What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger

We typically think about stress as being a bad thing, but this isn’t always the case. I recently learned about a process called hormesis, where you introduce your body to micro stressors in order to activate your body’s healing mechanisms. Think, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”...  
And while chronic stress is a problem and it won’t help you age well, a little bit of stress in the system is good as it activates a healing response. Hormesis is one of the hottest areas of longevity research right now, as it’s been proven that different types of mini-stressors can actually trigger a cellular process that can enhance overall health and slow aging. I am fascinated and deeply invested in this topic, so let me share the ways I’ve been stressing myself out lately. 

Intermitent Fasting

Fasting is physical hormesis and a mild stress. Your body’s response to that, is a positive response which stimulates all these factors that are good for longevity. Some of the benefits of IF are:

  • A period of not eating gives your body and organs a break.
  • Lowers insulin and turns on all other signals that make you burn fat.
  • Aids in weight loss and gets rid of belly fat.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Improves brain function and cognitive awareness.

*Fasting hack: drink a lot of fluids and add MCT to your coffee in the morning, it won’t kick you out of ketosis. 

Interval Training/ Strength Training

When you practice resistance training by lifting heavy weights and inflicting damage on your muscles, your body responds by repairing the damaged fibers, thus creating bigger and stronger muscles. This is a form of hormesis. I’ve been adding interval training aka mini-stressors to my morning walks to push myself a little more than normal. Try it!

  • 35 min power walk
  • 3 min 3 mph
  • 1 min 3.5 mph
  • 1 min 4.0 mph

Temperature Extremes

Saunas, cryotherapy, cold plunges, ice baths, hot yoga, or even not wearing the right jacket in a cold winter day are all ways to stress the immune system and promote longevity. I love ending my hot steamy shower with one minute of freezing cold water or an ice bath. 

Plant Rich Diet

A similar process called xenohormesis also occurs in plants, making them stronger and richer in phytochemicals that are good for us. Eating a plant rich diet can activate your healthy hermetic stress response. Make sure the plants you are eating are wild or organic as these produce the highest levels of these beneficial compounds. 

Sources: Dr. Frank Lipman, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Gerard Lemole.

 **These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your healthcare practitioner. 

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