Studies looking at life in agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. Sitting down for too long and often turns out to be an independent risk factor for poor health and an early demise.
While just about any movement will do, weight-bearing exercises are beneficial and suitable for most people regardless of fitness level, as is yoga.
According to biological anthropologists at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the fossil record suggests that when early man traded their nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles for a more settled one, it resulted in a less dense bone structure.
Those researchers looked at the bones of people in more recent history who lived in farming villages nearly 1,000 years ago and compared them with the bones of people who had lived nearby, earlier, as foragers. Part of the reason why this may seem so surprising is that we've become so accustomed to sitting in chairs that we've failed to realize that doing so might be seriously problematic. Even I am perplexed at how I missed such a profoundly important health principle for the first 60 years of my life, but now that I have a better understanding of the science behind it, the cause and effect are quite clear. Surprising as it may sound, all of these molecular effects are activated simply by carrying your bodyweight upon your legs.
In short, at the molecular level, the human body was designed to be active and on the move all day long. As a consequence of sitting, your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and toxic buildup all rise. I've previously recommended standing up and doing exercises at your desk every 10-15 minutes to counteract the ill effects of sitting, but after discussing the issue with Dr. I now believe the combination of high intensity training, non-exercise activities like walking 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day, and avoiding sitting whenever possible is the key to optimal fitness and enjoying a pain-free, joyful life. If you don't already have a fitness tracker that records your steps, I would encourage you to get one. As reported by the National Post,5 bodyweight training tops the American College of Sports Medicine's annual list of top fitness trends for 2015. There are also a number of bodyweight workout apps that you can download to your smartphone for easy reference. The evidence is overwhelming at this point—10,000 studies and growing—that prolonged sitting will reduce your lifespan by promoting dozens of chronic diseases. I also recommend challenging yourself to walk 7,000-10,000 steps per day, over and above your regular fitness program and standing up during work. FITNESS DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only.
Testosterone is on many men's mind these days; undoubtedly due in large part to TV ads promising more pep in your step and improved sex life. The problem is, testosterone is now being used by men who really are not good candidates for hormone replacement, and this might seriously jeopardize their health.
Earlier this summer, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested that testosterone products should carry a warning label indicating a heightened risk for blood clots. On September 17, the FDA will hold an advisory committee meeting1, 2 to discuss the adverse cardiovascular outcomes associated with testosterone replacement, and how to manage such risks.
Recent research3, 4, 5 shows that the number of testosterone prescriptions have tripled over the past decade, causing researchers to sound the alarm that men may be abusing the hormone. According to the Endocrine Society, which is responsible for setting the clinical guidelines for testosterone replacement therapy, testosterone should only be given to men with persistent symptoms and "unequivocally low testosterone levels," a condition known as hypogonadism. The most common way physicians determine if you have hypogonadism is by measuring your testosterone level. However, recent findings indicate that 25 percent of men given a prescription for testosterone did not have their levels tested prior to receiving a prescription, and of the remaining 75 percent, it was unclear as to how many actually had a testosterone deficiency. In short, there appears to be large numbers of men taking testosterone that probably shouldn't be. When testing your testosterone level, doctors will typically recommend measuring it somewhere between 8 and 11 am, as this is when a man's testosterone level tends to naturally peak. Men older than 45 years with erectile dysfunction can have total testosterone drawn at any time before 2 p.m. According to Mark Newman, President of Precision Analytical, Inc.,9 (my favorite hormone testing service, and the one I use personally) a blood test is ideal if you're solely looking at your testosterone level at any given time of the day, but a urine test can offer testosterone levels and additional markers. These additional markers help to uncover what is going on if the issue is related to other hormones as well.
One caveat for urine testosterone is that it is not recommended for people of Asian descent. According to a study published in the journal PLoS ONE11 earlier this year, men aged 65 and older who took testosterone DOUBLED their risk of having a heart attack within the first three months of use, even if they did not have heart disease prior to starting the therapy. The study was prompted by a 2010 clinical trial12 that was shut down before completion due to the increase in heart-related problems occurring in the testosterone treatment group. Another issue complicating this subject is the fact that lab testing for patients on testosterone is not straightforward for many of the popular types of supplementation. Besides these potential side effects, treating testosterone by itself may be unwise for other reasons.
