Tag: Aging

Our Primal Fear of Dying

Many, if not most of us, have experienced at least one moment when we truly thought we were going to die. Maybe it was a plane ride from hell. Or a seemingly final diagnosis. A grim combat situation – or many.? A frightening near miss on the highway. A serious assault. Even a childbirth gone suddenly and inexplicably awry. Whatever the event, the experience can set off everything from tearful surrender to abject terror. It begs the question: is there anything quite so Primal as the fear of death?

I occasionally get mail about the fear of death. I believe we all think about it – probably much more than we let on, and it doesn?t surprise me at all when people write about it. When you open the door to discussion of innate instinct, I think it?s a logical thought that comes up.

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Rajio Taiso: Why You Should Start Doing Light Morning Workouts

In the early 1920s, MetLife Insurance sponsored daily 15 minute calisthenics programs to be broadcast over the radio to American audiences in an effort to make them healthier and fitter. It didn’t catch on here, but visiting Japanese officials loved the idea enough to bring it back to Japan. To commemorate the coronation of Emperor Hirohito in 1928, Japanese public radio began daily broadcasts of rajio taiso, or “radio calisthenics.” Every morning Japanese citizens, young and old, would gather to perform a short circuit of dynamic stretches, joint mobility drills, and bodyweight exercises in time to broadcasted piano music. Participation has dropped off in recent years, but even today about 20% of the Japanese population (and three quarters of elementary school students) still does the daily routine, which has remained unchanged for almost a century.

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Dear Mark: Grains and Joints, Cardamom, and The Cause of Aging Muscle

For today’s Dear Mark, we’ve got a three-parter. First: a question about grains and joint health from a reader who gets achy and creaky every time she veers off schedule and eats grains. Is this common? Is it supported by any real evidence? Yes and yes. Next is a short overview of cardamom, that other Indian spice that you never hear much about. Turns out it’s got some potential. And finally, I (try to) assuage the existential fears of a young guy who will eventually be an old guy freaking out about the impending and inevitable loss and dearth of his muscle mass.

Let’s go:

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An Open Letter to Kids and Teens (and Infant Prodigies)

In light of the recent release of Paleo Girl – a new Primal book that helps teens navigate the crazy world of flawed dietary and fitness advice, and get a jump start on healthy living – I’m republishing this article I originally wrote and published in December 2011. If you want the next generation to grow up in a healthier world, share this article with your friends and family. Let’s give the young adults in our lives the knowledge they need to be successful!

Dear youngsters,

You’re going through some difficult times, no doubt. I’ve been in your shoes before. I’ve been a kid dealing with basically all the same stuff you have to contend with. I’ve been there.

Your hormones are probably (depending on age, gender, and exposure to attractive members of opposite/same sex) either raging, simmering, fomenting, budding, and/or swelling.

Your legs and arms may be growing at disproportionate rates, leaving you feeling like a stranger in your own body.

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Introducing the First Primal/Paleo Book for Teenagers! (plus a Limited-Time Special Offer)

I couldn’t be more pleased to announce Primal Blueprint Publishing’s newest release, the highly anticipated Paleo Girl by Leslie Klenke. This groundbreaking book targets an often overlooked demographic when it comes to the world of health and wellness—teenagers! Primal/paleo lifestyle books target adults and thereby miss a potential connection with the teen reader. Paleo Girl is written in a hip, conversational style that reveals Leslie’s deep empathy and understanding for the teen years. After all, she only recently left that stage herself.

This book is a must have for any Primal book collection, and an excellent gift idea for any teen in your life. Consider it a great summer read to get your daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, or friend on track for an excellent school year in August. And when you order a copy today you’ll get a bunch of free bonus gifts. But more on that in a moment…

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How to Ensure Your Final Years Are Good Ones

We talk about aging gracefully, but what does it mean? How does one age gracefully? To me, it means ensuring your final years are good ones. Basically, we want to avoid the “regular” maladies of aging like dementia, osteoporosis, blindness, sarcopenia, and immobility. We want to live long and drop dead, not live long and wither away from a host of degenerative illnesses that prevent our ability to enjoy or even experience life, relegated to a bare room tucked away in a building somewhere. That scares me more than anything, more than heart disease or cancer or shark attacks: helplessness.

When I’m nearing 100, I want to be able to…

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Dear Mark: Salmon and Mercury, Fruit and Sugar, plus Seniors Gaining Muscle

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be covering three topics. First, salmon and mercury. We’re often told to watch out for mercury in wild fish, but the story is actually more complicated than that. Learn how to tell if wild fish is safe to eat and whether wild salmon should be limited. Next, I discuss the differences between fruit sugar and sugar, or, rather, fruit and sugar. Can fruit be a part of a healthy Primal way of eating despite the sugar content? And finally, I give a few tips to an older woman who’s interested in gaining muscle and strength. I go over exercise, protein intake, as well as the ulterior benefits of resistance training.

Let’s go:

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Does Life Purpose Enhance Longevity?

Turning 60 a few weeks back was quite a trip. It’s one of those milestones that prompts reflection as well as plenty of celebration. (My wife, Carrie, is always good about getting me to do that part.) I’ve known for many years that hitting 60 wouldn’t be the bleak event our culture often makes it out to be. Personally, I don’t feel like I’m slowing down any. Nor do I have plans to. I don’t feel like life is shifting into retrospect. Doors of opportunity and innovation aren’t closing. Honestly, I find life to be more full of possibility than ever. A huge part of this, I believe, has been refining my life’s purpose. As always, I want to be a good father, husband, son, friend, etc., and I feel more deeply and confidently about these roles at this point. In terms of my vocation (because it’s much more than a job for me), I feel like I’m just getting going. I’ve been involved in health and fitness all my life, but in the last several years I’ve come closer than ever to feeling like I’m centered in the crux of that vision. I’m interested in helping people get healthy and thrive to their fullest potential. That’s exactly what I get to do each day, and it gives me satisfaction – and purpose. The whole reflection got me thinking about the physiological (and maybe even Primal) connection: does a sense of personal meaning translate into health and longevity?

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The “Inevitabilities” of Aging: How Inevitable Are They?

How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s all downhill after 40/50/60?” Or how about that time you tweaked your back and everyone was quick to tell you to get used to it because it’s never going to get any better? Some people, I guess, prefer to have control over their health wrested out of their hands and distributed to the fates. Some people like the idea of letting “nature take its course.” At least that way nothing that goes wrong is your fault, because you never had a chance anyway, right?

Wrong. Age isn’t “just” a number, and we can’t maintain Dorian Gray-esque vigor all through life, but that doesn’t mean we’re destined to be frail, brittle things relegated to chairs and walkers and homes and doctor’s offices.

Today, let’s take a look at some common “inevitabilities” of aging and why they may not be so inevitable after all.

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7 Characteristics Associated with Long Life (and How to Cultivate Them)

As much as we focus on food and fitness as the “physical” arbiters of health and longevity, there appears to be much more to it. In fact, most research fails to find any grand commonalities in the diet and fitness patterns of the longest lived. From Okinawans with their sweet potatoes to Japanese centenarians with their dairy to the Ashkenazi with their higher rates of smoking, drinking, and lower rates of formal exercise to the 107 year old with her butter, no exercise, and mistrust of medicine to the supercentenarians with their liver, bacon, wine, chocolate, and eggs to the other supercentenarians with their caloric restriction. Sure, they’re generally not eating Twinkies and Panda Express, but the secret to longevity – at least as it’s practiced by living centenarians – does not lie in one specific diet.

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