America’s big wave surfer, Laird Hamilton, has made himself the icon of a perfectly fit body even at the age of 55. Having fully developed his love for big waves and water, he rose to the heights of becoming an inventor, author, stunt man, model, producer, TV host, and fitness and nutrition expert. He defies limitations and proves that anything you want can be possible.
Flexibility and strength are the qualities that brought Hamilton to evolve from being a skillful surfer to being an international fitness icon and nutrition expert. His passions are not only limited to his relentless adventures but also for helping people lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.
For this, he shares in his latest book Liferider: Heart, Body, Soul, and Life Beyond the Ocean, his secrets to staying perfectly fit at 55. Here are the healthy habits Laird Hamilton did to maintain his physical prowess.
1. The Power of Music
Music has been part of Hamilton’s life rhythm. He believes that music can open up new channels and reroute energy. Because music is an enormous part of energy and movement, Hamilton takes advantage of it to wind himself up, get him going, sustain himself, and help him drift off.
However, he warned that music should be used in the right situations because it can be distracting at some point, especially when he’s out there and surfing.
2. Saunas for Recovery
While lots of athletes and fitness enthusiasts plunged themselves into an ice-filled bathtub, Hamilton preferred the heat from saunas. He believed that saunas are more beneficial to hormones and recovery. After training, Hamilton spends at least 15 minutes in the sauna.
Sauna baths aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been used for thousands of years by the Mayans to help their bodies release sweat. Saunas baths are said to be beneficial for relaxation, cardio health, muscle soreness reduction, improved joint movement, and to ease arthritis pain.
3. The Importance of Burpees and Headstands
Being an expert at pushing beyond his limits, Hamilton has tried thousands of exercises. His favorites are those that reflect natural movement and patterns. But among the exercises he did, he said he would never stop doing burpees and headstands. He prefers to combine burpee with Hindu squat and push up. Inversions are important to him and headstands are his favorite.
4. Fear Can Help
Hamilton embraces fear in all its wholeness. He doesn’t see fear as something to be scared about but as something that can make us alert. He believes that the emotion and chemical reaction associated with fear are important to keep us healthy.
Having a different perception of fear makes Hamilton stand out from the rest of us. Not everybody can see fear from that viewpoint.
5. The Value of Breathing Correctly
Hamilton sees that the connection between the lungs and the heart is very important. We’re meant to breathe through our nose, which is naturally designed for such purpose and not through the mouth. But these days, we seem to forget breathing through our nose. That’s why in Hamilton’s training, he makes it a point that everybody should breath using their nose and not their mouth.
The body takes in less oxygen when breathing through the mouth. You’ll be more efficient when you’re able to run more and breathless, Hamilton says.
6. Coffee is Beneficial
There are lots of conflicting views regarding the beneficial effects of coffee in the human body. Despite all this, Hamilton suggests that coffee can give ample benefits when combined with good fats.
The belief that coffee has energy boosting effects prompted Hamilton to experiment for the right coffee creamer until he perfected the one that suits him and which he sells in his superfood company.
7. Active Meditation
Hamilton has another view of meditation. He believes you don’t have to sit still to be in a meditative state. You can achieve a state of flow even when you’re active. For him, anything that focuses the mind is meditation.
Even when you’re in the middle of an intense workout, once you experience the flow, you’re in a meditative state. It’s because meditation is the ability to shut everything else and be in the state of presence.
8. The Power of Nature
Hamilton loves the water. And he also loves the trees, the greens, and nature itself. He believes that nature has the capabilities to soothe stress and regulate heart performance. He also believes that walking barefoot can ground us electronically. And he is so right.
Walking barefoot has many benefits. If you haven’t tried it before, you should try it now. Nature is full of wonders that are helpful to the human body. It’s through the wise use of nature’s resources that our ancestors survived, and which brought us to where we are now. Hamilton is just so connected with nature the way our ancestors did.
9. Nutrition is Key
Food is what makes Hamilton the person he is today. He doesn’t undermine the value of nutrition for optimum performance. The right diet for him does not only come from his own knowledge but from the knowledge of others which he incorporates into his own.
He recommends staying away from white flour, white milk, white sugar, and hard to pronounce foods. He advises active people to see food as a fuel that can support the intensity of their workout. And in order to get the right nutrition, one should not rely on one diet alone.
10. Working Out Should Be a Lifestyle
Health and wellness should not only be a fad but a lifestyle. This means your workout and your diet must become a part of who you are. It’s not something you do only for a specific period of time but one that can become a part of your life.
Since fitness fads keep coming and going, Hamilton’s advice is crystal clear – we can see the validity of a workout when a child or older person is able to do a version of it. Very practical, right?
You may not be a seasoned surfer like Laird Hamilton, but you can be the best in your field once you follow everything he says. They’re worth trying, though.