Synergy: The importance of lifestyle, activity and nutrition

If you care about your health and value fitness, don’t just go on a finite-term diet. Instead, find an arrangement that you really like and is good for you. For unless you’re getting the right nutrients (fuel), and following the right lifestyle (recovery – that is, getting enough sleep) and exercising the right amount/way (burning), you’ll plateau. You need all three – you need synergy:

Paralysis by analysis – (over)researching health on the web

In my online research into health and fitness, one of the advantages I’ve identified is the ease at which we may corroborate the information. If, for instance, we are sceptical about whether something is just the dogmatic views of one school of thought, we can simply weigh that view up against ananother. Some can find this to be a cause of confusion:

Fuel for an active lifestyle: what kind of diet to observe when exercising regularly

The following is a collection of highlights from my online research into what kind of diet one should observe when exercising regularly.

How to perfect your strength training regime

This is a compilation of notes and quotes regarding strength training – in the gym, on foot, cycling – for the purpose of general fitness, weight reduction, and aesthetics.

Lance Armstrong's training regime

"Not one aspect of your training is as important as motivation. In fact, nothing else is even close. With enough motivation, you will succeed at some level. It's the one ingredient that assures success and, when lacking, will lead to failure."

Cycling – form, frequency and regime

Tips on form to reduce injuries
  • Get into the habit of standing and riding with a straight back. This will ease the lower back pain and also improve your riding.
  • Observe how you are gripping the handlebars. The grip should be firm yet relaxed.
  • Change hand positions frequently.
  • Remember to keep the wrist straight.
  • Keep the elbows slightly flexed to stop the ‘road shock’ transferring to the arms and upper body. This will reduce the risk of shoulder injury.
  • If RSI symptoms persist, keep cycling limited to one hour stretches.

Happiness: is it really a kong foo sing?

Happiness, like Zen or Tao, is a fickle thing: the more you chase it, the less attainable it becomes; name it, and you destroy it; claim that you have achieved it, and all will know you a liar.

Like the most complementary soundtrack for a film, we rarely notice when we are truly happy. It is a featureless plain where we move, unencumbered and uninhibited, without reference point to mark the passing of time or space:
“One route to more happiness is called ‘flow,’ an engrossing state that comes during creative or playful activity ... Athletes, musicians, writers, gamers, and religious adherents know the feeling. It comes less from what you’re doing than from how you do it. (

Runner-up for literary nerd poetry award

How shall we end
my friend?
from fire
or from ice?
Will we break from a lack of language
or an excess of it?
From replying to cruelty in kind
or insufficient sympathy?

Frost thought ice reliable for destruction:
we will decay to zero Kelvin,
bodies frozen together in eternity.
But that will take some time yet
(and no, I still don’t want to get married).

Better Travelling through Video Games, Part II

Ted: We’re both stumbling around together in this unformed world, whose rules and objectives are largely unknown, seemingly indecipherable or even possibly nonexistent, always on the verge of being killed by forces that we don’t understand.

Allegra: That sounds like my game, all right.

Ted: That sounds like a game that’s not gonna be easy to market.

Allegra: But it’s a game everybody’s already playing.
eXistenZ (David Cronenberg, 1999)

How long will you live? Calculating your life expectancy

Longevity, and the possible efforts we can make to try extending our life expectancy, has fascinated me for a while.

A couple of years ago, for instance, I started getting into Longevity calculators in a big way. I think that this was in part from having achieved a new found stability and routine, surplus time and funds – as well as having the luxury to look that far into the future. I had reached a point where I was actually empowered to do virtually everything there is to help myself live longer certain age – and pretty much the only thing that was holding me back from doing so was a lack of knowledge.

Longevity Calculators are a particularly fun device to explore our own lifestyle choices: they’re interactive, providing immediate or short-term feedback.

How much sleep is good for you - and why too much is worst than too little

“Adults should aim for seven hours of shuteye a night. “In terms of prevention, our findings indicate that consistently sleeping around seven hours per night is optimal for health and a sustained reduction may predispose to ill-health.”

