The benefits of both exercise and autophagy occur in response to stress. In fact, the healthy stress produced by moderate exercise is one of the ways by which you boost autophagy. As you probably know, exercising creates mild damage to your muscles and tissues that your body then repairs, and by so doing makes your body stronger.
Exercise also helps flush out toxins by sweating. In fact, many consider exercise a foundational aspect of effective detoxification. By combining exercise with sauna and niacin supplementation prior to exercise you can maximize elimination of toxins through your skin.
Moderate, low-impact exercise like tai chi, yoga and swimming is ideal for joint health. A recent study showed that people who regularly took part in moderate, low-impact exercise after knee-replacement surgery recovered significantly better and faster than those who did not.
Balancing high-impact exercise such as running and aerobics, with low-impact activities helps make sure that we strengthen different muscles across our joints to help provide more comprehensive protection and stability. Talk to a doctor before starting an exercise program to make sure you’re planning activities that are helpful for your unique body.
The High-stress levels of everyday life can carve years into your face with lines and wrinkles, but they can also age your body beneath the skin. Stress triggers the body to produce a hormone called cortisol, and chronic exposure to cortisol leads to inflammation. Stress is actually one of the main enemies of the collagen that makes up so much of our joints. It attacks collagen and breaks it down, speeding up signs of aging. While we’re often unable to control the things that cause stress in our lives, we can change the way we handle it. Activities like yoga, tai chi, qi gong and pilates that help promote mindful breathing can help soothe stress. So can meditation.
How Much Exercise Do You Need to Optimize Autophagy?
The amount of exercise required to stimulate autophagy in humans is still unknown, however it is believed that intense exercise is more effective than mild exercise, which certainly makes logical sense.
That said, other research has shown that the “Goldilocks zone” in which exercise produces the greatest benefit for longevity is between 150 to 450 minutes of moderate exercise per week, lowering your risk of early death by 31 and 39 percent respectively.
Spending at least 30 percent of your workout on high-intensity exercises has also been shown to further boost longevity by about 13 percent, compared to exercising at a consistently moderate pace all the time.
Following these general guidelines will likely put you in the most advantageous position for maximizing autophagy as well.
PROTEIN: How to Radically Inhibit Autophagy
One of the surest ways to shut down autophagy is to eat large amounts of protein. What this will do is stimulate IGF-1 and mTOR, which are potent inhibitors of autophagy. (See more on mTOR: Villain or Hero below)
That is why it’s best to limit your protein to about 40 to 70 grams per day, depending on your lean body mass. The specific formula is one gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass, or one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Some vegetables also contain generous amounts of protein — for example, broccoli. Forty grams of protein is not a large amount of food — it’s the equivalent of one six-ounce chicken breast.
To determine whether or not you’re getting too much protein, simply calculate your body’s requirement based on your lean body mass.
For a more technical look at exercise and autophagy, I have included more from Dr. Khambatta…
How you fuel your cells for exercise is vital. Do various types of exercise (for example: Tai Chi vs Kung Fu or Yoga vs Sprinting) require different types of nutritional fuel? Proteins? Fats? Carbohydrates? Look at the diagram below.
Read more from Dr. Khambatta on this very subject: How to Fuel Cells During Exercise.
And what about after exercise? Do we need more protein? Fats? More Carbs? What about Carboloading? Here’s what Dr. Khambatta says…
“Think of muscle enzymes in the post-exercise state as a collection of eager construction workers ready to build. If they show up to the work site but lack raw materials, their talent cannot be put to use. Instead, if you provide them with the proper raw materials, watch as they perform incredible work at a high work rate.”
More on how to fuel muscles after exercise from Dr. Khambatta: What Happens to Muscles After Exercise
Also, for more technical analysis on mTOR from Joseph Cohen…
The mTOR ENZYME: Villain or Hero?