Dr. Mark Hyman’s Secret to Long Life: Stress that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

The popular morning cold plunge, which releases dopamine and adrenaline, may also have longevity benefits as a hormetic activity. Getty

What doesn’t kill you may not only make you stronger, but also help you live longer.

For aging and longevity expert Dr. Mark Hyman, stressing the body and brain is critical to lengthening the span of health, or the number of healthy years lived without disease.

One of the things that really helps us is adversity, Hyman says Fortuneadding that stress that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Hyman, 63, founder and senior consultant of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and author of Young Forever: The Secrets to Living Your Longest, Healthiest Life, he has researched wellness practices and aging from an ironically young age. Before becoming a doctor, he taught yoga, interested in how to maintain healthy eating, exercise and mindfulness.

While Hyman thrives on his strength-training regimen and nutritious diet, he also practices body stress, a lesser-known but equally essential feature of healthy aging.

About 3,000 of our 20,000 genes are focused on helping keep us alive in adverse situations, she says, noting that people often don’t use them out of choice. We have our own built-in regenerative renewal repair system. I call them the switches of longevity, and they are activated by adversity.

Hormesis is the body’s biological response to brief, healthy stress. The process activates pathways that can benefit and slow the aging process by clearing out old cells and reducing inflammation, says Hyman. In short, the body builds resilience and short-term stress leads to long-term strength.

Luckily for us, simple hormesis-based daily activities are available.

Here are Hyman’s three most popular stress-relieving activities for a longer, healthier life:

1. Exercise

Next time you’re at the gym and feeling the short-term stress of a HITT workout or weight lifting session, remember hormesis. Exercise is a type of hormesis because it takes short-term pain to have long-term biological gain.

In addition to improving mental clarity and reducing the risk of heart disease more common with aging, exercise can help build the body’s resilience to aging. Any type of exercise, from a 30-minute brisk walk to a strength-training session, can make a difference.

Hyman touts his 30-minute strength-training routine, which includes bodyweight sessions and resistance bands for muscle strength, mobility, and balance; Research suggests that resistance bands can reduce frailty in older adults.

Hyman also loves mountain biking as a form of exercise and says the key is to find something you enjoy and can do repeatedly. National guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity workouts and two days of strength training per week.

@drmarkhyman

What doesn’t kill you makes you strong is the central idea of ‚Äč‚Äčaging. For example, when you do resistance training by lifting heavy weights and inflicting damage on your muscles, your body responds by repairing the damaged fibers, thus creating bigger and stronger muscles. This is called hormesis, a phenomenon that demonstrates the beneficial effects of low-level stressors. In this episode, I dive into why hormesis is so essential to longevity and the many health benefits we get from resistance training. You can find the full episode on The Doctors Pharmacy. #drmarkhyman #muscle #protein #resistancetraining

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2. Fast

Research suggests that intermittent fasting may fight age-related processes by reducing inflammation, increasing insulin sensitivity and improving metabolism.

Hyman fasts overnight for 12 to 16 hours, another form of hormesis that stresses the body by breaking down cells and ridding the body of damaged proteins. Also, nighttime meals, which interfere with the completion of an overnight fast, can impact the body’s ability to store and burn calories.

After fasting overnight, Hyman eats a nutritious breakfast high in protein to repair and build muscle (this also helps fight age-related muscle loss).

3. Hot versus cold

Hyman jumps under a cold shower for two minutes every morning. The popular morning cold plunge, which releases dopamine and adrenaline, may also have longevity benefits as a hormetic activity. The immediate stress effect gives the body delayed gratification and can improve mental clarity in the long run.

Total body immersion in cold water between 40 and 60 degrees for one to three to five minutes can profoundly affect your health in a positive way by improving your metabolism, improving your mood, reducing pain, [and] inflammation, says Hyman.

@drmarkhyman

I’m a big fan of cold therapy because of its many health benefits. Scientists have found evidence that exposure to cold speeds up metabolism and reduces inflammation, swelling and muscle pain. It’s also linked to better quality sleep, improved concentration, and even improved immune response. You can take an ice dip, swim in cold water, or even just a cold shower. Find the full episode on The Doctors Pharmacy. #markhyman #longevity #aging #youngforever #hormesis #coldtherapy

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Cold-water dips are still being studied, but the research is promising. However, the American Heart Association says people with underlying heart conditions need to be careful and talk to a doctor beforehand.

Significant temperature swings in either direction can activate longevity pathways, even a hot bath or sauna. Stepping into a 170-degree sauna four or five times a week for 30 minutes can have tremendous benefits, says Hyman.

You’ll end up getting more heat shock protein that cleans out any damaged proteins and boosts your immune system and boosts your cardiovascular health, she says.

In addition to these stress-related longevity hacks, Hyman also has an oxygen deprivation mask that he sometimes uses during exercise to put him into a temporary state of stress.

We have the power within us to flip our longevity switches and turn back the biological clock. We just have to follow the basic principles of human biology to do that, Hyman says.

#Mark #Hymans #Secret #Long #Life #Stress #doesnt #kill #stronger
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