The following suggestions are not restricted to those of us seeking a longer life – they are, in fact, relevant to quality of life for all. Health, or a lack of it, effectively impacts everyone who breathes. The healthy habits I will describe in this article can increase longevity, but they are also major factors in the wellbeing equation for all of us.
HGH – Understanding the Health Hormone
The level of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in our blood generally declines as we age. It was thought that production of this wonderful life-enhancer faltered with advancing years, but that is not the case. In most of us, the pituitary gland is jam-packed with this hormone, but over time we have lost the capacity to release the payload.
What is Human Growth Hormone and why is it so important? Dr Daniel Rudman was one of the first researchers to publish his HGH studies. He injected the hormone into a bunch of aged volunteers and chronicled their remarkable turnaround. One of the primary markers of advancing age is a worsening ratio between muscle and fat. Dr Rudman reported a reversal of this phenomenon to the point that the subjects returned to ratios relevant to 10 – 15 years earlier. There was a marked increase in zest for life and libido and energy levels were positively impacted. The injections (if they were legal in this country) cost about $US1000 per month and, if you could afford it, this could be worth considering for a virtual elixir of youth. However, there is a cheaper, more effective alternative.
There are a number of proven strategies that can sponsor release of HGH from your pituitary. In fact, one of these is so effective that it has become difficult to distinguish between those who inject vs those who stimulate release from their own storehouse. First, it might be worth looking at the symptoms of HGH decline because they are not pretty and there will be many readers over 50 who are silently suffering, perhaps unnecessarily.
The Symptoms of HGH Decline
As our blood levels of HGH drop, males and females experience symptoms often associated with menopause or andropause. These include the following:
Weight gain, particularly to the abdominal region
A decline in muscle integrity (with serious implications for heart health)
Neurological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression
Reduced lean body mass and muscle strength
Reduced sex drive and energy
Poor memory and concentration
Increased LDL cholesterol
Does this package sound familiar to any of you out there?
The Five Secrets of HGH Release
1) Calorie restriction – research has repeatedly demonstrated impressive longevity increases linked to keeping our daily calorie intake down to 2000 calories a day. This does not mean starving, but it does require you to cut the cakes, desserts, soft drinks and deep fried food.
2) Resistance exercise – this practice is not about building biceps, but rather it involves exercises with light weights or anything that creates resistance against your muscles. Studies involving five sessions of resistance exercise for forty minutes a day have demonstrated increases in HGH release of up to 400%.
3) Glutamate is the body's most abundant amino acid, but it is also called a "conditional" amino. This means that it is not produced in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, it is stress that impacts glutamate and the vast majority of us live lives tempered by anxiety we would rather not feel. Two grams of glutamate powder (1/2 a teaspoon), twice a day, has been shown to increase HGH release by as much as 460%.
4) Maintaining the balance between testosterone and estrogen – testosterone declines from 25 years of age onwards, often relating to a lack of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Meanwhile, estrogen comes in from everywhere. Confinement animals are still pumped with estrogen to fast-track weight gains. Many of the farm chemicals are estrogen mimics. Phthalates, which are constantly released from our plastic environment, serve as pseudo estrogens. Finally, most water sources feature some degree of pollution from the birth control pill. If we can improve the ratio between these two hormones by boosting testosterone and reducing estrogen inputs, we will sponsor release of HGH.
5) Peak 8 training – this particular regime was discovered by sports scientists working with Olympic sprinters. For decades we have believed that aerobic activity exercises the heart muscle, but we only got it half right. We now know that there are three types of muscle tissue that comprise our heart muscle. Slow twitch muscle fibre comprises slightly less than half of our heart and this is the tissue worked aerobically. However, fast twitch and super-fast twitch fibre, comprising over half of the heart muscle, are only worked with anaerobic exercise. This involves repeated short bursts of energy followed by short recovery periods.
Peak 8 Life Extension
Most reasonably fit people can embark on this practice – here's how you do it. It involves just 3 twenty-minute sessions per week (one hour) and it is actually counterproductive to exceed this limit. Peak 8 can be practiced on a track, a treadmill, an exercise bike or out in the paddock (as long as there are no rabbit holes).
Walk (or pedal) at a medium pace for two minutes before embarking on the first burst of energy. For thirty seconds, run or pedal as fast as possible. You must be absolutely breathless after thirty seconds and then you have 90 seconds to recover. If you have not got your breath back at the end of 90 seconds, then you should not continue. You are not fit enough and persistence may result in injury or death. This cycle of thirty second bursts followed by 90 second recovery periods is repeated a total of eight times. This segment of the routine involves a total of 16 minutes. At the completion of this exercise you return to the two minutes of medium pace exercise which commenced the routine.
Twenty minutes of this routine, three times a week will flood your body with HGH, which also hunts down fat cells like a heat-seeking missile.
Peak 8 training is one of the most productive tools to increase longevity and quality of life, and it takes just 60 minutes per week. Even the most time-starved among us must surely recognise that this is a highly productive investment. Just do the sums. One hour per week is around two days per year, for a total repayment of up to 5000 days (15 years) life extension. What are you waiting for? Get your running shoes on now!