Today’s wisdom is about the wisdom of living healthy. There is so much hype surrounding supplements, exercise routines, and what to take, and how much exercise and what type of exercise to do. Let me simplify health advice for you:
- Drink water
- Exercise daily
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat enough food
How much water? 8 glasses a day (I try to drink a gallon, but rarely make it)
How much exercise? 30 minutes a day comprising cardio and strength
Sleep? 7-8 hours or more if you can pull it off
Eat enough food? At least 3 meals a day with a mix of carbs (fruits, grains, vegetables), protein(beef, pork, chicken, fish, tofu, vegetables), and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds)
Meditate (10-20 minutes each day)
These things are addressed in hundreds of articles every week. The challenge is discerning what is true and not. I’ve read articles about eggs being bad for you, only to be contradicted a week later. I’ve read articles about red meat being bad for you, only to be contradicted a week later. I’ve read articles about which exercises are the best and worst, how long a person should work out, and on and on and on.
Avoid reading articles about food and nutrition that are not well-cited and supported by serious research. Avoid articles by people who are selling you something or are represented by constituencies like the dairy or sugar lobbies, you’re just asking to be lied to.
After 3-4 years of reading and researching about various aspects of health, I can tell you that 90% of what you read on the web that is not from a trusted authority like the Mayo clinic, are absolute bullshit. Listen to your own body. Pay attention. What benefit does the information do for the author. Does it spur you to buy their product? Does it motivate you to buy a certain type of food? Buyer beware.
I used to love Squats and Deadlifts. After back surgery in 2003, those are both a no-go for me. You can still get the same benefit from other exercises. I’m not a big fan of cardio, but it’s necessary to keep your blood pressure and circulatory system healthy. I love strength training and this is also a necessary component of any exercise program.
If you can’t afford a gym, you can use bodyweight exercises and get yourself an inexpensive bench and some dumbbells. You could also get exercise bands. Anything that provides your muscles resistance will work. Your body is stupid. It doesn’t know whether you are using a commercial-grade piece of equipment or a dumbbell set in your garage or basement. The same goes for cardio. You can get a good workout on an elliptical, cycle, treadmill, or stair-stepper. You can also get the same workout with a walk or jog around the block in your neighborhood. Heck, you can even buy yourself a bicycle or get yourself some hiking boots and hit the trails.
I have always liked Occam’s Razor. I’ll paraphrase. Occam posited that the simplest solution to a problem was one that required the least amount of assumptions. Drink water, get enough sleep, eat enough healthy food, exercise your body, and reduce your stress through meditation. You do these things, and you’ll be better off.
Why does a country as rich as the United States have an obesity problem? We eat too much easy-to-make (processed) food; we don’t get enough sleep; we don’t meditate; we don’t drink enough water, and we don’t exercise and move around. We sit in front of a computer all weekend, sit in front of a computer at work, and our bodies pay the price.
If you want to gain weight, eat more. If you want to lose weight, eat less. I used to be really worried about weight and all the rest. I don’t anymore. I worry about being healthy. I worry about being able to take care of myself and have a decent quality of life as I approach my senior years. I worry about keeping my brain healthy and maintaining my ability to think and learn throughout life. All these things are possible if you take care of yourself consistently. You can’t cram for a health exam. Health is consistency. If you want to feel good consistently, you have to work on your health consistently.
I hope this helps some of you avoid all the things I didn’t. Ignore diet hype. Ignore exercise hype. Ignore supplement hype. Most of it involves you parting with your money for something that most health organizations cannot verify. Some of these companies are even scummy enough to use questionable ingredients that could put your health at risk.
When you read anything online, consider the source and their motivation. In most cases, you’ll find it is about gaining followers for their newsletter, getting your hard-earned money for one of their unverified claims, or convincing you to pay a subscription fee for one of their apps. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against someone making a living. What I am advocating is to let someone else support that person’s living. You stick with the basics I’ve presented here. There is no diet, magic pill, magic supplement, or food that will achieve your health. It is a combination of water, sleep, healthy food, consistent exercise, and meditation. Nothing more, nothing less.
Have a great Wednesday, folks!
Until next time…