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

4MV #225 Age-defying fitness: insights from a 93-year-old 4-time world champion ✔ consistency

Published about 1 month ago • 7 min read

⭑ An exercise routine for a 93-year-old champion ✔ it's not magic
⭑ A weak digestive tract is a trait of Long Covid ✔ how I changed my diet to cope
⭑ Apple a day helps, with the skin helps a lot better ✔ arterial health
⭑ An unliked but universally available exercise for healthier, pain-free knees ✔

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


A belated happy new year, and I wish you health and happiness for 2024.

I had an eventful break as I tested positive for COVID-19 (for the first time) a week before Xmas. That put a stop to my plans to run 5km daily.

In the aftermath, in the sense of Long-Covid, I learnt something about how to better look after our gut health - see item #2 below.

This 4-time world champion rower is 94, and his secret to fitness is yours for the doing - see item #1.


01 How a 93-year-old stays a champion rower

At 93, Richard Morgan is a four-time world rowing champion in indoor rowing "with the aerobic engine of a healthy 30- or 40-year-old".

This is a great story to start the year because the magic of his weekly training routine is that there is no magic.

Richard's routine focuses on aerobic and strength training, along with balance exercises and good nutrition.

⇒ If there is a bit of magic, it is this - consistency.

What this means for you: Consistently following a program like that of Richard Morgan, at whatever level of exertion, will benefit you from whatever age you start for the rest of your life.

He consistently follows an exercise routine that includes the following components:

  1. Aerobic and strength: He rows about 30 kilometres (approximately 18.5 miles) every week, averaging around 40 minutes per day.
  2. Mix of training intensities: Around 70% of his workouts are easy, where he exerts minimal effort. Approximately 20% are at a difficult but tolerable pace, and the remaining 10% are at an all-out intensity that is barely sustainable.
  3. Weight training: Morgan engages in weight training two or three times per week. He uses adjustable dumbbells to perform lunges (improving balance), rows, and curls, completing about three sets of each exercise. He continues until his muscles reach fatigue and can no longer continue.
  4. High-protein diet: He consumes a diet rich in protein, exceeding the recommended daily intake of around 60 grams for someone of his weight (59.2kg). He eats ~2.3 grams/kg, ~230% of the recommended intake. (See my related blog post below).

This pattern will do you no harm, and a lot of good. If you don't have access to a rowing machine, try a stationary cycle and add in push-ups. It is also not a great idea to push reps to failure. It is now well-established that our body responds better to strength development if we keep a few reps "in the tank".

Make it a goal to build a program like Richard Morgan's into your lifestyle.

Related: Over 50? You're Not Eating Enough Protein. Here's Why, and How Much


02 How to reactivate a weak digestive tract, e.g. after Covid

My experience with Covid wasn't bad. After 10 days, my fuzzy head cleared, and that was that - almost. My gut then went into spasms that were worse than the initial Covid. I had to lie down for hours to avoid retching or worse.

Some research turned up the fact that 20% of Long-Covid sufferers have had digestive tract problems for up to 2 years. The feeling is like food poisoning, because the digestive tract has shut down and tries to eject its contents by any means possible.

My mind turned to marathon runners, most of whom suffer from increasing nausea and digestive tract problems the longer they compete. Blood is redirected away from the gut when running, and the gut lining loses its ability to function and takes longer and longer to recover.

At this stage, I felt disheartened. Could this mean that I won't be able to run again?

⇒ After some deep-dive research, I have created a diet that has me back on track and even without post-running nausea.

What does this mean for you? If you have any post-Covid gut problems, you might like to talk to your doctor about my suggestions.

