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TMHS 700: 7 Daily Habits to Improve Your Body, Mind, & Spirit
Your life today is the culmination of your daily habits. Whether your goal is to improve your fitness, become more productive, or cultivate stronger relationships, it’s important to take a good look at your habits. When you transform your habits, that’s when you can begin to transform your life.
On today’s show, you’re going to learn about seven accessible and impactful daily habits you can implement to uplevel your body, mind, and spirit. You’re going to hear the science behind how habits like walking, reading, and connecting with others can improve your health and longevity, enhance the power of your mind, and boost your spiritual wellness.
All seven of these habits are effective, free, and most importantly, have a multitude of benefits for your body, mind, and spirit. I hope you enjoy this episode, and I hope you’ll consider applying these habits into your routine. So click play, listen in, and enjoy the show!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How regularly walking can increase your longevity.
- The connection between briskly walking and diabetes risk.
- Why walking can protect the health of your brain and boost creativity.
- The impact reading can have on stress levels.
- How reading can help slow the onset of dementia.
- Which bodily functions are enhanced through proper hydration.
- The cognitive benefits of being hydrated.
- How social interactions impact our microbiome.
- What the pan-microbiome is.
- The link between human connection, oxytocin, and sleep quality.
- How a consistent meditation practice can reduce inflammation.
- The multitude of health benefits associated with strength training.
- Why challenging your body can increase your mental resiliency.
- The health benefits of engaging in play.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- DrinkLMNT.com/model — Get a FREE sample pack with any order!
- Onnit.com/model — Save an exclusive 10% on performance supplements & tools!
- The Mind vs. The Brain with Dr. Caroline Leaf – Episode 463
- The Stress Prescription with Dr. Elissa Epel – Episode 647
- Unlock Peak Performance with Steven Kotler – Episode 682
- The Telomere Effect by Drs. Elizabeth Blackburn & Elissa Epel
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to the Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. On this episode, we're going to be covering seven daily habits that can improve your body, your mind, and your spirit. Aristotle was quoted as saying, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit." Our habits are what create our lives. Our habits are what demonstrate the quality of our lives. The quality of our character is not the things that we do every now and then.
And so, these daily habits are all science backed, and again, we're going to really tie in and give some tangibility to understanding our body, mind, and spirit. Because we want to create a quality of life, that we experience more joy, that we experience better health, but also in life's turbulent times, inevitable turbulent times show up we want to create a bar of resilience. We want to create a high level of our ability to be able to handle what life throws at us. And so, that's what this is all about as well.
Now let's go through some definitions for our body, mind, and spirit to be specific on what we're covering here. Our body is defined as the material or physical structure of a human being. And to expand on it just a little bit, your body is the vessel or the instrument that you interact with the physical world through. Our mind is defined as that which thinks, imagines, remembers, wills and senses, or is the set of faculties responsible for such phenomenon. Now, we've had on world-leading expert in neuroscience and understand the human brain, and the human mind, Dr. Caroline Leaf.
And these two things tend to be used synonymously in our culture, but as her research indicates, it is the mind that creates the brain. The brain is an instrument that's able to store data. Yes, that's able to automate behaviors, but our thoughts are creating our brain. And for our intents and purposes today, we are going to meld them together with the caveat, with the understanding that we know that there's a distinction between the mind and the brain. But they are in such close proximity to one another that we're going to use them interchangeably here.
And then spirit. Spirit is the force within a person that is believed to give the body life energy and power. For the spirit we're going to get a little bit more into the ethereal, a little bit more of the metaphysical view of the particular habit and gather where the benefits reside for our spirit. And so, to kick things off here in these seven daily habits, to improve, to transform your body, mind, and spirit.
Number one is to walk 30 minutes a day. Specifically, let's look at the impact that it has on the human body. The benefits actually are too vast to name them all here, but we'll just cover some of the heavy hitters. Longevity, daily walking substantially decreases all-cause mortality. It reduces the risk of death from everything. Alright. According to a study published in the journal, PLOS Medicine, that's public library of science medicine, walking for just 11 minutes a day is enough to extend your lifespan by two years. You get two more years of life, if you proactively walk for 11 minutes a day. That's a pretty sweet deal. Meanwhile, research from scientists at Saarland University determined that just 25 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years. Seven more years of life.
The researchers found that by measuring the increases of telomerase activity. So, telomerase is an enzyme, that the discovery of this enzyme was a awarded the Nobel Prize by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and her co-author in The Telomere Effect, the bestselling book on the subject, Dr. Elissa Epel's, good friend and friend of the show who's been on several times. And this enzyme has been found to essentially add length back onto our telomeres. And our telomeres are one of the best biological markers that we have, distinguishing or determining how long we're going to live and or live healthfully.
So, this enzyme, again, has been found to essentially add length back onto our telomeres, dramatically slowing down the aging process, and dare I say, reversing it. Alright. So, in this study, the research has found that by measuring the increases of telomerase activity and the decrease in senescence marker p16, both of these are markers for cellular aging in the blood. Over a six-month period, doctors were able to show that regular walking triggers the anti-aging process. Now, we've got this on the service, cool. We're increasing our longevity triggering this anti-aging process. But what are some of the mechanisms behind this increase in longevity from walking? Well, a meta-analysis of two studies conducted by Harvard School of Public Health that included over 73,000 people found that briskly walking for half an hour a day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%.
Alright. So, we are seeing this shift over in our metabolic health, improving insulin sensitivity, and again reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes, which is one of the fastest growing epidemics in our society today. Over 130 million Americans are now type 2 diabetic or pre-diabetic. And this is known as an accelerated aging disease. That's one of the hallmarks of diabetes that isn't talked about. It's accelerating the aging process in a myriad of ways. From the breakdown of our blood vessels, our cardiovascular system, the breakdown of our skin, the breakdown of blood flow to our limbs, our vision, the list goes on and on, on the ramifications. The breakdown of our other organs, liver failure, kidney failure.
And so, to put an overarching kind of umbrella over what is diabetes at its core, it's an accelerated aging condition. Now, numerous studies have also found that walking is remarkably effective at burning away visceral fat, AKA belly fat, while also helping to retain our valuable muscle tissue. That's a killer combo, right there. That's the combination that we want. Now, this sounds a lot like something that testosterone would do. So, the question is, does walking notably increase our testosterone?
Well, first and foremost, we have to finally drop this dichotomous belief that testosterone is a male hormone. This is part of the problem, because testosterone is actually, and this is a scientifically validated fact. Testosterone is the most abundant hormone in both sexes. Testosterone is actually the most abundant, biologically active female hormone as well. And this information is detailed in a 2013 study titled Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and misconceptions. Yes, men have higher ratios of testosterone, but testosterone is critically important to women's health as well. So, this dichotomous, thinking about testosterone diminishes our value and appreciation of this hormone for all of us.
