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A new documentary film, Sensitive Men Rising (SMR), is turning its lens to the billion men who have largely been hidden in the shadows. Thanks to the breakthrough that we now know as “sensory processing sensitivity” (SPS) —popularly known as “high sensitivity“— we know men can play a pivotal role in changing the face and times of masculinity as a force for good in the world.

            According to the film’s director, Will Harper,

“Sensitive Men Rising, is a long overdue socially significant film that invites all of us on an emotional, educational, and life-enlightening passage. It asks us ALL to deepen our understanding of sensory processing sensitivity in men, and how it intersects with traditional and modern-day masculinity.”

            The film’s producer, Dr. Tracy Cooper, author of the book, Empowering the Sensitive Male Soul, says,

“Highly Sensitive People (HSP) seem to ignore the cultural programming we are all exposed to and, instead prefer to work out original solutions.”

Prior to the release of the film, June 16, 2024 (Father’s Day), Dr. Cooper interviewed me about my own work with Highly Sensitive Men.

I also had the good fortune to meet, William Allen, author of the book, On Being a Sensitive Man, and host of an HSP Men’s Monthly Zoom Meeting. My own men’s group has been meeting for 44 years now. I was excited to learn that Bill is gathering men together from all over the world. You can learn more at TheSensitiveMan.com.

            I’ve always known I was a highly sensitive boy growing up, but I never had a name for it until I read Dr. Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person, originally published in 1996, with the revised and updated 25th Anniversary Edition, in 2020.Based on the research that she and her husband, Dr. Arthur Aron, had conducted, Dr. Aron says,

“Over twenty percent of people have this amazing, innate trait. A similar percentage is found in over 100 animal species, because high sensitivity is a survival strategy.”

            In a recent article, “How Are Highly Sensitive Men Different?” Dr. Aron says,

“As some of you know, I have a special place in my heart for highly sensitive men. I really do like them. That is part of why I want to see this movie made about them. But what makes them different from other HSPs or other men?”

            Just as her research findings demonstrated that “high sensitivity” is a biologically-based trait present not only in human beings but other species as well, she recognizes that “male sensitivity” also has biological roots.

“First, Highly Sensitive Males (HSMs) develop under the influence of male genes, the main factor being testosterone. Gender spectrum aside, almost all HSMs (and men in general) are clearly biologically male.”

            Dr. Aron goes on to say that these issues are complex and we will learn more over time, yet there are things that we can say now.

“Of course, male and female behavior is such that many men do some things women normally do and vice versa, but hormones have to make HSMs and HSWs different in some ways. How do hormones interact with sensitivity?  We do not know yet, but they surely do, and we need to learn about it. Maybe that’s phase two of the research.”

            Dr. Aron also recognizes the importance of understanding evolutionary realities as we seek to work with this important, biologically, based trait.

“Looking back at the evolution of male behavior we know sensitivity works enough to be present in 20 or even 30% of the population and in equal numbers in men and women. That means HSMs have been successful at reproducing themselves, but how?”

            She goes on to say,

“When you know that you are highly sensitive, it reframes your life. Knowing that you have this trait will enable you to make better decisions.”

Early in my life, I always felt my sensitivity made me different from most of my male peers. Now, as a father of five, grandfather of seventeen, and great grandfather of two, I realize I’m part of a select group of males who have a larger calling in life.

            Based on her own research and that of others, she suggests that we look to the unique ways in which men are engaged with their children.

“We know human males evolved into a strategy found in some birds and in some other mammals, which is staying around after mating to help raise their own young. This method of seeing their DNA go on to the next generation contrasts sharply with simply mating as often as possible with as many females as possible and not staying around after.”

If we weren’t highly sensitive before we had children, being an involved father will definitely bring out the best in us.

Bottom Line: Highly Sensitive Men Have S.T.Y.L.E.

Dr. Aron gives us a simple acronym to summarize how this unique trait of High Sensitivity manifests itself in men.

