4MV #186 Your daily coffee - people walked more each day ✔ But they slept less. You can have the best of both...

published2 months ago
10 min read


I trust you're safe, fit and well.

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

About 10 days ago, I experienced something I hadn't experienced since before Covid. It was the sensation of my body telling me that it was getting stronger again.

I guess that sounds a little weird. It's not while doing exercise. It's a general sensation that arises and gives you the feeling that all your bones and muscles are strongly connected and holding you up in a good posture.

It made me stop and think about the benefits of functional exercises - versus leg-days, arm- days, sitting on machines, or not doing sufficient functional strength training.

⇒ It's exercising the myriad of connections between the top of your head to your toes which gets you the most bang for the buck in terms of health and longevity.

This week - coffee, yoghurt, habits and back pain

Kefir yoghurt has been around for thousands of years. We're only now learning how it feeds our Gut-Brain-Axis (GBA) - see item #2.

A hit of coffee was found to have indirect benefits - people walked more each day. But they slept less. You can have the best of both - see item #1.

⭑ A hit of caffeine upped people's daily steps. This is good ✔
⭑ Kefir, the ancient yoghurt which feeds your brain ✔ Try it daily
⭑ Struggling to break bad habits? Here's how - my 6 top tips that will work for you ✔
⭑ People with 6-packs still have lower back pain. Ease it with these exercises ✔

01 Coffee Lovers Gain 1,000 Steps a Day, But Get Less Sleep

⇒ People walked an extra 1,000 steps on days when they drank coffee.

That's an exciting result because walking an extra 1,000 steps, if you usually walk 7,000 or less, is associated with a 6 to 15 per cent reduction in mortality.

According to a recent study, coffee lovers walk an extra 1,000 steps a day compared to those who don't drink coffee. The study found that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, increases energy levels, and increases physical activity throughout the day.

However, the study also found that coffee can adversely affect sleep. Participants lost about 36 minutes of nightly sleep on days when they consumed coffee, and the more coffee they drank, the less they slept. This finding highlights the importance of moderation when it comes to coffee consumption.

The Effects of Coffee on Heart Palpitations

There has been some concern about the potential for coffee to cause heart palpitations. Still, the study found that coffee did not cause a common palpitation known as premature atrial contractions (in otherwise healthy men and women).

What this means for you: If you are a coffee drinker, like me, there are some practical steps you can take to ensure that you are enjoying the benefits of coffee without experiencing negative side effects. Here are some tips:

  1. Limit your coffee consumption to one or two cups per day. This will help you avoid negative effects on sleep while still enjoying the benefits of increased physical activity.
  2. If you are sensitive to caffeine, consider switching to decaf coffee or tea. This will allow you to enjoy the taste of coffee without the potential negative effects on sleep and heart palpitations.
  3. Be mindful of your caffeine intake throughout the day. Consuming too much caffeine in the afternoon or evening can disrupt your sleep, so limiting your caffeine consumption to the morning hours is best.

⇒ By following these tips, you can enjoy the positive effects of coffee on physical activity levels while avoiding negative effects on sleep and heart health.

By the way, this study was of 100 people over 14 days. That's a tiny sample, so I wouldn't dramatically change your lifestyle based on its findings.

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


02 What to Know about Kefir, One of the Original Gut-friendly Foods

Traditional Kefir (pronounced kuh-FEER) originates from the Caucasus Mountains and is a fermented milk drink with a creamy texture, sour taste and subtle effervescence. It is produced by adding a starter culture termed “kefir grains” to milk. Kefir grains consist of specific yeasts and bacteria different from those used in typical yoghurt starters. (Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

⇒ Kefir can have upward of 50 yeast and bacteria, whereas Yogurt contains good-for-you bacteria, but only two bacterial strains are required.

This diverse array of microbes in kefir helps promote a healthy gut microbiome and supports your gut’s ability to absorb nutrients from food more efficiently.

A good array of probiotics in your gut benefits your overall health because our gut communicates with our brain via the gut-brain axis (GBA). A healthy gut is a catalyst for a physically healthier mind.

Scientific studies of kefir indicate that it has anti-bacterial, anti-tumour, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-eczema and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Kefir can also help reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and improve your overall gut health (but it won't cure you of IBS as long as you keep eating unhealthy foods and not enough veggies).

What this means for you: I add kefir to my prebiotic grain mix every morning. Here are four other ways for you to try it:

  1. Start your day off right with a glass of kefir! It’s a great source of protein (11 grams) and calcium (30% of the daily value).
  2. If you want a healthy gut-friendly fruity drink, put unsweetened kefir in a blender with some frozen berries or other fruit. Kefir provides a creamy texture and subtle flavour that will enhance your favourite smoothie recipes without overpowering the other ingredients.
  3. You can also pour kefir over cereal or granola or use it as the liquid in your overnight oats. If you opt for a flavoured kefir, choose one with no more than 6 grams of added sugar.
  4. Spice Up Your Salads! Try swapping out traditional salad dressings for a flavorful kefir-based sauce. Kefir can easily be blended with herbs and spices, creating a dressing perfect for topping salads. e.g. love this Lemon Herb Kefir Salad Dressing.

