0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total

    Self-Optimization — exercise

    How to Stay On Top of Your Game During the Global Lockdown

    How to Stay On Top of Your Game During the Global Lockdown

    Every year, right after Christmas, we all experience an event that we share commonly with every other person on earth. We celebrate the new year. It is a rarity in life to experience something which is shared by the entire world. Ushering in the new year is a truly global experience.  

    Ushering in the New Year is a global experience.

    Pandemics are global. They don’t discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, language, ideological preference, or national borders. They take lives, upend commerce, and cast their shadow of mayhem over everything and everyone indiscriminately. 

    Covid-19 has conquered humanity in a way that none of history’s great conquering generals could. This microscopic substance, only three ten-thousandths of an inch wide, has brought the world’s routine to a screeching halt.  

    Covid-19 is now a fact of life. It is part of the world’s given. Until we can produce medicines to fight it, and vaccines to protect against becoming infected by it, we will have to continue to live with it. We must accept the reality that the way we live our lives in the future will be different. Our routines must change.  

    But what about us? What about our own personal habits and routines? What about our commitments to growth and development? What about our desire to remain active and productive?  

    Every challenge we face in life is an opportunity in disguise. Challenges offer us the chance to test and strengthen, both personal and professional commitments. Nothing in nature is as adaptable as we humans. We can stay true to our values and goals, regardless of the changes and modifications necessary to fight the spread of the virus.

    Adapting to Change

    Humans are social animals. We love to connect with other people; friends, family, and co-workers. We also love to be a part of a big crowd; an audience member of an artistic performance or sporting event.  

    Humans are social animals and love to be part of a big crowd.

    This desire to socialize will probably be impacted more than any other aspect of our essential nature. Social distancing is necessary at this time. It will be necessary for a while. Social distancing helps to slow down the spread of the virus, helps keep people healthy and alive, and buys us time so that effective medicines can ultimately be developed.  

    Staying Productive

    If you’re not a worker in an essential industry, you’re most likely at home. Even at home, you can continue to be productive.

    Discuss the situation with your employer or manager and see if you can identify work-related tasks that can be completed from home. Maybe your employer has some ideas for projects which have been sitting on the ‘back burner’. Nearly every company has worthwhile projects that get preempted by work that requires immediate attention. Now might be the perfect time and opportunity to tackle one of those projects.    

    If it isn’t feasible for you to do professional work from your home, you can still remain productive. If you take some time to think about it, you can easily come up with a list of important projects that you’ve been putting off (because you didn’t have enough time).

    Now, you have the time. If you can’t come up with any ideas, and you’re married, your spouse will definitely provide you with some ideas. It’s especially important now to stay active, to have some work to absorb your attention and your energy.  

    Your New Routine

    Okay, you’re stuck at home. So, let’s craft an at-home routine that keeps you on top of your game. Here are some thoughts for that new routine. 

    Sunlight

    Get outside in the sun and enjoy our native star. And while you’re at it, soak in your daily dose of vitamin D. Your immune system will thank you.

    Get out in the sunlight and soak in your daily dose of vitamin D.

    Exercise

    It is extremely important to do physical exercise during this lockdown. If you normally devote ten hours a week to exercise, now you should be devoting twelve or fifteen hours. Exercise supports every aspect of our being; mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.  

    Cardio exercise is any exercise performed over a sustained period of time that elevates your heart and breathing rate. Since Covid-19 attacks the lungs, it is especially important to work your heart and lungs. Maintaining a healthy heart and lungs during this coronavirus pandemic is essential. Examples of cardio exercise include aerobic activities like dancing, biking, swimming, walking, and running. It could even include working out in the garden or around the house.

    Cardio exercise can improve brain function, like cognitive skills and memory. Your elevated heart rate causes an increase of blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which causes the production of hormones that support the growth of new brain cells, especially in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory [1]. Cardio exercise also improves mood, reduces depression, anxiety, and stress by increasing the hormones dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins [2].  

