Do the Philosophers Walk

Almost everybody in the modern world deal with the same annoying problem: bad posture.

It is a direct effect of a widespread sedentary lifestyle, which messes up our backs, combined with a lot of static work, with our hands in front of our bodies (think typing on a keyboard), that creates a brutal tightening and shortening of the muscles in the chest area. Throw in on top of this, that most people’s favorite exercise in the gym is bench press/push-ups.

The cure to this problem should be obvious, however very difficult to carry out consistently in reality. That is:

–        An active and upright/standing lifestyle

–        Strengthening of the back muscles

–        Stretching/elongation of the frontal muscles i.e. the chest and shoulders.

 

I won’t talk about the second part of the solution today, as this should be carried out with a balanced resistance training regiment, which could be a blog post for another day.

However, the first and last part of the solution is something I may be able to help you with – with the Philosophers Walk.

First of all, you should find it clear why I recommend taking a lot of walks in general. Many of the greatest minds in history were big proponents of taking walks, and since I am personally a big proponent of contemplation, introspection and strategic thinking, walks seems to go together perfectly with this set of values.

Walking around calmly is a great method for getting some serious thinking done. It prevents you, to some degree, from checking up on the usual distractions of your gadgets, which allows for a deeper level of thought, compared to just sitting in your office chair. Generally, movement also has many positive effects on cognition, and might therefore allow you to be even more creative and a better problem solver.

Further, walking will help you solve the general problem of leading a sedentary life. It is that basic, slow movement, that has played a great role in our evolutionary history, but has since then been outsourced to cars and elevators.

So walking is great, but what this post is about, is the way you walk. My idea is to get you to walk with your hands behind your back (like in the picture), in whichever way you like; hold your own hand, wrist or finger – it really doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that you put your arms behind you, and if you are are anything like me, you should feel a very distinct stretch in your chest when you do so. This is telling you, that you are putting your body out of its regular position, and it is a stretch that pulls on your shoulders – backwards towards a better posture.

If you do this enough, you should see an overall improvement in your posture over time.

So try and practice the philosophers walk every day!

To many, walking this way might seem silly, or like the gait of an older person. But I think it looks cool, like you are being philosophical, and that it reminds me to do some better quality thinking, whenever I go for a walk.

Let me know what you think!

//Max

Supplement Goals Reference Guide – A Review

Being the frugal person that I am, it usually takes me some time to come to the decision of actually buying something. I also talked about this in my review of the Paperwhite Kindle from Amazon. I thought and thought about it, but when I finally pulled the trigger, I realized I should have bought the thing months earlier.

Today, I am in the same kind of situation, as I have finally bought an item, which I have had my eyes on for a very long time – The Supplement Goals Reference Guide by Examine.com.

This is a genius guide, that contains a mountain of information about every health supplement you can think of. It is a gigantic PDF file, that is still really easy to navigate via the inserted hyperlinks. If you are looking for a great place to get your supplements then check out iHerb there is also a coupon for iHerb so you can try it for a cheaper price. I always recommend their supplements.

One thing you can do with it – which you can also do for free on the company’s website – is look up almost all supplements in the world, and quickly learn what they can and cannot do for you.

But what this guide further does, is tell you which supplements to take, if you want to accomplish a specific “goal” – hence the name. This is the main value proposition. It means you can look for enhancements in everything from brain function, lean muscle mass, acne, constipation and a ton of others, and find the supplements with the most scientific backing to help.

The guide is made by the independent analysis bureau Examine.com, who pride themselves in being impartial and non-biased. I think it is fair to say, that they don’t have an incentive to be neither overoptimistic nor pessimistic about certain supplements, taking their business model into consideration, so in most cases, you should be able to trust their advice.

Let me give you an example of how the guide works.

Let’s say I have trouble sleeping at night, and I would like to find a supplement that might help.

I would open up my guide, and find the Health Goals section, and look for Sleep Quality:

Health goals reference guide - review

By clicking the link, I am instantly taken to the Sleep Quality section, where I will quickly learn, that with a “B level of evidence”, Melatonin and Ginkgo Biloba might be what I am looking for while Valerian root may show ineffective.

Examine Health Goal guide review

(I always thought that Valerian root had a positive effect on sleep! If I were to investigate this claim further, I could click on the “4 studies” link, and see how they came to the conclusion)

As you can see, this guide is neat, as it quickly will specify what you can do to solve a certain problem. Furthermore, it makes the available research much more accessible and easy to find, by referring to the included studies. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent on Pubmed, searching for the basic benefits of a certain supplement. Those days are over now that someone has organized 4,000 studies for me in this manner.

As you can tell, I am pretty positively bend towards this product, and I strongly recommend it to all the health nerds, personal trainers and the other fanatics out there.

