I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
Live to 150?
Scientists were able to create a genetic switch - a synthetic biological system - that reverses cell aging in yeast, prolonging their life by up to 80% - a new world record in biology (April 2023). Something to look forward to.
Hay fever is horrible. New research found a link between better gut health and reduced hay fever. Many studies have concluded that the right probiotics help, a new one says that fibre-rich food also helps - see item #2.
Unless you are in rehabilitation using gym machines is (at best) an ineffective way to exercise for older adults. It dulls your neuromuscular coordination - you could say that it is anti-neuromuscular training. On the other hand, neuromuscular training is of great benefit - see item #1.
⭑ Neuromuscular exercises associated with living longer better ✔
⭑ Yoghurt and bananas might help your Hay Fever. It's worth a try ✔
⭑ Asthma heightens inflammation, but you can take steps to lower it ✔
⭑ A simple (daily) resistance band exercise with big benefits ✔
Neuromuscular training works, but what is it?
A study published on March 24, 2023, found that neuromuscular training caused significant improvements in postural balance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, strength power of the upper and lower limbs and autonomy (in older adults).
This shouldn't be a surprise, and the consequences are significant because a decline in those aspects of physical performance can be severe, resulting in injuries, disabilities, and premature death.
⇒ Statistics from the US and Australia are consistent - a fall after 65 which breaks bones is associated with a 5 year reduction in lifespan.
So what is neuromuscular training? It is exercise you do that focuses on improving the communication between your nervous system and your muscles. In other words, almost anything you do which does not involve gym machines.
We used to call it bodyweight and free-standing exercises - and these remain at the core of neuromuscular training.
What this means for you: Neuromuscular training aims to enhance muscle strength, balance, coordination and proprioception (our awareness of our body's position and movements in space - think of how your brain knows where to put your foot when walking).
Gym machines are designed to make you look good in a t-shirt. They switch off your brain and its complex connection with your muscular system, which is the exact opposite of what we need as we get older.
See The Truth About Gym Machines ⇒ Will you choose to live 5 years longer or look good in a t-shirt but can't do up your shoelaces?
Think of it this way - one proper pushup (or a few squats with a light weight) will deliver you more neuromuscular benefits than 20 minutes on gym machines.
To strengthen your posture, reduce your risk of falls, and improve your cerebral fitness ditch the machines and do exercises which incorporate the following 5 groups - ask a trainer for help set set out your exercises this way:
- Balance exercises: To help improve stability and prevent falls, e.g standing on one leg, tandem stance (placing one foot directly in front of the other), and balance board exercises.
- Functional movements: These mimic everyday activities to maintain or improve the ability to perform daily tasks. Examples include sit-to-stand exercises, step-ups, and carrying objects while walking.
- Resistance training: Maintain and improve muscle strength, which is crucial as we age, e.g. bodyweight exercises (e.g., squats, push-ups, and modified pull-ups), resistance band exercises, and dumbbell and barbell exercises.
- Coordination exercises: These enhance our ability to control movements and maintain proper body alignment. Examples include heel-to-toe walking, figure-eight walking, and hand-eye coordination exercises (e.g., bouncing a ball and catching it).
- Proprioceptive exercises: These improve our body awareness and spatial orientation. Examples include closing your eyes while performing balance exercises, moving your limbs through various positions in space, walking on your heels in figure eights, and even stretching exercises such as quad stretches (stand on one leg, grab your other ankle from behind and pull it up toward your buttocks, gently pull and hold it for 30 seconds, swap legs).
It is crucial that your exercise plan incorporates these 5 groups, plus cardio - all in balance.
Be consistent, enjoy them as you visualise their benefits, and live longer!
If you are a Hay fever sufferer then you are among the 42% of people who suffer each year.
Scientists have found that people with hay fever often have a less diverse gut microbiome compared to those without the condition, leading to an imbalance in the microbiome and higher levels of inflammation.
Apparently short-chain fatty acids produced by gut bacteria during the fermentation of dietary fibre have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of hay fever.
⇒ This highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy and diverse microbiome, not just for overall health but also for reducing the effects of hay fever.
What this means for you: Given the misery of hay fever there are several actions that you might like to experiment with, bearing in mind that scientists don't yet understand the how the gut and hay fever interact.
I am going to try these myself:
- Incorporate a variety of fiber-rich foods in your diet to support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Bananas are one of my favourites.
