Chapter 11. Lifestyle Hacks for Fitness

Little things matter when it comes to fitness, particularly when multiplied over a lifetime. That’s why I don’t think it’s superficial to consider various “hacks” or health-related habits and borderline-kooky angles (e.g., diving into freezing water) that do not necessarily fall under the rubric of the “fitness big three” of nutrition, proper exercise, and sleep/stress management. I know of a Brooklyn, New York man, a famous Coney Island strongman, who was known to take frequent, not just annual, winter swims. He swore by the health benefits of cold-water immersion; he lived to be 105, and the only reason he didn’t live longer was that he was struck by a minivan a few years ago while taking a five-mile walk in the city. It appeared that but for this tragic accident, he was well on his way to being perhaps the oldest, strongest-for-his-age American male in history. It doesn’t seem a stretch to view his cold-water swims as one healthy component of this extraordinary example of a long “health-span.”

This chapter discusses other little hacks, such as the concept of hormesis, or good stress, sports massage, and the aforementioned cold-water immersion, that can make a difference in the pursuit of fitness.

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Hormesis

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so goes a saying. Ernest Hemingway wrote a memorable line in A Farewell to Arms: “The world breaks ...

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