Related: ​The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily

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


03 Here’s What Happens In Your Brain When You’re Trying To Make or Break a Habit

During the early stages of habit formation, the decision-making parts of our brain are activated, and the action is deliberate. As we repeat the new routine, specific neural pathways are strengthened through neuroplasticity, eventually making the habit automatic.

There's a widespread belief on social media that new habits can be formed in just 21 days. The evidence presented in the article suggests that the time it takes to form a habit is highly variable and depends on several factors, including the type of goal and time of day.

Typically, the strengthening and reorganising of neural networks required to make a new habit take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, depending on the type of goal and time of day.

⇒ This means that consistency is the key to forming or breaking a habit rather than trying to achieve it in a specific timeframe.

Knowing this has important implications for how you go about making and breaking habits.

What this means for you: By knowing all the above, you can understand that making a habit requires conscious repetition, meaning that you must keep training your brain or otherwise, the neural connections will not remain strong. This is a conscious process.

On the other hand, once formed, the habit becomes an unconscious process, and the activation of the habit is a reflex - utilising the new neural superhighways mapped out in your brain. This is a very energy-efficient process - a so-called path of least resistance. This is the goal of brand advertising- so that you buy the product unconsciously.

Therefore you must consciously break the habit. You must proactively not allow the habit reflex to reinforce the pathways you have built. This requires effort, consistency and time.

Use my six best tips to help break habits, note, especially the first three, which are rarely cited:

  1. Finding meaning in breaking the habit - this is critical. Give yourself a light on the hill, for example, imagine how you will feel when the habit is broken.
  2. Having the belief that you can change a habit is also critical. Believe in yourself, and after all, there is no one else that can do it for you.
  3. Understand that habits later in the day are harder to break than earlier ones because your brain is going into automatic pilot as your energy runs down. Accept this and know that those will take longer to break.
  4. Next, identify what triggers the habit, and then avoid or modify them.
  5. Find a substitute: try replacing the old habit with a neutral or benign one. For example, when you feel pressured by the habit go and have a glass of water.
  6. Practise self-compassion: setbacks are a natural part of the process because your brain has been wired to resist being unwired. You understand this now. So, recommit to your goal and carry on. A missed chance to reform an old habit is a natural part of the road to erasing it. It is going to resist!

Good luck.

Related: How To Sleep Better And Recover Like Elite Soccer Players


04 Exercises to Reduce Lower Back Pain

Our exercises of the week are... for easing and potentially eliminating your lower back pain.

The lower back needs to be able to bend and twist in multiple directions while bearing the weight of our body. This is a tough job requiring more than our outer core muscles that help us look good in a swimsuit.

In fact, even people who have a great set of abs can suffer from lower back pain - because they have neglected their deep core muscles.

⇒ THE BIG IDEA: Strengthening the often-neglected deep core muscles is crucial to avoid future back pain.

These deep core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis and multifidus, provide stability to our spine and pelvis yet are mostly neglected in popular core-strengthening exercises like crunches or situps.

They can be also strengthened through specific exercises that require more control than raw power, such as yoga or Pilates, or, planks. Yes, it is back to basics to get your back better.

People who are physically active tend to have lower rates of back pain, and a recent meta-analysis of 25 studies found that the most effective way to prevent lower back pain from recurring was regular exercise.

What this means for you: The deeper muscles engage during movements requiring more control than raw power. I'm not going to describe the exercises below as they are known to you I'm sure, or refer to Youtube.

1. The most basic way to activate your deep core muscles is by doing planks, whether it’s a regular plank, a side plank or some of the many other variations.

(If holding a regular plank is uncomfortable, start with your knees on the ground, then progress over time to being able to balance on your toes.)

2. Also try squats, push-ups and bridges.

To build and maintain your deep core strength, do two to three sessions a week of your favourite combinations.

3. The slow, controlled movements in exercises like Pilates teach your muscles to move the spine efficiently. In fact, it is less about the amount of muscular strength and more about the ability to finely control the activation and deactivation of all the muscles that stabilise the spine.

Incorporating Pilates into your fitness routine can be as simple as doing short workout videos, many of which require little to no equipment, two to three times a week.

This is a lifestyle change, and that's not so easy. But this is a very worthwhile one if it eases your lower back pain.

Good luck.

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

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 walter@bodyagebuster.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:

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

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

As You Age Pistachios Can Help You Sleep Better

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

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

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

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)

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

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

Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better

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

Every one of these weekly emails has [4MV] in the subject line to help you filter them and search for previous ones.

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

​"I empower mid-life men and women to make the choice to live as actively and as independently as they can, for as long as they can", Walter Adamson | Get access to my weekly research that I don’t share elsewhere. | “My wife and I both read your articles each week, and I have to say there is so much confusing data out there, but yours is a great source, well researched, scientific and always relevant.” — Steve Ridgway, subscriber.

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