10-30-14 – Thursday – 17 Reasons to Walk More this Year – from Mark’s Daily Apple

17 Reasons to Walk More This Year

footprintsEven though some of you may be tired of me saying this, it needs saying. I say this a lot because it’s important: you need to walk more. In fact, if there’s one New Year’s resolution I think everyone should make, it would be to walk more. Many of you made this the centerpiece for your 2014 plans, many did not, figuring you already do enough. Nope. No one really walks as much as they should, though. That small subset of my readers who do walk enough should still read this post if only to fortify their resolve.

Why do I hammer home this point so often, anyway?

There are a few main reasons why I’m so fond of walking, also known as moving frequently at a slow pace. First, it’s all-inclusive. Absent debilitating injury or infirmity, everyone can walk. No excuses (unless you have one).

Second, the necessary equipment is right down there. See those bizarre appendages underneath you? That’s what you walk with. See that horizontal surface stretching into the horizon? That’s what you walk on.

Third, it’s the foundation for good health and makes life better. It’s this last point that brings me to the meat of today’s post: all the ways in which walking enhances our life.

Let’s go:

It keeps your buttocks engaged with the world.

A wise man once said that excessive sitting causes glute inactivation and atrophy. This is true, but it’s not like simply standing is enough to keep them strong and engaged. You have to walk, and walk often. To make sure the way you walk is actually activating your glutes, place your hands on each glute. You should feel your glute tense up a bit with each footfall as it accepts the load, and that same glute should tense up even more when you push off to take another step so that your hand gets a little “pushback.” Gallivant around like this, making sure each glute is working. Those buttocks! Ne’er-do-wells, the lot of ‘em if you give ‘em half a chance!

It modestly reduces body fat.

Walking isn’t going to get you shredded, ripped, cut, or yoked. It might not be as brutally and mechanistically effective on a minute for minute basis as other forms of exercise, but frequent walking will help anyone with two functioning legs and hip and knee joints that allow movement who would otherwise meld into the couch lose some body fat. That’s pretty cool, I think.

It improves glycemic control, especially after meals.

Just 15 minutes of walking after eating improved the blood glucose control in older people with poor glucose tolerance. Try to keep the walk as close to the meal as possible to aid in weight loss.

It improves triglyceride levels and lowers blood pressure, especially after meals.

Whether short (ten 3-minute bouts of brisk walking) or longer (one 30-minute bout of brisk walking), briskly walking after a meal lowers postprandial blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

It might help you live longer if you do it briskly (or at least presages a longer life, if not causes it).

A recent study of over 7000 male and 31000 female recreational walkers found that walking intensity predicted mortality risk. Those who walked the fastest tended to die the least. It’s important to note that this wasn’t an interventional study where walkers were coached to walk faster; this was just looking at the relationship between natural walking speed and mortality risk, so naturally slow walkers who resolve to increase their speed may not see the same relationship – but it certainly can’t hurt!

It’s well tolerated by people with arthritis (and could even improve their condition).

Arthritis patients have it tough on the exercise front. They won’t get any better avoiding exercise, but exercise tends to hurt. What to do? Walk. Walking is gentle, particularly if you perform it with proper form. And one study even found that walking (and weight lifting) improves balance in older adults with osteoarthritis.

It’s good for your brain.

Walking does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefitsimproving memory in seniorscognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents (especially those who need it most), and (when done outdoors) boosting creativity in the young and healthy. The farther an older person can walk in six minutes, the better he or she performs on memory and logic tests; folks who perform poorly on the walking test tend to have reduced grey matter volume in certain sections of their brains. Aristotle’s famed tendency to walk as he taught students suddenly makes sense.

It reduces stress.

What do I do when I need to get away from a particularly stressful day in “civilization”? Go for a walk, preferably in a natural setting. For me, it’s the beach or the Malibu hills. For others, it might be the woods or even a park. Sure enough, going for a walk in the woods is a surefire way to lower cortisol.

It reduces stress even when it doesn’t.

A recent study examined the effect of forest walking on stress in young adults, finding that although chromogranin A (a biomarker of stress) increased, the subjects reported reductions in subjective perceptions of stress (which, remember, may matter more than “objective” markers). 

