Which is the Best, Fasting, Exercise, or Deliberate Heat and Cold Exposure?

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I told you that I was writing a Shizenha Bio-Hacking book in Japanese, and at the end, I selected one hack that the readers could do if they were to pick only one activity.

Intermittent fasting, exercise, deliberate heat exposure, and deliberate cold exposure are all good for health and longevity since all of them activate autophagy.

Many people seem to be doing them all, yet, it takes a lot of time and energy to do all that. You need strong willpower to do all those activities, too.

Some people like a simple answer, just one thing they can focus on.

Which activity would you recommend?

Dr. Peter Attia says exercise is the most important activity in the interview with Joe Rogan.

But I have a different answer.

I once talked about diet in this post,

Diet vs. Exercises: Which One is the Japanese Secret to Longevity?

but this time, I exclude diet because the diet is a little different from the activities I mentioned above; it does not activate autophagy on the whole, although there are certain foods that can activate autophagy.

So, which is the best, fasting, heat exposure, or cold exposure?

Before concluding, I would like to talk about two activities I would pick if I were allowed to select two.

I would do fasting and exercise because they seem to have different benefits, and doing them both has magnifying effects. I would skip deliberate heat exposure and cold exposure because the benefit is similar to the one from cardiovascular exercise. If you are already going jogging, for example, you are producing a lot of heat shock protein, and you don’t need to have a sauna on top of that.

Having said that, if you are a busy person and are concerned about time, I would skip exercise because it requires the most amount of time. If you are to practice the optimal amount, you would need 45 minutes of zone 2 jogging 4 days a week, 25 minutes of HIIT 3 days a week, and some time for stability training and stretching. I would choose fasting and deliberate cold exposure. For deliberate cold exposure, I would just take a cold shower for one minute right after getting up. It doesn’t require any time. You take a shower anyway, all you need to do is change the hot water to cold. For intermittent fasting, it doesn’t require time, either. In fact, you save time. You save time preparing a meal, eating it, and doing the washing up.

For some people, time isn’t only the issue. Having to do several things requires some mental focus on willpower.

If you wanted to do one thing, nothing else, I would recommend intermittent fasting. It saves time and money, too. It isn’t only free, you can save money by skipping a meal. With possible food shortages, it is better to be able to eat less.

In fact, during the pandemic, I had one debate about doing all those biohacking measures versus regular measures recommended by the mainstream media, and one comment I got was biohacking was a middle-class lifestyle. If you are a blue color worker, you can’t afford to go to the gym and eat organic foods. Then, I gave precisely this point of intermittent fasting.

You can just do 16 hours fast. That is the easiest option. Doing it alone still makes a lot of difference.

If you have a little more energy left, I would do gardening on top of it for the same reason. You can produce food while exercising.


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