My Primal Lifestyle
Part 2 of 3: How I Exercise

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      August 23, 2016   [printfriendly]

My Primal Lifestyle
In Part 1, I discussed what I eat on a typical weekday and then what I eat on a typical weekend. In this Part, I discuss how I exercise. In Part 3, I discuss my sleep patterns and how I deal with stress.




My Philosophy


I believe an exercise program must be efficient for me. An efficient exercise program provides the maximum health and fitness benefits I am looking for in the least amount of time. I don’t want to produce oxidative stress in my body on a chronic basis. Therefore, I want a program that allows my body to rest and recover before performing another similar exercise session.


To meet these desires, I follow specific guidelines weekly. I perform high-intensity interval training, bodyweight strength training, aerobic exercise, and low-intensity physical activity.



High-intensity interval training


I use a Nordic Track Classic Pro Skier®, a cross-country ski machine that is set up in my spare bedroom.* Once a week, I do four to six cycles depending how I feel that day. It goes like this:


I warm up by “skiing” at a slow pace for two minutes. Then, I “ski” at the fastest speed I can muster for twenty-five seconds, and then rest by “skiing” slowly for ninety seconds. That completes one cycle, which I will repeat until done. This routine is exhausting, as it should be.



Bodyweight strength training


I do four basic movements in the privacy and comfort of my home once or twice a week. They are pull-ups, squats, pushups, and planks. I only use my own bodyweight as resistance. I purchased a pull-up bar online and attached it to the doorframe of my bedroom. Here is an online source that reviews various pull up bars.* The squats, pushups, and planks require no equipment, only motivation. There are great videos demonstrating these movements on YouTube by Mark Sisson. The series is worth viewing: pull-ups, squats, pushups, and planks.



Aerobic exercise


My favorite aerobic exercise is to ride my Trikke® outdoors.* For me, it’s great exercise and great fun. I ride my Trikke for thirty-to-forty minutes on Saturday and Sunday mornings, unless the weather is not cooperative.



Low-intensity physical activity


Non-exercise movement is just walking or moving about. My goal is to walk approximately 10,000 steps a day. At first, I found a pedometer was best to count how many steps I was taking a day. Today’s pedometers can be carried in your pocket, worn around your waist or wrist, or even worn around your neck. Here is an online review of various pedometers.* Once I learned how much walking I needed to do to add up to 10,000 steps, I didn’t need to use a pedometer any longer.


Standing rather than sitting has been shown to be important for overall health and for the health of your joints and stabilizing muscles. Sitting most of the day is associated with increased health risk, independent of the performance of other active exercise.


As a dentist, I sit while treating patients in my dental office. Standing while treating patients is practically impossible for me. While not treating patients, I try to stand as much as possible in my office. At home, I use a standup desk when I use my computer, and I stand while doing most anything I once did sitting.




Where I Am Today


I am almost 70 years old. These four categories make up my entire exercise program. Some experts have suggested that I could be more aggressive or varied in my routine. Personally, I don’t know why. This program has allowed me to feel healthier today than I have ever felt. I plan to continue what I am currently doing for as long as I am able. This is a simple program that works for me and allows me to do whatever else I want to do.


*(I do not receive any remuneration from Nordic Track, any pull up bar or pedometer company, or Trikke.)


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Healthier Mouth … Healthier Lifestyle … Healthier You
Part 5 of 5

evolution rApproximately 80% of your body’s composition is based on the foods that you consume. In the last posts, I have suggested the ones that should be eliminated, the ones that should be included, and some possible supplements that have merit. Here is the rest of the story and more…
Physical Activity:
Aerobic Exercise for about 2 hours a week helps burn fat and stabilize hormones. These exercises should be performed at 55% to 75% of your estimated maximum heart rate, which is determined by this formula: 208 – (age x 0.7). As an example, if you were 50 years old, then your maximum heart rate would be (208 – 35) = 173. Your aerobic routine should be performed between a heart rate of 95 (i.e. 55% of 173) beats per minute and 130 (i.e. 75% of 173) beats per minute. If you go below 95, there will be no exercise benefit; if you go above 130, the exercise becomes anaerobic – not what you want to do. Adequate rest between exercises is critical for healthy results.
Brief and Intense Strength Training builds muscle strength and improves hormone efficiency that allow your body to function optimally and speed metabolism. Science has shown that doing four simple movements taking as little as 10-20 minutes twice a week can get your body in shape. These movements are squats, pull-ups, pushups, and planks.
High Intensity Interval Training is the ultimate beneficial exercise for your heart, your muscles, your hormones, and your weight. You could perform this once a week for 10-20 minutes in total. You would start with a warm up of 1-2 minutes. Each cycle might consist of (1) 7-30 seconds of all-out-to-exhaustion pedaling on a recumbent bike, and (2) rest for about 90 seconds to regain your normal breath. This cycle should be repeated for 2-8 cycles. Then, finish with a 1-2 minute cool down.
Non-Exercise Movement is just walking or moving about. Your goal should be to take approximately 10,000 steps per day. A pedometer is best to register these steps. Today, pedometers can be carried in your pocket, worn around your waist or wrist, or even worn around your neck.
Standing rather than Sitting has recently been shown to be important for overall health, and the health of your joints and stabilizing muscles. It has been postulated that sitting most of the day may be as unhealthy as smoking.
Restorative Sleep is not actually physical activity but rather physical inactivity. Sleep is critical to maintain normal hormonal repair in your body. But restorative sleep is not haphazard; it should be based on the natural circadian rhythm that is a result of the sun rising and setting at different times in the year. On average, it is best to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night starting from the hours of 9-11 PM in a dark, cool setting.
Total Stress Load is physically demanding and must be reduced. Stress can build internally from physical causes, emotional causes, and chemical causes. All these will accumulate over time and become detrimental to your overall health. Physical causes could be the result of over-exercising. Emotional stresses could be the result of how you deal with life itself. Chemical stresses could be the result of toxins in foods, bacterial infections, and environmental toxins. Environmental toxins are abundant like aluminum in antiperspirants, heavy metals in water and other foods, and insecticides inside and outside of your home.
I am living proof that you certainly can teach an old dog new tricks! I only began these changes for myself in 2013 when I was 67 years old. I have personally improved my life and my health by making these lifestyle changes. It is never too late to start.

Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts

evolution rA friend of mine is an avid workout guy – at least an hour a day, 5 days a week. He also eats non-fat foods and lots of whole grain cereals and grain products. He tells me he is eating healthy. I recently told him about ancestral nutrition, effective exercise, and their relationship to overall health. He not only blew me off, but he was angry that I tried to confuse him. In my opinion, he actually was upset because I gave him information that conflicted with his personal beliefs and challenged who he really is. I could only say I was sorry – sorry that he wouldn’t consider my point of view.
There is much evidence-based research today that has created a path for the discerning person to follow to regain and maintain the health that the human body was designed to possess. My friend was not that person, but are you that discerning person? If yes, then the path starts with you making a decision to change your life – to change your health.
Some people need a personal tipping point like a stroke or a heart attack to make a change. Some people need a love-of-their-life like the birth of a granddaughter or a grandson to institute a change. Some people are motivated after they get a new job or move into a new home. Some people only need information that they never knew existed. Which discerning person are you?
Here is some conventional wisdom that I have found in my personal pursuit of health that requires further consideration:
• Fat makes you fat
Consider this: Carbohydrates make you fat because of excessive insulin production. Healthy fats satisfy your hunger and provide fuel. Ingested fat will not become storage fat unless insulin is excessive from too many carbs.
• Running 5 miles a day is good heart exercise
Consider this: Chronic exercise produces oxidative stress, is unhealthy for the cardiovascular system, and discourages fat burning. Lifting heavy things a couple of times a week and sprinting once a week are much healthier for your heart as well as your waistline and need only take 10-20 minutes each. In addition, a couple of hours of aerobic exercise spaced out during the week and physical non-exercise movement throughout each day will round out a healthy routine.
• Breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day
Consider this: The most important time to eat is when you are hungry. If your hormones are in balance, you may actually not need to eat until noon or later. When you do eat, each meal conceptually should be a plate of food partitioned like this: at least half of the plate should include non-starchy veggies either raw or sautéed in healthy fat; a quarter of the plate should be some type of free-range or wild-caught protein including their natural fats; and the last quarter could be made up of some of these – some nuts or seeds, deeply colored fruit (like berries or citrus), a small starchy vegetable.
• Whole grains have plenty of nutrients
Consider this: Grains contain elements that irritate the gut and interfere with normal absorption of necessary minerals. Grains were only introduced into the human diet about 10,000 years ago, and the human gut never evolved to digest them properly. For 2.5 million years before grains were introduced, all the necessary nutrients the body needed were provided by eating animals from head to tail, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
• Vegetable oils are healthy
Consider this: Vegetable oils are mostly inflammatory and are chemically unstable. When they are introduced into the body, they potentially create serious health problems. In addition, chemically altered trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats are toxic to the body. Saturated fats from coconut oil, avocados, animals that are pastured and/or allowed to eat their natural diet, and butter from grass-fed cows are necessary for healthy cell function.
• Artificial sweeteners are good for you and help you lose weight
Consider this: Artificial sweeteners are toxic to the body. In addition, the brain senses the sweetness of these sweeteners and stimulates insulin production.
• Eggs are bad for your heart
Consider this: Free-range eggs provide excellent nutrition for the body unless you are allergic to eggs. Some people who have reactions to convention eggs do not have problems with pastured eggs. The cholesterol in pastured eggs is not a problem – especially if the egg yolk is eaten soft rather than scrambled or hard-boiled.
• If your stomach does not hurt, you don’t have gut problems
Consider this: Many diseases begin when the intestinal lining becomes permeable (called a leaky gut), and stuff that should never enter the blood system starts invading. A person does not have to have digestive symptoms like gas or pain or constipation or diarrhea to have a leaky gut. But, before other disease manifestations can be resolved, the gut must be made healthy.