It boosts immune function.

Several lines of evidence point to the benefits of walking on the immune system. First, a “mere” 30 minute walk increases killer T-cells and other markers of immune function. Second, among free-living Japanese elderly, higher daily step counts correlate with improved mucosal immunity. Finally, among postmenopausal women involved in a walking training program, the normally deleterious immune effects associated with menopause were ameliorated.

It prevents falls in the elderly.

Walking on uneven, natural ground like hiking trails, improves balance and reduces falls in the elderly. “Walking programs,” which usually have elderly patients walking indoors or on treadmills as briskly as they can handle do not appear to work very well. Slow, unsteady, and meandering walks appear to be better. Don’t wait until you’re already at risk of falling, though. The earlier you start habitually walking, the better your ability to navigate the land without falling will be.

It gives you a chance to think.

When we walk, we think. And because walking is a low-difficulty endeavor, we can direct our executive functioning to more internal matters. We work through problems, come up with ideas, replay conversations, scheme, ruminate, and discover solutions. Or maybe we just think about that funny dog we saw on the way to work the other day. That’s a worthy subject, too.

It can be a kind of meditation.

Meditation is a foreign concept for many Westerners; we know about it, but we don’t know it. Even when we want to try it, having read about the benefits, we can’t quite muster the will to sit still for twenty, thirty minutes at a time. Enter the walking meditation. Do it formally, or just go for a walk and let your mind tune out from all the chatter. You’ll feel better either way.

It improves meetings.

Regular old seated meetings can be tedious, yawn-inducing beasts, even when the people and subject matter involved are interesting. Walking meetings, which are exactly what it sounds like, are growing more commonplace in the business world, and I couldn’t be happier. Seth Roberts found that replacing his seated student/teacher meetings with walking meetings was refreshing and invigorating.

It’s in your blood.

Your distant ancestors didn’t develop horribly calloused knuckles and brave savannah predators just so you could sit at the computer and devolve into an immobile blob. You come from a long and storied line of walkers. Keep the tradition alive!

It’s in your genes.

This one sounds similar to the last one, but it’s different. What I mean by “it’s in your genes” is your genes “expect” you to move around a lot at a slow pace, and walking affects how your genes are expressed. Walking has been shown, for example, to positively affect the genes responsible for fat and carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscle, to reduce inflammatory gene expression in adipose tissue, and to lower oxidative and inflammatory gene expression pathways in older adults.

It enables recognition of the felt presence of immediate experience.

When you drive, you can’t really focus on all the interesting stuff occurring in the world around you. Outside of what’s happening on the road, you shouldn’t focus on what’s occurring around you when you drive. Even riding a bike you tend to get tunnel vision. Walking on the other hand offers infinite chances for engagement with the outside world. See a rose? When you’re walking, you can stop and smell it. See a little path on the side of the trail heading somewhere cool? If you were driving, you’d have whizzed right past it. We all need a little more presence in our lives, and walking enables it.

As you can see from the bulk of the evidence I’ve just presented, walking can have a powerful effect on your health – and it doesn’t take very much of it. Most studies showing the benefits have people walk for ten, fifteen, thirty minutes at a time. That’s a lunch break. That’s parking in the last lot. That’s taking a quick jaunt around the block. That’s stealing a few moments away from your desk. It’s doable, people. You just have to do it.

That’s it for today, guys. Now it’s your turn. Do you walk every day? Do you walk “enough”? Do you plan on walking more this year? Tell me why, tell me why not, or just tell me how walking has enriched your life. Thanks for reading!

4:00 AM – Blood Sugar – 118, Weight – 170.8
Treadmill – Distance- 2.42, Time- 39:23, Calories- 266.9

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10-29-14 – Wednesday – Back on the Horse

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve done resistance exercises that this morning I feel like I am starting all over again. I am pushing through a good chest workout at a slow pace and my reps are a lot lower than the last time I worked my chest. I could push a little harder, but I feel like I should be getting these rested muscles acclimated to working hard again. The next time I do chest I may be able to get back to where I was before, or it may take an additional workout. While doing a peleo diet my body is adjusting from burning carbs for energy to burning fat. I am keto adjusting and should soon see some dramatic changes in how I feel.

