What is Blood Flow Restriction Training?

By now all my readers know that I am hell-bent on living to 100, in a happy, healthy and fulfilling way. Needless to say that during this natural ageing process the body is going to undergo some changes. One of them is muscle wastage, also called Sarcopenia. The older you get, the more important your muscle mass becomes. Not only are strong muscles a requirement for mobility, balance and the ability to live independently, but in the long run, having a muscle mass reserve will also increase your chances of survival during illness and hospitalization.

BFR band while swimming
My next challenge is to use the BFR bands while swimming…

Six months ago I came across a Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training article from Ben Greenfield. I subsequently did more digging and became fascinated by the subject. Multiple studies have shown that BFR training, done properly, can not only maintain but also increase your muscle mass and strength with very little or no risk of injury. 

Warning; It is advisable to check with your doctor before embarking in this type of training.

How does BFR work

I will start by sharing the history of BFR. It was developed by the pioneering professor Yoshiaki Sato of Japan over 50 years ago. In Japan, where it is widely practised, the technique is called KAATSU, meaning “additional pressure” and was generically defined as BFM (blood flow moderation) by Dr Sato. It involves the application of additional pressure via a cuff proximally to the upper or lower limb, with the aim of obtaining partial arterial pressure and complete venous occlusion.  This, in turn, creates a relatively hypoxic environment or low oxygen pressure in the exercising muscle. With very light weights, and in about 15-20 minutes, you get an exhaustive workout that sends a signal to your brain that you have been lifting heavier than you actually did. This activates a wide variety of powerful hormonal responses that cause your muscles and blood vessels to grow. Studies show that after only 12 weeks, you can expect a 40% increase in muscle strength, depending on your load and health.

Choose a weight that is light enough to enable you to do 30 repetitions without rest. Then a short rest interval of 15 to 20 seconds and repeat 2 more times… Simple and effective !! As part of a long term strategy, BFR training 2 to 3 times a week is sufficient.

BFR training at home
During Lockdown it was so handy to train from home with the BFR bands.

I engage in BFR training 3 times a week, for 15 mins, 3 sets of 30 reps for the arms, and then swap the bands to my legs and do the same for 20 mins. On both, I rest no longer than 15 secs between sets. During the 15 mins for the upper limbs I can hit various muscle groups biceps, triceps, shoulders, dorsal, etc, and then switch the bands to my lower limbs for 20 mins and work on the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. This is a very effective way to train and in less than 40 mins I have given my body a complete workout.

BFR can be applied during aerobic exercise, such as during walking, swimming or cycling.

How BFR increases muscle strength and size

In order to increase muscle mass and strength, it is important to activate fast-twitch Type II muscle fibres during training, since these fibres have been shown to be more responsive to increasing muscle size than Type I fibres. This type II muscle fibre activation can be achieved with high-intensity training such as sprints and heavyweight training. Training with low weights and no resistance bands will not create a hypoxic environment and therefore not activate type II fibres.

On the other hand, when using BFR bands, the type I fibres become hypoxic very quickly, exhausting themselves, kick-starting the activation of type II fibre and generating high levels of lactates. BFR is the type of training that will not only add solid muscle mass to your frame but also significantly increase your strength and endurance whilst reducing your body fat.

With age, there is a loss of microcirculation. The magic lies in the fact that BFR increases your microcirculation, involving your capillaries, venules and arterioles because your muscles are working in a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment. This low oxygen tension causes the release of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha), that then increases the hormone vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Essentially VEGF acts as “fertilizer” for growing new blood vessels and capillaries to your muscle stem cells.

So for an ageing population, BFR training goes beyond what conventional strength training with heavyweights can do. It increases microcirculation and reduces your risk of injury.

But it gets even better as VEGF not only increases microcirculation in your muscle stem cells but also in your brain and heart. 

BFR and lactate production.

BFR also downregulates a hormone called myostatin, which is an inhibitor of muscle growth and mass. This is particularly important as you age because myostatin levels can double those of a young person and it becomes significantly more difficult to increase muscle size and strength.  Amazingly, BFR can decrease your myostatin levels by 50% which has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis. When you apply the bands and engorge the working muscle, the Type I muscle fibres get quickly fatigued with the lack of oxygen and rapidly switch to Type II fibres. Glycolysis, where lactate is produced, is the pathway that allows the Type II fibres to run on burning glucose without oxygen. In the past, lactate was traditionally viewed as a metabolic waste product, but today it is understood that lactate is an important and beneficial molecule. Once you release the bands, the lactate travels from your muscles and is released into your bloodstream to make its way to your brain, where it is used for fuel. Once the lactate reaches your brain it increases a powerful hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a member of brain growth factors that contribute to neuroplasticity, which greatly enhances cognitive performance.

BFR elastic bands
These BFR training bands are very economical and so easy use.

How to use the BFR bands

I have so far only used the elasticated band (5 cm wide) that you apply manually so my knowledge with KAATSU or other inflatable cuffs is only theoretical.

Remember, whatever bands you use, KAATSU or less expensive BFR bands, the pressure that the cuff is inflated or tightened to should not be painful or cause any numbness or tingling. They are not supposed to shut down your arterial supply. If it is too tight you need to lower the pressure or loosen the bands.

  • When manually applying the bands, tighten them so your skin colour becomes more pink or red compared to your normal skin tone.
  • They should not feel uncomfortable and your skin colour must not become whiter or have a bluish or greyish tone; this means that arterial flow is being restricted
  • A simple way to determine good “base pressure” is to have the bands tight enough that you cannot fit two fingers under the band, but loose enough that you CAN squeeze one finger under the band. 
  • Recent studies suggest that the ideal range is about 60% of AOP (Arterial Oxygen Pressure) and below 40% would not qualify as BFR training as it would not occlude your veins.
  • If the bands are too tight you can actually cause damage to your muscle.  When checking proper band pressure on your arm, it is most easily determined by pressing your index finger firmly into the palm of the opposite hand (on the arm that is under restriction) into the area just under your thumb, then quickly releasing and seeing how long the white area takes to turn pink. If it takes longer than three seconds, the bands are too tight.  Release the pressure and try again.
  • You must not conduct simultaneous BFR on both your arms and legs, as this could decrease your blood pressure.
  • Start using weights that are no more than 20% of your 1 Rep max.
  • With this weight, you should be able to do 30 reps x 3, with no more than 15 seconds rest between sets.
  • Just remember to remove the bands after 15 minutes on your arms and 20 minutes on your legs. 
  • Sweating profusely and a noticeable increase in heart and breathing rate is normal.
BFR training with kettelbells
BFR training with kettlebells

I am hooked on BFR training.

BFR training has been a godsend during the 2 and half months hard lockdown we had here in Spain. I was wearing the bands going up and down my staircase, running round and round in circles on the very small terrace rooftop, and exercising all my muscle groups with limited weights and space. I have seen noticeable improvements in muscle size, especially my biceps. My grip strength has also increased and according to recent studies, longevity and grip strength are closely related. Now on phase 2 of the lockdown, we are allowed to go and exercise outdoors, so I shall try the bands during my swimming sessions ( as per Dr Mercola recommendation)

It has tremendously helped my recovery from an old shoulder injury as well as a more recent one on my biceps.

I am 54 and this is one hack I want to carry on using to maintain my muscle size/strength for many years to come, at least until my 100th birthday.

My wife has bought a set as well and she wears them for her daily power walk.

To learn more check the following links

Dr Mercola’s pdf here.

Medical publication here.

More on grip strength study.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)

DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.  No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Mallorca Lockdown phase 2! A return to snorkelling!

As Mallorca enters phase 2 of this COVID 19 lockdown, life is slowly returning to a new normality.  We can move freely around the island, we can go into shops and restaurants and we can sit at a bar terrace to sip a cold drink, being mindful of social distancing of course!

For me, the most exciting thing is being able to go to the beach again and to swim in the beautiful Mediterranean sea… 

I headed to Cala San Vicente, close to Pollensa in the north of Mallorca. This small beach was almost empty, no sunbeds yet, no parasols, some seaweed clumped at the water’s edge, piles of driftwood stacked against the rocks, almost as if I had stepped back in time.

This is my favourite beach, as it has easy access to some of the most amazing snorkelling ground, ranging from white undulating sand to rocks and seaweed, to sheer

drops along the mountain’s edge. The water is spectacularly clear with a visibility in excess of 30 metres, and although a bit cold, without hesitation I was straight in.

Here, in my liquid element, I feel at peace, in awe of such enchanting surroundings. This is what I had been missing, my connection with the sea.  Although floating, I am grounded.  Although swimming, I am still. 

snorkelling-mallorca-2020
It’s great to be snorkelling again…roll on summer 2020.

