This Flex Diet episode provides 7 reasons why you should take a morning walk for recovery. Not all of them are what you think.
This podcast is brought to you by The Flex Diet Cert. Get on the daily newsletter to also secure your spot for the next round at www.flexdiet.com
Dr. Mike T Nelson (00:00):
Hey, what's going on, dr. Mike T. Nelson here back for another edition of the flux because the diet pod cast, and today we're going to talk about my seven reasons why you should be doing an am walk. And as usual, this is brought to you by the flux diet certification, go to flux diet.com, F L E X, D I E t.com. We break down eight different interventions you can do to get better or body composition and performance using nutrition and recovery tactics. And this is in a complete system. If you are a trainer, you can use to train your clients, or if you're an athlete or an advanced lifter, or even an intermediate lifter, you can apply them to yourself also. So go to flux, diet.com, F L E X, D I E t.com. And for those of you listening, you know that I'm a big fan of taking an am walk, or even just general mood is beneficial, right?
Dr. Mike T Nelson (01:15):
Sometimes this may be called neat. So non-exercise activity thermogenesis, and in the flex diet cert, we've got a whole intervention that talks about this. I wanted to give you my top seven reasons why doing an am walk is benefit official for recovery. Number one on the list is probably the most controversial one. It is doing some form of fasted cardio so fast. The cardio has been kind of bastardized and people want to align themselves with the fasted versus a non fasted camp. Usually when you're mentioning faster, cardio people are only thinking body composition. And I do agree that the literature as it stands right now is quite split in terms of fasted cardio, making a huge difference in body composition. I will also admit that it's probably not going to make a massive difference for body cop I'm on the side where I think it will help.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (02:25):
And if you're doing faster, cardio, you're normally doing the lower to moderate intensity work. So you don't need to use carbohydrates per se, as a fuel. I think learning to use fat as a fuel is going to be beneficial for health reasons also in addition to potentially body composition. But the number one reason for doing an am walk is it does kind of qualify us some faster cardio. It is very low intensity. And if you are very trained, walking is very low intensity, but still a good way to burn calories. You do see some good movement. You don't have to worry about recovery from it. So I would recommend you do it. Part of that can be as simple as an am. Walk. Number two is doing it and a low insulin state. Again, this is very similar to the fasted cardio number one.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (03:24):
So insulin is best thought of as a fuel selector switch. So I stole from dr. Jeff Volak when insulin is higher is going to push us to use more carbohydrates. When insulin is a lower, it is going to push us to use more fat as a fuel. So fasted cardio fast that am walk, your insulin levels are going to be lower. This is due to sleeping and unless you did too much ambient, and we're making bacon and eggs in the morning at three o'clock, you probably were fasted. If you want. Some interesting case studies look up case studies with Ambien. It's really scary actually. So people have been known to drive while on it, paint their house, all sorts of crazy stuff. But most of the time sleeping, you're going to meet in a low insulin state in the morning. Liver glycogen is also going to be a little bit lower.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (04:27):
Also glycogen isn't really going to be tapped or changed at all. So another benefit for recovery am walk. We've got some fast to cardio. This is Don and a low insulin state. Number three, it's super easy to do. You don't have to worry about taking any magical, crazy supplement before you go. You don't even really have to worry about eating beforehand. It is a low intensity. Don't have to worry about doing a lot of stretching or getting ready or exclusive extensive warmups. You put your shoes on and walk out your door. So even though I live in Nicole, chilly, Minnesota in the winter, I still like to do some walking in the winter and getting outside as much as I can doing an am walk, especially fasted, super easy. There isn't really anything else you need to do. And the less things you have to do beforehand, odds are you will get it done.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (05:32):
So with clients, I like them to get up. Maybe they're doing some measurements. I usually have them do heart rate variability, a few other things, and then just go for a walk. It's so easy to do. Number four, get a little bit of blood moving, right? If we look at what is the basis to most forms of recovery, it's going to base around blood flow. Now, of course, there's a of myths surrounding blood flow. Like you need to wash it out, all that lactic acid, which that is not true. Lactic acid will disassociate almost immediately into lactate, which is used as a good fuel muscle themselves can burn lactate. Your cardiac system can use lactate. Your brain can use lactate. And then the other part is hydrogen ions. So hydrogen ions do cause that burning sensation with higher intensity work. So if you've ever done leg extensions and you feel a burning sensation, that actually is hydrogen ions getting released into the muscle and that impairs the actin and myosin cross bridges, and eventually does cause fatigue.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (06:45):
However, blood flow overall is going to be a good thing. Even if it's not getting out lactic acid, it's still beneficial to have movement, to have blood flow, especially for soft tissue. So soft tissue is what's called a vascular. Doesn't get as much nutrition as it should, and it gets most of it from moving blood and fluid around. So movement is going to be better and you can run this own experiment and yourself. I've had athletes do this. If you have an off or recovery day, this take the day off entirely, don't do much movement and then see how you feel the next day. You can even monitor your heart rate. Variability. Are there markers, if you like, and then compare that to another day where you do maybe some light biking, a little light roaming, some swimming, or you just simply take a couple of walks around your area.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (07:42):