My weight continues to drop while living Paleo and again I am watching the damn scale. With a good workout today it is possible that my weight may go up tomorrow while retaining water for muscle growth. What does make me happy is that my blood sugar has gone down and I am hoping to see a range once again of between 80 and 90.

I know that I have to get back into walking on the treadmill more frequently. I want to keep a moderate pace for a longer time period. I will be shooting for 1 hour at a setting of 4.0 MPH.

4:15 AM – Blood Sugar – 113, Weight – 170.0
Bowflex – CHEST
Bench Press – 155/155- 18, 13, 15
Incline Press – 155/155- 12, 12, 12
Decline Press – 155/155- 12, 12, 12
Fly’s – 80/80- 12, 10, 11

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10-28-14 – Tuesday – Throw out the Scale

Interesting… I ate just 25 grams of carbs yesterday and still my blood sugar is high. But then again without working out my body has little ability to rapidly utilize the sugar that is in my blood stream. Tomorrow I will be back working out and I have to maintain this way of eating. Let’s see where my morning glucose tests go after the days I am working out. Hell, I don’t want to wait for tomorrow. I am going to knock out some situps this morning!

I still continue to weigh myself and although my body weight is down, it doesn’t mean anything. As I start working muscles again they will retain water and my weight will go up and as I build these muscles my weight will again increase. By burning fat my weight will go down. And that’s they way to get in shape and it doesn’t really matter what my total body weight is.

4:15 AM – Blood Sugar – 130, Weight – 171.0
Situps – 50, 50, 50, 50 = 200

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From Mark’s Daily Apple – This is the best explanation of Type II Diabetes that I have ever read.

The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes (and you’ll understand it)


We all know by now that type 2 diabetes is an epidemic. We’re seeing words like crisis and runaway all over the news and in the journals. Heart disease rates have been cut in half since the staggering margarine days of the 1980s, but diabetes has swiftly risen to fill that gaping void and meet the challenge of Completely Unnecessary Disease Epidemic.

Here’s my ultra-simple explanation of the entire insulin/blood sugar/type 2 diabetes mess. Big Agra could really care less about you. That’s just business. The pharmaceutical industry is not in it for the love of life. If that were the case, drugs would be much cheaper. The FDA has to think about public health, but it also has to think about treading carefully on the toes of corporate interests, because that’s how it works when you’re the biggest economy in the world.

Print this explanation out, stick it on your fridge, email it to your aunt. And put down the pasta.

When you eat food, the body digests the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins – actually many different amino acids – and fats. (Anything it can’t digest, like alcohol or fiber or toxins, either passes right on through or, if it makes it into the bloodstream, gets filtered by your liver, a beast of an organ if there ever was one.) We measure these macronutrients in grams and calories, but your body operates in terms of fuel. If you eat more fuel than your body needs – which most people do – the body is forced to store this excess. This ability to store excess fuel was an evolutionary imperative in a world that was in a state of constant “feast or famine” 50,000 years ago. In terms of Primal Health and our DNA blueprint, humans became very efficient fuel storage specialists and were able to survive the rigors of a hostile environment and pass those very same genes down to you and me. Thanks a lot, Grok!


Bear in mind that every type of carbohydrate you eat is eventually converted to a simple form of sugar known as glucose, either directly in the gut or after a brief visit to the liver. The truth is, all the bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice (stop me when you’ve had enough), fruit, dessert, candy, and sodas you eat and drink eventually wind up as glucose. While glucose is a fuel, it is actually quite toxic in excess amounts unless it is being burned inside your cells, so the body has evolved an elegant way of getting it out of the bloodstream quickly and storing it in those cells.

It does this by having the liver and the muscles store some of the excess glucose as glycogen. That’s the muscle fuel that hard anaerobic exercise requires. Specialized beta cells in your pancreas sense the abundance of glucose in the bloodstream after a meal and secrete insulin, a peptide hormone whose job it is to allow glucose (and fats and amino acids) to gain access to the interior of muscle and liver cells.

But here’s the catch: once those cells are full, as they are almost all the time with inactive people, the rest of the glucose is converted to fat. Saturated fat.