Marine life seems to have moved closer to shore during this lockdown period.  I am surrounded by hundreds of small barracudas, tiny silver arrows darting through the water. Sea bream and Saupe fish almost close enough to touch.  An elegant stingray, an octopus curled in his rocky lair and an angry-looking moray eel retreating to her hiding place under the rocks. I carry on snorkelling alongside the cliff face dodging a few jellyfish that carelessly stray into my path… I am happy….

As I lie on the beach, letting the sun warm my body, I am profoundly thankful. If these past 2 and half months of confinement have taught me one thing, it is not to take for granted all the wonderful and simple pleasures that Mallorca has in abundance. I am already planning my next visit to Cala Varques, calas de Mallorca, from Alcudia head towards coll baix , and much more.

I hope we can swiftly move through the last phase in order to get back to a new normality. Then tourists from all over Europe will return to our shores, enjoy its beauty and spend their precious 2020 holidays in Mallorca.

Until then take care, my friends, and feel free to leave any comment and get in touch.

Smart Living to 100.

5 tips to implement when turning 50!

Turning 18 is one of those milestones everybody makes a big deal over. I did too! I could legally drink alcohol, I could drive, do anything I wanted without my parent’s consent, I could apply for any job, I could stay up late, go to work or not, go to uni or stay in bed, it was all up to me. I had become a grown-up. Pretty big deal I thought…

Then time goes by, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and another huge milestone for me was turning 50.

Turning 50
Turning 50…

This one had a completely different meaning or connotation to me. All the things that made my 18th birthday so special and important, had become meaningless and almost boring.

This mid-life milestone was more of a worrying one, a time of reflection, on what I had achieved until now, on the opportunities that I had let slip through my fingers, on the present but more so on the uncertain future that lay ahead. Turning 50 in our modern society has never been regarded as a joyful, happy and enriching stage but more like a slow decline in cognitive ability, in our health, in our capacity to travel far and be adventurous, a time where you have to rely on limited funds to survive for the rest of your days. My 50th birthday had left me with a mild disenchantment in some aspects of life and a deep sense of worry for the future.

So that’s it, I am done with the bad part…. the good news is that it is totally within our power to change our mindset and chase these evil thoughts away or, at least, diminish their hold on us.

Let me introduce you to my plan. Think of it as a cake, all the ingredients are good on their own, but it is their combination in the right amounts that produce the best results ( or cake…)

1- Exercise or Move as much as possible!

You don’t see people in Blue zones ( areas in the world with a high number of centenarians) going to the gym. However if you do live in town or have limited time to exercise, gyms, cross-fit boxes, swimming pools and other modern activities centres offer an amazing alternative to satisfy our primal urge to move. If used in moderation they can add years, if not decades, to our lives.  In the blue zones, the natural way to be strong is to be outside all day.. building fences, lifting rocks, working the land, walking for miles to another village, feeding the animals, dealing with cold or heat, and any other activity that demands a continuous body adaptation.

Our modern lives are far from this model, however, we can incorporate some low-level activity in our daily routine.  If you are working at a computer all day, try a standing workstation, carry around your office something weighty like a 5-litre bottle of water, a barbel, a  kettlebell, maybe you can even fit a pull-up bar, take frequent breaks outside, stretch, etc. In fact, anything that will get you up and make you move.  Before and after work, walk as much as you can, to the office, to the supermarket, walk with the dog or with your friends. 

Regular activity is necessary to stay healthy and will prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and will also encourage strong muscles, joints and bones. If you have never exercised before, start slow by walking 30 mins a day, be constant, come rain or shine. It’s important to add at least 2 strength training routines a week. I used to go to the gym, but now I prefer to workout at home whenever suits me, with my kettlebells. My home gym equipment is very simple, it’s composed of 2 kettlebells, a barbell set and a total of 40 kg in plates, an agility ladder, a TRX, several elastics, a pull-up bar, a yoga mat, a sandbag and an ab roller. No matter what you pick, try a vast array of activities until you find one or more that stick, vary your workouts, mix endurance training (running, swimming, cycling) with strength training and flexibility exercises, be constant, warm up well, and most importantly enjoy it.  Muscle strength is linked to just about every physiological system, so strength training is critical to well-being. This is not a quick fix to shed a few extra pounds, but more a lifetime way of life, for you to be healthy, move better, give you more energy and keep up with your kids or grandkids.

Outdoor workout is my best.

 In other words, structure your life to be moving as much as possible!!

A Man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life. ”     

Muhammad Ali

2- Always keep learning!

Memory lapses occur at any age. Somehow we get more upset with those lapses as we get older because we fear they could be early signs of Alzheimer’s or loss of intellectual function. So forgetting where you left your keys, or why you went into the kitchen in the first place, is totally normal. As we age normal changes in structure and function of the brain occur, and these may be the reason why we have those annoying memory lapses and also why learning new things becomes a bit harder or even daunting. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them.

Here are a few suggestions,

  • enjoy a daily puzzle, the crossword or sudoku
  • opt for mental arithmetic rather than use the calculator
  • engage in more reading, paperback, on a kindle, on your phone or tablet or perhaps by joining or starting a book club. If you are very busy some apps like audible or Blinkist can make it easier for you to go through books in less time.  
  • play mind-stretching games, like bingo, bridge, chess or computer games. You can also play chess on your mobile device or use some brain training apps, like Peak Performance or Luminosity
  • stay socially active – join a local choir or gardening club (although more challenging after COVID 19), or start a Facebook group or Twitter account so that you can stay in touch with long-distance friends and relatives
  • take up a new interest – learn to cook or to do some basic DIY, gardening, photography, self-defence, even juggling is good for the brain.
  • Start learning Spanish in preparation for your next holiday.
  • start a day or evening class, or an online course that can easily fit with your daily schedule.
  • go out more with a friend ( while social distancing) – enjoy the cinema, theatre, galleries etc
  • continue working or do voluntary work – social contact helps your memory and concentration and gives you a sense of purpose.
  • learn how to play a new instrument, one you always wanted to play but never found the time.
  • even trying out a new physical activity will stimulate the brain…
    All these activities ( and this list is non-exhaustive) are good to activate the process that helps maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them.

During this lockdown period, many people around the globe have turned to online learning. It is the future of our general learning process, as entire industries are being affected by this COVID 19 pandemic and many of us have lost our jobs. Hence why continuing to learn after you leave school is as much about growing as it is about acquiring facts and skills. So whether you pick up a book, watch a Tedx talk, start an online course, listen to a podcast or join a self-defence class, it’s important to never stop learning.

I started learning about how to start an online business from home only last year, with very little to no computer experience, and I have to say I am glad I did as I learnt how to build a website and about affiliate marketing, I found my passion and with time will generate an income. Find out here, and receive for FREE the same video series that got me started.

3- Low-stress levels. 

When it comes to destressing, we rely too much on external tools such as relaxation music, binaural beats, meditation apps, etc. Although these tools are great and will provide some good results in time, we have a must quicker way of regaining a state of calmness. In less than a minute calmness can be restored with our breath! With these next three techniques, you can regain almost instant control over your levels of stress. 

 Box breathing is the first one – slowly breathe in, to the count of 4, hold that breath to the count of 4, exhale to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 4 and then repeat until your feel yourself calmer and your heartbeat slows down.

  Alternate nostril breathing is our second hack to control stress, long and slow breath in through the right nostril, long and slow breath out through the left one. Then in again through the left nostril and long exhale through the right, and so on.

  Finally in third position the  4, 7, 8 technique. Breathing in, to the count of 4, 7 count hold and 8 count exhale. And repeat.

 So if you practice these techniques you will find it to be second nature and you will be able to take control of your stress levels in an instant !!

Although these breathing techniques work a treat, I would recommend introducing some kind of breathwork in your daily routine. The one I have been practising for the past 2 and half years is the Wim Hof Method. The 3 pillars of this method are breathwork, adaptation to the cold and concentration/ focus.

I find Meditation and yoga also work for me, and assist me in my daily stress management.

By the time we hit 50, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves”.     

Marie Dressler

4- Look after your diet!

The older we get, the more likely we are to develop hypertension (high blood pressure) because our blood vessels become less elastic as we age. Having high blood pressure puts us at risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease and early death.