    Cardio exercise also supports heart health. There is a large body of scientific evidence that shows that it helps regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It also helps reduce inflammation.  Inflammation triggers the production of white blood cells, which in turn contributes to the build-up of plaque in our arteries [3].   

    Regular exercise affords many benefits. It will help you:

    • Live longer - according to a report, published by the Dept. of Health and Human Services, regular exercise reduced causes of mortality by up to 30% for men and women [4] 
    • With weight loss or help prevent weight gain [5] 
    • Develop healthy muscle and bone tissue [6] 
    • Increase your physical energy and fight off fatigue [7] 
    • Lower the risk of developing chronic diseases, like type II diabetes and high blood pressure [8] 
    • Relax and sleep better [9] 
    • Control chronic pain, including joint and muscle [10] 
    • Improve your sex life [11] 

    Do Your Push-Ups

    Strength training is also important to protect your heart and lungs. A 2019 Harvard Medical School study demonstrated that the more push-ups a person can do, the less likely they are to develop cardiovascular disease [12]

    The more pushups a person can do, the less likely it is that they’ll develop cardiovascular disease.

    If you can do at least ten, your risk is lower. If you can do forty, your chances of developing heart disease are very low. 

    Push-ups, and similar upper body exercises like bench pressing, work the muscles in the chest, and increase blood flow to the heart and lungs simultaneously. So, do your push-ups. If you have trouble doing military-style push-ups on the ground, modify the exercise by supporting your lower body weight on your knees, or do them against a table or chair.

    Diet

    If you’re experiencing stress and depression right now, you’re not alone. During times of stress, there is a temptation to eat…eat too much that is. And not just to eat too much, but to eat the wrong things. This is not the time to be experimenting with every type of cookie you can find on the store shelves. This is a time to stick to your dietary disciplines. This is a time for protecting your body from this virus by maintaining a high nutritional level. We’re at home and we have total control over what we eat. Take advantage of this with healthy dietary choices.

    Supplementation

    The immune system is on the front lines right now. It is an army of organs, tissues, and cells and this army may be called upon to fight this virus. Armies run on their bellies, and like any army, the immune system needs to be fed. Some excellent choices for dietary supplementation are:

    • Vitamins D, C, and B6
    • Zinc
    • Green Tea Extract (EGCG)
    • Liposomal Glutathione
    • Quercetin
    • Cistanche

    Meditation

    There are many styles and techniques for meditation. Find one that appeals to you and devote some time each day to its practice. If you don’t already have a meditation technique that you like, here are two methods you can try.

    1. Third Eye Focus – Many teachers of meditation, both past, and present, have taught their students to concentrate and focus their attention on the ‘third eye’. The so-called third eye is a center of energy in our foreheads, between and slightly behind our two eyebrows. It is also the location of our pineal gland. Focusing on this energy center helps both mind and body to relax and refresh. Sit for twenty minutes or so in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus within. While practicing this way, try to see within. With your eyes closed, focus all of your attention on seeing. Focus your inner gaze in the middle of the field in front of you with pin-pointed concentration, but in a way that does not put any tension on the eyes or forehead.
    Many teachers of meditation have taught their students to focus their attention on their third eye.

     

    1. Affirmations – Affirmations are positive thoughts or statements that we can use as a ‘mantra’ to help attract some beneficial reaction. Dr. John Diamond is a U.S. psychiatrist that has integrated Western psychology with Traditional Chinese Medicine. The principal objective behind TCM is to ensure the optimal flow of life energy within the body’s subtle meridian system. We have twelve meridians. Dr. Diamond has developed a series of affirmations that address the emotional characteristics associated with each meridian. The affirmations for the heart and lungs are:

    Heart – “I am full of love, I have faith, courage, trust, and gratitude.”

    Lung – “I am humble, I am tolerant, I am modest.”

    During this pandemic, these two affirmations can go a long way in improving the flow of life energy to the heart and lungs. They can be repeated with the tongue of thought, over and over again throughout the day. They can also be repeated out loud while standing in front of a mirror.

    The heart affirmation is the most important of Dr. Diamond’s affirmations because it addresses the four essential qualities of love; faith, courage, trust, and gratitude. 