Insulin was one of the first hormones to evolve in living things. Virtually all animals secrete insulin as a means of storing excess nutrients. It makes perfect sense that in a world where food was often scarce or non-existent for long periods of time, our bodies would become so incredibly efficient. How ironic, though, that it’s not fat that gets stored as fat – it’s sugar. And that’s where insulin insensitivity and this whole type 2 diabetes issue get confusing for most people, including your very own government.

If we go back 10,000 or more years, we find that our ancestors had very little access to sugar – or any carbohydrates for that matter. There was some fruit here and there, a few berries, roots and shoots, but most of their carbohydrate fuel was locked inside a very fibrous matrix. In fact, some paleo-anthropologists suggest that our ancestors consumed, on average, only about 80 grams of carbohydrate a day. Compare that to the 350-600 grams a day in the typical American diet today. The rest of their diet consisted of varying degrees of fat and protein. And as fibrous (and therefore complex) as those limited carbohydrate foods were, their effect on raising insulin was minimal. In fact, there was so little carbohydrate/glucose in our ancestor’s diet that we evolved four ways of making extra glucose ourselves and only one way of getting rid of the excess we consume!

Today when we eat too many carbohydrates, the pancreas pumps out insulin exactly as the DNA blueprint tell it to (hooray pancreas!), but if the liver and muscle cells are already filled with glycogen, those cells start to become resistant to the call of insulin. The insulin “receptor sites” on the surface of those cells start to decrease in number as well as in efficiency. The term is called “down regulation.” Since the glucose can’t get into the muscle or liver cells, it remains in the bloodstream. Now the pancreas senses there’s still too much toxic glucose in the blood, so it frantically pumps out even more insulin, which causes the insulin receptors on the surface of those cells to become even more resistant, because excess insulin is also toxic! Eventually, the insulin helps the glucose finds it way into your fat cells, where it is stored as fat. Again – because it bears repeating – it’s not fat that gets stored in your fat cells – it’s sugar.


Over time, as we continue to eat high carbohydrate diets and exercise less, the degree of insulin insensitivity increases. Unless we take dramatic steps to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase exercise, we develop several problems that only get worse over time – and the drugs don’t fix it.

Ready for this? Let’s go:

Continue reading

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10-27-14 – Monday – Greek yogurt is not good for Type II Diabetes

Well I thought that I could try something new yesterday and eat a little Greek yogurt. This is the only food I ate yesterday that could have thrown raised my blood sugar, and as you can see that with a blood sugar of 131 this morning that didn’t work out too good. But with maintaining the peleo way of eating my weight once again has dropped.

After examining and clean that cut on my finger I have determined that I should be able to get back on track with working out in another two days. I am also figuring out how important it is to add squats back into my routine. If I really want to get an overall workout, which I do I have to work those legs and buttocks.

5:00 AM – Blood Sugar – 131, Wieght – 170.8

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10-26-14 – Sunday – A day of learning

Today is just about 5 days since my last workout and although it is becoming pretty frustrating I have to admit that it has become a lot easier to stay on the Paleo path. I believe that once my finger is healed enough to where a rise is blood pressure would not disturb the healing process I will return to just 3 workouts per week. With maybe just simple walks and 1 day of sprints. I don’t know yet, but we shall see.

Jason Seib in his book, “The Paleo Coach” encourages his clients to stay away from the scale and simply be mindful of the way they feel along with how their clothing fits. The obvious reason for this is that muscle weighs more than fat and there really isn’t a way to figure out how much fat you have burned and how much muscle mass you have built. Although I absorbed this fact I still found myself on the scale this morning. Ahh. Yes, it is hard to give up old habits.

Another lesson that I learned from Jason’s book is that before you put something in your mouth, stop and think about that food. Is this a positive thing that I want to enter my body, or is it a negative thing? Learn not to give in to social pressures and eat things that are not healthy just because you feel that you should because it is expected of you. One of the techniques I use is simple letting your host know how delicious that cake they baked looks, but because of diabetes, I just can’t eat it.

I am learning that all grains are poison and will disrupt the digestive system and raise blood sugar. It is not always bad to raise your blood sugar on occasions, but is better to do it with a piece of fruit. Grains do not taste good unless we add something to them. How many people would sit down and eat a plain plate of pasta? Yuk!