When researchers looked at the populations in the blue zones, they noticed these individuals shared a few common themes in their lives. The most prevalent commonality was their consumption of a Mediterranean diet. A 2000 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a diet that adheres to the principles of the traditional Mediterranean diet (which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate wine consumption and olive oil) was associated with longer survival. Further, a 2004 study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found that a Mediterranean diet was associated with lower risks of cancer and heart disease. And a 2010 review of studies in the American Journal of Clinical Research affirmed the diet’s powers to protect against major chronic diseases.

 Changing just a few of our food habits can go a long way toward enhancing vitality and longevity.

mediterranean diet
Eat like a Greek!

Here’s how:

  • Opt for a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes olive oil, fish, legumes, fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains.(about 2,200 to 2,400 calories a day for men; 1,600 to 1,800 per day for women)
  • Try intermittent fasting or fasting.
  • Limiting foods high in added sugar, including sweetened beverages, candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream, sweetened yoghurts, and sugary cereals. This is critical for weight loss at any age. Look for “added sugars” on the nutrition facts label or search the ingredient list for common sweeteners such as cane sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and agave.
  • Look after your gut microbiome, learn more here.
  •  B12 is primarily found in fish and meat. It is needed to make DNA and support healthy nerve and blood cells. Older adults are at a greater risk for B12 deficiency, but it can be added to your diet in a supplemental form (either by pill or shot).
  • It’s also a good strategy to supplement in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, Q10, Ginkgo biloba, fish oils, curcumin, coconut oil, green tea, resveratrol (found in the skin of purple and red fruits and also in red wine, chocolate and peanuts. Fabulously delicious sources of calcium include sardines (a double dose of omega 3 through the fish and calcium through the bones), spinach, broccoli, kale, and low-fat or fat-free milk and yoghurt. 

5- Start securing your financial future now!

Many are counting on their ability to continue to work well into older age, yet they will need to sustain good health and secure employment despite the known difficulties of landing a job after the age of 50.

Planning your financial future has never been an easy task, and the spread of COVID-19 has made it even more difficult.  Finance professionals are used to accuracy, consistency and relative predictability, not the uncertain economic horizons that lie ahead. However, even in these difficult times, it is particularly important to adapt and modify our behaviour when it comes to money.

In the beginning, it is important to make savings a habit. The amount is not very important as once you have acquired this habit you will be able to apply this principle to any of your expenses. A couple of years ago I discovered intermittent fasting and I decided to skip breakfast. It’s healthy and it saves me 3 to 5 euros per day. I’ll let you do the maths but over a year it is a lot of money. If this Lockdown has taught me one thing, it is that you can live on very little money when you are forced to stay at home.

Aim at saving at least 10% of your monthly income.  As the economic effects of lockdown become more real, many have come to realise the value of performing a review of their finances, especially when it comes to cost-cutting. So go through all your expenses, check your telephone, electricity and water consumption and reduce them, review your gym membership,  monthly subscriptions or insurances, sell your car, car share, or cycle to work, downsize housing, etc. Anything you manage to save, place it in a retirement fund or other savings account.

Pay off remaining debts as fast as possible and don’t acquire any new debt if at all possible. Debt is expensive and paying the interest on the debt could be money that’s saved instead. So aim to pay off expensive debts like credit cards, store cards, car loans and overdrafts before you start to save.

 If at all possible weigh up whether or not you should make extra payments on your mortgage.

 Invest properly. Properly means that you have the appropriate asset mix depending on your anticipated retirement date. How you save can be as important as how much you save. Inflation and the type of investments you make play an important role in how much you’ll have saved at retirement. Know how your savings or pension plan are invested. Put your savings in different types of investments. By diversifying this way, you are more likely to reduce risk and improve return. Your investment mix may change over time depending on a number of factors such as your age, goals, financial circumstances and future pandemics. Financial security and knowledge go hand in hand. So it’s time to get informed.

 Run a calculation to figure out how much money you’ll need to retire. Keep doing this calculation as time goes by, because your idea of a comfortable retirement may evolve over the years.

 Inform yourself about medical health options.  Medical bills could be one of your biggest expenses, so check out all the various health insurances available in your country and be prepared.

 Check out your private and public pension. In many European countries, the state pensions are struggling and are on the decline but it is still a sizable amount to be checked. This will also give you a good estimate of how much money you need from your private pension to reach your monthly expenses.

 Leave your retirement savings untouched. If you cash in your retirement savings before time you may have to pay withdrawal penalties, lose tax benefits, and lose accumulated interests.

Start saving now!
Look after your savings!

My Take on turning 50

If you are turning 50 this year, well “ Happy birthday “. Remember how excited you are when you turned 5 years old. You should be 10 times that excited.

If you have children, they have probably left the house and are beginning the long process of building their own lives. Maybe you are thinking about your retirement, or perhaps on a deeper level, you are thinking of your present purpose in life. What do you dream of and what will your legacy be? For me, turning 50 has become an opportunity. I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but it has taken me several years to come to this conclusion and it’s only now at the age of 54 that I am fully embracing my midlife turning point with passion, energy and hope. This revelation, this light bulb moment, came to me after celebrating my wife’s grandmother’s 100th birthday. Granny Owen had reached 100 years of age, with amazing health, a good sense of humour and an impeccable sense of style. On that day I decided I could live to 100 too… And just like that, all the sombre views about turning 50 that society had drummed into my brain, all the fears I carried from my charismatic father (who tragically passed away at the age of 49), they all vanished in an instant. My mindset was now turned towards the future and no longer the past. So I started thinking of all the beautiful adventures still to come… with my darling wife Jane, with my two amazing kids Yannick and Matilda, and hopefully one day, with my future grandchildren. 

This has become a passion of mine, I have started a website to share with others how we can live to 100 in a happy, healthy and fulfilling way. So if you are interested in living to 100, join me on this wonderful journey and I would love to know what turning 50 means or meant to you. Thanks for leaving your comments below.

Take care my friends

Smart Living to 100

DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.  No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

My first swim! After 2 months in Lockdown in Mallorca.

After 2 months of hard lockdown, we are finally allowed to go out of our homes to do sports outdoors. I have been missing the sea so much…But as from today, we can swim… so here I am. The water is still a bit cold with no suit but It feels so good. We are slowly getting back to normal, it will take some time here in Mallorca. I hope very soon we can all enjoy again this beautiful island.

Take care.

Smart Living To 100.

https://smartlivingto100.com/

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Music by; Track Title: Motivational Upbeat. Music by AShamaluevMusic. Music Link: https://youtu.be/j1wjM-hqnv0

Boost your immune system with the Wim Hof Method.

After many weeks of lockdown, sitting around my house, reading, eating, drinking, occasionally engaging in some moderate and limited physical activity, I have come to realise all the precious things I was taking for granted. One of them is my health especially at a time where so many people in the world are fighting illness and diseases.

My pre 20’s were plagued by frequent colds, touches of flu, earaches, sore throats, and many other non-threatening but debilitating illnesses. But when I literally threw myself into diving, it all changed. Although I was exposed to all kinds of weather conditions, extreme temperature fluctuations, physical activity and demands on my body, I had none of the illnesses of my youth…

Diving helped boost my immune system
Diving helped boost my immune system.

It was like I had gone through a total transformation, I had developed a completely different mindset towards my body and my immune system. Since then I have been fortunate enough to always be aware of my immunity and have developed a very special relationship with my immune system. This Boost to my immune system was the result of obvious changes in my diet, lifestyle, outdoor activity, constant physical activity, social interaction and a change in my breathing awareness.

How to boost your immune system?

Here are a number of different ways to naturally boost your immune system.

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables to help boost your immune system. Find here some of the most potent ones.
  • Almost all citrus fruits like grapefruit, limes, lemons, oranges are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.- Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost 3 times as much vitamin C.

Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fibre and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

Ginger is another ingredient many turns to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may help with nausea as well.

Spinach is rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

–  Curcumin; This bright yellow bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and is showing promising results as an immune booster.

– Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant, shown to enhance immune function.

– Look for yoghurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yoghurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.

Papayas and kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.

– Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are packed with vitamin E and healthy fats. This powerful antioxidant is essential to a strong immune system.

citrus fruit will boost your immune system.
A daily intake of citrus fruits will boost your immune system.
  • Exercise regularly.  Just like a healthy diet, exercise is one of the natural pillars when it comes to boosting your immune system. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases, contributes to your general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It also promotes good circulation of the lymph fluid packed with infection-fighting white cells.
  • Drink plenty of water and If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep. If you need yet another reason that good night sleep is good for you, some researchers from Germany have found that sound sleep improves your T Cells count. “T cells are a type of… immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example, virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells,”  says Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress. Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship between mind and body. Stress occurs when life events surpass your abilities to cope. Short bursts of stress are considered to be acceptable but it’s the long term effects of chronic stress that are damaging to your health. It causes your body to produce greater levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It also reduces the body’s lymphocyte count, lowering your ability to fight off infection.