  • S for strategic, or depth of processing in action, since males must act and keep an eye on other males, especially those who are more aggressive.
  • T for testosterone—you cannot explain an HSM by thinking he is more “feminine.”
  • Y  for wise yielding—to live to fight (better) another day and in another way, and yielding as in “high yield” investments.  (Yielding can be misperceived as weakness, but it isn’t at all—as when in the martial arts, especially judo [or Aikido], you use the other’s attack to defeat them almost effortlessly while preserving your own mental and physical energy.)
  • L  for leadership—either among people or becoming leaders in their fields, in the arts, science, business, athletics, or any field they endeavor, using their unique STYLE.
  • E for Empathy, which can be used in close relationships and leadership, but also in knowing, for strategic purposes, what others are up to, sometimes even before they know.

Examples of Highly Sensitive Males

As Dr. Aron notes, there are a lot of examples we could refer to among the more than 1 billion Highly Sensitive Men in the world today. She offers one example from a Netflix series. Here’s what she has to say:

“It’s no secret that I like Star Trek, all iterations except the sexist first one, but it’s not so much the science fiction. I like that all the main characters are good people–heroic, kind, etc. I only watch TV while doing my floor exercises every other day, but after watching Star Trek for so many years that I know what happens in every episode, I needed an alternative.

“Netflix kindly showed me other things I might like, given my liking for Star Trek, so I tried Designated Survivor. I was instantly hooked. It is a relentless thriller, which I would never normally watch and do not recommend for other HSPs. So why was I watching?

“The show is about U.S. politics–this quiet guy, never interested in power or fame, becomes President after EVERYBODY in the government (even the Supreme Court) is killed in a huge bombing during the State of the Union address.

“It turns out this “designated survivor,” played by the actor, Kiefer Sutherland, and many of those around him, inspired by him, are unfailingly good and wise, in every situation, just like the crews of Enterprise. I was hooked, even though I am overstimulated by every episode. It was great to see Highly Sensitive Men in positions of power, even if only in a T.V. drama.”

I had watched the series and found engaging from the first episode where the Kiefer Sutherland character stands up to a hot-headed general who wants to take immediate action before he knows all the facts, a great example of healthy male leadership. After having watched Sensitive Men Rising, I had a new appreciation for the importance of sensitive male leadership. We definitely need a U.S. President who displays the quality of high sensitivity.

 Sensitive Men Rising: The Peaceful Warriors We Need in the World Today

A few of the real-life Highly Sensitive Men I have admired in my life include:

  • The Dalai Lama
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Psychologists Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Psychiatrist John Bowlby.

            These are all highly sensitive men who also have had to stand up against oppression with the strength of peaceful warriors. A man who also fits that description is meditation master Chögyam Trungpa. In my book, The Warrior’s Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing the Planet, I quote Trungpa who says,

“Warriorship does not refer to making war on others. Aggression is the source of our problems, not the solution. Here the word ‘warrior’ is taken from the Tibetan, pawo, which literally means ‘one who is brave.’ Warriorship in this context is the tradition of human bravery, or the tradition of fearlessness. Warriorship is not being afraid of who you are.”

Where Do We Go From Here?

We are at a time in human history where Highly Sensitive Men are needed now more than ever. Mark Jamison, Head of Global Clients, VISA, Inc., one of the experts featured in the film Sensitive Men Rising, says, “The world is falling apart, political divisiveness is pulling us under, the environment is being destroyed. We need a different model. When people see options that bring hope and sensitivity and a much more integrative approach to problem solving, I see them embracing it with their arms wide open.”

            At the end of the film, Dr. Elaine Aron concluds,

“Most of the world’s suffering is due to a certain kind of masculinity. A different kind can change that. Sensitive men are rising. It’s a whole new ball game.”

You can learn more about the film at sensitivemenrising.org.

            Actor and Director, Peter Coyote, who hosted the film asked us at the end, “What will you do to change the paradigm?” My answer is to join with like-minded and sensitive-souled men and women to make change for good.