Your adrenals produce both DHEA and cortisol, which is in direct competition with DHEA for production. Mark Newman provides a case scenario in the video above highlighting many of these examples in a single patient case. The subject of this case study showed many concerning results (high estrogen, high "bad" estrogen metabolites, high DHT, high cortisol, low DHEAS). Treating low testosterone by itself may lead to more problems if you have underlying adrenal dysfunction, for example. Please note that men are NOT advised to take estrogen replacement therapy, as this could cause feminization, such as enlarged breasts. Personally, I do not recommend using testosterone hormone replacement unless medically warranted. I used small amounts of DHEA like 10-25 mg several years ago but was able to normalize my hormones with the use of high intensity exercises.
When it comes to an exercise plan that will complement testosterone function and production, I recommend including both high-intensity interval training and strength training. While I believe high intensity interval training is one of the most potent ways to optimize your natural hormone production, it's certainly not the only way.
Whole body vibration training (WBVT) Besides high intensity exercise, whole body vibration training using a Power Plate can also independently increase growth hormone levels. Replace these dietary troublemakers with vegetables and healthy fats, such as organic pastured egg yolks, avocado, coconut oil, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, and nuts like almonds and pecans.Saturated fats are essential for building testosterone. Intermittent fasting Another effective strategy for enhancing both testosterone and HGH release is intermittent fasting. Optimize your vitamin D level Vitamin D, a steroid hormone, increases levels of testosterone, which may help boost libido.
Ashwagandha This perennial herb is known as an adaptogen, which can help boost stamina, endurance, and sexual energy. Saw palmetto Another supplement that can address certain symptoms commonly associated with low testosterone is saw palmetto.
Astaxanthin (alone or in combination with saw palmetto) There is also solid research indicating that if you take astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto, you may experience significant synergistic benefits. I know first-hand that low testosterone is not an automatic outcome of aging, provided you incorporate certain lifestyle strategies that can naturally boost your testosterone levels. These strategies are part and parcel of an overall healthy lifestyle, so they also automatically reduce your risk of most chronic disease, including heart disease, which just so happens to be an adverse side effect of testosterone replacement therapy. Near-daily moderate-intensity physical activity benefits your immune function, decreasing the number of sick days by as much as 50 percent.
Athletes who overtrain are susceptible to respiratory infections, and may need nutritional support to avert this immune function breakdown. Research shows that near-daily moderate-intensity physical activity benefits your immune function, decreasing the number of sick days by as much as 50 percent.
Acutely, stress temporarily suppresses parts of your immune system, thereby rendering you more vulnerable to pathogens and other foreign invaders.
Your best bet is to make sure you sufficiently recover between workout sessions, of course, but if the damage is already done, dietary supplements like nutritional yeast may help get you back in the game faster. Overtraining can also tax your adrenals and contribute to adrenal fatigue, which needs to be addressed in order to preserve your health. As described by Greger, under normal circumstances heavy exertion results in a dip in circulating monocytes — white blood cells that act as your body’s first line defense against invaders.
To assess whether this actually translates into fewer illnesses, researchers tested nutritional yeast on marathon runners. Those who took nutritional yeast also reported feeling better, both physically and emotionally, compared to the placebo group.

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins, especially B6, but also B12, folate (B9), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5).1 One serving (2 tablespoons) contains nearly 10 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6, and nearly 8 micrograms (mcg) of B12. Stress can also be a factor in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition caused by elevated androgens, i.e. This may be especially true if you undereat and overtrain to improve your physique, you don’t have cystic ovaries, and your weight is normal or below normal and you do not struggle with insulin resistance. Schoenfeld goes into far greater detail on the hormonal cascade that can trigger PCOS, but in summary, stress triggers your body to produce a number of hormones, starting with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. ACTH also triggers the production of adrenal androgen hormones, including androstenedione, which is one of the two primary androgenic hormones causing PCOS symptoms in women.
Your adrenal glands, located just above each of your kidneys, are responsible for one of the most important functions in your body: managing stress, and when they become taxed or exhausted your entire body feels it and suffers from extreme exhaustion as well.
Although your adrenal glands are there in large part to help you cope with stress, too much of it is ultimately what causes their function to break down. At the other end of the spectrum, as well as in between, lies adrenal fatigue (also known as hypoadrenia).
One simply urinates on a strip at four specific times in 24 hours and then lets the strips dry and send them to the lab for analysis.