Here are the basics, if you would like to know more, shoot me an email. Adjust your diet around these principles:

  • Introduce Probiotics, e.g. yoghurt or kefir, into your daily routine. Drink this first and before anything heavier that would slow its transit through your stomach.
  • Resistant Starches: These are complex carbohydrates that resist digestion in the small intestine and reach the large intestine, where they feed gut bacteria. Heat steel-cut oats, rice, barley, quinoa, potato, sweet potato etc and then cool overnight. Eat a combination of your choice every day.
  • Prebiotics: These are non-digestible fibres that also feed gut bacteria but can have different structures and properties compared to resistant starches. Inulin flour is a prime example of a prebiotic that isn't a resistant starch. Green vegetables and less ripe bananas are prebiotic. Have these every day.
  • Have Smaller Meals, try 4 a day instead of 3.
  • Drink More Water in smaller amounts throughout the day.
  • Add Magnesium - try a Magnesium Night Powder - this plays a crucial role in muscle relaxation, including those in the digestive tract.
  • Add Glutamine (L-Glutamine), as this plays a crucial but rarely acknowledged role in immune and endothelial cell functions, which are what break down when COVID attacks our gut. Start with 10ML X 3 daily for 1 week, 5ML X 3 daily for 1 week, 5ML X 2 daily for 1 week, and then continue with 5ML daily. A good source of dietary glutamine is grass-fed beef.
  • Calm Your Stress. Stress worsens gut problems. Medicate, breathe, walk outside, do yoga (or go peddle gently on your stationary cycle for 20 minutes).

⇒ This worked for me after one week, and although I can still feel dull gut issues wanting to break out they are definitely receding.

Related: ​Drink This Many Cups Of Coffee Daily For Better Health​

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


03 Apples boost artery health, if you eat the peels

I put this in the category of "an oldie but a goodie". Apple skins are the secret of why an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Apple peels contain high concentrations of flavonoids, which have been shown to improve endothelial function and lower blood pressure.

When participants in one study ate apples with the peel, their flavonoid levels in the bloodstream increased significantly over the next three hours compared to those who ate peeled apples.

What this means for you: The beneficial effects of flavonoids found in the apple peel are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. People with healthy arteries generally live longer.

⇒ Remember to wash the skin thoroughly - or buy organic apples. The accumulative effect of apple pesticides includes allergic reactions similar to hay fever.

If you are open to it, eating the skin of oranges is also the source of their key metabolic benefits.

Related: Why I Eat The Whole Orange - Here's Why You Should Too


04 Hate them? Why you should get to love your wall squats

Our exercise of the week is... wall squats.

Wall squats are no one's favourite exercise and are rarely done outside of classes. Yet as we age, they offer fantastic benefits in improving our joint strength and balance, thus helping us avoid falls. And you can do them in your lounge room!

If you have knee pain while going down stairs, one of the best exercises that you can do to help improve strength in your knees is a wall squat.

The reason the wall squat is such a good exercise for knee pain is because it's an isometric, which means without movement (see my *Related post below).

⇒ For example, the isometric wall squat will not aggravate inflammation as the knee joint is not moving during the exercise.

What this means for you: Here is the proper form for knee squats, to relieve your knee pain and to help avoid getting knee pain:

  1. Start by standing with your heels against the wall and step out about a foot length away.
  2. Slide slowly down the wall, keeping your butt in contact with the wall and your back straight.
  3. Ensure that your knees are pushing outwards, not collapsing inwards, to avoid putting excessive stress on the knees.
  4. Hold the low position for 20-30 seconds.
  5. Avoid putting your weight on your thighs using your hands, and instead, focus on using your glutes and quads to hold yourself up.
  6. Slowly drive through your heels to return to the starting position.

Tips for Form:

  • Maintain proper foot placement and alignment throughout the exercise.
  • Placing your feet too close to the wall can cause knee misalignment and excess stress. Stepping out about a foot length prevents the knees from going over the toes.
  • Point your knees in the same direction as your toes to keep your knees stacked.
  • Keep your back straight and your butt in contact with the wall.
  • Focus on pushing your knees outwards and maintaining a controlled descent and ascent.

What Not to Do:

  • Do not let your knees collapse inwards during the squat.
  • Do not use your hands to support your weight on your thighs.

Level-Up Suggestions:

  • Increase the duration of the hold to challenge your strength and endurance.
  • Gradually increase the depth of the squat to work on building more lower body strength.
  • Incorporate resistance bands or weights to add an extra challenge to the exercise.

⇒ Watch this video which has a very clear explanation (3 mins).

*Related: Rebuilding your fast-twitch muscles doesn’t require fast movements. Rebuild your balance in 2 minutes daily.

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: Energise Your Golden Years: Boosting Your Desire to Exercise with Gut-Healthy Foods

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

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