How Environmental Conditioning Helps You Tap Into Your Evolutionary Strengths, by Joseph Mercola

The title may look like spam internet advertising, but this a serious, and fascinating article. From Joseph Mercola at

Effortless comfort has made us fat and sick. In this interview, Scott Carney, an investigative journalist, anthropologist and author of “What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength,

The book reveals how environmental conditioning can improve your health by boosting your metabolic efficiency. A large portion of the book focuses on Danish fitness guru Wim Hof’s philosophies.1

Hof does not lead a healthy lifestyle and does not optimize his diet or other healthy lifestyle strategies, which makes these accomplishments even more impressive. Please understand this interview is not an endorsement of Hof’s lifestyle.

Hof, perhaps better known as “The Iceman,” has gained a fair amount of notoriety for his ability to withstand extreme cold — an ability he attributes to a specific set of techniques involving breath work and extreme temperature conditioning.

Conquering Mount Kilimanjaro

Carney was initially hired by Playboy Magazine to investigate Hof, but wound up embracing this program, and actually climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, wearing nothing but shoes and shorts, going shirtless most of the way.

He also completed the climb in 28 hours, which is very fast. It usually takes five to 10 days to get to the top, as you need to acclimatize to the altitude. Altitude sickness occurs when your blood oxygen level gets so low that you start having headaches.

As it progresses it can turn into hypobaric hypoxia, which leads to swollen limbs, cardiac arrest and pulmonary embolism. Ninety percent of people who attempt the summit get some version of altitude sickness.

Carney’s training allowed him to make the climb without acclimatization, which is nearly unheard of.

“The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, which is the environmental unit for the U.S. army, has really advanced tables for high altitude ascents. They predicted about 70 percent [of the group] would come down with acute mountain sickness …

Instead, 93 percent of us made it up to the top. The first group, where I was, did it in 28 hours, which was incredibly fast. When we asked the Dutch Mountaineering Association what our success rate would be, they predicted a 100 percent fatality rate,” Carney says.

To continue reading: How Environmental Conditioning Helps You Tap Into Your Evolutionary Strengths


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