AGEING? WHAT’S THAT?
Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of Tools of Titans and creator of the Tim Ferriss Show, reveals his protection plan
I DON’T VIEW DECLINE AS INEVITABLE. You can either do things to protect your body, or you can play the victim. The following recommendations are a reflection of the lessons, research and real-life applications I’ve picked up from the smartest scientists, doctors, trainers and anti-ageing experts. But before I go on, remember that I’m not a doctor – and I don’t play one on TV. My thinking is that staying young is about protecting your brain, joints and strength – the things most likely to decline with age and have a significant impact on how you live.
For brain health, I combine the ketogenic diet (a low-carb plan emphasising dietary fats that stimulates ketosis, a fat-burning state) with fasting to augment autophagy, or the process of cellular cleansing. Our cells weaken as we age, but autophagy increases in ketosis and is amplified during fasting. Much of my thinking on fasting and the ketogenic diet is influenced by Dr Dominic D’agostino, an expert in molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida. A huge benefit of fasting, he says: “If you don’t have cancer and do a therapeutic fast one to three times a year, you could purge any precancerous cells that may be in your body.” D’agostino suggests a five-day fast two or three times a year. I now try to do a three-day fast once a month and a five- to seven-day fast every quarter.
Body destruction due to old age is often the result of sarcopenia, or muscle wasting. Much “higher chain” inflexibility that creates pain and disability is actually caused by mobility deficiencies. That’s why I tend to focus on thoracic spine mobility as well as ankle and knee mobility.
In particular, the following movements are staples for me in my routine: overhead squats with exceptional form (dumbbells are more difficult than a barbell), the Jefferson curl (a lengthening movement for the posterior chain that involves the rounding of your spine), thoracic bridging with my feet elevated (Google it) and slant board exercises (see “3 Things on My Radar”, right).
The slant board was introduced to me by an ultra-endurance runner, Eric Orton. It appears to directly address the foot, arch and ankle issues that have led to the leg and hip problems I’ve had in the past, which means it may also help protect me for the future. After all, I tend to believe that you’re only as old as your joints feel.
It’s important to realise that fighting ageing isn’t hard. What is hard is coming to terms with where you are vulnerable, assessing the threat, then creating a plan you can consistently execute so you can live the life you want for as long as possible.
Sporting a few blemishes? Don’t bin your body just yet.