Pretty much every time I've done this or had clients do this, when they get just some nice, easy movement, they almost always feel better. The next day, they tend to have less joint aches. Muscles tend to have less soreness and HRV tends to be improved also. So number four, easy blood flow just by doing it am walk number five, your eye muscles get some movement. So just like if you've been sitting too long and you're kind of hip flexors can end up being in a more of a shortened position. So they adapt to being in a shortened position or get quote unquote tight and using my little air quotes here. The muscles around your eyes are very similar because we use them to focus. If you're always looking at a computer or a laptop, if you've then all of a sudden looked up at somewhere far away and it felt like it took a couple of seconds to come into focus.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (08:42):
That's those eye muscles getting to be a little bit too tight or adapted in a short area when you're walking outside. What I like clients to do is to look up towards the tops of trees and then also look at different distances far away. So you're literally training your eyes to go to a different position. Instead of most of the time we are looking down at a computer and close, so we want to be looking up and farther away. So it's kind of like stretching your eye muscles a little bit. And if you've ever had a day where you've got a high amount of fatigue and your eyes just feel tight and kind of sore, usually you're going to feel similar. So I think the eyes are kind of an indicator of overall body state, and that goes both ways. So if your eyeballs are functioning better overall, you're probably going to feel a lot better if you want to get super crazy. Or I tell people to try to differentiate where one tree starts and the next one ends, or you don't have to be a biologist or tree specialist or whatever the fancy name is. Someone's yelling at their computer now. Cause I got the wrong name. But just look to see where you can tell differences. So it gives your brain something to try to determine. And that also helps with eye muscle movements.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (10:10):
The last two number six is similar. I stole this from dr. Andrew Huberman. I love all of his stuff. He's done some really cool research. But this is a term called optic flow. So if I use the definition from the encyclopedia of neuroscience, 2009 optic flow generated by rotation movement does not involve an overall change in position contains information about the axis of rotation and instantaneous rotational velocity. And you're like, Whoa, what, what is that? So here's another definition. Optic flow is the motion generated at the eye that is moving relative to the environment. The flow pattern on the retina consists of a translational component of radio flow due to observer translation and a rotational component of cylinoid flow due to eye or head rotation. So what this means in English is if you are walking things that are stationary are going by, right?
Dr. Mike T Nelson (11:23):
So your brain is able to figure out that, Oh, I'm moving through space. These telephone poles that are going by, those are actually stationary, right? You can imagine if you've ever been on one of those, like people movers through the airport, I guess back when people traveled. If you're listening to this, you see things go by and that's how we know that you are moving forward. This is a combination of a bunch of different but the main ones are going to be visual, how it changes, how objects move by the stipular right? So the inner ear canals, those are wired into our brain of our movement, our acceleration of movement, and then proprioception. We're always getting information from our joints to our brain. Our legs are walking, we're going to hip fluxion and hip extension. If you think about what you're doing at a computer, a lot of times, a lot of people are doing computer work and maybe been on a few too many zoom calls.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (12:28):
Your eyes are really doing the opposite. You're not moving. There may be objects or a mouse, or you're moving things around on a two dimensional screen, but that screen is also fixed in space in front of you. So when we are even just simply walking or maybe you're riding a downhill skateboard, like I like to do or biking or moving, or maybe you're going kiteboarding or surfing or whatever it is, you're moving your body through space will generate optic flow. And that is also going to be the direct opposite of what most people spend a lot of their day doing. And there is lots of research to show that optic flow is beneficial. Just think about after you come back from, let's say a good bike ride, you normally feel better. And I've noticed that the more aerobics stuff I can do, the more I'm able to concentrate.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (13:27):
Now, part of this is just a robotic blood flow. In general. You also have the release of other compounds, such as BDNF brain derived neurotrophic factor, which a new study showed is primarily released from the muscles which is kind of like fertilizer for the neurons in your brain. So number six is optic flow getting some type of movement through the eye. Last thing on that too, is they'll use something called the opto kinetic response to look at the specific eye movement in different types of neurologic conditions. If you go into a functional neurologist or clinical neuroscience person, they, a lot of times have computers. That'll generate this now, but the old school way was you would have a little like kind of cloth, the banner and a may have vertical red and white stripes on it. And they would move this in front of your eye.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (14:29):