Other factors to consider in boosting your immune system.

  • Vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are related to a higher susceptibility to infection and autoimmune diseases. Our body produces vitamin D via exposure to sunlight. Supplementing vitamin D is advised in autumn and winter when relatively little sunshine reaches our skin. 
  • Supply good bacteria to your gut. Many important processes that are related to your immune system take place in your gut. By consuming probiotic foods, you can stimulate the digestion of nutrients that support your immune system. Inside the gut are about 100 trillion live microorganisms that promote normal GI function, protect the body from infection, and regulate metabolism and the mucosal immune system. Chronic inflammation has been linked to your gut microbiome is out of balance. More than 70% of our immune system is packed behind your stomach lining. What we eat is what feeds our microbiome and that actually trains our immune system to respond efficiently. So if your microbiome is out of balance so is your immune system and this can result in your entire body being out of sync.
  • Get more micronutrients; Some form of ” micronutrient malnutrition” is surprisingly common in the elderly population. This is when a person is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals like zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E. Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. One important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may have beneficial effects on the immune system.   Older people should discuss this question with their doctor.
  • Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system. The body is continually generating immune cells, it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.
  • While some people age healthily, compared with younger people the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases. Respiratory infections, influenza, the COVID-19 virus and particularly pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide.  Some scientists observe that this increased risk correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection. Others are interested in whether the bone marrow becomes less efficient at producing the stem cells that give rise to the cells of the immune system.
  • Echinacea.  Certain species have been shown to improve immune health and may have antiviral effects against several respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus and rhinoviruses.
  • Propolis. Propolis is a resin-like material produced by honeybees for use as a sealant in hives. Though it has impressive immune-enhancing effects and may have antiviral properties as well.
wim hof breathing
Wim Hof breathing in nature…

How I started the wim hof method!

With all the lifestyle and dietary changes I mentioned above, I went from a poor/ average health to good health. Literally jumping in feet first into my full-time diving career promoted all these changes. My research into breath control and breathwork led me to practise yoga, freediving and the Wim hof method. The Wim hof method is based upon 3 pillars: cold therapy, breathing and commitment.  I started practising with his guided breathing, then swiftly followed by his popular 10 week Fundamental course.

 Upon starting the Wim hof method my general state of health jumped from good to never being sick, fully energised all day long, feeling happy and strong most of the time.  Both cold exposure and conscious breathing require patience and dedication in order to be fully mastered. Armed with focus and determination you are ready to explore and deepen your body & mind connection and somehow intuitively connect with my immunity and further understand my immune system.

For those that don’t know about Wim Hof or “The Iceman “ and his method here is a brief introduction;

Wim Hof is famous for his incredible stunts like running a half marathon on his bare feet in the snow, swimming under ice, and climbing Mount Everest in his shorts. Achievements like these require an enormous amount of focus and dedication. Over the years, Wim Hof has developed his own method that enables him to achieve extraordinary things.

I can still remember my first guided breathing, I lay on the sofa, listening to Wim hof’s instruction,…deeply in…and let it go, for 30 breaths and then held my breath. It was all a bit odd at first, not at all familiar. The second round felt better. Now the third round was such a memorable experience that it is still very vivid in my mind. It felt like I was experiencing an internal revolution, my hands were tingling, I could see flashing multicoloured lights coming and going behind my eyes and mini lightning bolts going through my brain, I noticed also that my entire body and especially my cells were gently electrified, finally, I experienced a pleasant light-headed floating sensation as if my mind was leaving my body and gliding above me. I did not panic at the time as I had been warned that I would experience some very unusual sensations, so I went along with it… 

Also on my first rounds, my breath-holding time was of 1, maximum 2 mins, but after a few sessions, I could easily reach 3 mins.

Here is a succinct description of his breathing method.

Breathe in deep, moving the air flow from your belly, to your chest and into your head and let it go.

Do this 30/40/50 times, whatever feels comfortable for you.

 Then hold your breath for as long as is comfortable for you without forcing

.  At this stage you have raised your PH levels, so you can easily stay 1 min or more without air in your lungs.

When you feel the need to breathe

Take a deep breath in and hold it for 10/15 seconds. Then let go.

This is your first round!!   Repeat this for 2 more rounds.

Good luck!!

Cold water exposue.
Wim Hof always says…” The cold is my warm friend”.

 In starting the cold shower progressive training I immediately felt different and was almost looking forward to this challenge.  Once I realized that I was gradually changing my mindset from fearing the cold to enjoying it, there was no stopping me, I was gone like a rocket…. I literally understood that I had changed my perception of the cold and this all happened with the power of my mind.

Now 2 and half years down the line, no aches or pains, no flu or colds, no more allergies or eczema, no more fatigue.  All in fine working order and I have exceptional levels of energy.

In the last 10 years, I have also suffered from old sports induced injuries that kept dragging on and on.  Well, surprise surprise… with the cold exposure and the breathing techniques these old pains and aches have subsided tremendously and no longer stop me from any physical activity.

When you feel the cold or the heat and get out of your comfort zone with the Wim Hof Method (WHM) you learn to tap into that mind/body connection and regain control over it.  So by breathing deep and changing your focus you can willfully influence the bone marrow to activate T cell and B cell production and these, in turn, will fight any inflammation that is taking place in your body.

With this breathing method not only do you bring in more oxygen to your tissues to subside inflammation, but you also increase your adrenaline production which in turn will suppress inflammatory markers in your body.

How does the wim hof method benefit your immune system?

When you engage in the Wim hof breathing you increase your levels of adrenaline in your body. This increase in adrenaline coincides with higher production of interleukin 10 . Interleukin 10 (IL10) is a cytokine with potent anti-inflammatory properties that plays a central role in limiting host immune response to pathogens, thereby preventing damage to the host and maintaining normal tissue homeostasis. The anti-inflammatory element of IL 10 is that it inhibits the release of other cytokines that contribute to inflammation. So as a result of this breathing method your inflammatory response is lower than normal. In the case of a virus infection, your symptoms are barely noticeable and your recovery much faster than normal. Even though the inflammatory response is suppressed white blood cells are still being produced. So having high levels of adrenaline stirs leukocytosis which increases white blood cells in the blood.

Being able to dampen inflammation is fabulous news in itself, as it presents an alternative to medication for those suffering from chronic inflammation. 

 During one study, subjects that were trained in the Wim Hof Method and control subjects were injected with a pathogen and monitored for symptoms. Compared to the control group, followers of the Wim Hof Method showed a stronger immune response and fewer symptoms related to the pathogen. In 2011, the University Medical Center St. Radboud in Nijmegen couldn’t but admit that Wim and others trained with his method are able to voluntarily influence the Autonomic Nervous System. Despite what medical books suggest, this study clearly demonstrates that a human being can voluntarily influence his/ her autonomic nervous system and immune response.

My take on the wim hof method

This amazing technique has opened my understanding of the huge power that resides in my mind (and yours).  The benefits of the Wim Hof method are great, even if you never jump in icy waters, it will boost your immune system, increase your energy levels, reduce stress, decrease inflammation, improve your athletic performance and sharpen your focus and determination. It has given me a life long wish to discover and work on the mind & body connection.  So after 2 and a half years of Wim Hof method practice, I keep learning on a daily basis and enjoying it every single day.  I feel grateful and privileged to be able to take yet another breath.  It has made me so aware that breathing is our own and unique gift that we carry with us every single moment of our life.  I am only 54 and my aim is to live to 100. I haven’t counted them yet, but that’s many breaths left…  so join me on this trip of a lifetime.

www.instagram.com/smartlivingto.100

www.facebook.com/smartlivingto100 

DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.  No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

This wim hof breathing should be done laying down or sitting in a safe environment, not in water or close to water or whilst driving.

https://www.wimhofmethod.com/

The state of now ( by my wife Jane Gracia).

I wonder if during my lifetime to 100 years of age (and beyond, no intention of throwing in the towel at 100 !!) we shall once again be thrown into global chaos with another virulent virus that will, quite literally, bring us to our knees. I would like to say “oh no, surely not, with all we are learning now we will be able to contain/control any future outbreaks. The answer is not one anybody can confidently provide. So, I am starting to think, really think, about our future… Should something like this happen again I want to be sure I am prepared (to the best of my ability).

My future house
Lots of outdoor space..