In recent years, I’ve placed increasing focus on the importance of staying active throughout the day. I believe it’s virtually impossible to be optimally healthy without exercise, but if you’re under a lot of stress, or if you exercise too hard, too often, especially without adequate recovery, you could be taxing your body to the point of breakdown. It actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, which includes becoming overweight and type 2 diabetes, even if you're very fit. Meanwhile, the average American office worker can sit for 13 to 15 hours a day, and research shows that vigorous exercise cannot counteract the adverse effects of this prolonged sitting.More than likely you can avoid most of the damage from excessive sitting if you sit less than three hours a day. Interestingly, evidence of the biological effects associated with lack of movement date further back than you might think—straight into the human fossil records. In addition, standing up as much as possible, preferably with a stand up desk, will greatly facilitate your ability to replicate ancestral movement patterns.
That's right when humans were becoming less physically active because they were leaving their nomadic hunter-gatherer life behind and settling down to pursue agriculture.
I for one am absolutely convinced that sitting is in and of itself a root problem of many of our chronic health problems, and mounting research supports this notion.
James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book Get Up! Levine, who has dedicated a good part of his career to investigating the health effects of sitting, when you've been sitting for a long period of time and then get up, a number of molecular cascades occur. These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuels into your cells and, if done regularly, will radically decrease your risk of diabetes and obesity.
The solution to these adverse events do not involve a prescription—all you need to do is get up, and avoid sitting down as much as possible. This has had the remarkable effect of eliminating persisting back pain that I've struggled with for many years, despite chiropractic treatments from a dozen different clinicians, using an inversion table, exercises, stretches, laser treatment, ab work, Foundation Training, and other posture exercises.
I typically log 15,000 steps a day and have put in over two million steps since I started walking earlier this year. Another advantage of some of the newer fitness trackers is that they can record how much you're sleeping too, and can help motivate you to get to bed earlier so you can get eight hours of sleep.
Adaptability is really what makes this system so great: it's adjustable to almost anyone, from the least fit to the professional athlete. Consider one of the new fitness trackers that can monitor both the number of steps you take, and the number of hours you sleep, as optimizing these factors can have a profoundly beneficial impact on your life, and it's difficult to modify your behavior if you're not monitoring it.
Abbott Laboratories alone spent $80 million on seductive direct-to-consumer advertising for its testosterone product AndroGel that same year. Using hormones as a "cure-all" is a risky proposition, especially if your problems are related to lifestyle as opposed to an actual medical condition that severely impairs your hormone production. Levels naturally decline by about 50 percent throughout the day, but recent research shows that this levels off in older men.
Watch the video further below for an example of the complexities that can be at play in cases where simple testosterone deficiency is not the issue.
There is a genetic variant that is common in people of Asian descent that can cause urinary testosterone to be falsely low.
Testosterone taken as drops, lozenges, or on the skin creates lab testing values that can be highly misleading. Additional downsides include its effects on other hormones and precursors, such as DHEA and its metabolites, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and cortisol. In other words, when cortisol production is high, especially for prolonged periods of time, your adrenals can become impaired, and your DHEA production will suffer as a result. Another problem with testosterone therapy is that your body could metabolize it to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can lead to an acceleration of male pattern baldness and prostatic hypertrophy.
The good news is that almost all of the issues presented in this case could be significantly improved with fairly simple lifestyle and nutritional interventions. In addition to that, other sex hormones, such as estrogen, also play a critical role in men's health, so the heavy focus on testosterone may be inappropriate for more than one reason. As your testosterone levels rise, your body will automatically produce more estrogen, but that does not automatically imply that testosterone therapy is warranted.
Young men are also misusing other hormones, such as human growth hormone (HGH) in increasing numbers.
Even though HGH is a banned substance in nearly every sport, some athletes still choose to inject HGH for its performance enhancing potential. Even then, if you indeed have low testosterone, I would suggest considering using trans rectal DHEA cream instead of testosterone replacement, and only for the short-term. So I believe most can avoid the use of DHEA or testosterone, provided they take the appropriate steps to optimize their body's ability to manufacture these hormones.
