We are the first species to “achieve” a state of continuous comfort and it is eroding our health in the process.
Charles Darwin’s research and groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species showed us that it is not the smartest or strongest that survive, it is those that can best adapt to challenging environments. What doesn’t kill us really does make us stronger!
Darwin’s conclusions and Dr. Saltzman’s new book Dancing with Darwin are based on hormesis, beneficial natural responses to appropriate physical or environmental challenges. Think ice bath and sauna!
It’s crucial to address foundational needs, injuries, pain states, and other health factors before turning attention to challenge therapies.
In this step, you’ll embrace hormesis and challenge your body with various therapies that include specialized exercise regimens, fasting challenges, temperature challenges, and more. Consult with your practitioner before undertaking any of these as many people need special preparation before being exposed to hormetic challenges. Remember, these therapies can be harmful if taken too far.
Action Steps and Therapies
Exercise influences the function of every system in the body: digestion, detox, mood, cognition, mental health, immune response, bone density, and circadian rhythms.
An typical cyclic exercise session rapidly and briefly gets your heart rate elevated into your maximum range. After a short 15-30 second interval, you sit down and focus on active recovery of your heart rate and breathing until they return to baseline levels. Repeat this cycle three to four times.
This short exercise regimen supports active recovery and helps optimize our stress response system.
Exercise-induced Growth Hormone Interval Training
This is an intense program that can release your body’s own natural growth hormone (GH), the only substance that can burn fat and build muscle naturally. It involves up to eight 30-second maximum intensity intervals, each followed by a 90 second recovery at 50% effort. This is an intense exercise program and may require months of preparation beforehand.
GH can remain elevated for hours after exercise, serving as a fat-burning and muscle-building catalyst. Light intensity workouts like walking or jogging will not prompt this release, no matter how long we try.
Learn more about how effective cyclic exercise can be in meeting your health goals.
Intermittent Fasting/Time-Restricted Eating
This is a hot topic but so many do not appreciate all that fasting can offer. The real goal is to get us to burn our body’s own stored fat. Learn how our circadian rhythms control much more than just our sleep wake cycle and the surprising implications of how and when we should exercise and eat.
Our bodies actually process sugar quite differently at different times of the day. The timing of when we eat matters as much as what and how much we eat. This plan, like any challenge therapy, works best when it is customized for you.
There is real science here that most of us do not know. There are actual biological differences between a wintertime “Polar Plunger” and someone who benefits from intelligent, controlled cold exposure. The benefits of cold are immense, from brown fat activation to improving blood sugar control, to transforming your stress response.
You should start slowly with a program that you can tolerate. Remember health is the ability to adapt to a wide array of physical and environmental challenges.
Learn about the power of combining cold exposure with unique breathing patterns to consciously influence your own immune and hormonal systems.