I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
Letter arrives 105 years late!
A letter posted on the 5th of February 1916 in Bath, England, was popped through the mailbox at its destination in Crystal Palace, London, in 2021. The recipient waited 2 years to open it as he was apprehensive about the legality of opening mail addressed to someone else.
The sender seemed racked by guilt and wanted to make amends with her dear friend after a falling out. Waiting in vain for an answer and suspecting that she'd been rejected must have been heartbreaking for her.
Bruce Willis's diagnosis caught my attention this week, as he seems so young. I dug more into it - see article #1.
We mostly read many qualifications in research reports about diet and specific health outcomes, especially when talking about cancer. A new report states unambiguously that a Mediterranean diet delivers the best chance of surviving skin cancer - see item #2.
⭑ Frontotemporal dementia - strikes early and little is known about its causes
⭑ A Mediterranean diet helps defer and survive cancer ✔
⭑ You have space for one exercise machine, which is the best choice? ✔
⭑ For lower back health, this simple at-home exercise is tops ✔
01 Frontotemporal Dementia Has No Known Cause or Cure
Bruce Willis is 67, which for us seems quite young to have rapidly deteriorating dementia. However, Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a type of dementia that typically affects people in their early 40s to early 60s, so Willis fits the typical profile.
He was first diagnosed in 2019 when he was 63. FTD is a progressive disorder, meaning that the symptoms worsen over time.
Learning more about FTD can help you better understand the condition.
The symptoms are caused by progressive damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain and include behaviour, personality, language and movement.
Common behavioural changes include impulsivity, apathy, and inappropriate social and sexual behaviour. Because the disorder usually appears at a younger age and has distinct behavioural and personality symptoms, it can be mistaken for a psychiatric disorder.
Cognitive symptoms include difficulty with memory, confusion, and difficulty understanding language.
They may also become apathetic or uninterested in activities they once found enjoyable. Language and communication difficulties may include difficulty speaking, understanding, and recalling words or phrases. Movement issues may include difficulty walking, involuntary muscle twitching, and difficulty writing.
What this means for you: Unfortunately, FTD is one of those aspects of human biology that we know very little about.
At this time, there is no known cause of FTD, although research suggests that there may be a genetic component. Scientists have identified several genetic mutations that increase the risk of developing the disease and limited evidence supports the hypothesis that it may run in families.
Scientists also believe there may be a connection between lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, and FTD. However, no direct link has yet been found, even though an association between physical activity and reduced risk of general cognitive impairment has been established.
I suppose that the good news is that FTD is one of the least common forms of dementia, comprising about 10 to 15% of all cases. The best we can do is eat well and exercise, and enjoy our life as we know it now.
Keeping up with recent research will help you stay informed and make informed decisions, should it be necessary.
Reference: Frontotemporal dementia - Mayo Clinic
Reference: Alzheimer's Association (US) Differential Diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia
Related: Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often — Here’s How To Start
02 Mediterranean Diet "helps cancer survival chances"
A recent study has resulted in a surprisingly direct and unequivocal recommendation that people with skin cancer should adopt a Mediterranean diet to increase their chances of survival.
I found it surprising because there were no ifs, buts or maybes.
Led by King’s College London, the study looked at 91 patients with advanced melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, and showed that the probability of the patients still being alive 12 months after starting treatment increased for those following a diet most closely related to a Mediterranean diet.
⇒ In the study, patients with the highest-scoring diets were nearly twice as likely to respond to cancer therapy as those with the worst diets.
My ears especially pricked up as I have had two melanoma operations; consequently, I was advised to have 6-monthly skin checks, which I do.
It is not fully understood how the Mediterranean diet moderates skin cancer. The diet typically includes seafood such as oysters, vegetables, olive oil and nuts, which are rich in unsaturated fats, which are good for the heart and help to lower cholesterol.
These foods are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that help protect the body from free radical damage. They also promote good gut bacteria, which boost the performance of our immune system in its fight against cancer.
What this means for you: The study authors said the findings are likely to apply to other forms of cancer and that "all cancer patients should now be given this potentially lifesaving dietary advice".
⇒ Moving towards a Mediterranean diet means increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, non-refined cereals, nuts, and olive oil, having moderate consumption of fish and dairy, limiting red meats, and drinking moderate amounts of red wine.
Additionally, increasing dietary fibre intake by incorporating whole grains into your diet may reduce the risk of several types of cancer, according to many studies.
Finally, avoiding processed meats and limiting alcohol intake can also help reduce cancer risk.
For me, I prefer and enjoy a "Mediterranean-style" diet, although I don't "follow" it with any rigour. In light of the study recommendation, I will boost my consumption of nuts and eat a range of vegetables more consistently every day.
Here are 3 FAQs re the Mediterranean diet:
Q: How many servings of fruits and vegetables should I have on the Mediterranean diet? A: At least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This can include fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables.
Q: What types of fish should I eat on the Mediterranean diet? A: Fish is an important part of the diet - eat at least two servings of fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and sardines, per week.
Q: How much olive oil should I include in my diet? A: The Mediterranean diet typically includes 2–4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day.
Related: Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better
@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
03 What's the Best Pick When I Only Have Space for 1 Workout Machine?
What would be the best choice for all-around fitness benefits if you only have room for one piece of indoor exercise equipment? This article asked a few top-notch trainers for their pick.