So, I want to share just a few of the important things that testosterone is responsible for. It's responsible for production of our blood cells. Alright. The river of life. It's kind of important. Testosterone is critical in that for everybody. It's also critical for body fat distribution and utilization. It's critical for bone density, muscle growth and strength. We know that one, that's the kind of captain obvious one. But what about bone density? Again, we don't really think about that. It's critical for sex drive for both sexes. It's critical for human fertility, for breast health in women, for sperm production in men. For mental health is generally protective against depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation in both sexes. So, now that we've gotten the dichotomous view of testosterone out the way, please address that in your own psychology to stop putting this kind of black or white view of testosterone is important for everyone.
Now, let's look at where does walking tie in with this and this longevity benefit, and why it needs to be part of our daily habits. A recent study published in the journal, Endocrinology, analyze the connection between testosterone levels and the amount of steps people were taking each day. Now this study was looking at middle-aged male test subjects. The researcher stated, "Percentage changes in serum testosterone levels were significantly correlated with the total number of steps taken per day. There was the most notable increase in testosterone at 8,000 or more steps per day." Again, there was a direct connection between the number of steps taken per day and an increase in testosterone. As you're taking steps, you're just producing more and more testosterone. You're literally stepping your way into more testosterone production. But even over 4,000 steps per day, the researcher stated, "Total testosterone increased seven nanograms per deciliter for each additional 1000 steps taken daily."
That's pretty remarkable. Again, it's kind of like filling up your testosterone gas tank by taking those steps. Additionally, walking significantly improves insulin sensitivity as noted, increases lipolysis, the release of stored fat to be used for energy, and improves overall metabolic health. You want to boost that testosterone? There are lots of modalities out there right now for people trying to hack the system to get more testosterone. People are taking some of everything, they're doing all these different, they're dipping their teabag in cold water, whatever it takes. They're doing all this stuff, Alright? Not to displacing any of that stuff, but simply walking. Are we getting our steps set? We could be dipping our sack into cold water. We could be sunning the balls. We could be taking all these different supplements. We could be taking things that are illicit as well. There's a lot of illicit stuff on the streets right now for people trying to boost their testosterone.
But are you walking? Are you window dressing? Are you doing the stuff on the periphery and missing out on the main course, which is your genes expect you to walk. And is directly increasing your production, mobilization, utilization of testosterone by simply walking. So, if you want to boost that test, you want to boost that test? Are you walking? And specifically, again, 30 minutes a day. Making this a daily habit, and by the way, we can split this up. You could do 2, 15-minute walks, or 3, 10-minute walks, or a 20 minute walk in the morning, 10 minute walk in the evening, or afternoon. Whatever it looks like for you, but right now, we're about stacking conditions psychologically for you to take this on as a daily habit. To make it a mandate, and also to find some joy in this as well. How can you leverage this opportunity for more connection, for more growth? And let's talk about the mind connection here. Body, mind and spirit, the mind/brain connection. Alright? So, we're looking at both.
Now, walking has been found to be protective of the brain itself. A study including nearly 80,000 adults published in JAMA Neurology, revealed that there is a dose-dependent effect of steps taken per day and lowering the risk of dementia. As we're taking those steps, our dementia risk is just dropping precipitously right along with it. Participants who walked briskly for an average of 30 minutes per day had their risk of developing dementia slashed by 62%. Come on, there's not a treatment in the world in all of medicine that compares to that 62% reduction in the risk of dementia.
Dementia, one of its forms is Alzheimer's it's number six. Is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States right now. It's going to hit the top five soon. Alright. This just one form of dementia. What are we doing to circumvent this issue? We're doing all of these treatments that are largely ineffective, because the issues just keeps getting worse and worse. Our genes expect us... This is for healthy expression of our genes, including genes related to our cognitive health.
A meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled trials published in mental health and physical activity determined that, "Walking has a statistically significant large effect on the symptoms of depression." The researcher described walking as a, "Promising treatment for depression." With few or no contraindications. But they went on in the study to say, more research needs to be done to determine best prescriptive walking recommendations that can be used by clinicians. So, we've got something that is truly safe versus conventional treatments for depression, if we're talking about the side effects. And as they put it, has a statistically significant large effect on the symptoms of depression, "Promising treatment." This has been known forever, forever.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, somebody's feeling depressed, go for a walk, get out there. It's one of his primary recommendations is movement, is fasting, was shifts in nutrition. He did have a couple of weird things up his sleeves, yes, absolutely. But at its core, humans have been utilizing this practice not just for the sake of mental health, but for being able to interact with life itself. If we're not moving, we're not surviving and we're not thriving. And so, again, that lack of movement, that stagnation, that lack of walking, which today here in the United States in particular, we're the most sedentary culture in the history of humanity. We move less than any anybody. We move less than any civilization in history, significantly less.
What do you think is going to happen? Do you think our mental health is going to get better? No, absolutely not. They're tied together intimately. Our mental health, our mind, and our body. They're intimately connected. We can't separate the two. But unfortunately, in modern medicine, the mind has been pulled out of medicine. The mind has been pulled away from the body. And it's not just that our brain is synonymous with our mind, but our bodies as well. Our thoughts are creating correlating chemistry and our bodies changing what's happening instantaneously, just based off of our... In particular, our habitual thoughts.
And so, this is why a practice like this is so amazing. And now this one I'm going to share is kind of on that fence between the mind and the spirit, depending on what lens you're looking through. But a Stanford study found that the act of literally, "Walking away from the problem and going for a short walk, increased creative inspiration by an average of 60% versus sitting. The effect was evident while and shortly after walking anywhere between five and 16 minutes." The researchers noted this enhance a specific flavor of creativity called divergent thinking, right? Or also known as thinking outside the box. Thinking unconventionally, thinking about a problem in a different way. Coming at it from a different angle. Because when we have a problem and we're just sitting and pining away the thing, ruminating over and over again, we tend to be looking at it and trying to hammer through the problem. Instead of thinking divergently and seeing that there's probably another possibility, 10 more possibilities, a 100 more ways of solving this problem than our tendency to just try and hammer away at the problem with a blunt instrument.
And so, I'm saying this is on the fence with mind and spirit, because some belief systems see that creativity is inspired by even an entity like a muse, or the muse. So, this is something that's invoked spiritually. But we also know today that creativity is a faculty of our brain and our mind, and being able to better use the faculties that we have. There's this wonderful quote from Seneca that says, "We should take wandering outdoor walks so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing." There's this other shift recently towards these kinds of stoic thinkers, and how their wisdom is so applicable to our conditions today.
And one of these... Seneca, one of the great thinkers, is saying, we need to go outside, wander around outdoors, fresh air, deep breathing. Why would this be so nourishing? Why would this be so refreshing? It's because this is something that is inherently impacting every single cell of our bodies. It's deeply influencing this association between our mind and our body and our spirit. Now, specifically from the spiritual perspective, walking and being outdoors and being in nature, as Seneca is mentioning, it's an exploratory experience.
