Three Ways to Activate Autophagy

Cherry blossoms are all fallen and green leaves have begun appearing. It is such a pleasure to go Nordic walking in Satoyama, every season has something to offer, and you notice the changes in the natural kingdom. Therefore it has more effects than just activating autophagy.

I mentioned autophagy in the last post, and what is autophagy?

According to Wikipedia, autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Although initially characterized as a primordial degradation pathway induced to protect against starvation, it has become increasingly clear that autophagy also plays a major role in the homeostasis of non-starved cells. Defects in autophagy have been linked to various human diseases, including neurodegeneration and cancer, and interest in modulating autophagy as a potential treatment for these diseases has grown rapidly.

Autophagy is now considered to be the key to our health and longevity.

So, how do we activate autophagy?

There are several ways but today I will share with you the three most common ways.


1, Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, especially 16-hour fasting is one of the ways to activate autophagy. Hunger is the key and if you leave 16 hours between your meals, autophagy begins working. There are several views on how long break we need to trigger autophagy. Some say 4 hours, others say 12 hours, but the most popular theory is 16 hours, and if you want to make sure it works, you want to try a 16-hour fast. It means you skip one meal, either breakfast or dinner. Skipping breakfast is the most popular, you finish eating dinner by 8 pm, and you don’t eat until after 12 noon the next day.

2, Exercise

Any kind of exercise is good, if it is not too strenuous. 20 minutes of walking is enough. I usually go Nordic walking for 40 minutes, though. It is a good length for my mentality, too. I do my walking meditation during Nordic walk, and after 20 minutes or so, I get into a kind of walking high state, and it is better for me to continue walking to utilize this euphoric state. Running can be good, too, although it can be too strenuous, if you do it too long, plus you might damage your knees.

The most effective exercise to activate autophagy is said to be HIIT. High-Intensity Interval Training. It is convenient because you can do it in 10 or 15 minutes, and if you don’t have much time you can do it in your breaks. You can do it at home, too. You can do 4 sets of 20 seconds of intense workout, and 10 seconds of rest. In my case, I do bodyweight training, therefore push-ups, and sit-ups.

1, 20 seconds of pushups, 10 seconds rest.

2, 20 seconds of sit-ups, 10 seconds rest.

3, 20 seconds of sit-ups, 10 seconds rest.

4, 20 seconds of push-ups, 10 seconds rest.

5, 20 seconds of sit-ups, 10 seconds rest.

6, 20 seconds of push-ups, 10 seconds rest.

7, 20 seconds of sit-ups, 10 seconds rest.

8, 20 seconds of push-ups, 30 seconds rest.

The reason why I do sit-ups consecutively at the 2nd set and 3rd set is that it is easier to rest while I am lying down. To switch to push-ups, I have to get up.

It is pretty intense, especially from around the 3rd or 4th set, but it may not be as intense as it is supposed to be. And yet, some HIIT young people are showing in their videos may be a little too hard for the middle-aged or over. I think bodyweight HIIT is more suitable for us, provided that we do it after walking. The benefit of combining walking and bodyweight muscle training HIIT is that you can do both aerobic exercise and muscle exercise, making it more holistic.


3, Animal Protein Restriction

Another way to activate autophagy is to reduce animal-based protein intake. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat animal products at all, but eat less of them, which is what the Ikigai Diet is suggesting. Try to get protein from beans or nuts mostly and occasionally from fish and seafood. If you want to have meat, chicken is better than red meat. David Sinclair himself has fish and occasionally chicken.


To activate autophagy, you don’t have to do all of them, one of them is enough according to James W Clement, the author of The Switch: Ignite Your Metabolism with Intermittent Fasting, Protein Cycling, and Keto.

Nevertheless, each activity has effects in other areas, so I think it is better to do all of them. 16-hour fasting can give your gut a break, walking or Nordic walking has meditative effects and helps you stay happy and positive if you practice the walking meditation that I described in the Ikigai Diet. High Intensity Interval Push-ups and Sit-ups can build your muscles and bones. Reducing animal-based foods can help animals and the environment.

On top of that, each activity can be a backup if you fail to do other activities correctly. Sometimes, you may eat at 11 am instead of 12 noon, or you can’t go walking because of rain, and so on.


The Ikigai Diet: The Secret Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity

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