Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Category: Stress Management

How to Increase Your Heart Rate Variability

Last week, I introduced the concept of heart rate variability – the variation of heart beat to beat intervals. Far from the metronome we might assume it to be, the healthiest heart beat follows a fractal pattern, with varying lengths of time separating each pulse. A higher heart rate variability (HRV) suggests a relaxed, low-stress physiological milieu, while a lower HRV indicates a need for recovery, rest, and sleep. That’s why athletes use HRV monitoring to plan their workouts and rest periods, PR attempts and deload weeks: it eliminates the guesswork. Even if you’re not an athlete, the HRV is a strong diagnostic biomarker for general health and resiliency. Today, we’ll be exploring 16 ways to increase it.

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How to Deal with Health “Noise”

Among the most important truths I’ve come to believe over time is the need to be selective in life. Selective with relationships. Selective with experiences. Selective with purchases. Selective with information. Selective with messages (whether they come from outside sources or, on occasion, my own head). Like it or not, we have limited time and energy in a day – and in a life. While some people respond to this fact with frantic scurrying or a miserly parsing out of minutes, I’ve found the best approach for me is to winnow what I want or need to give attention to what’s most important. It’s part spirit of simplicity and part defense of sanity, particularly when you consider the deluge of bad news and marketing distraction that would snatch up every waking moment. Yet, it’s also more than that – Primally speaking. To maintain and enjoy my Primal lifestyle, I appreciate being able to live it with as much peace, space and clarity as I can. The more I can reduce the static – those extraneous and contradictory messages – regarding health matters, the more effortlessly and clearly I can tune into the programming I want to embrace in life. But what does that process look like, and how do I apply it? To be fair, what’s the difference between a selective and discerning perspective and just a closed mind? Let’s take this apart.

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16 Ways Green Space Improves Your Life

Most people like being surrounded by nature. Even if it’s just a walk through a suburban city park or puttering about in a backyard garden, we’re drawn to green spaces filled with grass, trees, and leafy vegetation. They make us feel better. But the way we describe the effects of green space is all very amorphous and abstract and general, isn’t it? We “feel good” sitting on the grass. “It’s nice” to take a walk along a forest path. The office “doesn’t feel right” without a potted plant on the desk. Those sorts of benefits are great on a subjective level for the people experiencing them, but they aren’t very persuasive to others. If you want your ambivalent spouse to help grow the big garden you’ve always wanted, or your skeptical friends to start going on hikes with you, more specific and measurable reasons might be just the ticket.

So let’s dig deeper. Let’s explore the specific ways in which green spaces improve our lives:

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Telecommuting: How and Why to Do It

Our jobs define us, for better or worse. When we’re out at a party and someone asks “What do you do?” we don’t talk about our love of Eastern European history or our kite-flying or the workout regimen we’ve recently put together. We talk about how we make money – our job, our work – probably because it’s only natural to focus on the activities that allow us to eat, have a roof over our heads, and stay relatively clothed. But it’s also because work is the single biggest time sucker in our lives. The average American adult with kids and a job spends nearly 9 hours per day engaged in work-related activities, more than time spent sleep, leisure, or eating.

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The High Cost of Commuting

Between gas, car maintenance, bus fare, and train tickets, commuting can get expensive. Driving a mile in the US costs around $0.55, according to the IRS, and some estimates (PDF) even peg this country’s working poor as spending close to 10% of their income on commuting. Financial experts suggest that a one way commute of 20 miles (which is roughly average) will cost you almost $50,000 every ten years. If you’re one of the 600,000 “mega-commuters” who travel at least 90 minutes each direction in the US, your costs skyrocket.

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Would Grok Work Overtime?

There’s that infamous question interviewers often ask job candidates to try to catch them off guard: “Name one of your negative qualities and talk about how it’s played out in the workplace.” Some people end up stunned by the question and stammer their way through some off-the-cuff remark they hope isn’t too fatal. Others, however, heard about some version of this question on LinkedIn or from their best friend’s girlfriend’s cousin down at 31 Flavors and spent days strategizing an answer: “Crap – what could I say that might satisfy the committee but not make me look bad?” I’d venture to say a sizable percentage of these folks settle on “confessing” their overcommitment to their jobs and a minor penchant to overwork. After all, what could be more endearing, right? What could make us look better in an interview or even a social venue than to come across as being diligent, virtuous and important enough to work as much as possible? (So says the dominant culture anyway.) We pay a price for this virtue, however. A recent survey suggests that more than half of us are stressed out over our work situations. Research demonstrates that Americans are working more hours than they have in decades since national statistics were regularly gathered. Likewise, we’re apparently working more than our counterparts in the rest of the industrialized world. (There’s a bummer of a fact for you.) If Grok were a fly on the wall…

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