The creative energy of the entire universe is living through us. It's trying to express itself through us. And we're engaging more with the world around us, more with reality. It's giving an opportunity to be expressed through us. And we're adding to this vast data base because that's what life is, living through us. This vast database out here, through this expression, by us getting out and engaging with the world. And walking isn't necessarily a meditation itself, but it's meditative. And so, it's presenting an opportunity to be with one's thoughts, to be more present and to work things out, and also to find kinship, to find connection.
Every creature on planet Earth is moving for its livelihood. Even a sloth. Even a sloth. Have you ever thought about this before? And I've actually seen this. There was a meme going around on this, but it was like a sloth trying to cross the street, backing up traffic for a just, it was ridiculous. But you come along, you pick a sloth up and you move him across the street, or you move him a mile, right? It's like time traveling for that sloth. Like he feels like the flash, for sure. But so even a sloth is moving for its livelihood. But humans have slowly been devolving to move less and less. We're becoming more sloth like, and then we are enamored or inspired by these superheroes who are moving quickly. Or the people in the world, our peers, who appear to be moving quickly and accomplishing the remarkable in our reality. But as we're doing less and less, it's pulling away from our essence as a part of this divine matrix that we all exist in.
We are at odds with it, because again, life is trying to live through us. And if we're not participating in that, we can't not participate in it, but we can create stagnation in it. And when we do that, we're blocking what's possible. We're blocking all of the possibility that's stored up in those cells of yours in that incredible mind, body and spirit. So that's number one on these seven daily habits to improve your mind, improve your body and improve your spirit.
Now I'm going to move on to number two on this list. And number two is to read something. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, upwards of 80% of physician visits are for stress related illnesses. Tools to help reduce and manage stress are absolutely vital today. Now, the body impact of reading is remarkable, because a group of researchers at the University of Sussex decided to stress some people out and see what method of relaxation could bring their stress levels back down the fastest. Their stress levels and heart rate were increased through a range of tests and exercises before, they were then tested with a variety of traditional methods of relaxation. They used things like relaxing music. Having a cup of tea or coffee. Going for a walk, or even something modern like playing a video game.
But the researchers were surprised to find that reading was the most effective method of relaxation they observed. We're talking about objective measurement of biological compounds, of biological changes in the body. Reading reduced stress levels by 68%, and it was shown that participants only needed to read silently for six minutes to slow down their heart rate and ease tension in their muscles. Reading actually got test subjects to stress levels that were lower than before they started stressing them out. That's pretty freaking awesome. Now, just to give some props, listening to music reduced the stress levels by 61%, which was very, very significant.
Having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54%, and taking a walk reduced stress levels by 42%, based on the biometrics that they were using. Playing video games even brought them down by 21% from their highest level, but still left the volunteers with their heart rates above their starting point. Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who co-authored the study, stated "It really doesn't matter what book you read. By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author's imagination. This is more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination, as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness."
The act of reading might actually help us to live longer as well. A fascinating study cited in the journal, Social Science and Medicine analyzed the health and activity data of 3,635 men and women who were a representative sample of American adults aged 50 and older. Study participants were followed up for an average of twelve years, and their survival was monitored during this time. Compared with adults who did not regularly read books. Those who read books for up to three and a half hours each week were 17% less likely to die over the twelve year follow up. While those who read for more than three and a half hours weekly were 23% less likely to die during the course of the study.
Overall, adults who read books survived almost two years longer over the twelve year follow up than non-book readers. Now, of course, the immediate objection to something like this when talking about reading and longevity would be that people who read tend to be more educated, they tend to be more wealthy and in better socio economic conditions. But isn't that the point? Isn't that the point reading being synonymous with those things? Regardless of where we are on that socio economic scale, reading is not relegated to one demographic or to a kind of higher echelon demographic.
Reading is a gateway into that demographic. The researchers actually adjusted for many confounding factors that could have influenced the longevity outcomes from being a frequent reader. But after accounting for test subjects age, sex, income, education, reported comorbidities and health status, and even their marital status, reading still stood out as a factor that contributes to longevity. Now, the researchers did not pinpoint the mechanisms by which book reading may increase survival, but the Yale University researchers speculate that it could largely be due to its cognitive benefits.
There's something special going on when we engage in the practice of reading, Alright? Now, we can have stories fed to us. Visually, right? We've got movies they come from a script. Somebody wrote something down. And that's a wonderful, multimedia, multi sensational experience. But here's the thing. The images are being fed to you versus when you're reading something in particular a fiction, story or a biography. You're creating the movie yourself. You're creating the images to go along with this, the sounds, the voices, the characters. You're fleshing these things out, so you're activating so much more of your brain. And this is a proactive way of nourishing the brain or entertainment, versus something that is more reactive or something that's being disseminated to you.
Now, along these lines, one study conducted by scientists at Emory University used FMRIs and examined brain activity before, during, and after reading a novel, over a 19-day study period. The researchers discovered a vast enhancement in brain cell activity and connectivity. Now, again, it's creating more connectivity in the brain, and they are monitoring this with our most advanced tools. This could also contribute to why research published in the journal Neurology in 2013 found that reading and other mentally stimulating activities can actually lower or slow the onset of dementia. Again, creating a buffer, a barrier against one of the biggest issues in our society today.
But these results are really a blending of body and mind. But one more interesting benefit of reading on the mind is highlighted in the peer-reviewed journal, Frontiers in Psychology, pointing to reading as a practice that can put you into a flow state. Now, we recently did an episode diving into the science of flow with one of the leading voices in the field, Stephen Cutler. Multi time New York Times best-selling author, and again a pioneering researcher in the field of flow states. And in that episode, we posed the question for most of us, have you experienced being in a state of flow before?
And for the vast majority of us, we can target and pinpoint moments when we experienced a flow state, or at least the awareness that we've experienced them. This might have been while playing a sport. This might have been while engaged in some kind of a communication or conversation. This might have been while giving a speech. This might have been while reading. Stephen Cutler pointed out during that episode that reading is a very flowy activity. It's something that has this tendency to put humans into an alternate state of consciousness, as the study mentioned earlier, and that being a kin to a flow state for the spirit.
When we're talking about reading, there's something very expansive about this activity. There's something very expansive about reading. Also, our spirit is connected to, and indeed is part of a larger intelligence that connects us all. What if we could better understand the spiritual expression presented through the lives of others, right? That's what reading is as well, giving us a portal into that. What if we could become more compassionate through that, more empathetic, more understanding, not just in theory, but in practice. Is there any way that reading can contribute to that? Well, a 2013 study published in the journal Science, found that individuals who read fiction tend to have a more advanced ability to understand the beliefs, desires, and thoughts of other people that are different from their own.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it. That's powerful right there. Alright. So those are just two of the daily habits to improve your body, mind, and spirit. 30 minutes daily walk and read something. As the research indicates, just six minutes. Six minutes can have a palpable effect on stress levels. For example, I'm a fan of ten-minute reading per day, making that mandatory. That's something that, again, it's baked into my daily habits, 95% of the time I'm going to read something, in my first 30 minutes of my day. I'm going to read something. And whether that's like targeting ten pages or targeting a chapter, or targeting ten minutes, whatever the case might be, whatever structure will fit for you, find a way to bake in some reading.
