I walk at a very fast pace for about 25 minutes or what
turns out to be about 32 blocks. This little ritual helps
me in many ways. For one, it gives my lungs a chance to
breathe clean air, since most of my journey is done through
Central Park. No matter who you are or where you live,
walking out in nature is better than walking on a treadmill,
breathing in the stale recycled air of a crowded building.
This walk I take also helps my cardiovascular system by
elevating my heart rate, since I take long and deliberate
(but quick) strides. As I pace through the park, I also
meditate on the beauty of my surroundings tall,
lush trees, beautiful fields and meadows, meticulously
kept gardens, the majestic Manhattan skyline, and the
many bridges, stone walls, buildings and fountains that
architects have constructed over the city's long history.
In the park, I truly have a chance to connect to nature,
as well as to my physical and spiritual self.
as I approach the gym, I begin to visualize how the workout
will go which muscles I will be concentrating on.
In short, walking is a great ritual, multidimensional
in its benefits, as you can see. I advise participating
in a good, rigorous walk in nature 2-3 times a week.
this ritual I also get to see other people enjoying themselves
rollerblading, running, biking, skateboarding...there
is energy all around. The other morning, I slowed for
just a moment to observe a group of school children playing
just behind one of the art museums. It was obviously a
class outing and the kids were just bursting with energy.
I mean, every single child was at full-throttle nonstop.
Not a single still or quiet body in the lot. Running,
jumping, arms flailing in the air, screaming...aimless,
chasing bodies in chaotic patterns. An absolute frenzy
I continued along, I started asking myself a few simple
questions about what I had observed, and what the physical
and possible metaphysical components behind the answers
might be. The first, most obvious question was, where
does all that energy come from in young children? Certainly
all those youngsters could not have been on special "energy"
diets, like so many adults try. I mean, most kids I know
eat very poorly: Candy, soda, pizza, hot dogs and ice
cream in large quantities, every day. These choices would
add up to the antithesis of an energetic day for an adult.
why weren't at least a few of these kids off in a corner
somewhere being still? Certainly, amongst 50-60 adults
you would find at least a handful acting far less energized.
answer the first question, we have to refer to the group
of aging mechanisms and their counterparts, the biological
markers of aging that I have written of so often. What
is the number one known mechanism behind cellular level
aging? Insulin resistance. Remember that insulin resistance
is the hardening of the cell membrane. Insulin, primarily
a storage hormone, loses its ability to store nutrients
in the cell as the cell becomes more and more rigid, and
less penetrable. This occurs over time, primarily because
of insulin itself. (Saturated fat is also a key contributor).
if we overeat or eat too many high-glycemic carbohydrates,
a larger amount of insulin is secreted, both to store
extra calories and balance blood glucose. As we do this
continually, our blood sugar levels become disrupted because
excessive amounts of food (and especially, refined food)
push insulin levels up, while constantly driving blood
sugar down. Energy is slowly lost.
an almost unconscious (yet feeble) attempt to restore
blood glucose, most people reach for higher-glycemic carbohydrates,
which in turn induces the pancreas to make more insulin,
driving blood sugar levels down even more. This becomes
a vicious cycle energy is never fully restored.
This is why so many people in our country become hypoglycemic
and/or then diabetic long before other aging markers occur.
By this stage of the game, cultivating energy is a confusing,
if not lost, art.
you are an average American, eating lots of food (and
lots of carbohydrates) over the course of 40 years or
so will begin a cascading effect with other hormonal systems;
feedback loops in the hypothalamus are negatively influenced
by high glucose and/or high insulin levels. The hypothalamus
is responsible for messages sent to the pituitary gland
(amongst others), which controls the regulation of growth
hormone and messages sent to the testes to secrete testosterone.
The more these feedback loops are negatively affected
by insulin and/or higher levels of glucose, the faster
you will lose hormonal communication. The less hormonal
communication you have, the faster you lose precious energy
and speed up aging.
only won't growth hormone, testosterone and other important
hormones be made in abundance as they were at the youthful
stage, but what little is made will not have the ability
to penetrate cells (which have become hormone resistant).
Cyclic AMP, the important "second messenger"
with the special "code" to unlock cell walls,
will not be able to perform its task as well because of
high levels of insulin and/or blood glucose. Get the picture?
In part, we lose energy because of how we have chosen
to eat. As Jerry Seinfeld once said in his stand-up routine,
"I had one thought when I was young: Get candy!"
But this has negative consequences down the road.
I continued my walk, I realized that if these (and all)
children were taught about the real facts of nutrition
and its influences on the body, they would be able to
keep this type of energy a lot longer assuming
they chose the proper foods and quantities. Unfortunately,
most of us do not learn about the intricacies and scientific
aspects of nutrition until we ourselves start losing energy
and questioning our own habits. Much of the damage has
already been done by then. Of those 60 or so 10-year-olds
I saw that day, many will have severe health problems
by the time they reach my age (early 40s), and a good
percentage of those health problems will be influenced
by how those children eat over the course of their lives.
A good deal of that precious energy will be taken away
by poor eating habits. This is an absolute abomination,
because scientist and nutritionists understand these aging
mechanisms very well; yet, most of these kids (and their
parents) will be influenced more by clever marketing techniques
than they will by obscure scientific facts.
was another lesson learned from this walk: Energy, although
primarily cultivated within (with proper nutrition and,
to a lesser degree, ones state of mind), can be contagious.
The fact that all these children were so engaged leads
me to believe that outdoor recreation with others is not
only fun it is critical. Vitality is both physiologically
and psychologically individual and communal. This is why
I am such a big advocate of team sports, just like I am
an advocate of working out with weights.
lesson here is simple: If you want to have youthful energy,
eat a balanced diet with low-glycemic carbohydrates, walk
in nature, train with weights, and find yourself a group
of people (or a team) to run around and have innocent
fun with. Your glory days will come marching back.
other thing: If you are a parent, or thinking of being
a parent, read as much as you can about nutrition and
exercise. These two dimensions will have the biggest influence
on your child's energy levels over the course of his/her
lifetime. Perhaps there will be a day when a 40-year-old
will have the endless energy of a child, thanks to anti-aging
Taken from Exercise
For Men Only (Paul Burke's Over-40 Fitness Column)