I was approvingly nodding as the various experts gave their recommendations of a rowing machine as the 1 workout machine they would choose. That made sense to me as a great choice.
Then, bang! The last expert said no, "the rower has a fatal flaw as your single option". We sit all day... and I don't like the fact that we're working out seated," he said.
Wow, OK, he's won my heart already, so what is his choice?
⇒ His top choice is a Ski-Erg.
"You're actually getting a squat motion involved. You're loaded. You're using your core, you're using your arms," he says. "If you're trying to compare apples to apples and with cost and even size, I would take the standing Ski-Erg over the rower."
What this means for you: I'd never have considered it but a Ski-erg would be a fabulous choice, with some caveats, as follows:
Firstly, from what I see when I Google "buy Ski-erg" the cost is 3X to 5X a decent home rowing machine, at least down here in Australia.
Secondly, I'm 100% in favour of getting away from machines that you sit on. However, the extra benefits from not sitting e.g. using a Ski-erg, are because you are working harder. And often, having to work harder puts people off.
⇒ It is far better to be consistently using a rower than to be hesitant about using a Ski-erg, despite you knowing that the Ski-erg gives you a superior workout.
If you can afford it, and if you enjoy the feeling of hard work, then a Ski-erg would be a great choice as your one piece of at-home exercise machinery.
Related: This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game
04 Strengthen Your Core To Avoid Back Pain When Exercising
Your Core Our exercise of the week is... Butterfly sit-ups - a simple, effective core-strengthening exercise.
"My lower back always hurts after exercising", said my daughter last night.
Sure, I said. That's because just doing bench presses for TikTok gets you psychological pleasure but physiologically delivers you little other than a sore back.
Do this simple core exercise for a start, plus, although you don't see it on TikTok, you have to take seriously warming-up and stretching afterwards.
⇒ Bench presses cause a sore lower back due to the loading and stress placed on the muscles and spine. This can be caused by incorrect technique, incorrect loading, or a lack of core stability.
[Notes: When the bar is lowered to the chest, the lower back muscles must work to stabilise your spine and keep it in the correct position. This causes muscular fatigue, which can lead to soreness and potential injury.
The compressive load in the lowered position also strains the muscles and ligaments of your back, leading to pain and discomfort. Additionally, the load can cause shearing forces on the spine, resulting in instability and muscular imbalances. Over time, these imbalances can lead to further pain and dysfunction in your lower back.]
What this means for you: Butterfly sit-ups build your core stability very effectively, and you can do them in your lounge room:
- Begin by lying on your back with the soles of your feet together, knees bent, and heels touching each other.
- Place your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows open.
- Keeping your feet together, slowly lift your shoulders off the floor while bringing your arms over your head without creating forward momentum.
- As you reach the fully upright position, touch the tips of your fingers to the floor on either side of your feet.
- Lower your shoulders back to the floor in a smooth, controlled motion that feels like lowering your vertebrate back onto the floor one by one.
- Do 10, 20 or 30 reps, or try 2 sets of 10 to 20 each.
Check out the very clear illustration in the 30-second video, it shows excellent technique.
Benefits: The butterfly sit-up is beneficial because it works the abdominals, obliques, and hip flexors in a way that is impossible with regular sit-ups. This improves core stability, including lower back stability.
Level Up: The temptation with this basic version is to swing your arms over your head and use the momentum to lift you off the floor. Swinging your arms heavily discounts the value of the exercise. Instead, place your arms forward, resting on your lower tummy, palms down, instead of placing them behind your head. Go from that position, and return to that position. This way, there is zero momentum available.
Level Up Up: Hold one arm vertically with a weight and raise to a fully upright position while maintaining your arm at 90 degrees to the floor. Lower slowly. Change arms. Start with nothing, then use a 1kg bag of rice, then some light dumbells.
Related: Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now
Thanks for reading!
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?
About the newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share about the time you met Chris Hemsworth, or your questions about how to live longer better? Send those thoughts and more to me at email@example.com
'4 Most Valuable' is a weekly newsletter from Walter Adamson. If you like it, please forward to a like-minded soul. Someone forward this to you? You can subscribe from this page.
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
Walking Backwards Benefits So Much More Than Your Knees
Skipping Breakfast May Make You More Likely To Develop Diabetes - Research
Measuring Your Waist Will Tell You If You Are On Your Way To Diabetes
How To Sleep Better And Recover Like Elite Soccer Players
Forget Beetroot Juice, Eat More Vegetables For Nitrate Potency And Longer Life
Holy Mackerel! Researchers Confirm Walnuts Help Your Muscles Stay Stronger Helping Live Longer
Dizziness And Cataracts - Is There A Link?
How To Get The Health Benefits Of Black Tea - Even If You Don't Like Drinking It
How To Walk Better (And Undo The Damage Of Treadmills)
The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily
How To Find Purpose In Your life Without Feeling Like You Are Endlessly Chasing Your Tail
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
Drink This Many Cups Of Coffee Daily For Better Health
How Avoiding A High Viral Load Can Save Your Life - Coronavirus
Shining Light On Infrared Therapy - It Helped Unlock My Shoulder
The Surprising Way Hip Flexors Pull You Down Into An Elderly Stoop And Shuffle, And How To Avoid It
Every one of these weekly emails has [4MV] in the subject line to help you filter them and search for previous ones.