I’ve read a number of posts on social media that describe being in shape in middle age as its own status symbol. All this time I thought people were paying attention to me because I’m so interesting, but really it’s just because of my broad shoulders. The entry point I’ve been seeing is 35 years old, which seems absurd to me. Are people really throwing in the towel in their mid-30s? In any event, as I pass through my late 40s I’m delighted to poast fizeek whenever necessary.
What surprises me about people giving up is that achieving metabolic health, even building tone, is so straightforward. The hardest part is just finding the time, more than making the effort.
If I had to prioritize the building blocks of overall health, to start somewhere, I’d do it in this order:
1) Sleep: The foundation for everything else.
2) Sunlight: Frequent exposure to the giant yellow energy source that every living thing has evolved with for 4 billion years. Optimizing your light environment includes controlling blue light exposure at night to stabilize circadian rhythms. I’d install candle holders on every wall in my house, and use only flickering flames after sundown, if my wife would let me.
3) Nutrition: This category includes intermittent fasting, cutting sugar/seed oils/grains, and taking supplements that make sense (magnesium!).
I’d add that it’s hard to overstate the damage sugar causes to every system in the body. Two at-random bad things about sugar I’ve come across recently:
- Sugar interferes with the way ferritin stores iron in your body. Sugar causes ferritin to release the free iron it was holding, which is toxic to cells and a catalyst for the formation of free radicals.
- Sugar breaks down collagen, leading to less attractive skin, and weaker bones and connective tissue.
4) Exercise comes last after the first three elements are in place. Even a little exercise goes a long way — 10 minutes of high intensity intervals, or 30 minutes of walking.
How does this look for me personally? Yesterday, I had an hour free to either lay in the sun or go to the gym. I chose to grab a beach towel, look up at a magnificent blue sky, and enjoy the feeling of spring sun warming my skin.