Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

4MV #174 Does exercise really help improve our aging brains? ✔ The surprising results from a new study

Published about 1 year ago • 9 min read


I trust you're safe, fit and well.

All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦

Cancer-eating vaccines.

A blessing from Covid is the incredible advances messenger-RNA technology has brought to rapid vaccine development. Just announced is a new vaccine capable of targeting specific cancer cells and destroying them.

It's experimental but has now proven not harmful in humans, and the next step is to activate its full potential. I've had both prostate and melanoma cancer (twice), which have no cure if they metastasise. The surgeon introduced himself for my first melanoma surgery by saying, "Walter, it's important that you know there is no cure for melanoma - just to set expectations".

Well, there is now. A cure in the wings, at least.


Like the idea of just being able to rest - meditation, zen, being in the moment - but can't get into it? There's a different way to view rest that will help you - see item #2.

Researchers claim "exercise" doesn’t help fight cognitive decline with aging. I doubt them - see item #1.

Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:

⭑ Just living found not to improve brain health? ✔ No kidding?
⭑ We can rest even while doing stressful activities. Here's how ✔
⭑ Flu and cold viruses are always with us, why do they take off in winter?
⭑ The one most effective way to get 3 times the value from your daily walk

01 Does Exercise Really Help Aging Brains?

Aghast! I've posted numerous times about the benefits of exercise for our brain and everything else as we age. For example, along the lines of "To live longer, pick up the pace just three minutes a day - new study shows".

Well, a just-now study purports to show that exercise makes no difference!

"Researchers looked at how mindfulness and exercise, apart and together, affected aging brains. The results were disappointing", spruiks The Washington Post.

The study examined whether exercise enhanced older people’s abilities to think and remember. It recruited 585 inactive men and women aged from 65 to 84.

⇒ The researchers concluded that "exercise did not improve certain cognitive tasks in this study".

Whoa, don’t drop your kettlebells just yet folks, there's a bit of academic hokey pokey going on here.

What it means for us: The pervasive tendency in marketing and sales to exaggerate is designed to prey on our fragile sense of self-worth. In exercise, a warm-up is reinvented as High-Intensity Interval Training, and 30 minutes of Yoga becomes a HIIT Workout.

In its most benign form, there's no harm done. If we call the basic movements of staying alive, such as walking, exercise rather than just activity who cares?

The "exercises" the previously sedentary seniors in this study were asked to do included walking and other activities less strenuous than gardening or taking out your trash. It then turned out that after 18 months, these activities did not boost their cognitive abilities.

I do not doubt that doing these activities was generally good for their health but that wasn’t the study's hypothesis.

Researchers have to battle for funding, and a controversial headline and findings help make a case for funding the next study. My opinion is that this study is worth less attention than the space I've taken in this post writing about it.

Put it this way. There is no downside in continuing to exercise but there are multiple downsides in not exercising, indisputably including poorer cerebral health.

If your definition of living includes walking and taking out the trash then I can sum this study up for you as follows: "just living found not to improve aging brains".

Related: How To Exercise And Eat In Your 40s To Live Longer Better - Ten Tips

02 The Riddle of Rest

Rest isn't just zen.

Are you resting when not in a state of zen, i.e. not "in a state of oneness with our surroundings"? Yes, you can be.

That is the surprising answer I recently discovered.

Lawrence Yeo argues that rest is whenever you are not thinking of something you have to do next, or about furthering your place in society. For example, rest can take the form of reading a book, but only if that book serves no purpose to your professional or personal goals.

I find this to be quite a compelling definition.

What this means for us: One of the things I find compelling about Lawrence Yeo's definition of rest is that it removes the stress and anxiety of trying to get into a meditative state - trying too hard to be at one with the universe.

For example, if you go on a hike, for example, is that rest? What about travelling, even though there’s stress involved in planning and such – is that rest?

Interestingly, the answer can be “yes,” even though it sounds contradictory - stressing and resting simultaneously.

And the reason is that ultimately, rest is when you’re not associating your self-worth with what you have to do next.

When we start thinking about something we must do next, our restful state is quickly disrupted.

For whatever task we must do next, chances are, it is upon us for one of two reasons: either to step up and be accountable for a commitment to another or to prove our own competency to ourselves (and therein lies the dichotomy of responsibility and self-worth, i.e. awareness of our worth as an individual and, at the same time, our responsibility to take action to serve others).

Take advantage of rest when exercising, no matter how strenuous; meet friends simply for the purpose of hanging out; read a book without the desire to highlight something. Make resting part of your everyday life. I'm going to try this.

Related: ​People With Problems Want To Give Them To You. Here’s How To Not Accept Them

@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life

03 Scientists Finally Know Why People Get More Colds And Flu In Winter

Apparently, cold and flu germs are always around us, no matter the season.

This being the case, scientists wondered why colds and flu take hold in winter and not throughout the year. They have finally discovered why.

It's due to a combination of factors, including the cold and dry air, decreased sunlight, and the fact that people tend to stay indoors more often and congregate in close spaces with others.

(1) The cold and dry air outside decreases the humidity of the air, and this causes our nose and throat to become dryer. The dryness makes it harder for our mucous membranes to stay moist, and the drier mucous makes it easier for viruses and bacteria to attach to the cells our the nose, throat and lungs. From here, they can more easily enter our body and cause an infection.

(2) The decrease in sunlight puts our bodies into a state known as "winter hibernation," which reduces our immune system's ability to fight off infections.

(3) The close quarters indoors also allow viruses and bacteria to spread between people more easily. This is especially true in places like schools, supermarkets and offices, where we are in close contact with one another.