I am learning about the viscous carb cycle. Eating carbs for energy so you can burn 600 calories on the treadmill which makes you hungry for more carbs that you will have to burn off on the treadmill, simply doesn’t work. The key is to avoid the carbs and allow the body to do what it has been doing since the dawn of human existence – That is burning fat for energy. This process is called ketosis and yes, it is a natural state for humans.

I have also learned that when food choices are slim pickings or time is a factor there is always a roaster chicken not to far from home in one of our favorite supermarkets already cooked, hot and ready to be eaten. Getting home late yesterday and simply not wanting to cook led me to purchase one of these chickens. It was delicious and relatively inexpensive when you consider that you can get multiple meals out of it including saving the bones for chicken soup.

5:00 AM – Blood Sugar – 113, Weight – 171.2

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10-25-14 – Saturday – Meet Mark Sisson

I am on track with eating Paleo and it seems that even without the exercise my weight is slowly coming down.

5:00 AM – Blood Sugar – 116, Weight – 173.0

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10-24-14 – Friday – The Paleo Coach

I picked up a good book on Kindle called “The Paleo Coach” by Jason Seib. I am just about a quarter of the way into the book and I already can’t tell you how much I am inspired. Besides the paleo diet and exercise, Jason also discussed the way we think. It seems that the way we think about our lifestyles is more important than the diet and the exercise. I am not going to give it away, but I highly suggest purchasing his book. And as it turns out, Jason’s gym is only ab out 5 miles away from where I live. Excellent!

So yet another screw up last night. I still had a few pieces of chocolate left over and I gobbled them down during the Broncos, Chargers game on Thursday Night Football. The results are in the numbers not only for the game, but in my morning glucose reading. I feel like Phillip Rivers this morning.

5:00 AM – Blood Sugar – 126, Weight – 173.6

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10-23-14 – Thursday – Stay Focused

Not much to say this morning. I did great eating paleo yesterday, my sugar is down. Finger is still bandaged up and there will be no workout again today. I have to just stay on track and stay focused.

It is so easy to get off track, especially when you have an injury. During these times it is even more important to stay focused what you are eating because for the body to heal it needs good nutrition. Keeping carbs extremely low is just as important as your body has no outlet to burn calories as it would during a daily workout.

4:00 AM – Blood Sugar – 110, Weight – 174.0

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10-22-14 – Wednesday – You got your good days, and you got your bad days

Yesterday was not a good one. I ate like crap again, I almost chopped off my fingertip and I got a new homeowners tax evaluation showing that our property taxes are more than doubling next year. So you got your good days and you got your bad days.

So yea, I was working in the gardens yesterday cutting down excessive growth for year and cutting it up to spread out in the raised beds and ended up cutting the tip on my left index finger pretty deep. I elected to go with no stitches and instead cleaned and closed the wound myself with wound closing bandages. It worked out well, but I have to be extremely careful not to allow excess activity with that finger for about 5 days. I have had long history of healing quickly and am sure that this won’t change as long as I am healthy. I am typing in slow motion without the use of that index finger, but it is not that bad. Lesson to be learned – Always wear the proper gardening gloves when doing anything in the garden.

This also means that I will not be working out and will try to keep my blood pressure low until the wound properly closes. This also means that I will have to keep a very close eye on my diet and make sure that I restrict any type of carb other than fresh vegetables. I will start taking vitamins again today.

Like I wrote in yesterdays blog, we are saving a lot of money by refinancing the mortgage and I had that wonderful feeling like we are getting ahead of the game. The news we received yesterday about the tax increase kind of let me down the road of returning to reality. It always seems that as soon as you think that you are getting ahead of the game there is always something that comes up and knocks you back. The simple reality is that life will always throw curve balls at you and sometimes you simply have to take an overall look at your situation. The tax increase will not break us or set us off track. There are so many other changes that I made in a positive direction like quitting smoking. That act alone will pay for a whole year of property taxes. And there were many other positive changes we made that better our lives like moving from New Jersey to Oregon. The tax increase is small compared to all of the positive things.

I ate like crap yesterday I suppose because I was feeling sorry for myself. How stupid is that?

4:30 AM – Blood Sugar – 130, Weight – 173.2

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