    Journaling

    If you enjoy writing, and you keep a journal, this is a great time to record your thoughts, observations, and feelings. We are experiencing an unprecedented world event, and you will one day want to read these entries and contemplate how you experienced it and what you learned from your experience.  

    Beware of Creeping Bad Habits

    Researchers have concluded that it takes about sixty days, on average, to form a new habit. The lockdown is going to last just about sixty days, depending on where we are and how the stay-at-home order is lifted in our area. You must be extra vigilant with your daily routine and make sure you don’t develop any unwanted habits during this lockdown. Here are some things to watch out for.

    1. Set your alarm and get out of bed at the same time you normally would when you go to work.
    2. Make your bed.
    3. Each morning, go through your typical routine of bathing and eating.
    4. Get dressed. Nix the PJ’s. You don’t need to put on a suit and tie, but at least go with casual Friday.
    5. Have your day planned out like it was any other day. If you’re doing work for your employer, focus on it and get it done. If you’ve got a personal or family project to attend to, focus on that and complete it.
    6. If you have children, recognize what a wonderful opportunity this time is to mentor them and give them your love and attention.

    We’ll Get Through This

    We need to continue to remind ourselves that this is temporary. We’ll get beyond this. Hopefully, this global exercise of cooperation and mutual support between peoples and nations will somehow make this world a better place than it was before the pandemic. In that same vein, hopefully, we will also become stronger and wiser from the experience. We can become better workers, friends, lovers, and parents. The choice is ours.


    References:

    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24379659
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23630504
    3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-019-0633-x
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/#B17
    5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9049471
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28029078
    7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18277063
    8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241367/
    9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25596964/
    10. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-019-0633-x
    11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S073510971938369X?via%3Dihub
    12. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2724778?utm_campaign=articlePDF&utm_medium=articlePDFlink&utm_source=articlePDF&utm_content=jamanetworkopen.2018.8341

    12 Habits to Create Your Optimal Morning Routine

    12 Habits to Create Your Optimal Morning Routine

    Taking charge of your life begins with establishing your best morning. 

    Some people wake up groggy and sleep too long. Others wake up, eagerly anticipating the promise of a new day. 

    They exercise, read something inspirational, or they eat a healthy breakfast. 

    Set a routine for yourself and follow it like a ritual. 

    Stick to it. Conquer your morning. Take charge of your life.

    Here are some great, effective ways to have an optimal morning routine and set the stage for the rest of your day:

    Supercharge with Coffee

    Drinking coffee before a morning workout will increase your performance. It also increases adrenal levels in the blood. Your adrenals activate your body’s fight or flight response, which helps prepare you for physical exercise. 

    One of our favorite ways to prepare coffee is to mix it in with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of coconut oil. This keeps the appetite under control before and during your workout, while it increases the coffee’s caffeine absorption.

    Coffee also helps you focus on the tasks at-hand and stay mentally alert throughout the day. Studies have shown that a moderate amount of coffee, between 2-4 cups a day, can have numerous benefits [1], [2], [3]:

    • Coffee antioxidants help eliminate free radicals which damage cells
    • Coffee may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and lower the risk of dementia 
    • Coffee has been shown to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression  

    Give yourself 30 minutes after your cup of coffee and then witness your increase in productivity. 

    Take Nootropic Supplements

    Taking metaFOCUS as part of your morning routine will help prepare your brain for a day of maximum concentration, mental energy, and productivity. Later in the day, perhaps after lunch, you can recharge your body and mind with metaDRIVE.

    Stretch in the Mornings

    Daily stretching can improve your posture, reduce aches and pains, increase blood flow, and increase energy. 

    If you work at a computer most of the day, your posture is suffering. Stretching will increase energy by loosening up your tight muscles, keeping you flexible and preparing you for an active day. As we sleep, the body is static. Stretching in the morning warms up your joints and eases aches and stiffness. 

    Meditate

    Regular morning meditation is an important habit to form. Consistent meditation has been shown to have many benefits such as improved concentration, emotional intelligence, and reduced stress.