Now, this does not also negate the value of audio books as well, because throughout history, even prior to the advent of writing and reading, humans were sharing story through the auditory means. But again, even listening to that book or listening to a story, listening to a podcast, you are creating, you're filling out all of the subtleties. You're fleshing out the story, you're fleshing out and creating the visuals behind everything that go along with what you're listening to. It's a multi-dimensional form of learning and assimilating and interacting, Alright? So, it's very, very powerful. So even though, again, modern forms of entertainment, we've got YouTube, obviously, for education and learning, but when our ancestors would tell stories, again, before the advent of reading and writing, it created the visuals that the children who are listening to these stories would evoke in their own imagination and be able to carry those stories on.
It was so rich and so infectious, right? A mind virus if I may. A meme, an early form of memes were created in the minds of these kids, and they were able to pass those stories down. And often times those stories had valuable life lessons or historical context to be passed on from one generation to the next. To remember where we come from. To remember what we're about. To remember our mission statement as a people and moving on. So now we're at number three here on our list of seven daily habits to improve your body, mind, and spirit.
And the next one is to hydrate. Alright? This is a habit that must be established at this point. We are grown-ups. We're grown. We have to stop being dehydrated out here in these streets. Alright. Let's talk about the body implications and why this needs to be a daily habit. What roles does water play in our bodies? That's the fundamental question that can help to anchor this in. What are the roles that water plays in our bodies? Well, number one, water, these aren't in any particular order, but this is kind of top tier. Water is required for the maintenance of our DNA, Alright? The code that makes us is engulfed in a medium of water.
And as we become more and more dehydrated, this can literally damage our DNA. This is, like, not a joke. And so, to make sure that we're printing out good copies, because basically, as we're getting dehydrated, we're running out of ink, we're running out of toner, Alright? We're not able to print out high quality copies. And we want to have the best, like 3D copies. We want to have the very best. Hydration is critical in that formula. Water is also responsible for facilitating reactions in your mitochondria. Alright. So, this is where energy is produced. This is where fat is actually burned. This process becomes compromised when we're dehydrated.
Also maintaining the integrity of our blood. Our blood is approximately 90% water, and it's used to transfer the nutrients, oxygen, and immune cells throughout our bodies and to assist in waste removal. Also, water is the predominant thing that creates our lymph fluid. Alright. Our lymph fluid. It's a fluid, so it's built on and based on water. And so, our lymph fluid is needed to support our immune system and waste removal. So, it's extra cellular waste management system. So, we become real nasty. The sewage treatment facility starts getting backed up when we become dehydrated. Also, water is needed to build fluids of our digestive tract and digestive secretions. Alright? We want those good secretions.
And also, speaking of secretions, water is needed to build our seminal fluid and other fluids of the reproductive system for both men and women. Shout out to little John O'Skitzki. Also, water is needed for regulating our body temperature, for making the synovial fluid of your joints and your discs. Water is required for providing channels for the transmission of our hormones and neurotransmitters. They're all operating and moving on a water superhighway. Water is required for the cerebral spinal fluid of your central nervous system. And also, water provides the very basis for the brain's mass and functionality. Your brain is mostly made of water. Alright?
So, these are just some, and this is a lot that water is responsible for in the human body. This is the number one nutrient need that we have, Alright? Proactively that we can do something about. Now that's on the body side. What are the mental implications? The mind/the brain. Again, we're kind of on the fence. We're pivoting back and forth with this. Well, recent data published in the international Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed that mild dehydration has a significant negative impact on fatigue, on mood, on reading speed, on mental work capacity, in test subjects. And within a short amount of time, getting them properly hydrated, alleviated fatigue, improved total mood, boosted short term memory, what?
Water boosted their memory and enhanced their focus and reaction times. I want all that, simply by getting ourselves properly hydrated. Nothing on earth matches the cognitive benefits that come from addressing your brain's primary need for hydration. There's all these nootropics on the market right now, but again, if we're not doing the basic thing, we're window dressing, Alright? We're ironing just one part of the shirt. We're ironing only the part that people see. We're not really taking care of the whole shebang. That's probably a terrible analogy. But you know who you are. People out there, you know, they just ironing one part.
Now, with that being said, hydration and this is so important, I really, really want to make sure that you get this today and keep this with you forever. Hydration is not a function of water alone. Hydration is not a function of water alone. When we think about hydration, we think about water. Rightfully so, yes, but it is not a function of water alone. Water does not exist in isolation, in nature. There isn't just H2O out here. We can manufacture, we can manipulate chemically to create H2O, a blank slate. But water is known as the universal solvent because it's always interacting with things in the environment. Water in nature is going to be a combination of water and minerals, in particular, water and other nutrients. And so that's what gives the water structure. It's what gives the water the ability to interact with our cells more efficiently and effectively.
In particular, we have these protein portals called aquaporins that enable water to actually get into and nourish our cells, and those aquaporin channels are critically dependent upon electrolytes to be able to shuttle water back and forth through our cells and our extracellular fluid. And so, if we're missing the point here and we're drinking a lot of water. We hear Something like this, or we hear a recommendation from an expert you need to drink a lot of water, or somebody's taking on a gallon in a day, right? People are just guzzling water trying to lose weight get healthy whatever. You can literally be depleting your body's electrolytes your mineral stores as your body's trying to process this blank water this water that is low in electrolytes. So again, it's not just water alone. It is critically important to make sure that we're getting in adequate amounts of electrolytes. Alright?
So especially at a time like this, this is summertime. We are out here sweating. When we're sweating, we're going to be sweating out our electrolytes. And particularly we know about sodium, where we're going to be losing. We need ample amounts of sodium especially if we're not eating a largely processed food diet which the average American is getting upwards of 70 plus percent of the sodium in their diet is coming from ultra-processed foods. Alright? Low quality sodium and sodium is getting isolated into one flavor, right? There's different forms of salts as well. There's sodium salts but salt and sodium we use them synonymously in our culture but they're not the same thing. Alright.
So, we want to get high quality sodium we want to make sure that we're getting adequate amounts of potassium, magnesium in optimal ratios. There's a company that has hundreds of thousands of data points. They're now working with the biggest, we're talking about NFL we're talking about MLB all this stuff. Companies that have traditionally been utilizing electrolytes for their players but the stuff, right? The low-quality electrolytes, the Gatorades and the Powerades and those abnormal sugar. Now those companies if you haven't noticed are shifting gears, and they're pulling out the abnormal amounts of sugar that they're putting into their drinks or creating other versions that don't have that. Those artificial sweeteners as well and different ingredients artificial colors and all those things that have been poisoning people for decades.
