4 Podcasts & Books for Better Mental and Physical Health

What was the first podcast you ever listened to? Now think about your mental and physical health over the past few months. We undoubtedly could all benefit from a little motivational boost as we near the end of this long, arduous year? Give yourself a wonderful present before the Holiday season arrives. Download these uplifting podcasts and audiobooks. Listen to them as you exercise. If you’re someone who likes to listen to music when you exercise – like me – then try plugging into a podcast or audiobook during the first half of your walk or run. Use the second half of the workout to listen to music, when you may need it to get through it.

Get Motivated Through Audio Episodes

We know that taking care of our body pays back strong dividends. Taking care of ourselves physically ends up improving our mental health as well. Listening to a good, informative podcast or audio book will do wonders for clearing your head from of the stress of the day. The following audio sessions will do that and more.

10% Happier Podcast

This is a wonderful podcast with great content that will elevate mood and mental health as you listen. I have recommended it to many family and friends. We have talked about this particular podcast previously, found here. An informative podcast from former ABC News Anchor Dan Harris. After leaving his news job he started the Boston-based company 10% Happier. I read his meditation book (that was also great) and you’ll end up loving his podcast too. This is one podcast that will help set your mind right, improving your mental and physical health along the way. Podcast #286 in particular, with Dr. Mark Hyman titled “Feeding the Mind” was a great episode that I really enjoyed and you probably will too.

All in the Mind

This podcast explores the limits of the human mind. We have so much untapped potential upstairs in our brains where it has been said we utilize only 10 percent of our brain capacity. That is a myth by the way. One study reported 65 percent of Americans believe it’s true though. Activities like meditation and exercise will help in this area, no matter what the real number is. Here is a testimonial from a listener “Love this podcast. This podcast is the best thing I have ever listened to.” This recent episode explores how to Stay Mentally Healthy.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

This audiobook explores the mental and physical health connection. It’s a groundbreaking and fascinating look at the life changing effects that exercise has on the brain. From the bestselling author and psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD. Spark is one of the first books to explore the deep connection between exercise and the brain. “It will change forever the way you think about your morning run – or, for that matter, simply the way you think.”

Peak Performance

The first audiobook of its kind. “Peak Performance combines inspiring stories of top performers across a range of capabilities – from athletic, to intellectual, to artistic – with the latest scientific insights into the cognitive and neurochemical factors that drive performance in all domains.” I read the book but wished I got the audio book. Very insightful, and highly researched information on how to get more out of your performance on all fronts. Brad Stulberg, is a former consultant for McKinsey and Company and a journalist who covers health and human performance. Steve Magness, is a performance scientist and has coached many Olympic athletes. This won a 2018 Audie Award for Best Business & Personal Development Audiobook.

These four audio options, via two podcasts and two audiobooks, will change the way you think about how the brain & body interact. You’ll find out the true benefits of mental and physical health and why they are so important. If you’re looking to take your knowledge and training to the next level, these podcasts and audio books will equip you with the right tools to do that. Stay Strong with Jefit.

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Dropping Knowledge: Exercise and Nutrition Book Review

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More than a million books are published in a typical year, as a result, it can be difficult to know which ones are really worth your time to both buy and read. The Jefit team has put together a short list of some of the best health and fitness related content that we thought may peak your interest. This is part one of an upcoming series highlighting some of the best books available that you’ll hopefully get an opportunity to read soon. A goal of the initial list, and future posts on the topic, is to help save our readers time and money offering a cliff notes version of some of the best reading the fitness industry has to offer. Our recommendations will focus on topics like exercise, nutrition, recovery, supplements, HIT, and strength training.

Click on any of the 24 links below to read a quick preview or review. If you have any personal recommendations, please let us know.

Exercise Related

Movement & Mobility

Nutrition

Health & Fitness Related

The list above includes some of the biggest names in their respective fields via coaching, training, research, and writing (like Bill Bryson and Alex Hutchinson). Further, the books named to our initial list are more than just informational; we feel they can help improve the way you function and move beyond the gym. One that made the list, “Breath” by James Nestor, was recently published. During a recent workout, I heard the author being interviewed on a podcast I was listening to at the time and immediately downloaded it after my workout, which proved to be interesting reading.

Hopefully this is a helpful start for you in terms of finding, informative, science-based, topics written by respected industry leaders that you can hopefully read soon. Having read them all, I can highly recommend each one. Please do the same and share this post with any book lovers you know – thanks!

Stay strong with Jefit.

