Dr. Doug Hanner

Dr. Doug Hanner

Dr. Hanner is particularly interested in how the chronic effects of trauma and prolonged stress impact both our mental and physical well-being. He has seen first-hand how resolving and integrating the effects of trauma in an individual, can have miraculous effects on both physical and mental illness.

Lifestyle: Exercise

Like sleep, the proper type and amount of exercise is the antidote for almost anything that ails us. To understand why, we can again think back to our ancestors. Over millions of years, human beings were always moving. They had to walk, jump, run, push, pull, and lift every day. Our genes expect the same from us. Below are listed just a few of the benefits of exercise:

  • More restful sleep
  • Improved mood and self-esteem
  • Balanced hormones
  • Improved muscle tone and flexibility
  • Improved circulation
  • Decreased weight
  • Blood sugar stabilization, insulin sensitivity
  • Improved brain health
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased energy

The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells and are responsible for generating 95% of our energy. Research has proven that just a few weeks after implementing an exercise program, genetic changes can be measured within the mitochondria in the cells of our body. The changes noted showed a reversing of the aging process and significantly increased the biogenesis of more mitochondria. More mitochondria = more energy. Conversely, many studies have shown that prolonged daily sitting poses a risk of increased mortality similar to smoking and obesity.

A 2018 study published in the British Medical Journal entitled Sarcopenia as a predictor of all-cause mortality among older nursing home residents: a systematic review and meta-analysis is worth mentioning here. Sarcopenia means diminished muscle mass. Decreased muscle mass is something that can be diagnosed in people of all ages, though rarely is. That is worrisome because this study proved that having healthy muscle mass is so essential to our physiology and overall health, not having it increases your risk of dying from all causes. When diagnosed, the prescription is exercise.

Moving like our ancestors can be very challenging since many in our society have jobs that require them to sit up to 8 hours per day. However, adopting a few good habits in your daily routine could make a big difference. Routine exercise can become a pleasurable habit for anyone. The key is to discover what you enjoy and do it.

Exercise Strategies:

  • Walk – Our ancestors walked 8+ miles every day. These strategies will help us send the right messages to our genes.
    • Use stairs instead of elevators
    • Walk to work
    • Walk on your lunch break
    • Schedule walking meetings
    • Go for hikes and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors
  • Home Gym
    • Bodyweight exercises – Push-ups, pull-ups, free-standing squats, crunch, and front/side planks are six exercises that could provide an excellent foundation. The only purchase necessary would be a pull-up bar.
    • Therapy bands – These bands can be purchased in a variety of different tensions. I would recommend buying a set that includes a door anchor and handles. This would allow for many different exercises to be performed.
    • Kettlebells – A kettlebell is an incredible workout tool. Go to YouTube and watch beginner through advanced workouts to learn more.
    • TRX Suspension Trainer is also a versatile option for the home gym that can be hung from a doorway. Again, YouTube is a great place to see many exercises that can be performed with this tool.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    • This form of cardio training alternates periods of high intensity (close to max effort) with less intense recovery periods.
    • Example – Jog for 1.5 minutes and then sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat this cycle for a total of 12 minutes.
    • Example – Pedal a stationary bike at a comfortable pace for 2 minutes, then sprint for 1 minute. Repeat this cycle for a total of 15 minutes.
    • Numerous studies have equated the health benefits of 10-12 minutes of HIIT to 60 minutes of traditional aerobic exercise.
  • How much to exercise
    • One hundred fifty minutes at moderate intensity (50-60% maximal effort)/week
    • Seventy-five minutes at a vigorous intensity (70-90% maximal effort)/week
    • 30 sets at highest intensity/week

If you have a desk job

  • Change positions and look away from the computer for a few seconds every 15 minutes. If possible, try to focus your eyes on something far away.
  • Stand up for 1-2 minutes every 30 minutes. Walk during that time if you can.
  • Stand during meetings if possible.
  • See if your workplace will allow a standing desk or even one that accommodates a treadmill.
  • Sit on an exercise ball or balance disk.

Don’t make this too complicated. It could start with a 10-minute walk every day. You can do this.

Dr. Doug Hanner

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