When you use strength training to raise your testosterone, you'll want to increase the weight and lower your number of reps. Like high intensity exercise, WBVT also works all three types of muscle fibers, and it does so more effectively and efficiently than straight cardio or weight lifting.You can accomplish more from 15 minutes on the Power Plate than from an hour of traditional strength training. Research shows that a diet with less than 40 percent of energy as fat (and that mainly from animal sources, i.e. It helps boost testosterone by improving the expression of satiety hormones, like insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucacgon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CKK), and melanocortins, which are linked to healthy testosterone function, increased libido, and the prevention of age-induced testosterone decline.
If you decide to use a zinc supplement, stick to a dosage of less than 40 mg a day, as this is the recommended adult upper limit.
Furthermore, if you opt for a supplement, you also need to make sure you're getting sufficient amounts of vitamin K2, as these two nutrients work together. Research published in 201020 found that men taking the herb Ashwagandha experienced a significant increase in testosterone levels. High intensity interval exercises get top billing among them, but your diet is also an important factor, and certain supplements can be helpful adjuncts. For most men, the risks simply outweigh the benefits of testosterone therapy, and you're far more likely to achieve optimal health by addressing lifestyle factors that brought on the symptoms of hormone dysfunction in the first place. Overdoing it with sustained and intense exertion, however, tends to have the converse effect.
Michael Greger in the video above, athletes who overtrain can become susceptible to respiratory infections, and may need nutritional support to avert this immune function breakdown.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is yet another adrenal-related condition that can be triggered or worsened by excess mental and physical stress. Compared to placebo, the runners who ate nutritional yeast cut in half the number of days they were sick over the following two plus weeks after the race. The treatment group reported feeling less fatigued, less confused, less angry, and less tense.
Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of women whose PCOS is caused by a poor diet, inadequate exercise, too many refined carbohydrates and sugars, and a generally unhealthy lifestyle. As described by Elinor Fish in a previous Huffington Post article,4 as an avid runner she was surprised when she suddenly developed persistent fatigue and mood swings. Michelle Eads: “Adrenal fatigue is a huge issue in our fast-paced society where people wear their busy-ness like badges of honor.
These hormones, which include cortisol, help your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system's inflammatory response. These hormones, which include aldosterone, help keep your blood pressure and blood volume normal by maintaining a proper balance of sodium, potassium and water in your body. This hormone increases your heart rate and controls blood flow to your muscles and brain, along with helping with the conversion of glycogen to glucose in your liver. When your adrenal glands become depleted, it leads to a decrease in certain hormone levels, particularly cortisol.

Its most extreme form is known as Addison's disease, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes muscle weakness, weight loss, low blood pressure and low blood sugar.
Though the symptoms are less severe than in Addison's disease, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can still be debilitating. It didn’t take long before I was enjoying running again, getting fitter even while running less than before. Simply standing up more and avoiding sitting as much as possible may actually be a more foundational part of health than having a regular fitness regimen. It’s important to stay in motion without taxing your system too much, and walking is an excellent option.
Typically I seek to sit under one hour a day, but as long as you are under three hours every day you will likely avoid most of the damage excessive sitting causes.
Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, some 10,000 publications have shown that sitting is harmful to your health, irrespective of other lifestyle habits, including an excellent exercise program. Since most of us live lives that revolve around an office chair, a car seat, and the couch, most will need to figure out how to eliminate many hours of sitting every day.
Remember I recommend walking in addition to your regular fitness regimen, not as a replacement for it, but if you're currently doing nothing in terms of a fitness regimen, walking is certainly a great place to start. Jawbone's Up33 is among the most advanced fitness tracker to date, but there's an explosion of fitness trackers coming, so even more advanced ones are sure to follow. Acting against gravity, the weight of your body provides all the resistance needed to help you get fit, and you don't need a personal trainer to design the perfect system either. You should consult a physician before beginning a new diet or exercise program and discontinue exercise immediately and consult your physician if you experience pain, dizziness, or discomfort. Saliva testing can also be used, but is probably the least reliable, especially for women (because levels are too low for the technology to be highly accurate). See the testing matrix below and the video for a practical clinical example if you are on testosterone and want to be tested while on therapy.
Chronic stress basically causes excessive cortisol levels and impairs DHEA production, which is why stress is another factor for low testosterone levels. When tested, his testosterone was NOT low, but he showed high cortisol and estrogen (likely the cause of some of his symptoms). Somewhat blindly intervening with hormones (like testosterone) did NOT make sense in that case and likely would have exacerbated many of the problems (increasing testosterone unnecessarily would have made estrogens and DHT even higher). One recent study13 determined that while testosterone deficiency accounted for decreases in men's lean mass, muscle size, and strength, estrogen deficiency was the primary culprit when it came to increases in body fat.
