I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
Articles that caught my attention this week all turned out to have a common theme, even if it was not in their headlines. They all emphasised, in one way or another, the health benefits of exercising consistently and at least being active every day, e.g. go for that walk!
Researchers found that merely adding an extra 500 steps to your daily walk further reduces your risk of serious illness - see item #2.
Another group of researchers analysed millions of health records and found startling benefits from just 11 minutes of moderate daily activity - see article #1.
⭑ Clock up a few ad breaks worth of activity each day and live well, longer ✔
⭑ Adding an extra 500 steps to your walk reduces heart disease ✔
⭑ This researcher says six reps daily, done properly, will build strength effectively ✔
⭑ Do 3 exercises daily, in less than 5 minutes, and you'll notice the difference ✔
01 A Daily Brisk Walk Could Lower Risk For Early Death
A very large study aggregated results from 196 other public health studies and found that just 11 daily minutes of activity dropped people's risks for heart disease by 17 percent and for cancer of any kind by 7 percent.
For certain cancers, including myeloid leukemia, myeloma and some stomach cancers, the risk fell by as much as 26 percent.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge, Queen’s University Belfast analysed health data for more than 30 million people, looking for correlations between how much people move and how long and well they live.
The important phrase to note is "looking for correlations", as correlations are not causations. In other words, there is a correlation between sunny weather in Seattle and boating accidents, but sunny weather does not cause boating accidents.
⇒ It's important to know that this study compared inactive people with people who self-reported their activity.
What this means for you: It may be that the inactive people were so because of health problems and that the active people lived in communities where being active was more the norm.
Nevertheless, across 30 million people, those who reported being active for just 11 minutes every day significantly lowered their risk of premature incapacitation or death.
The 11 minutes of activity were self-reported and not necessarily in one session. This means that if you are currently inactive you can easily boost your health outcomes by building physical activity into your daily routine:
- Walk around the block;
- Take the stairs;
- Park further away from the Mall entrance;
- Walk the dog;
- Set the timer on your watch to remind you to do something every hour;
- Walk around the house during the ad breaks.
Remember, more than everything else, consistency matters. Keep it up.
Related: Walking Backwards Benefits So Much More Than Your Knees
02 Every 500 Steps Walked In Old Age Reduces Heart Disease Risk
A study was conducted on 452 adults with an average age of 78, who used pedometers to measure their daily step count.
The participants were observed for three and a half years for heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and heart attack occurrences.
A mere 7.5% of participants experienced a "cardiovascular disease event" throughout the study. The good news? The more you walk, the less likely you will face heart trouble. It's time to put on those walking shoes!
⇒ Compared with those who walked fewer than 2,000 steps daily, those who did 4,500 steps had a 77 percent lower risk of a serious illness.
In fact, the research found that walking just an extra 500 steps per day in old age can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 14 percent! That's walking under half a kilometre extra daily (approximately 1/3 of a mile).
What this means for you: Unlike in Item #1, this study reported on people who were already active and walking daily. The findings refer to the correlation between how far they walked and their health outcomes.
There was a big difference in health outcomes between those who walked less than 2,000 steps daily and those who walked more than 4,500 steps. And for those in between, adding an extra 500 steps significantly improved their health benefits.
⇒ My take on this is simply to add a little extra to how far you are walking today, although if you are up around 10,000 steps, I suspect the health improvements are marginal.
Why wouldn't you :)
Related: How To Keep Your Weight Off With Daily Walks — 5 Fun Level-ups That Everyone Can Do
@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
03 Does the Best Workout Exist? Exercise Scientists All Agree on One Thing
This article contains a titbit that caught my eye, despite otherwise saying little else than to find an exercise that you’d be willing to do regularly and do it.
Ken Nosaka, from Edith Cowan University in Australia, shines a light on something helpful. He has found that frequency is more important than duration when it comes to effective workouts.
In fact, his studies show that doing just six repetitions of eccentric exercise movements daily can increase muscle strength significantly over four to five weeks and with better results than doing concentric exercise movements. And, with better results than doing more exercise but less frequently.
Eccentric movements are where you lengthen the muscles, such as in the lowering phase of a bicep curl, a squat, or a pushup. The concentric phase is when you push or squeeze, such as pushing up from the floor in a pushup or squat.