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Becoming Super Human Through Biohacking

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Dave Asprey, a New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur has done his home work on how biohacking can potentially increase longevity. His latest book, Super Human (Harper Wave, 2019), is a fascinating read that explores this topic.

Mitochondria and the Four Killers

The book begins with what Asprey calls the four killers:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Diabetes
  3. Alzheimer’s
  4. Cancer

He talks about the current state of each and how inflammation creates ideal circumstances for each of these and that it’s all “stemmed from mitochondrial dysfunction.” Mitochondria are responsible for processing energy from the food we eat. When you add oxygen to the picture the body produces adenosine triphosphate, known as ATP. In a nutshell, the bodies cells produce energy that is stored in the body until it is needed at a later date. When we’re young this process works well. As we age, the body starts to produce free radicals as a result of the mitochondria not working well.

An Increase Chance of Disease

By not taking care of our body when we’re young, we increase our chances later in life of becoming unhealthy while increasing our risk for disease. Things like minimal exercise, sitting too much, and poor nutrition all contribute to this recipe of disaster. This is why people like Dave Asprey and others are leaning more towards advancing biohacking.

It has been reported that there is a 40% chance that a person could be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. According to research from the book, if left untouched the other “killers” place the odds at 10% risk for getting Alzheimer’s. It does not stop there; there are two more items to worry about, a 23% risk of dying from heart disease and a 25% risk of becoming a diabetic (later in life). Taking care of yourself, eating healthy, daily exercise and having good genes will decrease your odds.

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Biohacking to Minimize the Seven Pillars of Aging

There are specific forms of cellular aging that a person can help potentially minimize by way of biohacking. The following seven pillars constitute the main portion of the book. Here is a brief synopsis of each of them to hopefully offer insight into what areas to start focusing on as you age.

1. Shrinking Tissue

One of the first items discussed in Asprey’s book is loss of muscle tissue through inactivity and aging. A physically inactive person can expect to lose 3-5% of their muscle mass after the age of 30. The great news though is regular bouts of strength training will build and preserve the loss of metabolically active, lean muscle tissue. The take away here is keeping your mitochondria healthy as you age will help avoid unnecessary cell loss.

2. Damaged Mitochondria

Damaged mitochondria is a critical by-product of the aging process. Plain and simple. Things get damaged constantly inside the body, especially when free radicals are present. The take away here is to work hard to keep your mitochondria healthy. As a result, you’ll have less inflammation and keep accelerated aging at bay.

3. Senescent Cells

Over time your body gains more and more senescent cells, what the book refers to as “zombie cells.” One of the many side effects of having these cells is the body becomes less respondent to the hormone insulin. When this happens the body becomes insulin resistant and more belly fat, known as visceral fat, deposits around the abdominal area.

4. Extracellular Matrix

The space between your cells contain a network of proteins called – you guessed it – the extracellular matrix. This area is important because it gives tissue its elasticity and offers protection from stress and trauma according to Asprey. Having too much sugar in the body, could lead to stiffening of this matrix. Asprey makes a point that if you want to become Super Human, then reducing blood sugar is not optional.

5. Extracellular Waste Product

As you age, waste products known as extracellular aggregates build up both inside and outside your cells. Over time they build up and form plaques and the short story is you end up with some form of autoimmune disease. About 30% of Americans have autoimmune disease and this number is growing.

6. Buildup Inside Cells

The human body contains Lysosomes and they act as a waste disposal removing waste product from your cells. The problem with lysosomes is they can’t remove everything and over time these cells become dysfunctional. The net result is the body can’t control blood sugar levels and this increases your risk of cancer and heart disease.

7. Telomere Shortening

To offer a better understanding of what telomeres look like, think about the ends of your shoelaces, that plastic coating around the tip looks similar to a telomere. An enzyme called telomerase is responsible for maintaining telomeres. Over time, telomeres deteriorate and eventually shorten. Shortened telomeres have been linked with a weakened immune system and a host of diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. The goal is to keep telomeres long but things like stress has been shown to actually shorten telomeres.

In one study, women with high stress for long periods had shorter telomeres and their life expectancy was a full decade less than women who had minimal stress. Finally, exercise is another way that has been shown to prevent early telomere shortening.

The net takeaways from the book are when specific interventions are followed, they could lead to a longer and healthier lifespan. The goal is to find ways to help reduce and manage stress (i.e. yoga, exercise, meditation). Work on eating whole healthy food, avoid fried foods, added sugar, and trans fat. Stay consistent with strength training and exercise each week. Get plenty of sleep and oh yes doing it all for the rest of your life will definitely help your cause!

Stay Strong!

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