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

4MV #221 Your muscular strength is associated with cerebral health ✔ New research

Published 3 months ago • 7 min read

⭑ Don't put off strength training any longer ✔ It's good for your brain health
⭑ You can improve how your cells use energy ✔ And live longer
⭑ Irregular sleep - higher mortality risk ✔ Here's how to fix it
⭑ Slow strength-building with this special squat ✔ Helps avoid injuries

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

Hello,

Fruit flies.

Drosophila (fruit flies) have been used in genetics and biology research for over a century because they share 60% of their DNA with humans. They also have a short life cycle (about 10 days from egg to adult) and a short lifespan (a few weeks). This allows researchers to study several generations in a short period.

And, if you are not Buddhist, the life of a fruit fly evokes less visceral attachment than that of a vertebrate.

The article "Epigenetic drift of H3K27me3 in aging links glycolysis to healthy longevity in Drosophila" caught my eye during the week. Researchers discovered a new link between exercise and longevity - see item #2.

Not so keen on strength-building exercises? New research plots the connection between low muscle strength and a higher risk of poor brain health - see item #1.

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01 Strength Matters More As We Age - Let's Do Work

Scientists have now found that strength, rather than muscle mass alone, is a reliable predictor of cognitive performance. In other words, your strength is correlated with your cerebral health.

For me, this is a very satisfying finding (which is why I made it the lead article).

The researchers analysed data from over 1,400 adults aged 60 and above and found that strength explained the variance in their cognitive scores 10X better than muscle mass.

This makes sense to me.

Generally, muscle mass is more closely associated with the type and volume of muscle fibres rather than mitochondrial characteristics. On the other hand, efficient mitochondria help muscles work effectively which contributes to overall strength. If you want to learn how to boost your mitochondria, refer to item #2 below.

The new research finding is consistent with previous studies, which found that low strength was associated with a higher risk of premature death.

What this means for you: Prioritise strength training: Engaging in resistance training exercises that improve your strength should be a focus.

This can include exercises such as weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or using resistance bands.

I am suggesting "prioritise" because, in my experience, most people prioritise cardio training. If you are doing this, then you should focus on moving strength training into your mix.

You will get peak benefits for longevity by combining strength and cardio training.

Aim to incorporate resistance training at least once per week and preferably more.

⇒ Focusing on building strength contributes to your brain health and cognitive well-being.

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

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02 How Exercise Translates to Better Aging and Longevity

As we age, metabolic processes, including glycolysis, become less efficient unless we intervene.

Glycolysis is the process that converts dietary sugar and other carbohydrates into stored energy in our cells, especially our muscles. It is the first step in converting carbohydrates into energy our cells can use.

In a new research paper, scientists found that enhanced glycolysis improves cellular energy efficiency and reduces oxidative stress - both associated with better aging and longevity.

Enhanced glycolysis makes cells more efficient in energy production. Efficient energy production means cells can maintain function and repair damage better, potentially delaying aging processes. This improvement also enhances insulin sensitivity, which delays the onset of type 2 diabetes among other benefits.

Enhanced glycolysis also delays our body switching to mitochondrial energy product systems (oxidative phosphorylation) which carry the risk of the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). High levels of ROS can damage cells and are linked to aging.

What does this mean for you? Exercise improves our muscle's ability to uptake glucose from the bloodstream and to use it efficiently. By training, we can maintain this ability.

Luckily, glycolysis efficiency responds to both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Both types of exercise have benefits for glycolytic function but offer different advantages.

Aerobic exercise generally improves the glycolytic efficiency of energy use and increases endurance, while anaerobic exercise increases strength and power and enhances the glycolytic capacity for quick energy release.

There are some other important differences. Endurance training shifts the balance from glycolysis towards oxidative phosphorylation and an increase in the number and size of mitochondria. And endurance training at the lactate threshold stimulates more rapid development of mitochondria.

⇒ In summary, to minimise potential oxidative damage while boosting glycolysis efficiency and mitochondrial response, you should consistently employ periodic higher-intensity endurance training and "Zone 2" training for at least 30 minutes.

Related (older blog posts of mine): ​​​The Exact Slow Pace You Must Run and Cycle To Max Fat-Burning​

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

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03 Irregular Sleep Higher Risk Than Time or Quality

This is red hot off the research press - published on November 23, 2023.

