Humans are very efficient walkers, and a key component of being an efficient walker in all kind of mammals is having long legs,” Webber said. “Cats and dogs are up on the balls of their feet, with their heel elevated up in the air, so they’ve adapted to have a longer leg, but humans have done something different. We’ve dropped our heels down on the ground, which physically makes our legs shorter than they could be if were up on our toes, and this was a conundrum to us (scientists).
Turns out heel-to-toe rolling gives longer *effective* leg length. Our lower legs are exquisite.
The above is a great article! It’s long, detailed, and clear. But first, think about this…
You know — intuitively — that some amount of energy goes into your legs any time you move on your feet. You know that shoes are not magic; They don’t magically consume energy making it disappear. So the energy from any impact (walk, run, jump) is still coming into your legs from the ground. Cushioned shoes TRICK your perception into feeling things are going great. In reality, the only way to control/lessen the impact on your joints is to CHANGE the mechanics of your feet, ankle, knee, stride, jump, etc.
Think of your shoes as a power tool! Those who can use a screw driver well — who fully understand everything about screws and all the features of the power screw driver — can really get a lot of quality work done with a power screw driver. Conversely, a lot of damage can be done with a power tool in unskilled hands.
(Part 13 of 13 in John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")
In this study, muscle function was assessed in a group of 12 individuals with known vitamin D deficiency. The assessment centred around timing the replenishment in the muscle of a substance known as phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is a key molecule in the production of energy (in the form of what is known as ATP) by tiny ‘powerhouses’ in the cells of our body known as mitochondria (pronounced my-toe-con-dree-ah). Shorter phosphocreatine replenishment times after activity are a sign of better mitochondrial function.
Vitamin D supplementation was found to lead to a significant reduction in phosphocreatine replenishment times, signalling an improvement in mitochondrial functioning. Fatigue ratings improved in all the study participants too.
The more I read, the more I believe that Vitamin D is a keystone for my health and progress. I believe that getting more sun exposure (walking, running, and Parkour outside), combined with taking vitamin D supplements has enabled a lot of other successes: Better sleep, better immune system functioning, better mood (ever hear of “Seasonal Affliction Disorder”?) and now, some evidence that it really does affect the performance of your mitochondria — your cells little power-houses.
(Part 11 of 12 in Stephan Guyenet's "Whole Health Source")
I think that overall, the evidence suggests that polyphenol-rich foods are healthy in moderation, and eating them on a regular basis is generally a good idea. Certain other plant chemicals, such as suforaphane found in cruciferous vegetables, and allicin found in garlic, exhibit similar effects and may also act by hormesis. Some of the best-studied polyphenol-rich foods are tea (particularly green tea), blueberries, extra-virgin olive oil, red wine, citrus fruits, hibiscus tea, soy, dark chocolate, coffee, turmeric and other herbs and spices, and a number of traditional medicinal herbs. A good rule of thumb is to “eat the rainbow”, choosing foods with a variety of colors.
This is part 2 of the best series on polyphenols I have ever found. I bet they don’t work the way you think they work… and they’re NOT antioxidants, except in your digestive tract, where they actually help prevent YOUR OWN GUT from creating trans fats …and they’re actually a toxic stressor… oh, just click already :P
Beyond vanity, the reported health effects of an intelligently designed Intermittent Fasting program read like a laundry list of live longer, live better benefits including: reduced blood lipids, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and cancer. Increased cell turnover and repair, fat burning, growth hormone release, and metabolic rate. And improved appetite control, blood sugar control, cardiovascular function, and neuronal plasticity.
This is a terrific overview. It’s writen by a physician and is intended to get you thinking about how you eat; As opposed to trying to talk you into trying it.
(Part 12 of 13 in John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")
When I started experimenting with intermittent fasting a year or so ago, it occurred to me that my previous beliefs about our ‘need’ to eat three times a day were just wide of the mark for me and, as it turns out, a lot of other people now. I now encourage a much more fluid approach based on the two guidelines above. One thing it’s done for me and others is to liberate us from the supposed need to eat by the clock. The benefits can be huge. In general, taking a more fluid approach seems to lead to people eating less, having more time, and being less preoccupied with food. These are usually big pluses for people.
(Part 11 of 13 in John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")
The concept of endurance athletes stocking up on carbs has, I think, fuelled the notion that we should ideally have some sort of fuel inside of us prior to exercise. However, as I explain here, there is an argument for avoiding spikes in blood sugar is seeking to maximise one’s capacity to utilise fat as a fuel during exercise. I think there’s an argument for consuming little or nothing before exercise unless, perhaps, exercise is to be very prolonged.
Sometimes people don’t believe me when, around 11am in the middle of some crazy physical activity, it comes up that I haven’t yet eaten anything. I usually ask them why they think they must eat every waking hour? Why is “breakfast the most important meal of the day”? Why do you eat what you generally eat? And then I ask them to consider looking into the notions they have about nutrition…
(Part 10 of 12 in Stephan Guyenet's "Whole Health Source")
Then how do so many people maintain a stable weight over years and decades? And how do wild animals maintain a stable body fat percentage (except when preparing for hibernation) even in the face of food surpluses? How do lab rats and mice fed a whole food diet maintain a stable body fat percentage in the face of literally unlimited food, when they’re in a small cage with practically nothing to do but eat?
The answer is that the body isn’t stupid. Over hundreds of millions of years, we’ve evolved sophisticated systems that maintain “energy homeostasis”.
This is why I’ve been losing weight, slowly for years now. Lots of little changes that shift the balance.
(Part 9 of 12 in Stephan Guyenet's "Whole Health Source")
Choline is an essential nutrient that’s required for the transport of fat out of the liver. NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) can be caused, and cured, simply by removing or adding dietary choline, and it appears to be dominant over other dietary factors including fat, sugar and alcohol. Apparently, certain researchers have been aware of this for some time, but it hasn’t entered into the mainstream consciousness.
Choline? I don’t think I’ve even heard of Choline. *sigh* Another new thing to learn about…
(Part 10 of 13 in John Briffa's "A Good Look at Good Health")
However, he went on to talk about a mechanisms here that came as quite a surprise to the audience, I think: aerobic exercise can suppress the metabolic rate. We’re often told that exercise not only increases calorie burn while we’re exercising, and also for some time after. It turns out, that may well not be the case for many people. In fact, according to research, the opposite is quite likely to be the case.
Metabolism, and the human body in general, is very complicated. Excercise turns out to not function AT ALL the way I thought it did. I thought you could just “excercise more” to burn a few hundred extra calories a week and VOILA! L’SKINNY. Nope. Exercise is great! Good for your health, etc. But, at the quantities I do, it is not the driver of my weight loss.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent about 5 years now actively learning about food, biology, health, fitness, chemistry and more… and I’m still convinced I know very little. :/