    One of the most common ways to get started with meditation is through guided meditations centered around mindfulness of breath. Essentially you focus on the sensations in your nostrils as the breath goes in and out. In the beginning, you will probably have what’s known as the “monkey-mind.” 

    Thoughts will distract you from concentrating on the breath but as you keep bringing your attention back to the breath each time it happens, your mind will continue to strengthen.

    If you find yourself dozing off because you meditate immediately after waking up, try drinking some tea or coffee before doing so.

    Experiment with different methods and find what works best for you and your body. Don’t force yourself to sit for longer than necessary. Allow your body to adjust to the natural progression of your meditation. Start with just a few minutes a day and build up, but the most important thing is to be consistent.

    A morning meditation routine of just 10-15 minutes per day has been shown to have lasting benefits after a couple weeks. 

    Plan Your Next Day Before Going to Bed

    You don’t want to interfere with your morning routine, so prepare for the next day by organizing your clothes and your lunch items. 

    Don’t leave important decisions for the morning. Make them the night before when your mind is clear.

    Don’t Pick Up Your Phone

    Don’t get seduced by your phone or your laptop in the morning. Begin your day with positive activities. 

    Focus on preparing yourself to be energized and productive. The news, your email, and social media accounts can all wait. 

    Don’t be a slave to your phone. Turn it off from time to time or put it on Do Not Disturb, especially in the morning. Begin your day being mindful and present.

    How Important is Breakfast?

    Some experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You should eat a good, nutritious breakfast. But there are others who claim that fasting first thing in the morning helps give you more energy and clarity.

    Drinking your coffee or tea with butter and coconut oil will help activate your brain into a ketogenic state without having a full meal.

    It will suppress your appetite throughout the morning, promote alertness, and help your brain function at peak levels. It will also help keep your weight in check for a longer period each morning.

    Music to Get You Pumped

    Listening to music in the morning helps you get inspired and motivated. 

    You can enjoy rising every morning to your favorite song on your phone by setting it as an alarm. It’s much better than waking up to an obnoxious buzzer or some broadcast of bad news. 

    Music in the morning will help set your mood for the rest of your day.  

    Water is Life

    Drink water and splash it on your face in the morning to rise with vigor and get your day going. 

    Everyone should drink up to 16oz. of water every morning, depending on your weight, to boost your metabolism, flush out toxins in your body, hydrate your body, and fuel your hungry brain. Your body slowly dehydrates when you sleep, so you need to restore that water loss when you wake up. 

    All of our body’s tissues need water, including our brains. When you don’t drink enough, you feel mentally fatigued and can have mood fluctuations. Drink water and start kicking butt from the second you wake up. 

    Get in Nature

    Get some air and enjoy nature in the morning to help gain a positive perspective on your day and center yourself. 

    If you have the luxury of living close to nature, go for a short walk. Breathe deeply and enjoy the clean morning air.

    Wake Up Early

    Take over the day by waking up early. Don’t hit the snooze button in the morning.

    Take charge of your day and get up with tenacity. Try waking up before sunrise, if possible, to jump-start your day. 

    Pre-dawn stillness and calm prepares you for kicking butt the rest of the day. It’s important to work with your sleep cycles as well. 

    Know your body and how much sleep you need to stay productive and in a healthy mood throughout the day. Don’t forget to stretch and drink water in the morning after you get up. 

    Focus Inwardly

    Try being a bit antisocial in the morning right after you wake. Journaling can be extremely therapeutic especially in the morning. Get all those thoughts out onto paper (or digital notes) so that you'll have a clear head when you get the day started.

    Make Your Morning Routine A Habit

    Find your best morning routine. Set a plan, experiment a bit, and make it a habit. This way you have consistent motivation throughout the day and you function optimally.

    Some people don’t have a lot of time in the morning, so you can experiment with adding some of these habits slowly to find your optimal routine.

    This will get you moving in the right direction by taking the bull by the horns. Set some time aside for yourself and start your day the optimal way.