They're starting to backpedal and pull those things out. Rather than even putting our trust in them. Let's go to the very best the ones that these huge teams. We're talking about billion-dollar brands, if we're talking about NFL teams for example are now turning to LMNT for their electrolytes, because of the sourcing. Because it is free of sugar and artificial colors, Alright? Stuff that's not needed. Just the high-quality salts and the optimal ratio for performance, physical sports performance and cognitive function. Alright. Because research at McGill University found that sodium functions as a "On off switch in the human brain for our different cognitive faculties and also protecting our brain against neurodegeneration." It's important. So, this is a part of my... I actually just had some before the show today. Alright? I'm a huge fan of LMNT. Go to drinklmnt.com/model.
They're actually going to send you a free gift with every purchase of electrolytes from LMNT. They're going to send you a free sample pack. And so, I've got a couple of free sample packs that I got from them that I give out to friends, that I give to people who even come into the studio. I'm just huge fan, because of what I've seen it do for the people that I care about. And so again hydration is not just about water alone. It's also about utilizing and taking an advantage of high-quality electrolytes. So, one of the reasons I really love LMNT is their sourcing, is their integrity, is the people behind it, right? So again, go to drinklmnt.com/model. Take advantage get yourself some high-quality electrolytes and get yourself hooked up with that free gift as well.
Now in addition to the body in addition to the mind what about the spiritual aspect of water? Well, there's a wonderful quote from Leonardo da Vinci that says that water is the driving force of all nature. Water is the driving force of all nature. When we're trying to become more spiritually inclined, many people think about these kinds of pristine environments. When we think about a meditative place, when we think about a peaceful place, we're going to have a tendency to see forests. We're going to have a tendency to see bodies of water, hear the sounds of water, right? These things are kind of synonymous with spiritual growth and peace, right? Water, there's something incredibly attractive about water for human beings. It's not just an accident that we're attracted to that that when we're trying to relax or have a vacation, we're trying to go to a beach or the lake or something of that nature. Humans have always been attracted to water because we come from that. It's a part of us.
There's nothing on planet earth that's more remarkable than our oceans. These bodies of water have such might, have such mystery, have such history, that we are only scratching the surface on understanding. And I'm hoping that along these lines we're also helping to protect and support these things as well, and not just exploration for the sake of it and ignoring the beauty that it holds. And so again these practices are not just about the physical benefits or even the mental benefits, but also what it's doing for our spirit.
Alright. Now we're going to move on to number four here on our list of seven daily Habits to improve your mind body and spirit. Number four on our list is to hug and connect. What are the body implications for hugging and connection and affection? Well, the growing number of studies are showing that our social interactions profoundly affect the composition of our microbiome. Through hugs handshakes and even being in the same room together, we translate our social networks into microbial ones. Transferring benign or even beneficial microbes to our neighbors and acquiring theirs in return.
This Phenomenon is referred to as the pan-microbiome. It's a meta community of microbe species that spans a group of hosts. And if you compare your microbiome to your private music collection the pan-microbiome is like the full Apple or iTunes store with every handshake every hug being an act of file sharing.
Now a higher diversity of microbial species is associated with less chronic illnesses, longer lifespans, and even lower levels of obesity, as noted in the study published in the journal Nature titled, A Core Gut Microbiome in Obese and Lean Twins. So, they're actually looking at identical twins and seeing these alterations in their microbiome leading to different health outcomes. And the twin who has the most diversity of microbial species had a much stronger tendency to be defended, essentially against insulin resistance and obesity and other chronic disease risk factors.
Now several studies including a study published in scientific reports titled, The Human Gut Pan-Microbiome presents a compositional core formed by discreet phylogenetic units. Another study published in Scientific Advance is titled, Social Behavior Shapes the Chimpanzee Pan-Microbiome, and also a study published in Environmental Microbiology titled Meta-Analysis of the Human Gut Microbiome from Urbanized and Pre-agricultural Populations. All these studies explore the pan-microbiome, pan meaning species wide microbiome and those respective changes or alterations throughout it. And they're looking at the critical importance of our social interactions on this pan-microbiome.
One of the study states, "Social behavior generates a pan-microbiome preserving microbial diversity across evolutionary timescales and contributing to the evolution of host species-specific gut microbial communities." So, we're talking about literally the evolution of ourselves as a species or could be considered a devolution as we're missing more and more microbes as more and more microbes are becoming endangered or even an extinct in certain populations of humans. And one of those studies is looking at, again pre-agricultural populations that we're talking about folks who are still subscribing largely to a hunter gatherer lifestyle, right? So, like the Hadza for example, versus the urbanized, Alright? The urbanized human being in our modern society and seeing the diversity and folks who are closer to nature still in the conventional sense of the term hunter-gatherers. And them having in the ballpark and this could be more, it could be a little bit less, but four times more diversity. Four times, if we truly understand having a 1000 different species of microbes four times, we're talking 4,000 different.
If we're talking about the average person having 5,000 species of microbes, then we're talking about 20,000 different species for hunter-gatherers. So much more diversity. And a key contributor to this diversity to our evolution as a species, and our own pan-microbiome, collectively in our own communities, it is reliant upon our connections with each other. Being in close proximity to each other. Those hugs are an exchange of not just energy and love and all those things that we'll get to, but literally it's an exchange of data for our microbiomes. It's not just the gut microbiome as well. We have microbiomes throughout many different parts of our bodies, we have a a lung microbiome, we have a skin microbiome, but overall, we are teaming with microbes, right?
We have a vast array of microorganisms living in and on our bodies that are largely part of this symbiotic relationship that are helping to keep us healthy, that are helping to keep us resilient. Now, what happens when we start to pull away that exercise? It's a light exercise when we're around other people. When we're meeting new people our... We're not just meeting them, we're also, our microbes are meeting, there's an interaction.
If you want to picture this, like a Pig-Pen situation on the Peanuts or Charlie Brown and all his gang, he's got the one kid has got like a cloud of dust that's just traveling with him all the time. But of course, they looking down on my man, he's dirty or whatever, but he's probably got the most robust... If we find out, where are they today, where are they now? If we do a, where are they now show with the Peanuts, he's probably outlived all of them, let's be honest. Alright, but here's the thing, we have this kind of an invisible sphere of microbes, and this is interacting and getting light workouts, light training when we're around other people. It's something that's vital to, just like exercise and movement for our bodies, we need this exercise and movement for our microbes. And being able to interact with each other is vital to that.