⇒ Nosaka's studies focused on people doing just the eccentric movement of an exercise, such as only the lowering phase of a pushup. But it is helpful to do the entire exercise, in my opinion.
What this means for you: Six repetitions of an exercise with a useful concentric range of motion e.g. squats, lunges, pushups, will take about 12 seconds.
However, you need to extend the time under tension during the eccentric phase to get vastly better results.
When you perform an eccentric movement, you are effectively lengthening the muscle under tension. This can create tiny microtears in the muscle fibres, stimulating the muscle to repair and rebuild itself to be stronger and more damage-resistant.
Increasing the time under tension to 4 to 5 seconds on the eccentric movement will result in bigger gains over time. This will result in the six repetitions taking 30 to 40 seconds, which is ideal.
See the next article for three at-home exercises with great eccentric phases.
Related: Rebuilding Your Fast-twitch Muscles Doesn’t Require Fast Movements. Rebuild Your Balance in 2 Minutes Daily
04 Building Strength - 4 At-Home Daily Eccentric Contraction Exercises
Our exercises of the week are... three focusing on eccentric movements that you can do at home, every day.
⇒ For just 3 minutes a day, you can effectively maintain your muscular strength by extending the eccentric phase of two exercises you know, and a couple you may not.
Remember, count to 4 or 5 seconds during the eccentric movement. Doing this will up-shift the benefits.
You'll know the pushup and the squat, and if you read newsletter #181 from two weeks ago, you will know the Butterfly Situp.
Next, I've added an exercise I suspect you've never heard of - the Standing YTW. I'm cheating a little, as the YTW is usually known as a stretch. I'll explain how you can turn it into an eccentric strength exercise.
What this means for you: Do three of the following daily, or a selection of 3, or 4 or 5. Each one will take you about one minute.
1. Pushups: a classic eccentric training exercise - slow on the lower. Start easy on your knees if you have to, and level up by exploding on the push up. Exploding upwards will build your fast-twitch muscles.
2. Squats: another classic eccentric training exercise - slow on the lower. go as low as you are comfortable - thighs parallel to the floor is a good range of motion. If unstable, do it back onto a chair or the lounge. Or, place a chair facing away from you in front of you and use the back of the chair for support as you raise and lower.
3. Butterfly Situps: not a classic eccentric training exercise but a great one. Go slow on the lowering phase. Going slow will be quite tough, but you will get better at it.
The Standing YTW (a variation of a more complex version):
1. Start standing with your arms extended overhead in a "Y" shape, with the thumbs pointing backward.
2. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lower them to form a "T" shape with your body. Hold the position briefly, then raise the arms back up to the starting position.
3. Next, move your arms down to form a "W" shape with the body, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees and comfortably retracted back. Hold the position briefly, then extend your arms back up to the starting position.
4. Finally, move your arms down to form an "L" shape with the body, bending the elbows to 90 degrees and keeping the upper arms parallel to the ground. Hold the position briefly, then extend the arms back up to the starting position.
Here is the secret sauce which turns this into an eccentric training exercise:
During the lowering phase of each position (from Y to T, from T to W, and from W to L), focus on creating tension in all the muscles to control the movement. Especially focus on holding tension when your arms are moving eccentrically, i.e. during the downward movements. Tense strongly and resist the downward movements.
This will create eccentric contractions in your neck and shoulder muscles, providing the benefits of eccentric movements without any external load. In particular, this exercise will benefit your rotator cuff muscles which help to stabilise your shoulders.
Do these daily and expect to notice a substantial difference within 2 months!
Related: The Surprising Way Hip Flexors Pull You Down Into An Elderly Stoop And Shuffle, And How To Avoid It
Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now
Thanks for reading!
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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
This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game
The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily
Skipping Breakfast May Make You More Likely To Develop Diabetes - Research
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How To Sleep Better And Recover Like Elite Soccer Players
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Holy Mackerel! Researchers Confirm Walnuts Help Your Muscles Stay Stronger Helping Live Longer
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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
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Drink This Many Cups Of Coffee Daily For Better Health
How Avoiding A High Viral Load Can Save Your Life - Coronavirus
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Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better
How To Find Purpose In Your life Without Feeling Like You Are Endlessly Chasing Your Tail
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