- Consider taking probiotic supplements that contain strains of bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Check the labels, as some strains make the problem worse.
- Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics that can disrupt the balance of the microbiome. Check with your doctor, as many antibiotics come in a variety of types with different side-effects e.g. their effect on the gut biome.
- Consider using a nasal rinse to help maintain a healthy nasal microbiome.
Point 4 is because our nasal microbiome also plays an important role in regulating the immune system. Imbalance and reduced diversity of the nasal microbiome can lead to an increased risk of respiratory infections and exacerbation of hay fever symptoms. Use a weak saline solution and save money.
I'm very curious to see if these work to reduce hay fever symptoms.
Related: How Bananas Benefit Your Bones - And Brain
@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
People with asthma have a 36% higher risk of developing cancer than those without asthma! That's surprising news, not just for those with asthma but for all of us.
This study tracked 360,084 participants aged 18 to 65, including 90,021 with asthma, for eight years. It found that people with asthma have a 36% higher risk of developing certain cancers such as lung, blood, melanoma, kidney, and ovarian cancer.
On the positive side, the study found that asthmatics who used inhaled steroids had elevated risk for just two cancers (lung and melanoma) compared to nine cancer types among nonusers.
Why it's a surprise: While previous research has shown a link between chronic inflammation and cancer development, this study specifically highlights the increased risk for five types of cancer among asthma sufferers.
This finding is relevant to all of us, because inflammation increases as we age, which in turn reduces our body's ability to contain cancer cells and to prevent them from spreading.
What this means for you: It is becoming more apparent that reducing our background inflammation through healthy lifestyle choices should be a "big picture" goal to help us determine our lifestyle choices.
This is especially true in 2023 after the stress of Covid, Long-Covid, the ongoing aftermath of Covid on society (especially on our children), and the general uncertainty and tension we see around us when we turn on the TV news.
All these issues accumulate and manifest as stress, and translate into chronically heightened inflammation. The "big three" factors which raise the level of background inflammation are:
- Poor Diet: A diet that is high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats is associated with increased inflammation. On the other hand, a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Physical inactivity raises background inflammation. Regular exercise reduces inflammation by improving circulation and promoting the release of anti-inflammatory molecules in the body.
- Chronic Stress: Chronic stress also contributes to increased inflammation. When we experience stress, our bodies release cortisol and other hormones that can trigger inflammation. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation or yoga, taking time out to just breathe can reduce stress.
⇒ The good news about choosing to be more active - doing more exercise - is that exercise helps reduce inflammation directly and also helps reduce chronic stress thus helping further reduce the level of background inflammation.
Lowering your background level of inflammation will not only provide a barrier to cancers and metabolic diseases, but it will also improve the tone and appearance of your skin. Many "old age spots" are simply non-cancerous growths which our weakened immune system can no longer suppress.
04 Tall Kneeling Hip Hinge - Resisted
Our exercise of the week is... the resisted hip hinge.
The hip hinge can be helpful for a variety of reasons:
1️⃣ Improving the use, efficiency, and strength of the hips and posterior chain (muscles on the back side of the body) during lifting tasks.
2️⃣ Decreased stress to the low back with lifting tasks (if low back forward bending, also called "flexion", is painful).
⇒ It also helps build your hip stability and crosses a number of the categories of exercise mentioned in article #1 above.
What this means for you: This is an easy everyday exercise, and you'll notice the difference after 3 or 4 weeks if you do it 3 to 4 times a week (or even daily is fine):
- Start in a tall kneeling position with both knees down on the ground.
- With a resistance band secured, wrap the other end around your waist, low down, facing away from the secured end and with tension in the band.
- Keeping your back straight, start by sending your buttocks backwards towards your heels, and let your chest come down.
- Make sure that there is tension in the band when you are at the full back position.
- Then, while maintaining a flat back, return to the start position by lifting your hips up and forward and squeezing your glutes and abs at the top of the movement.
This video shows the movement described above but without a resistance band.
This video shows how to use the resistance band, but the overall form is not as good as the previous video.
Feel: You should feel your glutes working very hard as you push your hips forward and even a stretch in the front of your hips. Tip: Do not overarch at the lower back at the top of the movement.
Thanks for reading!
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>> My Latest Blog Post: The Surprising Way Hip Flexors Pull You Down Into An Elderly Stoop And Shuffle, And How To Avoid It
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