When the State of Emergency was declared here in Spain, on the 13th March, it seemed that things were not too bad… I could continue my work as a primary teaching assistant, albeit in a virtual fashion. No more 5 am wake up, driving an hour, working out in the gym before arriving at school at 8 am… No more commute through bumper to bumper traffic on the way home. I could wake up at 8.30 am and go to “work” in a smart top, track pants and slippers !! I foolishly thought we would be allowed out of our homes during the day, as they have done in other European countries. We had permission to go to the supermarket, the pharmacy and the medical centre. We could take our rubbish to the communal bins, but we could not walk around the block.. unless we had a dog. I was sorely tempted to get one!

I love to exercise, to walk up the mountain that towers in front of our apartment, to run on the seafront, to workout in my gym, all things I had so taken for granted but now do not. I ran up and down the staircase in our apartment block, I paced the rooftop terrace, I jumped and skipped. Never have I enjoyed my prosling so much .. and my Ab roller.. oh my goodness it was a godsend. Then I began to think about what would we need to be more comfortable and liberated if a lockdown should occur in the future? Outdoor space was right there at the top of the list, a small house, comfortable but simple and lots of outdoor space. A vegetable garden, a lawn, trees and flowers, being close to the wonders of nature. So even if the future should bring another pandemic we would be still able to enjoy these things.

As all around us raged this insidious disease, creeping into all walks of life, quietly waiting around every corner.. we watched the news, we were horrified at the growing numbers of infected people around the world, horrified at the rising number of deaths every single day. But they were just that, numbers, so once again a surreal panorama.

I checked in daily with my kids in London, my parents in Ireland, feeling so far from them, but thankful for the wonders of technology that allow us to see each other and speak as if we are sitting across a table from each other. This will pass, we said, we will come out the other side, we said, patience.. keep safe everyone, wash your hands, wear your mask… Let’s wait it out…

My darling mum
My darling mum ❤

On the 10th of April, in the space of just 4 hours, my beloved Mum was snatched from us by this terrible disease. The horror, the disbelief, the raw screaming injustice that this gentle warrior who had battled for years with Parkinson’s disease, severe osteoporosis and the after-effects of a stroke in 2017, should be taken in this way. She was living in a residential care home, as her disability meant she needed the help of carers and nursing staff. They were so lovely to her, sweet and kind, but she didn’t want to be there. She desperately missed her home, her garden, her independence. We thought she would be safe there, how wrong we were. As, in many care homes in many countries, there were failings and a member of staff unwittingly brought this virus into my Mum’s room. My sister and I could not go to comfort my Dad and brother, we did not dare fly into Ireland for fear of bringing this virus to them. My Mum was cremated on April 13th with just my Dad and brother in attendance.

So, I carry on in this bubble of disbelief, I know she has gone but she is all around me. The day I can safely go back to where she was, to the home she loved, to walk around the garden she had spent many happy hours tending, to open her wardrobe and catch a whiff of her scent, then the grieving will begin. The tears will fall as I sit around the table with my Dad, my brother and my sister, as we talk about her, remember her, look at photos of happier times.

I hope to find a small house in the countryside, with a garden. I hope that my daughter and son will find a way to spend more time here, I miss them. I hope to have dogs and maybe even a little pig and some chickens roaming around. I want to breathe the fresh air, marvel at the beauty of simplicity, tend my garden and sit in the evenings on the porch with my darling husband.

My Mum would approve ❤🍀.

Is Affiliate marketing the solution for your future?

If I asked you; what is your ideal job? What would you answer?

It’s easy to fall into the temptation of saying” I want an adequate income with potential to grow, have a nice boss or work for myself, be able to work from anywhere, be time flexible so you don’t miss precious moments with your loved ones, but most importantly doing something that inspires you every day”. I don’t know about you… but this would be my ideal way of earning a living. 

Working from home with affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great home based online business.

Well, believe it or not, becoming an affiliate marketer, or starting affiliate marketing could be one of the closest answers to this question. So if you are at a stage of your life, where you are fed up with your traditional way of earning a living or have lost your job, if you are tired of the 9 to 5 or want more freedom, and are prepared to learn how to earn an income with affiliate marketing, this post is for you.

What is affiliate marketing?

No matter what you buy online, clothes, runners, computer games, smartphone, or services that you search on the internet, like learning a new skill, booking a holiday or a city break, renting a car, buying insurance for your house, or starting your own online business, etc… chances are that they have an affiliate program.

The biggest affiliate program on the internet is Amazon and they practically sell everything you need…

Looking in the dictionary, Affiliate Marketing is” a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals”.

So, with this definition, let’s clarify a few terms: the merchant, the vendor, the creator, the brand, the retailer, this is the party that creates the product, like Nike, Dyson, or Apple. From solo entrepreneurs to startups to massive companies, anyone could be the merchant behind an affiliate marketing program. All they need are products to sell and an affiliate marketing program set in place within their company.

Then we have the affiliate, also known as the publisher. An affiliate promotes one or multiple affiliate products and tries to attract and convince potential customers of the value of the merchant’s product so that they actually end up buying it. Affiliates can also range from single individuals to entire companies. An affiliate marketing business can produce a few hundred dollars in commissions each month or tens of millions of dollars.

There are 3 main payment structures as all the affiliate marketing programs differ from one another.

Per click: The affiliate is paid a flat rate for every individual they redirect to the vendor’s website.

Per lead: The affiliate is paid for every prospective customer who visits the vendor’s website and performs its desired action, such as signing up for a mailing list or free trial.

Per sale: The most common of the three payment structures, the affiliate is paid a commission (e.g., 1% to 10%) for every purchase via the affiliate unique product link.

For example, this post is full of these so-called affiliate links, so if you were to sign up with Skillshare, I would make money. Buy the Ben Greenfield book Boundless and I will earn a percentage. Buy these supplements for training, I get a commission. Sign up for this online business training course, or build your website with WordPress, and guess what? That’s it, I make some money!!

Every business needs customers, so as an affiliate marketer you simply link the customers with an offer and get a commission in the process. Pretty simple hey!

creating a blog
blogging is one of the affiliate marketing strategy

How can you to start with affiliate marketing?

Before you are full-time, you can start as a part-time affiliate marketer, this is one of the best home-based businesses that exist out there, you can do it in your spare time, or after work, or in the evenings, or simply at weekends.  As you step up to work as an affiliate marketer, you can increase your chances of making good money out of the profits that the retailer’s websites make.

There is no need to quit your present job to start affiliate marketing at first. All you need to do is dedicate at least 10 hours per week, in the beginning, find a niche that interests you, search for companies that have affiliate programs, locate products you like or have used in the past, and basically promote them and start earning. This is not a get rich quick scheme, it is more of a long term strategy,  you will need to learn new skills as you go along for you to become a successful affiliate marketer. These FREE training videos will help you acquire the knowledge you need to make money online.

How much money do I need to start affiliate marketing?

In general, people have time or money, if you are lucky enough to have both that’s even better, but this will determine if you go for the Free ( organic) approach or the Paid advertisement path. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Whichever you choose will determine how you bring customers ( traffic ) to click on your affiliate links.

Unless you have a substantial budget to put into paid traffic straight away, I would suggest you start with organic traffic, and upscale later once you have acquired the proper marketing skills.

Social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. have millions of users. So a good place to start is to place your affiliate links in your profile and posts so you get people’s attention. 

You could also start your own YouTube channel and upload videos with your products. If you want to reach out to millions of online users with affiliate products without making any investment, then YouTube could be your platform of choice. Many successful YouTubers earn a 6 or 7 figure income each year just by conducting the promotions of the products they use or are passionate about.

– The most important factor here is TIME. Start now. It will take months to get some ranking in google, to get noticed on social media, to build content that attracts visitors.  Start posting on Facebook, uploading videos on Youtube, writing content on your website, acquiring more online marketing skills, it doesn’t matter, take action now. It may not be perfect at first, don’t worry, you will iron out the small imperfections later, but continue taking action on a daily basis. 

– Once you have found your niche you will need a website to place your affiliate marketing links. I strongly recommend WordPress as it is widely used, easy to navigate and it’s free. When I started I had no prior computer knowledge, so building a website was alien to me and very daunting. Although many affiliate marketers are self-taught, I was not prepared to do it on my own. So after thoroughly looking at various courses, I signed up to an online education program that I found by accident whilst looking at self-improvement YouTube videos. This was just what I needed to get me started…

Next step: pick a domain, this is basically a name to identify your website. In simple terms, if the website is your house the domain name would be your address. This will cost you approximately 10$ a year. You can pick a domain name on godaddy.com for example.