Come visit me on my website, https://menalive.com/ and check out our new non-profit, www.MoonshotForMankind.com.

The post Sensitive Men Rising: Why the World Needs Us Now More Than Ever appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: Sensitive Men Rising: Why the World Needs Us Now More Than Ever
Sourced From: menalive.com/sensitive-men-rising/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sensitive-men-rising
Published Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2024 23:16:35 +0000

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Mens Health

Homecoming: An Evolutionary Approach for Healing Depression and Preventing Suicide

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Captura de pantalla 2024 07 13 a las 17.40.10 1
Photo by: Andreea Popa / Unsplash.com

Part 1

Depression and suicide have been my companions as far back as I can remember. I was five years old when my mid-life father took an overdose of sleeping pills. Though he didn’t die our lives were never the same. I grew up wondering what happened to my father, when it would happen to me, and what I could do to prevent it from happening to other families.

In an article, “Being Bipolar: Living and Loving in a World of Fire and Ice,” I described my own mental health challenges and healing journey. In my book, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression, I shared my research and clinical experience that convinced me that men and women are different in ways they deal with depression and aggression in their lives and in other ways as well.

Depression and suicide are not just problems for men, but there is something about being male that increases our risk of dying by suicide. According to recent statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, the suicide rate among males is, on average, 4 times higher (22.8 per 100,000) than among females (5.7 per 100,000) and at every age the rate is higher among males than females:

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Even during our youth where suicide rates are relatively low, males are still more likely to die by suicide than are females. It is also clear to me as my wife and I move into our 80s, we face many challenges as we age, but it is older males who more often end their lives by suicide with rates 8 to 17 times higher than for females.

In my book, My Distant Dad: Healing the Family Father Wound, I describe my father’s slide into depression and the despair that increased when he couldn’t find work. As a writer, he wrote regular entries in his journals. I still feel the pain as I re-read them and feel his increasing shame when he couldn’t support his family:

            July 3rd:

“Oh, Christ, if I can only give my son a decent education—a college decree with a love for books, a love for people, good, solid knowledge. No guidance was given to me. I slogged and slobbered and blundered through two-thirds of my life.”

            July 24th:

“Edie dear, Johnny dear, I love you so much, but how do I get the bread to support you? The seed of despair is part of my heritage. It lies sterile for months and then it gnaws until its bitter fruit chokes my throat and swells in me like a large goiter blacking out room for hopes, dreams, joy, and life itself.”

            August 8th:

“Sunday morning, my humanness has fled, my sense of comedy has gone down the drain. I’m tired, hopelessly tired, surrounded by an immense brick wall, a blood-spattered brick world, splattered with my blood, with the blood of my head where I senselessly banged to find an opening, to find one loose brick, so I could feel the cool breeze and could stick out my hand and pluck a handful of wheat, but this brick wall is impregnable, not an ounce of mortar loosens, not a brick gives.”

            September 8th:

“Your flesh crawls, your scalp wrinkles when you look around and see good writers, established writers, writers with credits a block long, unable to sell, unable to find work, Yes, it’s enough to make anyone, blanch, turn pale and sicken.”

            October 24th:

“Faster, faster, faster, I walk. I plug away looking for work, anything to support my family. I try, try, try, try, try. I always try and never stop.”

            November 12th:

“A hundred failures, an endless number of failures, until now, my confidence, my hope, my belief in myself, has run completely out. Middle aged, I stand and gaze ahead, numb, confused, and desperately worried. All around me I see the young in spirit, the young in heart, with ten times my confidence, twice my youth, ten times my fervor, twice my education. I see them all, a whole army of them, battering at the same doors I’m battering, trying in the same field I’m trying. Yes, on a Sunday morning in November, my hope and my life stream are both running desperately low, so low, so stagnant, that I hold my breath in fear, believing that the dark, blank curtain is about to descend.”

