Arrangements During the COVID-19 Crisis
The Breathing Course is free for everybody (you'll be given the chance to make a contribution towards the cost of ongoing course development and keeping the lights on, when you sign up). (Medical staff, First Responders, Caregivers, Jail Staff and Inmates, and the Sick and Elderly will be at very high risk over the next few months and will be provided with the highest level of support possible.
I got interested in pursuing holistic health over 20 years ago, when I got great results using the Buteyko Breathing Method for my own asthma, teaching myself out of a book. Later I took courses to become a Certified Buteyko Trainer, and I've been training people in the method, off-and-on, ever since.
Buteyko is well-known for reducing the need for medication and for increasing measures of quality-of-life for asthma where it has been extensively studied, but it is also helpful for other chronic diseases related to dysfunctional breathing, and for general health. A major benefit is its improvements to conditions that disrupt sleep, such as blocked nose, mouth breathing, sleep apnea and snoring.
To see if you are likely to benefit I suggest you take the breathing test and questionnaire.
For more a more detailed description go to the Introduction to the Breathing Course.
A comprehensive health-centered exercise program requires two components: aerobic exercise for your cardiovascular system; and a calisthenics routine that covers strength, flexibility, agility and balance.
This is quite a tall order to fit into an hour-a-day, but we believe we've achieved it, with the minimum disruption to your routine.
Our program requires no special equipment apart from a good pair of walking shoes, and the daily time requirement can be divided into short segments of a minimum of 20-minutes. No travel to a gym is required, which can result in substantial savings in time and money.
If you are already exercising, this program will improve your performance and decrease the probability of injury. Most importantly, it can be carried forward into old age, helping to stave off physical and mental decline. Eighty can be the new fifty!
Basic Walking Program
We recommend a progressive walking regimen, 30-60 minutes a day, as the aerobic exercise of choice. It requires no special equipment, can be done pretty-well anywhere, and is much less likely to result in injury. Jogging and running have a high incidence of foot, ankle and knee injuries, particularly if you haven't exercised for a while. As you get older, injuries take a long time to heal, and can set you back weeks or even months. Best avoided!
This is the program:
- Minimum - walk at a moderate pace (around 100 steps-per-minute) for 30 minutes a day, six days a week.
- Recommended - walk at a brisk pace (around 120 steps-per-minute) for 45-60 minutes a day.
- It does not have to be a single session, but each session should be at least 15-20 minutes long.
To add variety and challenge we will be looking some more advanced walking-related activities, listed in order of increasing interest and difficulty. Orienteering and Racewalking are the competitive end of the scale. The Fitbit is an excellent tool for automatically recording your activity and progress.
Calisthenics are just as important as aerobics for your health and happiness. Aerobics keeps you alive, calisthenics makes life worth living.
Before I developed these exercises I was suffering a wide variety of aches and pains, neck, legs and back. These are now completely resolved and I don't get stiff after a good day's hiking or skiing.
At first glance they might look a bit intimidating, but they are taught in five levels. Level 1 teaches each exercise as a separate video lesson, and you will progress through the levels as you master the requirements of each.
We recommend staying at least a week at each level to allow the body to adjust, and not moving on until you are thoroughly comfortable at your current level. It doesn't pay to rush it.
Level 5, the final level, is tightly choreographed with each exercise flowing into the next, using a metronome to maintain timing. If done correctly it takes within a few seconds of 20 minutes for the complete routine. You can see the complete exercise in the first introductory lesson of the Exercise course.
The third course, Nutrition, examines the effects of long-term diet on health and longevity and presents a plan for moving your eating habits in a more positive direction.
Some modern research suggests that the commonly used Body Mass Index (BMI) may not be the best way to calculate your optimal weight and we present an alternative.
Losing weight put on over many years is not easy. The Weight Watchers™ program is quite effective, combined with exercise, but for those who don't need the accountability of weekly public weigh-ins, there is a smartphone app that emulates the Weight Watchers™ Smart Points™ system.
We will look at the drawbacks and dangers of some popular short-term rapid-weight-loss diets.
For the long term we promote a steady reduction of the animal based and processed foods of the Standard American Diet (SAD) towards the whole foods and vegetables of the Mediterranean Diet, and the Whole Foods Plant-Based (WFPB) diet.
Finally we provide tools setting long and short-term goals and monitoring progress.
Moving Your Diet in a More Healthy Direction
We recommend a steady progression towards a diet based primarily on whole grains, beans, fruits vegetables and nuts.
An added benefit is that in conjunction with the Exercise Program it will generally result in natural weight loss.
If you are in reasonable health the Mediterranean Diet might be the ideal end goal for you, reducing the use of animal foods and processed foods to the minimum but not cutting them out completely.
However, if you have cardiovascular issues, cancer, or other serious systemic diseases, you should seriously consider converting completely to the Whole Foods Plant-based Diet, which has been shown statistically to slow and even reverse these conditions.
Sleep is a very hot area of research at the moment. A significant finding, supporting common sense, is that the quality and quantity of our sleep has a major effect on our health and longevity.
Getting enough sleep is important - sticking to a regular bedtime and making sure that you allow enough hours to meet your needs (older folk generally need between seven and eight hours actual sleep - eight-to-nine hours in bed), but the greatest improvements will come from the breathing, exercise and nutrition, covered in the previous courses.
The Fitbit is very useful. Worn overnight, it is able to track the REM, light and deep sleep phases and provide a consolidated score of sleep quality.
This course goes further. We go through the findings from the most recent sleep research and help you refine your sleep schedule.
These are the main topics:
- People vary in their sleep requirements. We'll show you a simple method for finding out how much sleep you actually need.
- Some tips for getting good sleep, and some things to avoid.
- Segmented Sleep - as you get older it is often not possible to sleep right through the night. An alternative is Segmented Sleep - sleeping in two (or more) shorter periods throughout the 24-hours, which has a long and honorable history.
- Napping - when and how. Very helpful if you do it right
- Finally we look at the more common sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy (there are around 80 recognized conditions). How to recognize them. What to do about them.
Even when you're doing everything right, things sometimes go wrong, and you need professional medical attention. The main sections of this course are:
- Making the most of routine medical and dental checkups
- Interpreting the results of your blood tests
- Treatment options for various ailments, the pros and cons. (This section is a bit of a grab-bag, covering things that did not fit anywhere else).
- The importance of dental hygiene and of taking proper care of your teeth and gums, to avoid inflammation and disease throughout the body.
- Individual counselling available via Skype.