– You need to host the site(s) somewhere…A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Websites are hosted or stored, on special computers called servers… There are many web hosting services, but anyone with decent reviews will be good enough to host a small website. This will cost you approximately 20$ a month. Digitalocean.comvultr.com or bluehost.com are but a few. Prices vary but pick a basic plan that you can upgrade in the future.

– You should also build an email list/newsletter, there are many solutions for this. The primary task of a mailing list is to receive email messages and forward them to your newly acquired or/and existing subscribers. There are a lot of them: Aweber, Getresponse, Mailchimp … these start at $15 -$20 per month and increase as your list grows.

This would be your initial and basic investment to get your affiliate marketing up and running.

Why to start affiliate marketing in 2020?

By 2020, it is expected that most online retailers will engage in some level of affiliate marketing.  This is causing more companies to become interested in all those eager affiliate marketers who can help grow their brand awareness and increase sales.

By 2022, the affiliate marketing industry is forecasted to eclipse the $8 billion mark, nearly double what it was worth in 2015. There is a bright future for affiliate marketing in the years ahead no matter if you are the vendor or the affiliate marketer. By working as a seller, affiliate marketers can gain a passive income with brands and products they are interested in and motivated by. On the other hand, the vendors are taking advantage of all these affiliate marketers creating content and promoting their products with very little cost or effort. I believe that in 2020 and beyond, getting into affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for both affiliates and vendors. Start here and book your next Free webinar to start your online business.

work from anywhere
Affiliate marketing and the freedom to work from anywhere…

Here is a list of reasons,

  • We have seen before that it doesn’t take a lot of investment to start with affiliate marketing.
  • You don’t need to hire any employees or rent premises. All you need is a good internet connection, a computer, and time.
  • You can start in almost any industry or niche that you truly love or are passionate about. Whether it’s cooking, sports, health, pottery etc, there is a market out there for you.
  • When you start creating content on your website via blog or video, it can be any topic that inspires you or that you are an expert in.  Building a home-based business should be fun! So make sure before you start any online business you determine a topic that you will enjoy working on every day. I know this plumber who specializes in swimming pool system fitting and maintenance and after 25 years of hard labour started writing blogs on how to look after your own swimming pool. Who would think this specialized and small niche could create some type of income? Well, he did and through his content and his affiliate links he is now earning a 6 figure income thanks to affiliate marketing.
  • This affiliate marketing can be daunting at times, but rest assured you are not alone. There is a sense of an internet community, of self-taught people continuously learning, searching, exchanging and evolving within the digital economy. There are forums, blogs, ebooks and all sorts of resources to help you grow your online business. I signed up to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs called SFM, and they have been amazing in technical support, helping with a new mindset, and most importantly with constant moral support for when the going gets tough.  The community around you is partly what makes affiliate marketing the best home-based business.
  • Once you know how to build a profitable website you can build another one, rinse and repeat as many times as you want. Once your name or brand is known you can start selling your own products, and diversify your income stream.
  • One of my life purposes is to live to 100! In this pursuit, health and happiness are my top priorities. Income is also of the utmost importance. This is where affiliate marketing can supplement my income or pension until my 100th birthday.

So what are you waiting for?

I can still remember the 2008 global economic recession where many traditional businesses went under or barely survived. At that time the digital economy was gathering momentum, but this concept was too alien for me, so I ignored it and even dismissed it and carried on with my 9 to 5, because it was familiar, easy, and I was scared of the thought of changing or reinventing myself. It took an additional 12 years, to finally realize the need to learn new skills and get to grips with the changes that the digital economy lay ahead of us.

You might be thinking right now, this is not for me, I am too old to learn, I don’t have any computer skills, this is a bad moment, I don’t have a lot of money etc… I know I did, but believe me, work as you knew it will soon change or cease to exist, so this is when you decide to do nothing and carry on in the hope that things will get better, or you take your first steps towards your own affiliate marketing future.

Sign up here and get your Free video series, to start your own online business

This is why Lockdown is messing up your sleeping habits!

Like many people around the world, this lockdown has started changing our daily routine and habits. Being indoors 24/7, sitting down, eating, watching tv shows and chatting to friends and family on our mobile devices, all have a huge impact on your sleep/ wake cycle. As this has been my personal experience since the start of lockdown I felt I needed to understand more about it.

We have only recently started to understand the alternating sleep & wake cycle and how it relates to daylight and darkness. This is particularly important when it comes to regulating human sleep. As you open your eyes and are gradually exposed to daylight, a nerve pathway is stimulated, from the retina in your eye to a part in the brain called the hypothalamus. There, a special centre called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) initiates signals to other parts of the brain. Once exposed to the first light each day, the clock in the SCN begins performing functions like raising body temperature and releasing stimulating hormones like cortisol. The SCN also delays the release of other hormones like melatonin, which is associated with sleep onset, until darkness arrives.

WHAT IS MELATONIN ?

Melatonin the dreaming neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit and communicate information between nerve cells. The neurotransmitter serotonin tells your body it’s time to wake up and start your day. As night falls and it gets dark a similar but inverse process occurs. That’s when melatonin is produced,  it slows down your brain waves from beta to alpha, then to theta and finally to delta. This is an example of your light-related circadian rhythm.

How to get a good night sleep
How to get a good night sleep…

Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland ( a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of your brain) and the gut and sends the signal to your cells to prepare for sleep. It is secreted naturally when it gets dark outside and is considered to be a good sleep hormone because it improves your sleep quality by helping your body to create the optimal conditions for an amazing sleep. Once produced, it is released in your bloodstream from around 9 pm to 9 am. That’s when you feel less alert and sleep becomes more inviting.  

The pineal gland will not produce melatonin unless the person is in a dimly lit environment. In addition to sunlight, artificial indoor lighting can be bright enough to prevent the release of melatonin. The highest levels of melatonin production are to be found in children and then it gradually declines as we grow and age. Even though melatonin declines with age when you sleep smarter there won’t be such a dramatic drop-off and you can sleep like a baby for many years of your life. Remember the production of melatonin is heavily affected by light exposure.

BENEFITS FROM A HEALTHY PRODUCTION OF MELATONIN

  • We have already discussed how valuable it is for sleep, but it supports many other things in the body, such as…
  • Improves the immune system, it’s not a secret that your immune system is improved when you sleep better. Overall, sleep promotes the health of all of our organs and especially our body’s ability to heal and fight off germs and infections.  
  • Studies show melatonin contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive effects, which all help decrease the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Reduces the proliferation of cancer cells.
  • Enhances DNA protection and free radical scavenging. Melatonin contains high levels of antioxidants which is what we need to counter the effects of free radicals, a damaging atom that we get from “some dirty fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides, air pollutants and so on.” Antioxidants can reduce and neutralize the “oxidation damage” that free radicals cause in our cells.
  • Decreases the risk of osteoporosis
  • Alleviates migraines and other pains
  • Improves thyroid function
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and weight reduction.
  • Melatonin promotes gut health. As we’ve mentioned before, this chemical also comes from our gut and part of the reason why is that it aids digestion. People with irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, or other common stomach issues can all benefit from it.

HOW TO INCREASE MELATONIN NATURALLY ?

There are many things one can do to naturally increase melatonin levels without supplements.

1. Take A Break From Technology

The best way to repair your circadian rhythm, experts say, is to stop using technology for a prolonged period of time. Studies show that you can normalise sleeping patterns within a week by leaving technology behind and spending time in nature ( going camping for example).

2. Start Dimming Lights Early

Most people make the mistake of thinking melatonin starts when they turn off the lights to go to sleep. But the truth is that melatonin levels increase when your body starts to sense there is less light. So by gradually dimming the lights in your home and bedroom, you are actively helping this process. This discovery made me smile as my wife has always been a huge fan of dim “Ambiental” light in our living room !!

One of the most devastating impacts of artificial light pollution is the effect it has on melatonin production. Studies show that exposure to light during normal sleeping hours can reduce melatonin production by up to 50%.

3. Reduce Exposure to Blue Lights Before Bed Time

We’re all guilty of this. Scrolling through our phones before bedtime is probably one of the worst sleeping habits anyone can have. The blue light emitted from your phone screen is distinctly harmful to melatonin production.

What we suggest is to keep your phone outside of your bedroom. Leave it charging in the kitchen or in the living room or as far as possible from your bedroom. Let your friends and family know that you are trying to reduce phone usage before bedtime so they don’t call or engage in social media, from 9 pm to 9 am for example, unless it’s an emergency.

 Fortunately with tools like blue-light -blocking glasses, red incandescent light bulbs installed in your bedroom, or blue light-blocking software for your computer you can minimize the effects of artificial light.

