Building Health Habits at Home

  • Fatherhood: Building a health-centred household
  • Fitness: Beyond the five senses
  • Focus: On carrying things
  • World Book Day, a quote, a dad joke

Fatherhood: Building a health-centred household

I’m doing a short talk for Stanford Medicine on Saturday. They’ve asked me to share some of the wisdom from our dads on the topic of building a health-centred household.

Three things I’ll talk about:

  • What’s missing when we only focus on effort.
  • How to make physical play with your child fun, challenging, and productive for both of you.
  • How simple environmental changes can cascade into surprising behaviours.

Fitness: Beyond the five senses

Remember how, when you were a kid, the smell of a strange house would hit you like a ton of bricks? Or how certain foods might have filled your whole body with yuck via their their taste or texture? I have memories of assiduously separating every item on my dinner plate — lest they perform the disgusting act of touching. The physical and sensory experience of childhood was powerful. I think that it’s our job to remember it for the sake of our kids — and perhaps to try to get some of it back.

Taste, touch, sight, sound, smell. You know these ones. They’re practically cliches! You have a sixth sense too, though. And a seventh and an eighth.

#6 is the vestibular sense, headquartered in the inner ear. It governs balance and spatial orientation. There was a time in your life where you spun and spun until the world shook and blurred. That was an aggressive workout for your vestibular system and — some have argued — an early attempt to enter an altered state. Exteroception, a less familiar term, encompasses the more conventional senses that you use to make sense of external stimuli. #7 describes the chill of a winter breeze or the brush of fabric against your skin. It discerns pressure differences — when you’re under a heavy barbell or deep under the ocean. And then there’s #8, interoception, which points inward, charting the body's internal ecosystem. It signals thirst, hunger, and even the nuanced rhythms of our heartbeat. Butterflies in your stomach? That feeling in your jellies when you look down from a height? Interoception projects a picture onto the wall of your brain.

When you are fully able to notice and respond to signals from all eight senses, you are most capable of making adaptive movement decisions. This is how you keep your joints healthy, your tissue quality high, and your options open.

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Focus: On carrying things

Two Buddhist monks are walking together when they come to a fast-flowing river. Standing in front of it is a young woman — needing to cross but afraid that she will be carried away. One of the monks, without breaking stride, picks the woman up, marches her across, and plunks her down on the other side.

As they continue on their way, the other monk is fuming. They had, after all, both taken vows against ever touching a woman. After a while, he can bear it no more and he begins to berate his fellow monk for so brazenly breaking his vows. The other monk looks first surprised and then bemused. “That woman!? I put her down by the river, brother. Why are you still carrying her?”

Reading: It's World Book Day!

Here are 10 places to find free (legal) books. Via Metafilter

1 - Gutenberg Books

2 - Libby (library App)

3 -

4 - Libvox

5 - Smashwords

6 - Wikibooks

7 - Tech Books For Free

8 - Complete Works of William Shakespeare

9 - Baen books

10 - Local Library

Check out our (growing) book list

Submit your own recommendations here


“Stress + rest = growth. This equation holds true regardless of what it is that you are trying to grow.”

— Brad Stulberg

Dad joke

What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?


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