It was previously found sleep duration and sleep efficiency were reliable predictors of mortality risk. For example, the optimal sleep duration for the lowest mortality risk is around 7 hours. Long sleep duration (≥9 hours) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and total mortality.

However, the new research found that irregular sleep patterns are a stronger predictor than sleep duration or sleep efficiency.

Researchers constructed a Sleep Regularity Index (SRI) and examined the relationship between sleep regularity and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality in 88,975 participants in the UK.

The SRI was calculated as the probability of an individual being in the same state (asleep or awake) at any two time points 24 hr apart, averaged over 7 days. The SRI ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 indicating perfectly regular sleep patterns and 0 indicating entirely random sleep-wake timing.

A higher SRI value reflects greater consistency in an individual's sleep-wake cycle, while a lower value indicates more irregular sleep patterns.

⇒ They found that irregular sleep-wake patterns are associated with higher mortality risk.

More specifically, during the follow-up period, there were 3020 deaths, and lower SRI values were correlated with earlier deaths.

What this means for you: The relationship between irregular sleep patterns and disrupted circadian rhythms is bidirectional and complex. We have to address both in order to get more consistent sleep habits.

The list could be long, but here are the proven top three ways that have the greatest impact on improving your sleep regularity:

  1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule: This is perhaps the most impactful measure. By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends, you help synchronize your internal circadian rhythm with your daily schedule. This regularity is crucial for stabilizing sleep patterns and improving both sleep quality and duration.
  2. Regulate Light Exposure: Light exposure, particularly natural light during the day and minimizing blue light in the evening, plays a significant role in regulating the circadian rhythm. Morning light exposure helps signal to your body that it's time to wake up and start the day, while reducing blue light exposure from screens in the evening helps prepare your body for sleep.
  3. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Establishing a pre-sleep ritual aids in signaling to your body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Activities like reading, light stretching, or meditation can help ease the transition into sleep, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.

While other factors like diet, exercise, and managing stress are also important, these top three actions are directly linked to the regulation of circadian rhythms and the establishment of a regular sleep-wake cycle, which are central to achieving regular, restorative sleep - and potentially extending your lifespan.

Sleep well.

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

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04 Strength-Building Slow Hinged Squat

Our exercise of the week is... the slow, hinged squat, for building muscle strength.

One of the secrets to building strength is to exercise slowly and focus on minimising the effects of momentum and gravity. You can easily experience what this means.

From the floor, in a pushup position, push slowly up to full arm extension, hold for 1 second, and then lower slowly to the floor in no faster than 6 seconds. Now, quickly do one pushup - up and down. The fast one feels like doing nothing compared to the slow one, right?

I've chosen the squat because squats exercise the key muscles that provide the foundation for most activities of daily living - legs, hips, and core. And I've chosen a hip-hinge rather than a "normal" squat because hinges activate your glutes, whereas squats target your quads.

Activating your glutes in a squatting type of motion builds more stability at your knees, which is hugely beneficial when you're older.

What this means for you: This exercise activates your glutes in a slow movement, building strength. You'll feel stronger on your feet and lower back as you walk and be less likely to trip.

To perform a hip hinge squat, you should sit back more with your hips instead of pushing your knees forward over your toes. In a regular squat, many people tend to bend their knees forward first and then move straight down, almost shifting their weight forward. Don't do this.

Imagine that you are picking up a large empty box that is right in front of you, and you cannot move your knees too far forward. To lower and grasp each side of the box you have to sit back with your hips.

Here is the exercise - six repetitions over 60 seconds while holding a dumbbell in each hand.

  • Standing, grasp the dumbbells with straight arms by each side, and brace for the squat.
  • Start the sit back with your hips and slowly lower to the count of 6 to 8 seconds while maintaining near-vertical shins.
  • Lower through about 60 degrees - your thighs don't need to be parallel with the floor. Lower the dumbbells down the outside of your legs.
  • Hold for 1 second at the bottom and then push up quickly.
  • Take a second at the top to feel yourself control your grasp of the dumbbells - and repeat.

Do 6 reps in a minute, then rest for one minute, and repeat this set 6 times.

⇒ If you cannot complete a set, your dumbbells are too heavy. If you feel you could easily keep going for more than 6 sets, then your dumbbells are too light.

Start gradually, stay slow, and enjoy the journey.

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

Thanks for reading!

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>> My Latest Blog Post: Energise Your Golden Years: Boosting Your Desire to Exercise with Gut-Healthy Foods

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

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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.

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