J.K. Rowling is almost a household name these days. She has reached the ranks of the most well-known authors of our time, and writing the Harry Potter series launched her writing career. But she would not have been voted “most likely to succeed” when growing up in a modest home with an ill mother. She was a single mother on government assistance when she wrote her first Harry Potter story, then tried to get it published, only to be turned down multiple times. While writing she was battling depression and raising her child alone. Her first book was an overnight success, and she went on to become one of the wealthiest and most successful authors ever — her number of copies sold ranks her at number nine of all time book sale rankings.
J.K. Rowling took a little and, through hard work and persistence, turned it into huge success. She did not start with the boost of a famous name or anything to put her into the public spotlight. She didn’t even have a great literary education. In her own words, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”
Some life stories go the other direction. Star of “The Wizard of Oz”, a child actress, and successful singer and movie star for decades, Judy Garland struggled with addiction and a love of a glamorous and expensive lifestyle as an adult. Propelled into stardom very early in life, she did not have a normal childhood away from the public spotlight. Her career blossomed in her young adult years, but she could not handle her personal affairs. Near the end of her life, her daughter was supporting her financially, and her estate was in debt. She died at age 47 of a drug overdose. She had all the advantages starting out her life, but she saw them all fade away.
Any life has potential. And while we live, we can utilize or squander ours. Yes, genetically some of us have some advantages or disadvantages, but those differences are nothing compared to what we do with what we have. That principle is woven into the fabric of our very being. We are much more the product of what we present to our genetics than the genetics themselves. Both our quality of life and length of life will be shaped more by what we do than by what our genes determine.
We can’t change our genes. You may wish you were taller, or shorter, or had a different facial structure. Those characteristics are not within your control. But most of what makes life worthwhile is within your control, if you are willing to do the persistent work needed to make it happen. That’s because genes respond to the environment in a big way, and you can control the environment that they are faced with. The shifting of gene expression in response to the environment is called “epigenetics”, which is the main driver of how your cells pick from their library of genetic code segments to chose how to respond to the environmental challenges that face them. While you can’t control your inherited gene pool, you can exert a lot of control over epigenetics.
A study that shows the superiority of epigenetic responses over genetics for longevity is published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, where researchers from the University of California took 5,446 older women, ranked them into three roughly equal groups based on their level of genetic advantages toward longevity, and then also measured their physical activity and sedentary time. All genetic groups showed increases in longevity with increased physical activity and reduced sedentary time. Those with genetic predisposition to living longer saw greater realized longevity, but so did those with less genetic advantage. The genetic longevity differences of the three groups was less significant than the differences caused by regular activity and exercise.
Whatever genetic lot in life you are dealt, you can be a “winner” simply by building an active lifestyle. You may say, “Yes, I know exercise is important, and I can improve my longevity if I work at it, but it takes so much time and effort. Is it really worth it for a few more years of life?” The quick answer is “yes”, not only for more years of life, but significantly better years. American average lifespan seems to have peaked, and in some years even declined slightly, while chronic disease of all sorts is on the rise. With that backdrop, the payback for your efforts is not just a few years, but may be a decade or two of high quality years.
A bit counter-intuitive…
Everything you can do to make a better environment for your cells, so that their epigenetic responses will be optimum, are a direct and obvious benefit, except for exercise. More and better nutrition, plenty of water, rest and sleep, good thoughts — these are all directly improving the internal environment that your whole body experiences. Exercise is an oddity, because it is the one thing you do for yourself that initially does “damage.” When you first exercise, you do improve circulation, which is an immediate benefit, but the other aspects of exercise appear initially harmful: activating the sympathetic nervous system, tearing down muscle cells, building up acid in the muscles, causing an oxygen deficit in the muscles, using nutrients faster than they can be provided, slowing digestion and liver activity — these are all part of the impact of exercise on your body. But those are temporary, and the epigenetic responses to these negatives are the same as for any other challenge: to fix and improve the situation the cells find themselves in. Exercise sparks a regenerative process in the cells to repair the damage and make the muscles better than before. After exercise, the relaxation response is deepened, and the whole body is bathed in better circulation for a while after completing the exercise.
Also, exercise appears to stall telomere shortening. Telomeres are redundant DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes that protect against gene degradation and chromosome instability, and they tend to shorten with each cell division cycle. When they are too short, the genetic codes become unviable and the new generation of cells can’t survive. So the length of telomeres is a strong sign of effective age and shorter length is associated with several age-related diseases. In an investigative compilation of studies published in Aging, a publication of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, researchers reviewed various studies that indicate some slowing or moderation of telomere length from exercise and concluded that, “Regular physical activity exerts its beneficial effects through activation of telomerase, preservation of telomere length and improved mitochondrial biogenesis and function (mitochondria is where the energy is made in the cell).” They state that while the mechanism for slowing the telomere shortening is not known, several mechanisms “contribute to the anti-aging effects of physical activity.” They list improved mitochondrial biogenesis and function, apoptosis (cell death) reduction, lower oxidative stress, and lower chronic inflammation as contributors. And lower chronic inflammation strongly affects greater quality of life, since inflammation precedes disease.
Movement is life
The second law of thermodynamics is basically the law of decay. We live because our cells are building us up faster than the forces of decay are tearing us down. At some point, our bodies won’t be able to maintain that pace, but we want that time to be in the far future. Exercise is movement, and speeds our metabolic functions, keeping us moving ahead of the forces of decay, so long as we don’t overtrain. So long as life remains, decay is held back, while the sedentary lifestyle gives into decay and degradation. We want to stay active and living fully so as to not only enjoy life, but to enjoy it longer. Physical activity doesn’t burn up life; it stresses our bodies in ways that cause them to build up.
Activity begets activity. It places a roadblock in the way of disease. It lifts your mood and it hedges against depression. It improves insulin sensitivity and helps stave off diabetes. Make the most of your genetics, whatever they are in your case — they will respond to your level of physical activity. Genetics count, but they are no excuse, because everyone profits from good exercise.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
Overall exercise increases your longevity more than your genes do. Exercise increases telomere length and energy production in the cell which also increases your longevity.
Exercise does this because it is a good stress to the body. Why good stress? Because it first breaks down but then builds up stronger than before, as long as you don’t over push and overtrain. If you don’t use the body, you will lose the body prematurely.
Always remember, never forget: you can control to a certain percentage the outcome if you put the right energy, the right movement in the right direction. If you were diagnosed with a disease like cancer, this is stress. What you do with that stress will determine whether you become better through it or it overwhelms you, even to the point of taking your life.
What is the wrong thing to do? To get paralyzed by the diagnosis and to react from fear. This always has a negative outcome because the energy is driven by fear instead of trust. Also, to follow a system that is not based on healing but on inflaming and toxicity should only be done temporarily, if at all. People get sick because they have inflammation built up and toxicity that has build up into their body which causes cellular, molecular and genetic changes. It makes absolutely no sense to use a form of treatment that makes the original condition of inflammation and toxicity 10 times worse, unless it’s just in an emergency situation only being done temporarily and being supported by alternative healing treatments, therapies, and methods.
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.