have also shown that exercise can increase neurotransmitters in the brain which can lessen the likelihood of anxiety or depression. Exercise also has anti-inflammatory benefits.
The key is to realizing that lasting change does not occur with the simple flip of a switch. It is more like a staircase that you constantly ascend and descend. You have to be willing to take all steps necessary to make change that lasts. You won’t fail unless you completely quit. To connect with Dr. Christina Hibbert or to learn more about mental health through exercise, visit
There are a lot of great health and fitness podcasts, but there are several that really stand out from the crowd. All of these podcasts have a different perspective and fresh content that really makes you think.
The first is The Plant Trainers, who were also highlighted in Episode 63. This podcast focuses on plant-based eating and incorporates personal and nutritional training topics.
Another great podcast is Open Sky Fitness with Rob and Devon. This one is particularly interesting because there are a lot of parallels between Rob’s outlook and opinions and those shared here on 40+ Fitness. This podcast is another one that has many really fascinating guests.
The third podcast to share is Barbells and Bone Broth, featuring Kelsey and JVB. This podcast demonstrates a unique perspective, as it consists of two women discussing health, fitness, and nutrition topics. They are not shy about their opinions and have no trouble diving deep into topics like lifting and moving.
Nutritionfacts.org is another great podcast. This video podcast is created by Dr. Michael Greger, who has been featured on this podcast several times. These are small episodes packed with great information focused around the topic of a plant-based diet. This is certainly one of the best nutritional podcasts.
Logical Weight Loss is another unique perspective podcast. Creator Dave Jackson is not a trainer or doctor, but simply a normal guy. He conveys the perspective of the every man regarding health and fitness. He recognizes that he doesn’t have all the answers and is not afraid to share his journey with all his listeners.
Finally, Ben Greenfield Fitness is another great podcast, led by stellar athlete and bodybuilder Ben Greenfield. This podcast introduces many cutting edge topics such as biohacking and essential oils. Fascinating guests are also a staple of this podcast.
To grow in your health and fitness, you must keep learning new information to apply in your everyday life. Listen to a few of these great health and fitness podcasts and see what else you can learn today!
Approaching a new gym can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the gym scene. However, if you have a basic knowledge of gym etiquette, you can feel more comfortable about getting started and becoming a good gym citizen.
First, it’s important to think about the gym and its equipment as your rented space. Everyone within the gym is sharing both the space and equipment, so it’s important to refrain from viewing a machine as “yours” or spending an inordinate amount of time with one machine. Be cognizant of others who may want a turn using the weights or machine you are using. Consider moving through various machines to free them up for others.
Another important concept is allowing others their space. This includes not staring at others who are working out. Recognize that there is a difference between surveying the landscape and getting a good feel for who is in the gym and simply staring at others. This can make everyone uncomfortable. Focus on what you are doing. Try not to select a machine that is immediately next to another person when there are others available that provide more of a buffer.
Ensure that you are wearing proper gym attire. If you’re going to a new gym, check in advance with gym staff if they have any restrictions on attire. If you need a spot, feel free to ask someone nearby and similarly, help someone out if they need assistance. When you’re done using a machine, you must wipe it down. During cold and flu season, you may want to wipe the machine before and after use. In fact, if you are sick, you should avoid the gym entirely. Prior to using the machine, check it quickly and make sure there are no issues. This will help to avoid injury and assist gym staff. When using free weights, try not to drop them and always rerack the weights when you’re finished.
Be a good gym citizen and follow these tips. This will help to make the gym a more fun, safe place for everyone.
Dr. Gary Small is a professor of psychiatry and the director of the UCLA Longevity Center. He is one of the leading innovators in science and technology. He has written six books, including 2 Weeks to a Younger Brain.
Dr. Small explains that an older brain doesn’t work as fast and usually doesn’t remember as well as a younger brain. Though we really can’t see brain aging, there is much we can do to compensate for memory decline and improve brain health as we age. One technique involves engaging in mental pursuits that challenge you, but are not too overwhelming, nor too easy. Additionally, engaging in more physical exercise can reduce your brain’s susceptibility of Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you’re having memory struggles, you need to adopt a method that is easy to remember. Dr. Small talks about focus and frame. The focus is a reminder that we need to pay attention. The frame involves building a framework around the information to make it meaningful, thus making it easier to remember.
Dr. Small also notes that excess weight will impact one’s cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that middle-aged, obese adults have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Inflammation associated with weight gain can lead to inflammation in the brain, which can have an impact on memory. When we lose weight, we can actually experience an improvement in memory performance.
Exercise can not only help you to lose weight, but it enables the heart to pump more oxygen to the brain cells. The body also produces endorphins which can lift your mood. Strength training can provide additional cognitive benefits. Stress, food, and relationships are other factors that should be addressed to improve brain health.
In 2 Weeks to a Younger Brain, Dr. Small includes a two-week program to help you develop a younger brain. One such activity is playing Sudoku, or even creating a Sudoku puzzle if you find doing the puzzles to be too easy of a task. To connect with Dr. Gary Small, visit http://www.drgarysmall.com/.
In this episode, we talk with Eric Langshur and Nate Klemp about their new book, Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing.
Eric Langshur, a seasoned corporate executive and entrepreneur, is the founder of Abundant Venture Partners. Years of research into the intersection of philosophy and neuroscience have established him as a thought leader in optimizing wellbeing.
Nate Klemp, PhD, is a Stanford-Harvard-Princeton trained former philosophy professor and an expert in understanding how the tools of ancient and modern wisdom can be used to improve individual wellbeing. They have founded Life Cross Training together to foster a greater sense of wellbeing at work, home, and in all areas of life.
We’ve heard of cross training in fitness, such as sprinting for cardiovascular conditioning, and weight training for strength. Eric and Nate believe that just like in fitness and popular physical fitness training programs, they believe that you can cross train for the skill of wellbeing.
Eric and Nate discuss the guiding theme of the book is that wellbeing is a skill that can be trained. The science community has taught us that the brain does not have a fixed number of neurons, but that our brains can change and we can use our minds and certain sets of practices to change our experiences at life and at being alive. They structure the book with a structure of recommended practices for well-being. We also discuss how good practices lead to good habits and the benefits of meditation. Exercise is also discussed and its benefits on emotional as well as physical well-being.
Start Here: Master the Lifelong Habit of Wellbeing is a thought provoking book that is well researched and scientific, yet it is also filled with simple and basic guidance for taking care of both our physical and mental well-being. Additional information, including a training course, can be found at starthere.life.
Today we talk to Dr. Joel Fuhrman about his philosophy of the nutritarian diet and his new book, The End of Heart Disease: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Dr. Fuhrman is a Board-certified family physician with over 25 years experience in nutritional medicine. Through his medical practice, as well as his New York Times best-selling books and PBS specials, Dr. Fuhrman has helped thousands of people lose weight permanently and reverse chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and chronic pain syndromes, including migraines, using a nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style that he calls the Nutritarian diet.
Grounded in the latest scientific research as well as his years of clinical experience treating heart disease, Dr. Fuhrman’s book outlines a plan that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduces your weight, heals obstructive coronary artery disease, and can even eradicate advanced heart disease. His philosophy is that all of this can be corrected without the prescription pad, as Dr. Fuhrman believes the most powerful drug on the planet is food.
According to Dr. Fuhrman, while heart disease and strokes are the leading cause of death in the United States, most heart disease-related deaths are preventable with diet and nutrition. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe a diet that is nutrient-dense and plant-rich, and includes anti-cancer superfoods, which also facilitate weight loss. These foods supply both the right amount of macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) and the vital micronutrients (vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals) that unleash the body’s incredible power to heal itself and slow the aging process, giving the body renewed vitality.
Dr. Fuhrman is also the author of other NY Times best-selling books, Eat to Live, Super Immunity, The End of Diabetes, The Eat to Live Cookbook, and The End of Dieting. Additional information about the nutritarian diet and Dr. Fuhrman can be found on his website (https://www.drfuhrman.com).
Is it true that there is a correlation between grip strength and longevity? Could the quality of a handshake really tell more about how long one will live? Actually, an April 2007 study in the American Journal of Medicine examined this very idea. Among men and women ages 45 to 75, there was in fact a correlation between a weaker grip strength and a higher likelihood of passing away.