Four days later, he took an overdose of sleeping pills and spent seven years in a mental hospital receiving “treatment” until the day he escaped. The book has a happy ending, but it took a long time to get there.

            I share what I have learned over the years in an on-line course, “Healing the Family Father Wound.”  I recently read a chapter in the book, The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health edited by J.A. Barry, et al., by Martin Seager, titled “From Stereotypes to Archetypes: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Help-Seeking and Suicide,” that adds some important pieces to the puzzle and added to my understanding of male depression and suicide and how we can more effectively help men and their families.

An Evolutionary Understanding of Male Psychology

            “In our current age it is unfashionable to think of human gender as connected with our biology and evolution,”

says Dr. Seager.

“Gender is currently thought of primarily as a social construct, a theory that carries assumptions that gender can be fluid, molded by education or even chosen as a part of a lifestyle. Gender is increasingly seen as a collection of disposable social stereotypes, separate from and unrelated to biological sex.”

            Dr. Seager goes on to say,

“This hypothesis is bad science and even worse philosophy…When held up against the anthropological and cross-cultural evidence, a social constructionist theory of gender cannot explain clearly observable and universal patterns of male and female behavior.”

            I agree with Dr. Seager and have long held that we cannot understand or help men, or women, without recognizing our biological roots in the animal kingdom. In my book, 12 Rules For Good Men, Rule #4 is “Embrace Your Billion Year History of Maleness.” I introduce the chapter with a quote from cultural historian Thomas Berry.

“The natural world is the largest sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human.”

            I also say in the book that all humans are also mammals and we cannot understand men without recognizing that fact. Dr. Seager agrees.

“Human beings are evolved mammals and they have never stopped being so,”

says Seager.

“Whatever social, cultural and political structures are placed upon us as humans, these cannot erase our mammalian heritage and indeed are constructed upon and shaped by that heritage, though not determined or defined by it.”

            Dr. Seager goes on to say,

“Globally, across all human tribes or societies and throughout all known history and pre-history, allowing for inevitable variation across a spectrum, there are universal patterns of male and female behavior in the human species.”

Based on the most massive study of human mating ever undertaken, encompassing more than 10,000 people of all ages from thirty-seven cultures worldwide, evolutionary psychologist Dr. David Buss found that there are two human natures, one male and one female. In his book, The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, Dr. David Buss explains the evolutionary roots of what men and women want and explains why their desires differ so radically.

            “Within human beings perhaps the most obvious universal patterns of sexual differences are: Female: (1) Beauty, attraction and glamour (Including body adornment) and (2) Bearing and nurturance of new-born infants and young children. Male: (1) Physical protection (strength) and (2) Risk-taking,”

says Dr. Seager.

            Dr. Seager goes on to say,

“In all human cultures throughout history and prehistory there is consistent and incontestable evidence of males taking high levels of risk to protect and provide for their family, tribe, and community or nation either collectively as bands of hunters and warriors or as individuals.”

Some view male risk-taking as foolhardy, immature, self-destructive, and harmful to women and children as well as men themselves. But both Dr. Seager and I recognize that protecting women and children and risk-taking behavior are archetypal, instinctual, positive, and evolutionarily important for survival strategies.

In the second part of this series, we will continue our exploration of ways we can improve our understanding of male depression and suicide and how we can be more effective in helping men and their families.

You can learn more about the work of Martin Seager at the Centre For Male Psychology.

We need more programs for men that are evolutionary-archetypally informed. You can learn more at MenAlive.com and MoonshotForMankind.org. If you like articles like these, I invite you to become a subscriber.

The post Homecoming: An Evolutionary Approach for Healing Depression and Preventing Suicide appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: Homecoming: An Evolutionary Approach for Healing Depression and Preventing Suicide
Sourced From: menalive.com/homecoming-an-evolutionary-approach-for-healing-depression-and-preventing-suicide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homecoming-an-evolutionary-approach-for-healing-depression-and-preventing-suicide
Published Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2024 23:40:56 +0000

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Mens Health

My New Favorite Squat

hatfield 5

a man lifting weights in a gym

I’ve done the traditional barbell squat my whole life. It’s a great exercise for overall lower-body strength. I’ve also experimented with other squat variations: the front squat, the goblet squat, the belt squat.

