Everyone desires to age optimally.
Nobody wants to look older than they are, feel older than they are, or be less physically capable than they should be.
Everyone knows basic healthy aging tips for the most part:
Drink plenty of water daily (half your body weight in ounces is a good starting point)
Sleep 7+ Hours
Exercise Often (to include getting a lot of steps per day)
The Tip You Probably Haven’t Heard
This is a freshie. Science is just starting to understand how some diseases form, and it seems to be stemming from our mitochondria. Remember those guys from 8th grade science class? The powerhouses of the cell? Turns out they do a bunch of stuff, and when these guys degrade, it can cause all kinds of disease.
- Neurodegenerative diseases: Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the development of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease.
- Cardiovascular diseases: Mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to decreased energy production in heart cells and contribute to the development of heart disease.
- Metabolic disorders: Mitochondria are involved in the regulation of glucose and fatty acid metabolism, and defects in their function can lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.
- Inherited mitochondrial disorders: Some mitochondrial diseases are caused by genetic mutations in the mitochondrial DNA and can result in a wide range of symptoms affecting multiple organs and systems.
- Cancer: Mitochondria play a key role in regulating cell growth and death, and alterations in mitochondrial function can contribute to the development and progression of cancer.
So How Do You Improve Your Mitochondria?
Zone 2 cardio, also known as low-intensity steady state (LISS) exercise, is characterized by moderate-intensity exercise that is performed for a long duration, typically at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. This type of exercise has been shown to improve the function and density of mitochondria in cells.
During LISS exercise, the body relies on aerobic metabolism for energy, which requires the presence of adequate oxygen and the function of the mitochondria. By performing LISS exercise, you can increase the demand for energy, leading to an increased number and function of mitochondria. This improved mitochondrial function can result in improved energy production and endurance, as well as reduced oxidative stress.
It is important to note that while LISS exercise can be beneficial for improving mitochondrial function, it is only one aspect of a well-rounded fitness routine. Including a variety of exercise types, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT aka CrossFit), strength training, and stretching, can help to provide a comprehensive approach to improving physical fitness and health.
Cold Exposure (cold showers or cold plunges)
Cold exposure, such as cold showers or ice baths, may have some potential benefits for mitochondria. It has been shown to increase the production of a protein called uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) in the mitochondria, which can help to increase energy expenditure and improve mitochondrial function. Cold exposure may also stimulate the production of other beneficial molecules, such as growth hormone and norepinephrine, which can have a positive impact on mitochondrial health.
Infrared saunas use infrared heat lamps to generate heat, which is then absorbed by the skin and penetrates deep into the tissues. While the specific effects of infrared saunas on mitochondria are not well studied, some research suggests that exposure to infrared heat can have a positive impact on mitochondrial health.
For example, exposure to infrared heat has been shown to increase the production of heat shock proteins, which play a role in protecting the mitochondria from damage and improving their function. Additionally, infrared heat may also help to reduce oxidative stress, which can damage the mitochondria and impair their function.
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to anti-aging.
There are no magic pills.
Results here are measured in years.
Just consistently doing the right things, like exercising, getting good sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding toxins, and adding in little beneficial habits like cold exposure and sauna, will play dividends in the long run.
What will your retirement look like?
Your habits today are shaping that future.