The art of becoming superhuman
While I'm always going on about the mind and its effect on our physiology, that certainly doesn't negate the effects of our environment and lifestyle on our body. It just takes the edge off them a little.
There are still some basic needs we have as humans and would be wise to respect. When we fail to meet these basic requirements, it negatively taxes the body to some degree. The amount this affects the individual is greatly determined by their genetic makeup and unique psychological framework.
So with the right beliefs and attitudes, we can get away with a lot more. We can work and play harder without the negative side effects being as pronounced. However, some simple lifestyle habits can stack the cards further in our favour. While you may function okay getting six hours of sleep per night, just getting to bed two hours earlier could drastically improve physiological health and your quality of life.
If you want to be at your best or even superhuman, make sure you address your body's basic needs in the following areas.
Eat mostly organic, whole plant foods and you will get a plethora of essential nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals that do your body a world of good. Alternatively, a cheeseburger will still provide you with the calories you need to survive and grow, but it is lacking in certain nutrients and abundant in various chemicals and carcinogens.
Fill up mostly on the good stuff and enjoy a little crap now and then throughout your week. I find this to be a good medium.
Drink enough so that you're peeing clear many times throughout the day. Since a lot of modern foods are dehydrating compared to natural foods like fruits and vegetables, we need to drink up.
I find with my clients that women need around 2 to 3 litres per day, whereas men need around 3.5 to 5 litres per day. When they fail to meet these needs, their athletic performance suffers dramatically. The numbers don’t lie. If it's affecting their athletic performance, obviously it would be negatively affecting other parameters of their health and performance such as cognitive function.
If you are thirsty, you're likely already dehydrated. And likewise if your pee is a little yellow or straw coloured.
Don’t be afraid of going to the bathroom 10-15 times per 24 hours.
A huge percentage of our society has become vitamin D deficient. The problem is two-fold:
We are indoors more often, scared of the sun and covering up our skin with clothes and sun cream.
The psychological topic related to vitamin D production and absorption is an extremely common one in society. (Certainly a topic I will cover in future posts.)
The sun is not a big, scary, cancer-causing monster. In fact, you need regular sun exposure to be at your healthiest. It triggers vitamin D production, hormone production and even cleans your skin. The problems with skin cancer and sun exposure comes down to poor nutrition, toxicity and erroneous beliefs. When the body isn’t functioning properly, the skin cells behave very differently when exposed to UV light.
You only have to move from a busy city to the countryside and take one big breath of fresh air to experience the invigorating effects of good-quality air. Make an effort to get to the coast or bushland in your area a few times per week (or daily if possible). The air quality will be at its best here and you will feel rejuvenated.
Our individual needs for sleep vary greatly, but most people need more than they are currently getting. Take note of how long you sleep for on the weekends when there is no alarm set, and go to bed early enough so that you get a similar amount of sleep most nights. For me, the magic number is 8-10 hours if I’m active and busy at work. I try to get this as often as possible without getting neurotic about it. Just turn off your smartphone and get to bed earlier most nights, and you will have a lot more energy.
The human body thrives with regular activity. Movement pumps the blood and lymph around the body, improves posture, improves mobility, strengthens your bones and muscles, along with aiding detoxification. Do it.
We are certainly not designed to sit in a chair at a desk for 8 hours a day. If you do then it is essential to antidote this with some daily activity.
Aim to sweat every day. Do a variety of fun activities each week including:
Stretching and mobility work
Some cardio or conditioning
Yeah, we need clothes and a roof over our head. But the less between us and our environment, the better in my opinion. Well, I guess this depends on the season and location.
Community and relationship
Humanity is a living breathing organism. We work, learn and grow together through interaction. Having gratitude for the people in our lives and understanding the roles we are all playing in each other's journeys is the key to health and happiness.
So there you have it. Our basic needs. Try meeting them on a daily basis and see how you feel. The benefits may shock you.
Any other tips or comments? Please leave them below.