I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
An unknown garlic is the new medical marvel!
New medical research reveals that an as-yet unnamed variety of Australian garlic could reduce COVID and flu-related infections!
⇒ Researchers tested approximately 20 varieties of garlic but only one was effective against viruses. The specific variety of garlic combines with viruses to prevent them from infecting cells in the digestive tract.
Whole grains get a bad rap, but this couldn’t be further from the truth - see item #2.
Resistance training isn't just for the bros, it has important calming and emotional benefits for us all - see item #1.
⭑ Exercise training - more than just your body ✔
⭑ Whole grains are our friends ✔ and they help you stay slim
⭑ It's time to start awe-walking ! ✔
⭑ The side lunge will build your lower body strength - then add weights ✔
01 Resistance Training and Emotional Satisfaction
While the objective benefits of resistance training are widely acknowledged, such as building muscle strength, improved mobility, balance and cognitive functions, the subjective benefits are often overlooked.
My personal experience, and I know those of some readers, highlights the tangible emotional and sleep-related benefits of consistent resistance training e.g. increased motivation and emotional satisfaction.
When looking "from the outside", e.g "should I do strength training?", one of the most overlooked subjective benefits of resistance training is emotional satisfaction. You feel “less sluggish” on days when you include resistance training in your routine.
This heightened motivation and drive can have a positive impact on every aspect of your life, not just your fitness objectives. One of the outcomes of this heightened motivation is that you are more likely to stick to your exercise routine, with the obvious results of better overall health and wellbeing.
⇒ In other worlds, strength training is an important part of a virtuous circle of exercising and living long better.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Resistance training can also be an effective stress reliever. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Additionally, the repetitive nature of resistance training can be meditative and calming, allowing you to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. By reducing stress and anxiety, resistance training can improve your overall mental health and well-being.
This, in turn, leads to improved sleep quality. Studies have shown that strength training helps to improve sleep quality by the combination of reducing stress levels (via the release of endorphins) and increasing physical fatigue.
A specific finding relevant to cognitive health is that resistance training can reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Research has shown that regular strength training promotes brain plasticity and enhances neurogenesis, both of which are essential for maintaining cognitive function.
What this means for you: If you are not doing any resistance training, start out small and add some into your regular routine.
You could use dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, or even a few kettlebells just as weights (rather than having to know how to swing them safely). If you want to use a barbell, start with no weight plates, perfect your form, and add little by little.
I recommend freestanding exercises - don’t use any machines unless you are in rehabilitation and unable to stand safely on your own two feet.
For example, you could try the Side Lunge, see item #4.
When you achieve a small goal, such as lifting a heavier weight or completing a more challenging workout, take the time to celebrate your accomplishment. This can help you stay motivated and feel proud of your progress.
02 The Most Misunderstood Food Group: Whole Grains
Despite their numerous health benefits, whole grains remain one of the most misunderstood food groups out there. Many people mistakenly believe that they are no better than refined grains when it comes to nutrition.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Unlike refined grains, which have had their nutritious outer layers stripped away during processing, whole grains contain all three parts of the grain kernel: the bran, germ, and endosperm. This means that they are packed with fibre, protein, vitamins B and E, minerals like iron and zinc, and antioxidants.
Studies have shown that consuming whole grains can help reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even certain types of cancer. They can also help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer periods:
- The fibre in whole grains can bind to cholesterol in the digestive system and help excrete it, thereby reducing total and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.
- Fibre helps helps improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for stroke. Additionally, some studies suggest that the antioxidant properties of whole grains can help protect against stroke.
- Whole grains are low-glycemic index foods, meaning they cause a slower and lower rise in blood sugar levels compared to refined grains. This helps manage our blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Fibre provides a feeling of fullness, which can prevent overeating and help manage weight. Studies have found that people who eat whole grains have smaller waist sizes and less body fat than those who consume refined grains.
- Whole grains contain various phytochemicals, including phenolic acids, lignans, and saponins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect against cancer.