Again, these hormonal disruptions are typically rooted in a flawed lifestyle approach, NOT in an actual medical condition that severely impairs your body's natural ability to produce hormones.
According to one poll,14 11 percent of American teenage boys in grades 9-12 reported using synthetic HGH at least once without prescription!
I do not recommend this, as the potential side effects can cause more long-term harm than good.
Focus on doing exercises that work a wider number of muscles, such as squats or dead lifts. By stimulating your white muscle fiber, the Power Plate kick-starts your pituitary gland into making more growth hormone, which helps you build lean body mass and burn fat.
Taking too much zinc can interfere with your body's ability to absorb other minerals, especially copper, and may cause nausea as a side effect. If sun exposure is not an option, atanning bed (with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields) can be used.
It also promotes overall immune function, and can help increase your resistance to occasional stress.21While some adaptogens are stimulants in disguise, this is not the case with Ashwagandha. Look for an organic supercritical CO2 extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color. Other common stress-reduction tools with a high success rate include prayer, meditation, laughter and yoga, for example. Each of these have some serious drawbacks, which is why I have determined that for most people a timed urinary collection is the most efficient and best way.
Also make sure you’re eating a nutrient-dense diet like the one described in my nutrition plan. By avoiding processed foods, you automatically and drastically reduce your sugar consumption, allowing your blood sugar, insulin and leptin levels to normalize. As your recovery progresses, you will be able to gradually increase the intensity of your walks, and begin to add in other forms of exercise as your energy level returns. And if you start to experience symptoms of adrenal fatigue, take proactive steps to diagnose and address it. Levine, while we clearly need to rest from time to time, that rest is supposed to break up activity—not the other way around. Benefits include all-around muscle development and strength, cardiovascular fitness, improved balance, and flexibility. I recently reviewed five of the most common errors people make with their bodyweight exercises. According to a new review of 37 clinical trials,6 the evidence also suggests it can help improve heart health by reducing known risk factors for heart disease, such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
So I encourage you to start thinking about how you can get more physical movement into your life, every waking hour of every day.
It is crucial for the creation of vital hormones, including testosterone and other sex hormones.
Furthermore, the patient had very high DHT levels, so increasing testosterone further could put the patient at higher risk for prostate cancer.
Both hormones were found to be important for male sexual function, and a deficiency in either had a negative impact on the men's libido.
The answer, therefore, will usually be found in lifestyle changes that will help optimize your body's hormone production. Besides, taking such risks is completely unnecessary, because if you eat and exercise correctly, using high intensity interval exercises, you will naturally optimize your HGH, regardless of your age.
Remember, when taking DHEA or testosterone, both can get turned into estrogens or DHT, so comprehensive hormone profiling is beneficial to make sure the hormone isn't causing an imbalance in the hormone being taken or a different hormone downstream. Below is a summary and video demonstration of what a typical high-intensity Peak Fitness routine might look like. You can take your workout to the next level by learning the principles of Super-Slow Weight Training.
I've detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying to lose weight. It can give your morning exercise routine a boost, and when taken prior to bed, it can help you get a good night's sleep as well. Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it with eggs will enhance the absorption of its nutrients. The good news is that you can recover, but you likely need to make some changes in your daily routine, and this may include cutting back on your exercise.
It would seem far wiser to strive to sit as little as possible, certainly less than three hours a day. A recent article in the Bedford Wicked Local includes demonstrations for six powerful yoga techniques, including the ones listed below. As mentioned earlier, people living in agrarian communities sit an average of just three hours a day, which would be an admirable goal. Teenage use of synthetic HGH has more than doubled from 2012 to 2013, and the primary reason given for using HGH was to improve athletic performance and boost muscle growth.
I recommend using only 100% organic Ashwagandha root, free of fillers, additives, and excipients, to ensure quality. Recovering between sessions is always important, but even more so if you have adrenal fatigue. For runners and other active people, she emphasizes not training too hard during the adrenal fatigue recovery period, which may take several months.
And, the sooner you catch it, the sooner you’ll be back to feeling like your old self again. Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It is a great resource to learn more. Specific questions about your fitness condition cannot be answered without first establishing a trainer-client relationship.

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