It is a fairly cheap investment, that you will probably find use from in the years to come. I say this, because Examine.com promises lifetime access to all updated versions of the guide, as new research comes out.

Thank you for reading!

[Review] The Wim Hof IPhone App

Wim Hof is all over the internet these days. He has been on all of my favorite podcasts recently (Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss, Ben Greenfield and so on), which has made me really interested in the guy. Mainly because he is such an interesting and funny character. He is super charismatic, and you can’t help but feeling uplifted, when you hear him speak,

If you don’t know him, and haven’t seen it yet, you should watch the Vice documentary on The Iceman right now.

So I got really excited about his philosophy and wanted to learn more about his methods. I therefore, decided to download his iPhone app , and thereby get some of his teachings. And in this post, I would like to tell you, what I think of it.

In short, about the app: It is the worst app, I have ever not regretted buying! (?)

The app is just a collection of short videos, that might as well could have been released on YouTube. Of course, with the app, Wim gets to earn a little extra – which I don’t hate.

What I am saying is, a smartphone app really isn’t the best format for this material.

And there is really only 1 video in the app, that I’ve had real use of – the video that explains “The Wim Hof Method” – his special breathing technique. The rest of the videos are basically just him stretching and talking in an uplifting fashion (which I love listening to BTW).

The Wim Hof Breathing Technique

I will shortly explain how this works, as this was my biggest takeaway from the app. If you understand this concept, I don’t think you need to purchase the app, unless you just want to hear the charismatic man talk.

The breathing exercise works like this:

– You do 30-40 big, full inhales and releasing exhales in a row. That means you breath all the way in, and only release and let go without breathing all the way out again. The idea is to get more air in than out. This should increase oxygen levels in your body.

– When you do your last breath and breath out, you will notice, that you are able to hold your breath without any oxygen in the lungs for much longer than normal.

– You hold it for as long as you can, and then take one big in-breath again, hold for 10-15 seconds, release again, and see how long you can hold it, without any oxygen one more time.

– This is 1 full repetition. And you can do it 1,2,3,4 time – as many as you like.

What this exactly does for you, is a little hard to understand from just listening to Wim. It, for sure, has something to do with “the nervous system” and “the deep physiology” – both phrases he uses a lot! 🙂

I can tell you from my own experience, that the exercise gives me great energy, and I am better able to stand and stay in my cold showers when I do this alongside.

Unfortunately, Wim is often a little unspecific, which makes it hard to understand, what he is really “selling”.

My verdict on the app: Don’t buy it. It is very mediocre at best, and it contains very little useful material.

On the other hand, if you just love Wim’s personality, and you want to support him, and get more content from him, the app is a way to do that.

The best 5 minutes you can spend in the bathroom (at work)

You must wonder what the theme of this article is, when you first read the title.

You probably wouldn’t guess, that it is all about, how you can maintain your health and lower your stress at work, by executing a very simple manoeuvre, that I do daily.

In my time, working in a full time position for a large corporation, I have learned the value of taking a well deserved break in the middle of a busy workday. However, many people have a difficult time, getting up from their desk to do nothing – maybe because their boss are watching them, or maybe they are wondering what their colleagues will think.

Smokers have it easier in that regard. When they take a break, it is at least for a purpose, and it somehow becomes more acceptable.

I get around this whole issue, by using the bathroom in the office. Nobody is questioning, what you are doing out there (fortunately). Always remember, that you can go out there, to get your own space, and have a moment to breathe, or what else you like to do to calm down.

 

Here is what I do:

I like to, first of all, stand up when I get out there. I already sit enough as it is in the office.

Then I go up and stand next to one of the walls in the room, so I can make a stretching exercise in the chest.

It is the classic stretch you do, where you extend the arm and put it up against the wall, whereafter you rotate your torso away from the wall, to get a good stretch in the chest muscle.

This is a brilliant stretch to counteract, sitting hunched over the keyboard all day, and getting a better and more open posture.

While you are standing there stretching, one arm at a time, you should start focusing on your breathing pattern, to give your body a break and calm down your sympathetic nervous system.

A breathing pattern I like to do is “Box-Breathing”. You breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, breathe out again for 4 seconds and then hold it again for 4 seconds – and then repeat!

Try for instance doing 4 (or more) of these breathing sequences “on each arm”, until you feel completely calm again.

This is a great little trick for maintaining your health and posture, when you have a few minutes to spare at work.

 

Thanks for reading everyone!

 

Why I always keep a good protein bar at hand

Being the high-achiever type, that you probably are if you read this blog, makes it hard to live a busy AND healthy life at the same time.

This is why you should always keep a good quality protein bar at hand, to make it easier to make the healthy choice in cases of decision fatigue.

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