⇒ Remember, most of these benefits only accrue to whole grains, not processed grains.
What it means for you: Grains are relatively easy to add into our daily diet, but on the other hand food manufacturers can easily confuse us with their branding and labelling.
At the supermarket be sure to read the ingredient list to confirm that whole grains are included. The term "whole grain" should be included in the ingredient list. If it just says "wheat" or "multigrain," it may not actually be whole grain.
Also, the whole grain should ideally be the first ingredient listed, which means it's the primary ingredient by weight. Any "instant" grains are highly processed, and have lost many of their micronutrients.
Think of whole grain or steel cut: e.g. oats, wheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley, corn, bulgur, millet, rye and spelt. As I mentioned a couple of newsletter back, I convert oats, brown rice, and quinoa into prebiotic fibre and have it for breakfast every morning.
@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
03 Awe Walks - The Not-So-New Way To Better Mental Health
Here's one for walking.
We've all seen how many folk we know become decidedly less sociable as they age. It might be for mobility reasons, or that they have lost contact with their social network. But it is often because they have consciously withdrawn.
Studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness can have significant negative effects on health and longevity. Isolation can elevate the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia. It can also lead to decreased physical activity and poor sleep, both of which may potentially reduce life expectancy.
It need not be that way! A recent study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco shows that consciously looking for small wonders during walks can amplify the mental health benefits of exercise.
The study focused on older people in their 60s, 70s and 80s who were asked to either walk for 15 minutes once a week or engage in awe walks where they focused on discovering and amplifying awe.
⇒ After eight weeks of walking both groups felt happier, less upset and more connected than before but the group that practiced awe walks had greater improvements in their overall sense of well-being.
That makes 100% sense to me, as I do the same thing and I know that getting out into the fresh air and sun, and checking out the birds, bees and ants every day makes me feel better.
What this means for you: Set your alarm, and make a habit of getting out and about. You don’t have to live near a beach or forest, you just have to make the time and have the focus to consciously look for small wonders during your walks.
There are millions of such small wonders to be found, we are all just used to brushing past them - we look but don't see.
The study participants only awe-walked once a week. I try every day.
What's the secret to awe-walking:
- Pay attention to details along your walk and look at everything with fresh, childlike eyes.
You'll be amazed at what you see, and you'll feel better when you get home.
04 Side Lunge - Building Strength, Stability and Flexibility
Our exercise of the week is...the side lunge, which primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. These are all fundamentally important muscles as as we age, especially for maintaining our mobility and balance.
The performance of the exercise itself requires, and also helps, to improve our balance and stability. This is why an exercise like this is 100X better than any gym machine (except the free-standing cable machines).
It also requires a certain degree of flexibility in your hips and inner thigh muscles. Over time, doing side lunges consistently will show in better mobility and less discomfort during daily activities.
The side lunge is a low-impact exercise - easier on the joints.
What this means for you: Whether you are starting out, or a seasoned strength training exerciser, the side lunge is a great way to build your lower body strength.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands either on your hips or at your sides. Next, bring your feet together, and take a large step to the right side with your right foot while keeping both feet pointed forward and toes turned out slightly.
How to Exercise
Bend your right knee and lower your body into a side lunge, ensuring that your left leg remains straight. Keep your left heel elevated and avoid extending your knee beyond the toe line. Push off with your right foot to return to the initial position, and repeat on the opposite side.
⇒ Do 3 sets of 10 reps (10 to each side).
As you lower yourself into the lunge, inhale and focus on engaging your core muscles. When you push off with your foot to return to the starting position, exhale.
- Maintain good posture by keeping chest up and back straight during the exercise.
- Avoid putting unnecessary strain on your knee joint by not pushing off with your front knee.
- Focus on engaging core and glutes to ensure proper form and protect the back.
Add weight by holding a dumbbell or weight plate or a kettlebell to your chest while performing the exercise.
Thanks for reading!
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>> My Latest Blog Post: Energise Your Golden Years: Boosting Your Desire to Exercise with Gut-Healthy Foods
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