This year I’ve been doing a squat that’s become my favorite ever: the Hatfield squat.

I love this exercise. I originally switched to it because long-standing problems with cranky shoulders and knee pain were making the traditional barbell squat uncomfortable. The Hatfield squat has made squatting fun and productive again after years of frustration trying to make the barbell squat work for me. What’s also great about the Hatfield Squat is that it’s an excellent movement for quad hypertrophy, which lines up nicely with my new fitness goal of getting more ripped. It’s been a game-changer in my training.

If you’ve had trouble with barbell squatting or are looking for a different squat variation to mix into your programming, here’s everything you need to know about the Hatfield squat.

What Is the Hatfield Squat and What Are Its Benefits?

The Hatfield squat, named after powerlifting legend Dr. Fred Hatfield, aka Dr. Squat, is a back squat variation that requires a safety squat bar, which is a type of barbell that looks sort of like an ox yoke.

When you do the Hatfield squat, you place the safety squat bar on your back. Then, instead of holding on to the safety squat bar with your hands, you rest your hands on an additional barbell or a set of handles that have been placed at navel level on the barbell rack. As you descend into the squat, you keep your hands on the support in front of you, using it to maintain your balance and an upright torso.

This increases the stability of the exercise, allowing the Hatfield squat to offer some unique benefits:

Great for quad hypertrophy. If you’re looking to grow legs as big as tree trunks, the Hatfield squat can be a helpful tool. Its increased stability allows you to overload your quads more than a traditional squat. Instead of focusing on keeping your balance during the squat, you can just focus on the movement, which means you can be a bit more aggressive in adding reps or weight.

Great for squatting around injuries. The most significant benefit that the Hatfield squat has given me is that it has allowed me to squat heavy again despite the niggling physical issues I’ve had on and off for years.

Because I have shoulder tendonitis due to bench pressing and struggle with shoulder flexibility (despite the amount of time I’ve worked on developing this capacity), the bar position on the traditional low-bar squat just exacerbated my shoulder pain. Because you use a safety bar with the Hatfield squat, you don’t have to use your hands to hold the bar on your back. It completely removes the stress on your shoulders.

The Hatfield squat has also allowed me to work around some pain I’ve had behind my knee since 2020. The pain only happens during the descent part of a traditional barbell squat. I still don’t know what the source of the pain is despite talking to an orthopedic surgeon and getting an MRI done. I reckon it’s some sort of overuse injury on a tendon back there. But at any rate, the increased stability of the Hatfield squat allows me to squat heavy and below parallel without any pain behind my knee.

People with lower back issues have also found the Hatfield squat helpful for squatting without exacerbating their injury.

Due to the Hatfield squat’s pain reduction ability, I’ve also been calling them “Midlife Man Squats.”

It is a great accessory lift for the barbell squat. You don’t have to replace the traditional barbell squat completely with the Hatfield squat. Instead, you can use the Hatfield squat as an accessory lift in your barbell programming. On deadlift day, you could do the Hatfield squat for 3 sets of 8-12 reps for hypertrophy and increased work capacity.

Or you could use the Hatfield squat for overload training to build strength and confidence in hoisting heavier weights, doing 3 sets of 3 reps with weight that is heavier than you typically lift on the traditional barbell squat.

Here’s a hypothetical barbell program that would incorporate the Hatfield squat:

Lower Body Day A

  • Squat 3 x 5 (squat is the main lower body lift)
  • Rack pulls 3 x 5 (rack pulls are the accessory lift for the deadlift)
  • Good mornings 3 x 10

Lower Body Day B

  • Deadlift 1 x 5 (deadlift is the main lower body lift)
  • Hatfield squat 3 x 8-12 (Hatfield squat is the accessory lift for the squat)
  • Lunges 3 x 12

How to Perform the Hatfield Squat

The Hatfield squat is pretty dang easy to perform. You just need to get the right set-up.