So, a hug again isn't just an exchange of energy, it's an exchange of microbial information and getting to know each other. Alright, so with that being said, we're living at a very strange time where people who are in premier positions of health authority would say things that will create a deep long lasting or enduring fear of interacting with other people. And one of these supposed health authorities said that even after the post pandemic fear has subsided, one of the things that we can continue doing is to stay away from each other. Let's see if you could figure out whose voice this is.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: What are the things that you could still do, and still approach normal? One of them is, absolute compulsive hand washing. The other one is, you don't ever shake anybody's hands. That's clear, I don't think we'd ever should ever shake hands ever again. To be honest with you.
SHAWN STEVENSON: I don't think we should ever shake hands again, to be honest with you, to be honest with you. Were you not being honest before my guy? But to be honest with you we should never shake hands again. Now again, to be in a position of authority, to say something so flippantly that would invoke fear in people and really help to advocate this kind of anthropophobia, that we've experienced culturally, which is an irrational fear of people, an irrational fear of society. And by the way, this condition causes a person to have severe anxiety when in the presence of another person, regardless of the situation. And this phobia can significantly impact the day to day lives of people and the activities they choose to do, from grocery shopping to going to work, and also again, a fear of touching another person.
Now we know people who exist on that spectrum, but have you seen this become more prevalent in our society since all of this happened? But for me, it's just again, wildly inappropriate to put that out, that we should never shake hands again. Like that's just insane. That's absolute insanity. And I called this out immediately when it happened. This was several years ago when he said it. And I was like, no, no, no, this is inappropriate. This is going too far. Because he wasn't even talking about now, where there's something going around to be more cautious. He's talking about ever again. That's clear. We shouldn't shake people's hands, let alone hug, Oh my God.
It's so irresponsible to say or to think something like that. It's like, it's a twisted view of reality. You can't escape other people. And the more that we're withdrawing, the worse it is for our health outcomes. That's the predominant data that we have. We need each other. We need each other for our survival. And so even at that time and pointing these things out, unfortunately folks who been following this work for a long time, I have been in this field for 20 years. They abandon ship. You can't talk about Fauci. You can't talk about Fauci. He's got our best interests at heart. I love you, Shawn, but Fauci is, I know he sounds like Marge Simpson's sisters, Patty, and Thelma, but he’s, my guy. He's very trustworthy. He said, to be honest with you, matter of fact, listen to him again. Let's do his voice again son. See if it sounds a little bit like Marge Simpson's sisters who smoke a lot.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: What are the things that you could still do, and still approach normal? One of them is, absolute compulsive hand washing. The other one is, you don't ever shake anybody's hands. That's clear, I don't think we'd ever should ever shake hands ever again. To be honest with you.
Did you hear when he laughed a little bit too? Right. He's laughing. He said, absolute compulsive handwashing. Just tear away any remnants of a skin microbiome you have that's protective on your hands. So many inappropriate things. And again, we have to be more rational in our perception of people who are put into positions of authority, and just being able to appreciate and understand and respect basic tenets of human health, and what is crossing a line, but not just crossing a line, but going so far past that line that we become less human. To even use a language of compulsive anything, we should not be advocating for any human to compulsively do because that can teeter on a dangerous place where we're losing our ability to maintain our faculties of control, right? And again, unfortunately this time period is still spinning out in the long-term ramifications, and the mind virus implanted in our people, in our communities, and inherent fear that we now carry about each other.
And again, there's a difference between taking actions to be resilient with our immune system, and to avoid unnecessary circumstances that might put us at risk. There's a place for that. But overall, the most important message, and the most true message, the most science-backed message is focusing on building our resilience as a species. Is focusing on building the resilience and functionality and intelligence of our immune system. Because there's immunomodulation at play. There's immunosenescence at play. There's immunosurveillance at play. Are we creating conditions within our bodies and our cells for our immune systems to have an appropriate response to anything that we're interacting with? And understand that things are going to happen. We're going to have random things take place but having an adaptable immune system to take on that message, to take on that new data and to make adaptations that create a stronger and stronger more resilient human being.
Do we just forego all of that for a modality of fear and isolation and separation and drift, again further and further away from each other when we require other humans in order for a healthy expression of our microbiome, healthy expression of our genes. And again, this is part of this mind, body, spirit connection that we're looking at with our daily habits. With that being said, why did hugging and connecting make the list of daily habits for us to target? Let's take a look at the mind brain connection here.
A study published in scientific reports found that oxytocin protects hippocampal memory and plasticity. This connection is critical for our brain development and maintenance of our healthy brain overall. Oxytocin now, how do we make it? It's protective of the memory centers of our brain. Oxytocin is often referred to in scientific circles as, "The love hormone, or the cuddle hormone." And it promotes bonding between humans. We were looking for, what is this thing that's connecting humans, that's connecting a mother to her baby, that's connecting lovers, that's connecting family and friends. We've been able to identify some of these compounds that the human body is producing in those contexts when we're connecting with others, and one of them a standout hormone is oxytocin. Now, oxytocin promotes bonding between people, and it's released when you're in close connection with friends and family. Another study published in the journal, Regulatory Peptides revealed that oxytocin has a calming effect on the brain and nervous system, helping to reduce cortisol levels and even promoting better sleep.
Now here's the applicable science. How do we get this? A 20 second hug has been found to provide a nice boost of oxytocin. To take this even further, again, more of a metaphysical view of this. We know we've got even really sound science on this as well, being able to utilize new technology, and get data from folks like the HeartMath Institute. And we could see that there's an expansive energy field emitting from the human body around the heart area, is referred to as a tube torus, and it can extend upwards of eight feet from our bodies. And so, when we're in the presence of other people, this field is interacting, Alright? So, we can only see a certain spectrum of light. There is so much more happening here in reality on planet earth that we simply can't see. That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
And so, we keep inventing things so we can see what our ancestors have been telling us, that there is an energy. You are an energy. You are more than just your body. Your body is a vessel, but you even extend or expand beyond that. And so, when you're in the presence of other people, especially close proximity, when you hug, your energies are meeting, your spirit. Let's put the label of spirit is interacting. And when two spirits interact or more people, their spirits interact. A new presence is created. A new entity is formed. This has been known throughout history. And again, what kind of super potential do we have when we're allowing ourselves to interact with people that we care about, people that we love, people who have the same mission as us. A new presence is created. Those energies interact and create something new, something even more powerful, more vital. And we can cut ourselves out from that. When we're abiding by the newfound rules of society that are promoting more isolation, that are promoting more time on these screens, and disconnecting ourselves inherently, once you go into that screen you're disconnected from the present.
You're no longer part of reality in the world that's going on around you. You're into this, this box of the superficial. And so, make it a mandate to hug somebody every day. Take the opportunity, take the time to hug somebody that you care about. Extend some love connection. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a hug, just getting in close proximity. Alright?
