One of my personal questions is: if we could more accurately measure how our choices impact our health, would we change behaviours? If we knew specifically that what we were eating or snacking on was improving, or worsening, our immune system, accelerating the aging process, or increasing our risk of dementia, would we make different food choices?
If we knew that a certain dose of exercise doubled our mitochondria, improved heart function and improved endurance, while it also improved anxiety and depression, would we make that dose of exercise a priority?
If we knew that only getting 5 hours of sleep worsened cardiac function, lessened cognitive function, and increased our risk of dementia, would we get to bed earlier or learn meditation to ensure quality sleep?
If chronic stress was measurable and we could gauge the negative changes in our T cell (immune cell) function, would we seek out ways to lower stress to improve this immune function?
I am intrigued by the ‘citizen scientists’ out there who use themselves (with testing) and closely monitor the impact of food, exercise and sleep on their health. Some use Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices such as the Freestyle Libre or De xcom to see the impact of various foods on their blood sugars. (They know that fluctuations are not good and wide fluctuations with high carb foods negatively impact health).
Some will track their heart rate, heart rate variability (a better measure of heart health), get MaxVo2 testing, occasionally muscle biopsies to look a mitochondrial function and number to better understand the impact of various types of exercise on their well-being.
Some may use an Oura ring to try to see if they are getting good quality sleep.
All to say, they do this to get more specific feedback in looking for optimal health, and more importantly, for longevity and health span.
Is any of this important? I believe so. Mainly because I, and many of you, try to eat as best we can with some exceptions, we exercise if possible but don’t necessarily research what is best for individual health and longevity, we don’t always pay attention to our sleep patterns and don’t actively work on decreasing chronic stress. For feedback on our health, we check the scale and that is it!
Spend some time listening to or reading about longevity. (Dr. Peter Attia; Dr. Sachin Panda; Dr. V. Longo; Dr. D. Sinclair). We need to really understand and change negative habits that could lead to chronic disease.
Read a book that could help inspire you to understand health markers on a deeper level. Here are some examples: Eat rich, Live long by Ivor Cummins; The P-E diet by Dr. Ted Naimen; or a new book, Why we get Sick by Dr. Ben Birman.
My major point is this: what we eat, how we exercise, our sleep and our stress all impact much more than the scale or how well our clothes fit. Consider certain habit changes (i.e. lower carb intake, regular exercise, quality sleep and lowering stress), and think about how each of these elements is an investment into a healthier future, free of metabolic disease and with lower risk of viral illnesses.
Healthy habits today impact on how you feel tomorrow! Any small change will compound over time; try making one small, positive change today and keep focused on how that could positively impact your future health.
You can always re-set your health at any moment by making a healthier choice. Believe that you can and will change your future with the choices you make today. You can do it. Never give up!