And they would look at what looks like kind of the eyeball twitching back and forth. And the optogenetic response is a combination of the it's called a slow phase and fast phase eye movements. So you'll have an individual tracking or what's called a pursuit movement, the moving the object with eye. And then when it moves out of the position, it'll just want to kind of snap back to where it was or [inaudible] movement, where it first saw it. What your eyeball is trying to do is, is trying to keep the image stable on the retina. And this is more of a, kind of a hard wired reflux that develops after about six months of age. But it is used in that field to look at certain parts of the brain to see what is actually going on. So I thought that was kind of fascinating too.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (15:21):
So it's just super cool how all the things our brain is doing with movement in general. I think about this a lot when I'm kiteboarding all the different things. My brain is trying to coordinate at that time from a balance on the board, pushing against it movement of the bar to feel the feedback of the kite, which is attached to lines a hundred feet away, a movement through visual changes in the fields of the water, looking at how the wind is affecting the waves, feeling the wind, and then everything. That's just trying to be coordinated at the same time. And I get a little worried in modern society that we are losing that component. So even in the flux diet cert, I talk about exercise versus recreation and I believe we'll have more and more information in that exercise is beneficial. There's not any question on that, but recreation is also extremely beneficial.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (16:25):
Maybe not when viewed through the context of exercise, depending on how hard you're working, but just from activation of your brain, especially the cerebellum coordinating like ball sports, tennis, basketball different boards, sports, whatever you're doing, you have to coordinate your body moving through space. I think we'll find more and more information about how beneficial that is for just human health. And I get a little worried that everything is kind of transitioning to screens and away from that. Again, I think exercise is very beneficial, lifting weights, doing cardio, all this stuff, super beneficial, but I do get kind of concerned for overall health with some clients when the only thing they do is exercise and they don't do any other recreation. So again, back to our topic today, walking is one of those things you can do. It's not on the complexity side, it's a lower on that.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (17:29):
And you can play around with different shoes walking off on the side, on the grass on Hills, different surfaces, different speeds. All of those things I think are beneficial. So number seven, our last one here for an am walk, why you should be doing it for recovery is getting in sunlight. Now you maybe thinking not necessary, fairly sunlight in terms of getting a tan, but sunlight in the morning was a great way to help reset your circadian rhythm. So at that time, when the sun is coming up and is that a low angle and there's some data to show that the angle of the sun is important. Also the bottom part of the eyeball is set up to take those photons that hit the eye, goes to a structure in the brain called the SCN. This is the master regulator of our signal. Katie and rhythm tells our brain that, Hey, it's time to be awake.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (18:28):
Same thing with evening, right? We've heard a lot of stuff about keeping the lights lower, turning them down, having less blue light. All those things I think are beneficial as for the exact opposite reason. We want to teach our brain that it is time to go to bed. The sun is going down. It does now nighttime. What's cool. Is that getting exposure in the morning? Even if you can get just a couple of minutes is better than nothing will help reset that circadian rhythm. So therefore you are more awake during the day and actually sleepy in the evening. If you're one of those people that always gets tired at two or three in the afternoon, you try, I go to bed at 9:00 PM and you're wide awake and you can't go to sleep for another three hours. Odds are your circadian rhythm is probably off.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (19:18):
So I do think having less light in the evening is beneficial, but the first thing I'll do with clients, and this is in the flux diet certification. Also shameless plug is try to get some am a sunlight. Now. I mean, you need to go out and stare directly at the sun. I would not recommend that. But just sitting with the sun off to an angle, if you're doing your meditation works great, or as we're talking about here and you can go for a walk and also accomplish that, my biased opinion, if possible, I would not have glasses on that can cut out some of the UV that you would need to see. Sometimes new contacts also have UV in them. Again, if possible, I would try to walk without contacts. If they have the UV blocking in them. Now, again, we don't want you to not see and to wander out in traffic or anything like that.
Dr. Mike T Nelson (20:12):
So of course be safe again, probably not having sunglasses or glasses on and how long, even if you can only stay and outside for a couple of minutes, that's going to be better than nothing. Ideally 10 to 20 minutes is what I like to see a shout out to my buddy, dr. Dan party. He's the guy first heard about this excellent reference related to sleep. I would highly recommend you check him out. He's got a great podcast too called human. Oh, S so those are my top seven tips of why you should do a simple am Walker to speed your recovery. If you enjoyed this, you can check out a lot more in the flux diet certification, go to flux diet.com, F L E X, D I E t.com. Jump onto the wait list, and I'll put you on to the newsletter. And as soon as it's open again, you will be the first person to know. So thank you so much. If you enjoyed this, please leave us a review and whatever you're listening to, either iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you listen, I would really appreciate that. Then that helps drive the show up. Let me come get more guests. We've got plenty, more guests coming on here. So stay tuned. Thank you so much. Talk to you again.