4. Cut Back on Social Media

It’s also a good idea to reduce your time on social media, especially just before bedtime. I personally try to put my phone on silence mode around 9 pm and physically as far away as possible from me. 

Woman sitting in bed using her smartphone
Avoid bringing your smartphone in the bedroom.

5. Eat A Healthy Diet

Did you know that plants contain a certain amount of melatonin ? 

Melatonin in plants is considered primarily as an antioxidant and plays an important role in controlling free radicals and other oxidative molecules. It seems obvious to say that eating healthy foods will contribute to a better nights sleep, but also to be aware of the foods that have a high amount of naturally occurring melatonin.

Here a list;

  • Tart cherries
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potato
  • Pomegranate
  • Olives
  • Nuts and seeds

Walnuts and ginger roots also have small amounts of melatonin, but the leader at boosting melatonin levels are pineapple, bananas and oranges. Foods that are rich in tryptophan, magnesium, calcium, and B6 are also known to promote sleepiness.

6. Take great care of your Gut.

The non-obvious connection is that the gut is a mass of neural tissue, similar to the brain, that’s why it is referred to as the second brain. The gut has been found to contain 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland in the brain. So, if your gut is in good health then the production of melatonin can be increased and your sleep quality improved.

7. Increase Relaxation

Another way to induce sleepiness at night is to increase relaxation and this could mean different things for different people.

Man relaxing in the sun
Produce more serotonin….

Here’s some ideas:

  • Take a bath
  • Essential oil diffuser
  • Play soothing music
  • Use a sound machine that plays white noise
  • Drink non-caffeinated herbal tea
  • Stretch
  • Meditate before bed
  • Pray
  • Journal writing

8.  Getting more Sun During the Day

In order to naturally increase melatonin, your body needs a certain amount of natural sunlight. This is because sunlight makes serotonin, which is the precursor of melatonin. Once the sun goes down, leftover serotonin converts into melatonin, which is why you need to stack your serotonin levels during the day. 

9. Reducing your coffee intake

Coffee intake is a very personal subject and we all have our preferences as to when and/or how much coffee we need per day. But one thing is sure, coffee helps you wake up in the morning. So the fact that coffee suppresses melatonin will not come as a surprise.

Maybe you don’t think a cup of coffee a day will affect you that much but, over time, you are training your body to produce less melatonin.

MELATONIN AS A SUPPLEMENT

Melatonin supplement is most commonly used for insomnia and improving sleep in different conditions. For example, it is used for jet lag, for adjusting sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work schedule changes (shift-work disorder), and for helping people establish a day and night cycle.

When taken as an oral supplement, it reaches a maximum concentration in your blood after 30 minutes.

Most people choosing to take melatonin do so in the evening, before going to bed.

  • For trouble falling asleep: Take melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime. 
  • For night owls: People with delayed sleep phase syndrome may want to take melatonin several hours before the desired bedtime. For example, if you naturally fall asleep at 2 a.m., but you desire to go to bed at 11 p.m., you may consider taking it at as early as 9 p.m.
  • For early birds: If you have symptoms of advanced sleep phase syndrome, where you wake up several hours too early, try taking it in the morning upon awakening. This condition is relatively rare, however, perhaps affecting less than 1 per cent of people. If considering use in this way, consult with a sleep physician for guidance.

The most common melatonin side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness

Healthy Sleeping Habits Are Crucial

Next to food, sleep is arguably one of the most important things in our lives.

If you have poor sleeping habits no amount of melatonin supplements will help you. Good sleep starts with healthy sleeping habits and these habits shouldn’t just be in the bedroom. Once you’ve tried all these tips and tricks and you still have trouble sleeping, there might be a bigger issue at hand. Consult a medical professional if sleeping problems persist.

Conclusion

During this lockdown, I have personally experienced some difficulties in falling asleep, especially after the 3rd week. I have managed to re-establish some sort of normal sleeping patterns by applying some of the tips and tricks above. I suppose my most favourite sleep hack is being outdoors and producing tons of serotonin. I will have to wait a few more weeks for this magic sleep formula to really work.

Take care my friends.

Smart Living To 100

DISCLAIMER The material on this website is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.

The healing power of Earthing & grounding!

Why are humans so disconnected from Earth?

As human beings, we have an ancestral connection to the Earth.  We used to walk barefoot or with leather shoes. With our tribe, we had to travel far and wide in search of food or shelter and often had to sleep outdoors.

In our civilised modern lives, we are now completely disconnected from the Earth’s subtle energy. We wear rubber-soled shoes, we live most of our days indoors rarely going outside, we sleep far above the ground, and often work in high rises, further insulating us from the electrical contact with the earth. We no longer receive earth’s built-in energy and signals, and this disconnection may well be a major contributing factor in our chronic illness, pain and dysfunction epidemic.

What is earthing or grounding?

Earthing is as simple as walking barefoot, sitting or standing for half an hour, on grass, soil, sand or concrete (wood, asphalt or vinyl are not conductive).  If this is not an option in your busy life, various grounding accessories are available that enable you to connect with the Earth, such as whilst sleeping, sitting at a computer or in your living room. These are simple conductive systems in the form of sheets, mats, wrist or ankle bands, adhesive patches and footwear that can be used inside the home or office. These accessories are connected to the Earth via a cord inserted into a grounded wall outlet or attached to a ground rod placed in the soil outside. For the footwear applications, a conductive plug is positioned in the shoe sole at the ball of the foot, under the metatarsals, at the acupuncture point known as Kidney 1.

“When I am grounded I am resetting my entire biological clock so that it is in harmony with universal, cosmic rhythms and that is the basis of healing.”

− Deepak Chopra, M.D.

standing barefoot on the sand
Barefoot standing on the sand absorbing all these free electrons….

What are earthing benefits?

In recent years, researchers are increasingly saying that all major chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cancer are triggered by inflammation.

Earthing studies, using sophisticated laser and thermal imaging, have also demonstrated how grounding, even for just an hour, improves blood flow to the face. Earthing appears to extinguish the flames through the transfer of negatively-charged electrons from the surface of the Earth into the body (where they neutralize positively-charged destructive free radicals involved in chronic inflammation). The Earth’s energy makes the ground beneath our feet an extremely effective and abundant antioxidant!

 Here’s a list of some common benefits:

  • Reduces/eliminates chronic inflammation.
  • Reduces/eliminates pain.
  • Improves your sleep. 
  • Improves blood flow to nourish your entire body by aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in your body.
  • Improves your vitality. You look and feel better.
  • Decreases stress in the body.  
  • Reduces hormonal and menstrual symptoms.
  • Reduces muscle tension and headaches.
  • Accelerates healing from trauma, injuries, and sports/exercise activity.
  • Protects the body against possibly health-disturbing electromagnetic fields (EMFs)

Research has shown that, for example taking group nature walks, is linked to lower depression, less stress and better mental health and well-being. Other research has shown that spending long stretches of time in the woods, also called “forest bathing” – can boost the immune systemGrounding can also encourage mindfulness and deep breathing.

Forest bathing
Forest bathing….

How to ground yourself to earth?

  • Stand barefoot on grass, soil, sand or concrete for at least 30 mins. Start breathing deep and be aware of all the sensation that you are feeling, such as a slight tingling in your feet.
  • Go for a walk in the forest.
  • Lay on the grass or sand and feel the connection with the earth.
  • Submerge yourself in the ocean, swim or simply stand there with your feet in the water.
  • Use a grounding mat, while you are at work at your desk, at home or at the office
  • Sleep on a grounding sheet.
  • Whenever possible use earthing shoes.

How does all this really work? 

Atmospheric electricity is always present. During fine weather the air above the surface of the Earth is positively charged, while the Earth’s surface charge is negative

When the air above the ground warms up, it rises, cools down and forms a cloud. As the air continues to rise, the cloud becomes a thundercloud with its positive charge at the top and a negative charge at the bottom. Most lightning happens inside a cloud and sometimes the positive charge from the ground connects with the negative charge from the cloud and a spark of lightning strikes the earth. This global atmospheric electrical circuit constantly replenishes Earth’s surface with an endless supply of free electrons.

Then the magic really happens when we connect with the ground (walking barefoot, swimming, using a grounding mat, etc) as these free electrons start trickling through your body. The logical explanation for the anti-inflammatory effects is that grounding the body allows negatively charged antioxidant electrons from the Earth to enter the body and neutralize positively charged free radicals at sites of inflammation. Through this mechanism, every part of the body balances with the electrical potential of the Earth, therefore stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.