(4) Lastly, the winter months often coincide with a decrease in our immune systems due to stress, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle factors.

⇒ All of these factors combine to create an environment more favourable for cold and flu viruses to thrive in winter.

What this means for us: Fortunately we can take preventative measures to reduce our risk of winter illness:

  • get a flu shot;
  • wash your hands frequently;
  • avoid contact with people who have cold or flu symptoms;
  • don't mingle in crowded settings;
  • wear a mask in busy places, especially with the resurgence of Covid;
  • stay warm;
  • dress in layers;
  • limit your exposure to cold air (get a humidifier for your bedroom);
  • drink plenty of fluids;
  • try to get some exposure to sunlight each day;
  • get enough sleep.

These will all help to boost your immunity and help resist the winter invasion of viruses and bacteria.

Good health!

Related: Don’t Distract Your Immune System By Poor Dental Hygiene

04 Walking Backwards Benefits So Much More Than Your Knees

Our exercise of the week is... for your cardio fitness, strengthening your joints, and cognitive fitness - all in one - simply by walking backwards.

I'm promoting one of my own most popular posts today, because it is so easy to do this exercise and it has many benefits. It is underrated.

Firstly, walking backwards is a beneficial fitness technique. This fitness benefit arises because walking backwards leads to a more significant load on our cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Just feel yourself having to breathe more as you walk backwards.

Secondly, walking backwards is well known for reducing the strain on your knees. And it is one of the few natural ways to strengthen the quadriceps of the thigh. It is useful if you are recovering from hamstring strain because of reduced hip range of motion.

Because backward walking creates a reduced shear force on the knees it can be useful rehabilitation for anyone experiencing pain going up or down stairs or when doing lunges or squats.

Thirdly, and this is the big one, walking backwards enhances our cognitive fitness.

Back-forward walking training is used in rehabilitation programs to develop the correct gait pattern in children with cerebral palsy, stroke patients, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal patients.

What this means for you is that walking backwards fires up the neuromuscular pathways that get tired as we age. The way to exercise these neural circuits and their muscle activation is to exercise them!

Our natural ability to “walk without thinking” becomes compromised as we age. You may have noticed older people appearing to concentrate as they walk.

This happens to us when we lose the automaticity of walking. In other words, we have to engage our brain consciously to control our direction and balance.

⇒ Walking backwards rebuilds our ability to walk without thinking, freeing our brain to be more aware and capable of preventing us from tripping, for example.

What this means for us: Walk backwards. OK, well a few more tips, here’s how I started:

  1. Choose surfaces where you won’t trip
  2. Take 10 steps backwards every minute or so
  3. Increase to 10, 20, 30 steps.
  4. When steady, strong, and safe, up the pace to a gentle backward jog — just 10m is fine.

Do the walking backwards on every walk and the jogging about 3 times each week.

You’ll initially feel some muscles telling you that they have not been used in that way for a long time.

Tip: When you walk backwards, you reach back with your toe and roll through your foot to your heel. This works our shin muscles, as opposed to the calf muscles, which tend to do all the work when we walk forward. Walking backwards also works our glutes — which engage as you begin to reach back with your toe.

Since muscles work in teams and walking backwards recruits a new team, you’ll inevitably feel some initial adjustments.

⇒ Walking forward is the best thing that you can do for rest and recovery of those aches — don’t stop moving.

Related: Walking Barefoot Improves Your Brain, Balance, and Soul And Reduces Running Injuries

Thanks for reading!

I will add today's exercise above to my free app, so look out for it.

P.S. If you are not yet subscribed to my free exercise app, try now ↓↓↓ Free forever. Opt-out any time. Opt-in by CLICKING HERE PLEASE SEND ME THE EXERCISES. NOTE: YOU ONLY NEED TO SUBSCRIBE ONE TIME.

>> My Latest Blog Post: How Many Pistachios Should I Eat For Sleep and When?

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Resources for you:

How To Go From On-knee to Full Pushups, and Reap The Benefits

The Exact Slow Pace You Must Run and Cycle To Max Fat-Burning

As You Age Pistachios Can Help You Sleep Better

Vitamin D Is Free Yet We Don’t Get Enough And Our Health Is Suffering

How To Keep Your Weight Off With Daily Walks — 5 Fun Level-ups That Everyone Can Do

Holy Mackerel! Researchers Confirm Walnuts Help Your Muscles Stay Stronger Helping Live Longer

Skipping Breakfast May Make You More Likely To Develop Diabetes - Research

This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game

The Surprising Way Hip Flexors Pull You Down Into An Elderly Stoop And Shuffle, And How To Avoid It

Shining Light On Infrared Therapy - It Helped Unlock My Shoulder

​​Forget Beetroot Juice, Eat More Vegetables For Nitrate Potency And Longer Life

Drink This Many Cups Of Coffee Daily For Better Health

Dizziness And Cataracts - Is There A Link?

How To Get The Health Benefits Of Black Tea - Even If You Don't Like Drinking It

The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily

How To Walk Better (And Undo The Damage Of Treadmills)

Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often — Here’s How To Start

Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now

How To Sleep Better And Recover Like Elite Soccer Players

How To Find Purpose In Your life Without Feeling Like You Are Endlessly Chasing Your Tail

Measuring Your Waist Will Tell You If You Are On Your Way To Diabetes

Rebuilding Your Fast-twitch Muscles Doesn’t Require Fast Movements. Rebuild Your Balance in 2 Minutes Daily

I Started Trail Running At 70. Besides Being Bitten By A Dog I Love It

​​Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better

​​​How Avoiding A High Viral Load Can Save Your Life - Coronavirus

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Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

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