20 Minute Fitness is back for another episode with Dr. Marcus Gadau, a leading Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner in Germany who studied Chinese medicine combined with Western medicine in Beijing and then got his Ph.D. in Evidence-based Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. In last week’s show, Marcus shared his journey with TCM and gave some advice related to managing our emotions and nutrition. And this week, he talks about sleep, exercise, and sexual life as TCM sees them.
Press play to learn how you can improve your longevity according to TCM by controlling these three areas in life!
Three Things You’ll Learn
1) How To Increase Life Expectancy: Sleep
Just like with diet, TCM focuses on seasonality here as well, claiming that you should get plenty of seasonal sleep. If we look at animals as an example, they sleep way more during the wintertime than summer. And just like them, we also shouldn’t be sleeping the same number of hours throughout the year. While during the winter your body might need more than 8 hours of sleep, in the summer you should be running fine on less than 8 hours as well.
TCM also suggests that the ideal time to go to bed is between 9:30-10:30 pm because the sleep you get during the hours just before midnight deemed to be the most beneficial. Additionally, they say that while you shouldn’t have food before going to bed, having a green or chamomile tea will help you relax.
Press play to hear why TCM also advocates for a hot foot bath right before bedtime!
2) How To Increase Life Expectancy: Exercise
When we’re looking at exercise, we go back to a key theme in TCM, which is moderation. They believe that the human body is not made for extreme exercises, such as ultramarathons. Instead, they recommend having a more moderate exercise routine that can involve things like going on walks, shorter (max 30 minutes) HIIT, yoga, and even dancing.
However, one thing that they emphasize is having high muscle mass compared to your fat mass, as your body composition is one of the key factors that impact your longevity. Since when you get older, it gets more difficult to build muscle, it is important to work on it while you’re young.
In today’s episode you can learn more about why over-exhaustion is not good for your health and what exercises TCM recommends for keeping fit!
3) How To Increase Life Expectancy: Sexual Health
According to TCM, you should also be keeping your sexual activity at a moderate level. While having no sexual life is not good, studies showed that having too much sex can have a negative impact on your health, especially if you’re a man.
While sex is more draining for men, for women it’s the pregnancy that can be heavy on their health. Therefore, TCM says that the post-pregnancy period is extremely important for boosting the immune system of the mother. Additionally, as our reproductive fluids tend to decline both in quantity and quality as we age, TCM suggests having children at a younger age to ensure the health of the child.
Listen on to hear exactly how often TCM believes that having sexual intercourse is healthy for different age categories!
Resources Mentioned In The Episode & Further Readings
- Quote Chinese proverb: “After losing a night of sleep, ten days of inconvenience are followed.”
- In 1960, 2% of Americans had slept less than 6 hours; In 2004 it was 30%.: “Morbidity and Mortality Report”. National Center for Health Statistics (2005).
- In England, 75% of women, 25% of men, and the majority of 60-year-olds have trouble sleeping: “The great British sleep survey 2012”. Sleepio.com
- A study with 200,000 subjects in Greece showed a 37% reduction in cardiovascular diseases who have regularly had a siesta: “Siesta in healthy adults and coronary mortality in the general population.” Naska et al. (2007). Archives of Internal Medicine.
- Quote Chinese classic: Sun Si Miao, 7th century: “If people train and move their bodies adequately, the ‘hundred diseases’ cannot arise. “
- Quote Chinese classic: Ge Hong, 283-343: “The body should always be exercised… yet even in excercise do not go to extremes.”
- Quote Chinese classic: Sun Si Miao, 7th century: “The way of nurturing life is to constantly strive for minor exertion but never become greatly fatigued and force what you cannot endure.”
- A study with over 500,000 participants between the ages of 21 and 90 showed that those who exercise in their free time, have a longer life expectancy: “Leisure time physical activity of moderate to vigourous intensity and mortality.” Moore et al. (2012). PLOS Medicine
- Quotes Chinese classic: Classic of Su Nu, 3rd century: “A man should not be without a woman and a woman should not be without a man.
Being alone and lonely, but thinking about sex, decreases longevity and leads to the hundred diseases.”; “In the winter,‘ man ’should withdraw. Ejaculation in winter is equivalent to 100 in spring. ”; “Much weakness in men is due to a violation of the Tao traffic between Yin and Yang (sexual intercourse). Women are just as superior to men as water is over fire.”
- A study showed that male and female students who were sexually active min. 1x / week, had higher IgA antibodies (immune defense), while those who were not sexually active at all and to those, who were sexually active 3 times a week or more, had reduced IgA antibody levels: “Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA)”. Charnetski et al. (2004). Psychological Reports.
- A 2005 report found that viewing porn was an everyday event for many 12-13 year olds and that one in five had seen images that had shocked or upset them. UK National Society for the Protection of children: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
- A study reports associations with increased gender conflict, more avoidant and anxious attachment styles, poorer relationship quality and less sexual satisfaction as an effect of porn: “Psychological, Relational and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships.” Szymanski et al. (2014). The Journal of Men’s Studies.
- A support group website called NoFap with tens of thousands of men with porn addiction reports that of the 27-31 year olds using the website, 25% had become uninterested in sex with their partner, 31% had difficulty reaching orgasm and 34% experienced erectile dysfunction. Over half had developed a porn habit by the age of 14 and 60% had used porn for between 4-15 hours a week. https://forum.nofap.com/index.php