Too much of a good thing: Elite athleticism and shorter life spans

Before looking at elite-athletes mortality rate, I would have considered their lifestyle as one to aim for. However now it seems more like an object lesson on what to avoid. For there are some unsettling indications that extreme fitness and elite athelticism is actually bad for your life expectancy. Take the claim that “The average elite athlete will die by the age of 67.” (

How much exercise does one have to do before being ‘defined’ at an elite athletes exercise level?

The Acid Couch

"I have done acid. Will you babysit me please? I cannot get off the couch." Link to the Flash Game here.

    Calorie restriction and other longevity techniques

    ""Calorie restriction is pretty much the only thing out there that we know will not just prevent disease but also extend maximal life span," says Dr. Marc Hellerstein, a nutritionist at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the biological effects of fasting." (,28804,1963392_1963366_1963381,00.html)

    "Instead of reducing the portion size, people tend to switch to low-calorie, high-satiety diets — lots of fruits, vegetables and fiber — that help quell hunger. "It's a lot of normal food," says Rachel Murray, another CALERIE volunteer. "You just have to plan what you're eating."

    Okinawa, island of the oldest people: a lifestyle and diet for longevity

    "The Okinawa way isn’t a magic diet or exercise plan – it’s a lifestyle. There’s nothing complicated about it. Okinawa’s enjoy simple lives and they eat from the earth. That’s it. No plan, no time limit, no weighing, no beginning and no end. Okinawa’s have remarkably clean arteries and low cholesterol. Heart disease, breast cancer and prostate cancer are rare. This can be attributed to the Okinawans mostly plant based diet that includes fish and soy foods with a variety of vegetables and a moderate amounts of good fats.

    Global Financial Crises Postraumatic Stress Disorder - and the invaluable role of malleable toys

    I recently encountered a couple of articles discussing GFC-PTSD – or Global Financial Crises Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

    In his Sydney Morning Herald article, Gettler tries to help professionals and (other) office workers come to terms with the post-GFC world in which, in spite of unemployment returning to a very good 5%, sees far less permanent full-time employment.

    Who Wants to Live Forever?

    "If human life expectancy continues to increase at its current rate, half the children born in the developed world today will be around to celebrate their 100th birthday." – Time Magazine

    I was surprised to read in Time a discussion of how living longer rather than being a boon, will result instead in an unfairly burdened economy and environment. The generally enlightened Time argues that since people will live longer, they will be more an encumbrance on taxpayers, which they will not have offset by working longer, or at least as hard. Subsequently, Time leads this reader to feel that by living longer, we will actually be doing our country - not to mention our planet - a disservice.

    Blue Zones: Loma Linda, Sardinia and Okinawa

    Blue Zones are regions around the world that host a significant proportion of Centenarians, including Loma Linda (California), Sardinia (Italy) and Okinawa (Japan) - as well as the lesser known Icaria (Greece) and Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica). A while back I collated a few notes regarding these areas, and what their inhabitants consider to be their secret to longevity.

    I’ve dedicated an exploration of Okinawa – the top most Blue Zone – to a different study as there seems to be much more research dedicated to the lifestyle practiced there.

    This is your browser - on acid

    ... If you're using Internet Explorer 7, that is. (Thanks to The Acid3 Test.)

    Meanwhile in Victoria - signs of the upcoming Apocolypse

    I'm glad that we've evolved from such medieval preoccupations as pestilence and flooding ...

    Wild Weather to Strike Victoria:
    "Victoria is set to ride a weather rollercoaster in the next few days, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees today before the onset of storms and a wet, cooler weekend." 

    Straight out of (Gareth) Compton

    The twitter page for "a conservative activist and Councillor for Birmingham Erdington, and now "arrested over stoning tweet". And not the good kind of stoning, where you lick the beaters you've used to make a batch of hash cookies - rather, the kind where you get shit thrown at you: