• Well-being Bathing in cold water helps you lose weight and lead a happier life
  • Revolutionary Fitness "Strength is a good predictor of health and the risk of not getting sick, it's not vanity"

We all know the recipe for living in good health for as long as possible: a healthy diet, physical exercise, sleeping well, connecting with nature... The recommendations can be further refined with useful supplementation and minor stressors, such as fasting or hot and cold hormesis. Now, and anyone who abandons diets and pays endless gym memberships that they don't set foot in knows this, putting these tips into practice is complicated if they are not internalized. The outreach work of Antonio Valenzuela (Granada, November 7, 1983), physiotherapist, master's degree in Clinical Psychoneuroimmunology, expert in orthomolecular therapy and lover of continuous learning, is to make it easy for your brain to understand it and put it into practice once and for all.

The author of Activate Your Mitochondria. The secret to a longer life (Impulsa Editorial) is clear: "The modern lifestyle, where you have to do everything very well and very quickly, makes us sick." He himself went through – and continues to go through – that eternal conflict between what we are and what we want to be. But, good news, the antidote is in our own bodies. In those tiny factories in charge of converting nutrients into the energy with which you get up, move, think or carry out any vital act, no matter how small. "Mitochondria are a true miraculous gift from billions of years ago, but we mistreat them and make them suffer," says the professor and lecturer, who encourages us to take action now.

Unless there is a congenital disease or we are facing severe damage, in which there is little we can do, in the rest of the cases, we have a very high power of action, he explains: "These bacteria that have come to an end participate in many essential processes, such as maintaining body heat or detoxification at the liver level, and they are tremendously malleable. They reproduce themselves, which is why in an unhealthy environment we have 400 instead of a thousand. Its function is like money: it costs a lot to earn it and little to lose it."


Antonio Valenzuela, master's degree in neuroimmunology and physiotherapist author of 'Activate your mitochondria'. Alianza Ed.

Mitochondrial DNA is equal parts special and important, he says, so we need to protect it as it deserves from all the toxicity that harms it. And the first and most basic protector is within anyone's reach. "You have to differentiate between physical exercise, sports like swimming, running... and physical activity, which is any movement that involves energy expenditure."

Once the difference has been clarified, it is easier to assimilate that "there is no point in crushing an hour a day in the gym if the rest of our lives are sedentary". That's why he's in favor of swapping food snacks for movement snacks. "You have to sit for less time. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off one stop before work and walking briskly, or getting up during the day and doing a few squats every hour gets your heart racing. If you add those moments throughout the day, more than 20 minutes come out and that contributes to caloric expenditure." A minimal dose that combats the collection of excuses.

View this post on Instagram


In addition to a sedentary lifestyle, other great enemies of mitochondria are sugar and poor quality fat, such as hydrogenated or trans fat present in ultra-processed foods. "We overeat. Society's suffering is the fault of a bad food culture. We live in super restrictive diets that confuse the body, because it thinks that it is in a shortage of food, as if it were a famine, and slows down the metabolism to burn less. Obesity is not just a matter of calories, eating less and burning more, but of inefficient energy management by diseased mitochondria." Ideally, our daily requirements should be covered with fat as fuel and glucose should be reserved for when we need a quick energy boost through mitochondrial oxidation, he explains. "Unfortunately, we see in most of the population an overexpression of glycolysis, which amounts to metabolic inflexibility, which means less energy and more wear and tear to produce it and, therefore, worse health."

View this post on Instagram


An improvement in diet quality and an active lifestyle is medicine for the mitochondria, according to the author. Conversely, psychological stress and negative emotional states have a profound impact. "I'm sure you're grateful to be able to jump and not get run over if a car comes, it can save our lives. The problem comes when it becomes chronic and is our life partner, so it is poison for the mitochondria, our sensors of danger."

In fact, he continues, all the diseases prevalent today have inflammation as their common origin: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, metabolic syndrome... We are at a time when habits and tools to avoid entering paralyzing mental loops are vital, he insists, because otherwise our life becomes a struggle against nothingness.

"Our goal should not be to add years to life, but life to our years. Daily night fasting of at least 13 hours, thermal stimuli such as hot and cold, nature and sunlight, supplements such as magnesium, rest, peace of mind, reading something inspiring and creating a tribe also nourishes our mitochondria," he says.

View this post on Instagram


Why would it be interesting to supplement with magnesium over other food supplements? "If levels are not restored and kept low, they facilitate the development of age-related diseases, such as osteoporosis. Without magnesium, plants wouldn't be able to convert the sun's energy into food, so imagine what we owe it."

Its relevance extends to all living beings, he argues. Even a research journal, Magnesium Research, is essential for the body's enzymes to work, a leading and safe supplement. I take 300 to 600 mg a day all year round."

If we aspire to have good levels of magnesium, we must ensure a high intake of foods rich in this mineral:

  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and other vegetables such as broccoli and beets. About 400 grams per day.
  • Cocoa (the purer, the better), as it contains magnesium.
  • Fruits such as avocados, raspberries, and bananas. From 100 to 300 g.
  • Nuts: especially almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Seafood: prawns, cockles, mussels, oily fish...

More joy for our mitochondria: good hydration of at least two litres of water a day. "One of the first symptoms of dehydration is tiredness." Body exposure to cold water can also improve the health of our power plants, and there's no need to get into an ice hole like in Finland, she clarifies: "Controlled ice baths are all very well, but all you need is less thermal comfort and a little exposure to cold water with showers. According to Susanna Søberg's studies, there is also an ideal sauna dose of 57 minutes per week, divided into two or three weekly sessions. It seems that exceeding half an hour per session has no additional benefits."

Finally, he recommends adhering to circadian rhythms, taking advantage of natural light. He advises eating in the first 12 hours of the day, thus practicing an overnight fast. "If you want to activate your mitochondria, get up earlier and subtract TV time at night. And nourish your mind and spirit by meditating, talking to your loved ones, and learning something new every day."

Activate Your Mitochondria: The Secret to a Longer Life, by Antonio Valenzuela, is published by Animar and you can buy it here.

  • HBPR
  • Training
  • Longevity