Equipment Needed:

  • Safety squat bar (SSB)
  • Barbell or handles

Place the handles or barbell on the squat rack at about belly height.

Get under the safety squat bar and unrack it.

a man standing in a gym performing hatfield squat

Keep your hands lightly on the handles or bar in front of you. You’re not using the handles/auxiliary barbell to assist in pulling yourself up. You’re just using them to maintain your stability throughout the lift. a man squatting in a gym

Squat with an upright torso. The Hatfield squat should be done with an upright torso. You don’t need to bend over like you do on a low-bar squat.

Lower yourself until slightly below parallel and then rise back up. Remember, just use the handles for stability. Do not use the handles to pull yourself up.

Like I said at the beginning, the Hatfield squat has been a game-changer for me. It’s allowed me to keep squatting without any pain. If you’ve struggled with incorporating the barbell squat into your workout due to pain, try the Hatfield squat. I think you’ll probably like it as much as I do.

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: My New Favorite Squat
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/how-to-hatfield-squat/
Published Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2024 14:16:11 +0000

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Mens Health

The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout

Japanese Interval Walking 3

Japanese Interval Walking 3 1

The overarching principle of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is that the harder you do an exercise, the more physiological benefits you accrue; thus, by incorporating intervals of higher intensity efforts in your workouts, you can get more fitness bang for your buck in less time. 

When we think about HIIT, we tend to think about going absolutely nuts on a fan bike or doing all-out sprints.

But as Dr. Martin Gibala explained on the AoM podcast, while high-intensity training rises above the level of the moderate, it doesn’t require a complete max out of your heart rate, nor is it limited to certain exercise modalities.

You can do interval training by pedaling like a madman on a bike, but you can also do it with a less strenuous approach. 

Enter Interval Walking Training (IWT), which originated in Japan.

This 3X3 walking workout is simple: you do 3 minutes of low-intensity walking (40% of peak aerobic capacity for walking — a little faster than a stroll), followed by 3 minutes of high-intensity walking (70%+ of peak aerobic capacity for walking). You repeat these interval sets at least 5 times, and do this 30-minute workout 4 times a week.

Your heart rate during the high-intensity intervals will vary according to your fitness level and age. One 68-year-old who participated in an IWT-based study had his heart rate go up to about 130 beats per minute during the fast intervals, so you’re moving at a good clip.

Even though IWT is highly accessible, studies that have been done on it show that it produces significant health benefits. People who did Interval Walking Training 4X a week for 3 months experienced significantly more improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, leg strength, and aerobic capacity than those who did continuous, moderate-intensity walking. 

Hiroshi Nose, who developed Interval Walking Training, reports that among those who do IWT, “Physical fitness — maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength — increased by about 20 percent which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training, [and] symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia, and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent.” IWT walkers enjoyed mental health benefits as well: depression scores dropped by half.

Walking in general is already one of the very best forms of exercise you can do, and IWT just helps you take its benefits up a notch. Hiroshi has used Interval Walking Training to get thousands of elderly Japanese citizens into shape, and it’s a great form of exercise if you’re in the older decades of life. But it’s also good if you’re just beginning your fitness journey and looking to get off the couch and start doing more physical activity. Even if you’re already a regular exerciser who’s in good shape, IWT is a nice way to mix up your usual neighborhood strolls while enhancing your health even further. 

For more HIIT protocols, from the accessible to the challenging, listen to this episode of the AoM podcast:

Help support independent publishing. Make a donation to The Art of Manliness! Thanks for the support!

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: The Japanese 3X3 Interval Walking Workout
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/the-japanese-3×3-interval-walking-workout/
Published Date: Tue, 09 Apr 2024 17:35:28 +0000

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