So, it's built into our family matrix. It's built into our family network. I'm constantly hugging my wife, hugging my sons. My youngest son knows nothing but hugs. Alright. He's first thing he does when he sees me in the morning, hug. Last thing he does when he sees me in the evening, we hug. Alright. I didn't have that growing up right, but I implemented it into my own family structure, Alright? I did have a period where I did have that love extended to me through my grandmother, and it was wonderful. Like again, it created this feeling of safety, connection, communication, consistency, and something that I want to pass on. And so, it's just another great opportunity for us to bake this into our daily habits. Make it important, make it a priority, because it is one of the most important things for our health and our longevity.
Moving on in these seven daily habits to improve your body, mind, and spirit. Number five is to meditate for at least 10 minutes. Is there a tool that can help you to become more centered and strong, less reactive, more resilient, and make decisions that are more appropriate and mindful. A major Part of being resilient in the face of stress and adversity is being able to supersede the circumstances. Being able to rise above them and create a buffer against moments that might otherwise be disorienting or even debilitating.
It's a practice that helps your best self to consistently show up. This is why a tool like meditation is so valuable. From the body perspective, meditation has been found to literally shift your genetic expression. A recent report published in Frontiers in Immunology found that, meditation can actually down regulate genes associated with inflammation. And we know that inflammation is a huge underlying factor in a myriad of our most deadly chronic diseases. An inappropriate response of our immune system. Inflammation is also created, again, created and regulated by your immune system. It's documented that regular exercise supports the immune system reduces the incidents and severity of colds and flus. Well, a study published in the journal, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses found that meditation is even more effective than exercise at preventing and reducing the severity of colds and flus. And when you have both of these things, this isn't an either or. If you have both of these things implemented within your lifestyle together, the benefits are even greater.
More on the body. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta found that meditation lowered blood pressure and reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke for participants. And to pivot into the mind, brain side of things, a recent study publishing experimental biology demonstrated that even a single session of mindfulness meditation can significantly reduce anxiety. And people with anxiety showed reduced stress on their arteries. After an hour introductory meditation training. While scientists at Harvard University published new research affirming that meditation can dramatically reduce symptoms of depression, and even change the physical makeup of the brains of depressed patients.
You can change your brain. You can change your brain. You're not stuck with the brain that you have. You could change your neurochemistry. And we need to be empowered with these truths that we're not a victim, right? So much of our suffering is created internally. It's created by our thoughts and our perceptions, and they tend to just get out of hand. And so, what if we can develop tools? What if we can develop skill sets to be able to manage these things? And that's one of the big principles of practices like meditation.
And the spirit, this is one of the most obvious culturally as far as something like meditation would be concerned. Because we're going within, and ironically by going within, we become more expansive. We become more knowledgeable that we are connected to something much bigger than just our little selves. We're developing a sense of presence, a sense of calm. And even though it might not show up even in that meditation session, because not every meditation session is a walk in the park, but we're building up this buffer. This space within ourselves that is always calm, that is always peaceful, and that space within ourselves, we can grow it. It can become more expansive. It might start off being a little teeny-tiny thing where we notice we're not as reactive or as agitated about certain things as we once were.
And nobody's perfect, we're going to have moments where even our practice is not going to show up in the moment. But also, one of the benefits of meditation is that we get back faster, right? We might lose ourselves, or go out of character, but we remember faster, and we're able to even laugh things off, for example, that might have bothered us previously. So just creating an overarching, more holistic connection in response to life. But our response to the external world is all internal. It's all happening inside of us. And so, the being able to access that ourselves, our individual spirit, our expansive nature, and also to spend some time in the realm where the external is birthed from, which everything in the external world that is human made, has come from within. Has come from the mind of another human, right. And so, to be able to visualize, to be able to see and thus to create something proactively in our own lives that we might want.
Having that centered place and having the time to visualize. And we know there's so much science on the power of visualization now. In particular, a lot has been done around athletes and Olympic athletes. It's just really remarkable. There are a few things that are more powerful, but are we taking the time to do it? So that's number five on our list of seven daily habits to improve your mind, body, and spirit. 10 minutes of meditation, that'll do the trick. Start there. Start with five. Alright, but 10 minutes I find is a sweet spot for some good maintenance, and really practicing and cultivating that inner space.
Number six, on our list of seven daily habits to improve your mind, body, and spirit. Number six is do something physically challenging. Now why should this be a daily habit? Well, let's use one physically challenging thing that a lot of people are acclimated to or knowledgeable about, which is strength training. Here are just a few of the benefits of building muscle and strength training seen in peer-reviewed studies. Again, we're challenging our bodies, our cells, our frame. We're putting them against resistance and being able to do work under those conditions.
This has been found to, again, all these are all clinically proven, significantly improves insulin sensitivity, improves overall hormone health, improves cognitive function, improves immune system performance, protects against injuries, and speeds recovery, defends against age related degeneration. The list goes on and on. There's many, many more benefits here. And so, strength training, that's one thing that we can do that's physically challenging each day, or we could do something, there's so many other things that we could do that are physically challenging. One of the things that's gained a lot of popularity in recent years is doing a cold plunge. Alright, cold exposure. And this has been found on the body side, to increase the production activity of brown adipose tissue, which is really rich in mitochondria and brown adipose tissue essentially burns white adipose tissue or body fat more efficiently and effectively if we have a higher ratio of it and more mobilization of those tissues.
What about the mind implications here with doing something challenging each day? If we look at strength training, UC San Diego School of Medicine published an article stating that, "Strength training promotes the opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled environment, which can increase mental resiliency, and improve symptoms of depression and anxiety." What about cold plunge or cold therapy? A study published in the peer-reviewed journal, QJM, monthly journal of the Association of Physicians investigated the antioxidant-based stress response in cold water swimmers versus a control group of healthy test subjects who don't engage in cold water exposure.
Their definition of adaptation in this study is, "Adaptation to oxidative stress is an improved ability to resist the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species resulting from pre-exposure to a lower dose." Now, after obtaining blood samples from the cold-water swimmers and examining their antioxidant defense systems, they determined that these swimmers developed an adaptative response to repeated oxidative stress, and postulate that this was a new basic molecular mechanism of increased tolerance to environmental stress. To wrap all of that up in a nice bow, this process increased their tolerance for stress in the real world. This process stayed with them outside of the cold water and increased their tolerance to stress in the external world. Outside of the cold water, it makes you more resilient. It's pretty freaking remarkable.
Now to combine all these together whether we're doing some strength training, whether we're invoking some cold immersion, whether we're doing even heat exposure therapy. There's so many different things that we can do to challenge ourselves physically. This could be a physical feat of some kind of a sports activity, right? So, there's many different ways that we can gauge him in this thing. Most important thing is that we're doing something. Alright. Just yesterday my youngest son... Summer vacation right now from school. And so, I was going to do my workout, but I know that he had something he was doing later in the day, but I was like this is a good opportunity for him to train with me. Because usually during the week he is at school. So, I just immediately tap him in. If there's an opportunity there for my son to train with me and my oldest son happened to come home from training a client as well.