Perhaps grip strength is a proxy for overall body strength. After age 35, the body reduces its muscle mass through natural processes. It can become difficult to open jars or hold onto things when they’re heavy. This is why it’s so important to continue building your strength, including grip strength, as you age.
One technique is to use strength gripping tools designed specifically to help your grip strength. This is especially great to consider if you sit at a desk all day or if you don’t have access to a gym. If you use the bars at the gym, you can opt to wrap a towel around the bar to make it bigger, thus requiring a larger grip and building better grip strength. You can also purchase actual grips that can be placed around the bar, instead of using a towel.
Other exercises or techniques can be incorporated such as basic compound carries, dead lifts, hanging from a bar, and a farmer’s carry. These will not only improve grip strength, but work to increase your overall body strength as well.
A handshake can be very telling, as it is a window into one’s level of grip strength. Grip strength may even become a limiting factor in the ability to get stronger, if the grip gives out before the larger muscles. Improving grip strength will not only help you build overall strength, but it may even help you live longer.
Shawn Stevenson is the creator of The Model Health Show, the number one fitness and nutrition podcast on iTunes. He also founded the Advanced Integrated Health Alliance and is the author of Sleep Smarter.
In his early 20s, Shawn was diagnosed with degenerative disc and bone disease. At age 20, he had the spine of an 80 year-old person and couldn’t change positions in his sleep without waking up. This had a critical impact on the quality of sleep he was getting. He made a decision to take action and was able to completely regenerate the tissues in his spine. As a result, he began working with thousands of others in similar situations through his clinic.
However, some patients were not seeing results. Once Shawn quizzed those patients about their sleep patterns, he wondered if there might be a connection. Shawn helped these clients employ proven strategies to improve their sleep, and interestingly enough, they began seeing positive results in their health.
Shawn explains that sleep is very important to our overall health, noting that sleep deprivation is one of the biggest factors that can reduce our lifespan. Additionally, taking 20 Ambien pills per year doubles one’s risk of dying early. While the true impact will be different from person to person, everyone can use documented, natural methods to improve sleep. Medication should be used only where deemed extremely necessary.
One factor that can be detrimental to sound sleep is inner chatter. While the bed should be a place of calm and relaxation, often times the brain is hyperactive at night. This can make it difficult to go to bed early. The key is to train your brain to calm down, which is typically achieved through meditation. An effective treatment for insomnia, meditation enables you to channel your focus. Incorporating deep breathing exercises can also help you feel more at peace and more present.
Sleep Smarter contains 21 sleep strategies and 14-day makeover plan—everything you need to reboot your sleep. To connect with Shawn Stevenson directly or to get the book, visit www.sleepsmarterbook.com or http://www.themodelhealthshow.com/.
Dr. Cris Beer studies biomedical science and integrative medicine. She is a health consultant for the Biggest Loser retreat, a personal trainer, and the author of Healthy Habits.
Dr. Beer explains that we are creatures of habit, and that what we practice most will become a habit. Some of these habits enter our lives by chance, but then with repetition they are incorporated into our lifestyles. When this repetition occurs consistently, new pathways are formed within the brain that makes this new habit a sort of automated process. Typically, it takes 21 to 40 days to form a new habit.
One of the ways to help form a habit is through positive association. If the act is making you feel good, you will want to keep doing it. Another factor is ensuring that the act is achievable. This will help to set you up for success. Similarly, to avoid certain habits, make them inaccessible. Accountability is another important factor in building habits. It is helpful to have someone or something to hold you accountable. This will prevent you from talking yourself out of doing what you have committed to doing.
Dr. Beer also shared the top five habits to incorporate in order to make a big difference to one’s overall health in a short period of time.
The first is to avoid a shrinking brain by avoiding caffeine and alcohol, as these can dehydrate you and cause anxiety. Alcohol in particular is a sugar that can impact your overall health as well. The second habit is to sleep well consistently, ideally getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Additional habits include eliminating toxic stress, balancing your blood sugar, and learning to breathe properly.
By adopting these healthy habits, you can truly take control of your health and see real change in your life. For more information on Healthy Habits or to contact Dr. Cris Beer directly, visit www.drcris.com.au.