Dr. Mark Hyman’s secret to a long life: ‘A stress that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’

What doesn’t kill you may not simply make you stronger, however enable you to reside longer too. 

For ageing and longevity skilled Dr. Mark Hyman, stressing the physique and mind is vital to lengthening well being span—or the variety of wholesome years lived freed from illness. 

“One of many issues that actually helps us is adversity,” Hyman tells Fortune, including that “a stress that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

63-year-old Hyman, the founder and senior advisor for the Cleveland Clinic Middle for Useful Medication and creator of Younger Perpetually: The Secrets and techniques to Residing Your Longest, Healthiest Life, has researched wellness practices and ageing from an—sarcastically—younger age. Earlier than turning into a physician, he taught yoga, occupied with the best way to preserve wholesome vitamin, train, and mindfulness. 

Whereas Hyman lives by his energy coaching routine and nutritious weight-reduction plan, he additionally practices stressing the physique—a lesser-known however equally important characteristic of wholesome ageing. 

“About 3,000 of our genes out of our 20,000 genes are centered on serving to to maintain us alive in opposed conditions,” he says, noting individuals don’t usually use them by selection. “We’ve got our built-in regenerative renewal restore system. I name it the longevity switches, and they’re activated by adversity.” 

Hormesis is the physique’s organic response to brief, wholesome stress. The method prompts pathways that may profit and sluggish the ageing journey by “cleansing up previous cells” and lowering irritation, Hyman says. Briefly, the physique builds resilience and short-term stress results in longer-term energy. 

Fortunate for us, simple on a regular basis hormesis-based actions can be found. 

Listed here are Hyman’s three hottest stress actions for an extended, more healthy life: 

1. Train 

The following time you’re within the fitness center and really feel the short-term stress of a HITT exercise or weight-lifting session, keep in mind hormesis. Train is a kind of hormesis as a result of it takes short-term ache to have a long-term achieve biologically. 

Past enhancing psychological readability and lowering the danger of coronary heart illness extra frequent with ageing, train will help construct the physique’s resilience to ageing. Any kind of train, from a 30-minute energy stroll to a energy coaching session, could make a distinction. 

Hyman touts his 30-minute energy coaching routine, which incorporates physique weight classes and resistance bands for muscle energy, mobility, and stability; Analysis suggests resistance bands might scale back frailty in older adults.

Hyman additionally loves mountain biking as a type of train and says the bottom line is discovering one thing you take pleasure in and may do repeatedly. Nationwide tips suggest not less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises and two days of energy coaching per week. 


What doesn’t kill you makes you robust is the central concept of ageing. For instance, while you follow resistance coaching by lifting heavy weights and inflicting injury in your muscular tissues, your physique responds by repairing the broken fibers, thus creating greater and stronger muscular tissues. ⁣ ⁣ That is known as hormesis, a phenomenon that demonstrates the useful results of low-level stressors. On this episode, I dive into why hormesis is so important to longevity, and the numerous well being advantages we achieve from resistance coaching. Yow will discover the complete episode on The Physician’s Farmacy. #drmarkhyman #muscle #protein #resistancetraining

♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

2. Fasting 

Analysis suggests intermittent fasting might fight age-related processes by lowering irritation, growing insulin sensitivity, and enhancing metabolism. 

Hyman fasts in a single day between 12 and 16 hours, one other type of hormesis that stresses the physique by breaking down cells and ridding the physique of broken proteins. Furthermore, late-night meals, which intervene with the completion of an in a single day quick, might impression the physique’s capacity to retailer and burn energy.  

After fasting in a single day, Hyman eats a nutritious breakfast crammed with protein to restore and construct muscle (this additionally helps fight age-related muscle loss). 

3. Scorching vs. chilly 

Hyman jumps in a chilly bathe for 2 minutes each morning. The favored morning chilly plunge, which releases dopamine and adrenaline, may also have longevity advantages as a hormesis exercise. The speedy stress impact offers the physique delayed gratification and may enhance psychological readability longer-term. 

“Complete physique immersion in chilly water between 40 to 60 levels for one to 3 to 5 minutes can profoundly have an effect on your well being in optimistic methods by enhancing your metabolism, enhancing your temper, lowering ache, [and] irritation,” Hyman says.


I’m a giant fan of chilly remedy due to it’s many well being advantages. Scientists have discovered proof that publicity to chilly hastens metabolism, and reduces irritation, swelling, and sore muscular tissues. It’s additionally linked to improved high quality of sleep, extra focus, and even to an improved immune response. You are able to do an ice plunge, chilly water swimming, and even only a chilly bathe. Discover the complete episode on The Physician’s Farmacy. #markhyman #longevity #ageing #youngforever #hormesis #coldtherapy

♬ Paris – Else

Chilly water plunges are nonetheless being studied, however analysis is promising. Nonetheless, the American Coronary heart Affiliation says individuals with underlying coronary heart circumstances watch out and converse to a physician beforehand. 

Vital temperature modifications in both path can activate the longevity pathways—even a sizzling bathtub or sauna. Going right into a sauna in 170 levels 4 or 5 instances per week for half-hour can have large advantages, Hyman says. 

“You’ll find yourself growing warmth shock proteins which clear up all broken proteins and increase your immune system and enhance your cardiovascular well being,” he says. 

Past these stress-related longevity hacks, Hyman additionally has an oxygen deprivation masks he generally makes use of when exercising to place him in a short lived stress state.

“We’ve got the facility inside us to activate our longevity switches and switch again the organic clock. We simply need to observe the fundamental ideas of human biology to try this,” Hyman says.