And so, we all were engaging and working out together and just utilizing our... We've got a couple of tools couple of simple tools is all you need. We've got some kettlebells from Onnit some of their primal bells. We've got some steel clubs and some steel maces. And we also have a battle rope. We've got some sandbags, where we've picked up pieces of equipment over time just like grabbing one here grabbing one there. And I highly recommend the tools from Onnit by the way for unconventional training because we want to be fit for not just this standard kind of push pull linear rudimentary kind of fitness but to be dynamic in our training, and Onnit is the world leader in that. So definitely check them out. Go to Onnit.com/model. That's O-N-N-I-T.com/model. You get 10% off all of their fitness equipment, and their human optimization supplements as well.
But their fitness equipment this is exclusive with the Model Health Show by the way. They have these hydro core bags as well that utilizes water in their equipment to like make it more challenging based on the way that the water is moving. It's crazy stuff. And it's just like, again, you think you're fit until you engage with these different implements, right? The first time you use a steel mace, and you do the 360 with it, it's humbling, because you might think you're strong but you need to develop this skillset. And all of these really unique movements and all of these stabilizers, and muscles that have been underutilized because you're doing all these linear movements. They're like waking up they're like, "Hey what are you doing?" They got to adjust and try to keep up and grow and develop and it creates a level of fitness that most people simply don't have.
So again, check them out. That's Onnit.com/model O-N-N-I-T.com/model. And so, my boys we all got together, we did some training, and this is built into our family matrix, right? So, there's a spirit of fitness within my family culture. There's a spirit of wellness, there's a spirit of comradery. There's a spirit of greatness. There's a spirit of doing something to grow ourselves proactively. And it's a shared collective thing that we come together. Again, when you come together with people, a new entity is formed right? So, take that on keep that in your mind when you're making the decisions about whether or not you're going to do... Go it alone or you're going to invite other people along on the journey. Are you're going to proactively engage with your family wherever you can. Again, life is going to life. Life is lifeing, but where can you add in dimensions of interaction? Because doing something physically challenging creates a spirit of resilience. It creates a spirit of I can.
Alright, now we're at our final one of these seven daily habits to improve your body mind and spirit. And I hope that you really enjoyed this. Number seven is to do something playful. Alright. We've got the resilience, we've got the meditation, we've got the reading, but do something playful. Alright? What are the body implications here? Well playing helps with our functionality our ability to be more versatile, and to be expansive beyond again these linear push pull movements that we can get stagnant in. If we are even just for our physical fitness, we're just lifting weights or whatever the case might be, or just running. But when you're playing right, engaged in some kind of an activity or sport, we're using our bodies inherently in more dynamic ways. And play is also connected to longevity. Check out what leading neuroscientists, double board-certified psychiatrist. He has the world's largest database of SPECT imaging scans of the human brain. He knows a thing or 20 about the human brain, about human health and about longevity. Check out one of my good friend Dr. Daniel Amen has to say about his favorite sport for brain health based on his data.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, people who play racket sports live longer than everybody else. Isn't that interesting? Because there's a part of the brain, the cerebellum back bottom part of the brain is 10% of the brain's volume, but it has more than half of the brain's neurons. It's critically important. And one of its main functions is coordination, physical coordination, but also thought coordination. And how quickly you can process information. And you, table tennis, and the reason that I like it better than pickleball, is it's faster. And there's a lot of spin, and a lot of thinking that when you play at a high level, it's a strategy game. So reflex, fast reflex, very aerobic and it's strategic. So, it's working out your cerebellum. It's working out your parietal lobes in the top back part of your brain. They see where the ball is in space and it's working out your frontal lobes, because you are always creating strategy. And so, it's this great whole brain exercise. Now it's not beer pong. I mean let's just be really clear it's not beer pong. And it's not just hitting the ball back and forth, it's like thinking about it. So, I teach my patients, go get a coach, get good, this will help rehabilitate your brain.
Shawn Stevenson: So that's beneficial for our bodies and our minds, right? So, utilizing or proactively engaging in some kind of racket sports. So, we've got table tennis AKA ping-pong. We've got pickleball that's popping out here, we've got racquetball, we've got tennis obviously, and there's many different iterations of these things. We got badminton, we've got badminton out here, we got a shuttlecock out here on the streets as well. Prize to the most phenomenal name, I guess, for a piece of sports equipment, but here's the thing, this is not limited to these forms of play. There's a variety of forms of play if we're talking about sport that we can, again, extract a lot of value from. But it's not just these sports we're talking about playing, we're also talking about games, things like that. So, even board games, playing things like, Monopoly and Operation, Alright?
Playing Operation. There's new games, more adult-centered or shifted games like Cards Against Humanity, I don't know if there's people out here playing that one as well. But there's a variety of different things that stimulate a spirit of play, right? Having fun, being creative and engaging with friends and family, doing something that it starts to really transition into many of these other aspects when we are engaged in a spirit of play.
Now, also for the mind play is something that triggers more expanded whole brain learning synchronization of both lobes of the brain, and is a catalyst for flow states. A lot of people find that when they're engaged in play is when they tap into a state of flow. And overall, if we're talking about a spirit of longevity, George Bernard Shaw says that "We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing." I hope that this inspired you to add in these daily habits, make them a mandate.
Again, this is not about perfection, this is about progress, and certain things are just more effective. Certain things are just more valuable to add to our daily routine than other things. We can also make these things, again, blend them together, right? We can combine many of these things, if we're talking about having that community, for example, and that connection, right? Hugs and connection, closeness, going for a walk together with a friend or a family member, right? We can meditate together, we could read something together, we can obviously train together and do something challenging together, but we can also play together. And isn't that what life is all about? We do so much, we spend so much time working in order to have some free time so that we can play and do the things that we want to do. And I'm advocating for us to be more conscientious in giving yourself permission to lighten the load, to play more, because I promise you, it's going to make the work that you're doing that much more rewarding. It's going to make it that much more fun. It's going to increase more resilience in the face of the challenges that you're inherently going to face.
Alright, so, again, I hope you got a lot of value out of this, if you did, please share this out with your friends and family. This is episode 700 of The Model Health Show, very, very powerful milestone. Many, many milestones this past 12 months. We've crossed the 10-year anniversary of The Model Health Show. I crossed my 20-year anniversary of working in health and fitness, and now episode 700. And if there's something that you can give as a gift for that, it'll be to leave a review over on Apple Podcasts or rate the show on whatever platform you're listening on. Pop over to the YouTube channel and subscribe to The Model Health Show there for more exclusive content that we're putting on YouTube, but just extend your heart, extend, do a couple of finger taps to engage with me and to share your heart. That would really, really mean a lot. Alright. I appreciate you so much for tuning in into this show today. Remember, sharing is caring, we got some epic masterclasses and world class guests coming your way very, very soon. So, make sure to stay tuned. Take care, have an amazing day and I'll talk with you soon.
And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you can find transcriptions, videos for each episode. And if you've got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome. And I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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