Lighting strikes
Lightning strikes and replenishes the earth’s surface with free electrons.

My Conclusion

This is a no brainer, just take your shoes off and walk or stand on the grass or sand, or go into the sea, and let the electrons do the rest. It’s free, relaxing and hugely beneficial to your health.

If you are far from nature, invest in some grounding equipment and enjoy the same benefits.

Like many millions of people around the world, I am now at home on coronavirus ( COVID 19 ) lockdown. But rest assured that when this is over, I will run to the beach and jump into the ocean to feel my connection with this beautiful blue planet and absorb all these free electrons into my body. Earthing & grounding are both on my list of habits, tricks, and practises, that will keep me happy, healthy and fulfilled until my 100th birthday.

Until then, take care my friends.

Smart Living To 100.

What is 5G? The good, the bad and the ugly!

What’s different about 5G?

The world’s connectivity needs are changing.  By the end of 2024, global mobile data traffic is expected to multiply by 5.  But lets first recap on the previous generations;

  • 1G: Mobile voice calls
  • 2G: Mobile voice calls and SMS
  • 3G: Mobile web browsing
  • 4G: Mobile video consumption and higher data speed
  • 5G: Technology to serve consumers and digitalization of industries.
low orbiting satellite
5G will depend on thousands of low orbiting satellites.

In the near and present future, 5G signals will beam down from space and support our ‘terrestrial’ 5G infrastructure on Earth. Thousands of small satellites will be positioned in low earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers. These LEO will be orbiting the earth at around 500 to 2000 km above the earth as opposed to 36,000 km for the more traditional GEO satellites.

The latest cellular technology, 5G, will employ millimetre waves for the first time, in addition to microwaves that have been in use for older cellular technologies from 2G through to 4G. These waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies and these must be positioned closer to ground level.

What are the advantages of this 5G?

Low latency

One of the biggest benefits of 5G is lower latency (measured in milliseconds, ms)  Latency measures the time it takes for some data to get to its destination across the network. In comparison to 4G, 5G  network latency will drop from 30ms to about 1ms, ideal for video game streaming, online video, and the Internet of Things, which is anticipating 5G to connect sensors, computers, and other devices with ultra-low latency. Another significant application of 5G could be remote surgery, whereby surgeons perform operations on patients thousands of miles away in real-time via robotic arms. 

Speed upgrade

That’s where a new G comes into play. The user’s experience will be hugely improved! You will be able to download HD movies in seconds, instantly share special moments with friends and family, no more lag on video calls, and much more. 5G is the opportunity for people, businesses and the world at large: industries, regions, towns, cities and more remote areas to be more connected. It’s allowing industries to reinvent themselves and embark on this journey towards the latest in the digitalization era.

Internet of things
The internet of things…

Enhanced capacity

5G will deliver up to 1,000x more capacity than 4G, creating fertile ground for IoT development.  With the capacity for hundreds or thousands of devices seamlessly communicating, this is a huge step forward for cities, factories, farms, schools, and homes.

What is IoT?: The internet of Things, or “IoT” for short, is about extending the power of the internet beyond computers and smartphones to a whole range of other things such as televisions, fridges, home appliances, automated cars and much more. Those “connected” things are used to gather and send information back and forth.

Increased bandwidth

5G networks will be able to handle the network traffic and especially to provide connectivity to large audiences. This will allow sports fans from all over the world to live stream any event. For businesses, the impact of increased bandwidth will echo across many departments and divisions in the form of big data.

Is 5G harmful to human beings?

5G is a dangerous escalation of traditional cellular technology, one packed with higher energy radiation that delivers potential damaging effects on human beings.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, for example, is a disease in which certain people experience debilitating symptoms in the presence of radiation like cell phones and Wifi.

Given its limited reach, 5G will require cell antennas every 100 to 200 meters, exposing many people to millimetre wave radiation.

Millimetre waves are mostly absorbed within a few millimetres of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system.  Research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility).

More possible effects of 5G

 1. It attacks our nervous systems including our brains leading to widespread neurological effects

2. It attacks our endocrine (that is hormonal) systems. In this context, the main things that make us functionally different from single-celled creatures are our nervous system and our endocrine systems, so any disruption to those two regulatory systems is immense.

 3. It produces oxidative stress and free radical damage, which have central roles in essentially all chronic diseases.

 4. It attacks the DNA of our cells, producing single strand and double strand breaks in cellular DNA and oxidized bases in our cellular DNA. 

 5. It produces elevated levels of apoptosis (programmed cell death), events especially important in causing both neurodegenerative diseases and infertility.

 6. It lowers male and female fertility, lowers sex hormones and libido and attacks the DNA in sperm cells.

 7. It attacks the cells of our bodies. Such attacks are thought to act via 15 different mechanisms during cancer causation. There is also substantial literature showing that The electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) used for 5G  also cause other effects including life-threatening cardiac problems and the causation of very early-onset dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

8. EMF exposures in utero and shortly after birth can cause ADHD and autism

9. EMF also affects the calcium levels in your body. About 98% of this essential mineral is used to keep your bones and teeth strong and keep your skeletal structure functioning..  But calcium plays other equally important roles in your body, including cell signalling, muscle contraction, cell growth, nerve function, blood clotting, learning, and memory. EMF exposure also affects this biological signalling, dramatically increasing calcium concentration in your cells. This excess of calcium catalyses a cascade of events to produce peroxynitrite. This molecule attacks your cells including your DNA. Humans are not the only ones to have calcium channels. Your pets, birds, insects, your houseplants, your gardens, our food crops and every field in the world could be affected in the same way.

What are the real concerns about 5G?

My prime concern is that our children could be the silent victims in all of this 5G new technology.

  • Children are growing up with this technology and will be exposed to it for longer.
  • Children have a much thinner skull than adults, so the cell phone radiations can penetrate deeper into the brain. This makes the brain and the nervous system of the developing child more susceptible to a damaging agent.
  • A child’s bone marrow absorbs 10 times more of this type of radiation than adults.
  • Many of our schools have very powerful Wi-Fi’s, further exposing these young brains to more 4G and soon 5G radiation.
  • Pregnant women with higher EMF exposure could be 2,72 times more likely to miscarry.
  • EMF exposure could be a cause for the increase in autism.
toddler using smartphone
Is 5G exposure harmful for children?

Who is telling the truth about 5G?

The WHO( world health organisation) together with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified all radio frequency radiation (of which mobile signals are a part) as “possibly carcinogenic”.

It has been put in this category because “there is evidence that falls short of being conclusive that exposure may cause cancer in humans“.

Dr Frank De Vocht, who helps advise the government on mobile phone safety says “although some of the research suggests a statistical possibility of increased cancer risks for heavy users, the evidence to date for a causal relation is not sufficiently convincing to suggest the need for precautionary action”.

The radio wave band, used for mobile phone networks, is non-ionising, “which means it lacks sufficient energy to break apart DNA and cause cellular damage,” says David Robert Grimes, physicist and cancer researcher.

Part of the 5G spectrum permitted under international guidelines falls within the microwave band. They generate heat in the objects through which they pass.  According to Professor Rodney Croft, an adviser to the international commission on non-ionizing radiation protection (ICNIRP), these heating effects are not harmful.

“The maximum radio frequency level that someone in the community could be exposed to from 5G (or any other signals in general community areas) is so small that no temperature rise has been observed to date.”

It’s easy to find claims online that the greater frequency of 5G alone constitutes a risk.  “1G, 2G, 3G and 4G use between 1 to 5 gigahertz frequency. 5G uses between 24 to 90 gigahertz frequency,” which puts us at greater risk as well as other living organisms.

Governments around the world are racing to roll out 5G wireless technology, without any testing of the biological and health effects of long-term exposure…  It is no longer enough for us to eat organic, drink purified water, inhale the fresh air, exercise and get plenty of sleep to stay healthy.

Headlines such as “5G apocalypse” are warning us that “5G is really an advanced, military-grade assault weapon in disguise to control us even more.”  We are being told that the areas that already have 5G also have the highest cases of coronavirus, such as China, northern Italy and New York.

In conclusion..

I believe the 5G rollout is inevitable, and that sooner or later it will cover most of the earth’s surface. We live in a time where information is readily available. So, as individuals, it is of the utmost importance to acquire the knowledge about this new technology, use it or not, and to choose when and how to shield yourself and your children from the undesired effects it can produce.

I truly hope that our children do not become the innocent victims of this 5 G technology.

DISCLAIMER The material on this website is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.

I would love to hear what is are your views, opinion and belief of 5G.