Like what you read in this newsletter? Invite your friends to sign up as you did for my regular health and exercise tips to live longer better.
I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
My apologies, a problem in the email system last week meant that only about 25% of you received my lovingly crafted newsletter! I didn’t pick this up until later in the week.
You can find it online here, and below are the sections headings, for your interest:
1. Chronic stress kills our hippocampal cells ✔ Meditation reduces stress and brain degeneration.
2. People who are in good shape maintain good habits ✔ Here are four that work and will make a difference.
3. Scientific evidence for popular health supplements - visualised.
4. Relieve back pain with these four exercises that will help your nervous system adapt - (1) Child's Pose, (2) Cat Stretches, (3) Upward-facing Dog, (4) The Natural Squat.
AND, I also introduced online exercise plans, starting with the four back pain relief exercises - see below ↓↓↓
// NEW Get My FREE ONLINE EXERCISE PLANS
A study of 1,853,610 adults found that a little regular exercise makes a big contribution to avoiding infection with Covid-19 and an even bigger contribution to reducing its severity - see item #2.
I tend to put off getting new glasses and putting up with less than optimum vision. It turns out this is not a wise choice for our cerebral health - see item #1.
Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:
⭑ New research links vision loss with dementia - get those new glasses ✔
⭑ Regular moderate exercise significantly reduces Covid-19 severity ✔
⭑ Looking for happiness? You might be looking in the wrong place
⭑ Sore neck - these 6 exercises will help reduce pain
01 Improving Vision May Help Prevent Dementia [Harvard Health]
I almost placed an exclamation mark at the end of the above article title! I wouldn't be so surprised if it said preventing dementia reduces vision impairment, but not the other way around.
An analysis published on April 25, 2022, by JAMA Neurology, suggests it may be possible. The study comprised 16,690 people over 65, and examined the relationship between various risk factors and reported dementia.
The highest risk of dementia was attributable to hypertension, followed by obesity, depression, and hearing loss.
⇒ But the analysis also found that vision loss was another dementia risk factor, at about the same level of attribution as social isolation.
What it means for us: The researchers say that it is an observational study and that it does not indicate that vision loss leads to dementia.
But the results do suggest that improving our visual acuity, such as with glasses or cataract removal, might help maintain cognitive fitness in older adults.
I found this interesting because I had cataracts in both eyes for many years, and put off an operation as I misunderstood what the cost might be - I had substantially overestimated the cost as it turned out.
In light of this study, we would all be wise to keep our vision in good shape and not put treatment off.
Related: Dizziness And Cataracts - Is There A Link?
02 Regular Exercise Reduces Risk of COVID-19 Infection and Severity
The link between regular physical activity and COVID-19 severity is poorly understood. However, a new observational study of 1,853,610 adults, with an average age of 53, found that those who included regular physical activity in their weekly routine had an 11% lower risk of COVID-19 infection.
They also had a 36% lower risk of hospital admission, a 44% lower risk of severe COVID-19 illness, and a 43% lower risk of death from COVID-19 than their physically inactive peers.
⇒ These are significant benefits, especially to ward off the new variants that are emerging regularly.
Scientists speculate that regular moderate-intensity exercise may boost our body's anti-inflammatory responses, as well as cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, all of which could explain its beneficial effects on COVID-19 severity.
What this means for us: This study used self-reporting of exercise levels, so it is not a gold standard in terms of experimental design. However, the size of the study was very large and this improves the validity of the conclusions.
The self-reported exercise levels were quite modest, equivalent to 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week.
Moderate exercise includes brisk walking, swimming, mowing, vacuuming and light effort cycling. Vigorous exercise includes jogging faster than brisk walking, hiking, bicycling fast, tennis, or any active gym class.
In other words, a 30-minute brisk walk 5 days a week will lower your risk of COVID infection and its potential severity. That's a good investment.
Related: How To Exercise And Eat In Your 40s To Live Longer Better - Ten Tips
@Medium - Follow my publication there↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
03 Against the Pursuit of Happiness
From Vice.com, which explains why making happiness a goal is the most certain path to unhappiness - the so-called happiness paradox.
I find this topic interesting. If it interests you then you'll enjoy the article.
People going to a large party were each asked how much fun they expected to have. It transpired that the people who expected to have the most fun came away most disappointed with their night.
Been searching for that someone who'll "just make me happy"? It's a disappointing search. A fixation on satisfying your own emotional goals at every date or party is a sure way to not be present and to have no chance of enjoying the experience.
Here's the paradox. As you judge your degree of happiness or potential future happiness at every moment at a date or party you are projecting this as a neurosis. Others will reflect your unhappiness back to you and you'll come away disappointed.
What this means for us: Happiness is within our reach. But not when we pursue it as a goal. The pursuit of happiness moves us further and further away from the source of our own happiness, which is within each of us.
Achieving happiness, in the sense of contentment, starts with recognising our own beliefs and expectations and being realistic. If you believe that you deserve to be happy, then guess what, you are never likely to achieve happiness. That is an unrealistic belief.
The key to happiness is to balance our desires with our ability to satisfy them.
And here is the most important clue - desiring happiness does not bring happiness. Rather, desire to do things and be present in circumstances where you can naturally fulfil your own expectations of yourself.
“Happiness is something that generally tends to creep up on us when we’re not thinking about it,” said George Loewenstein, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University.
⇒ Having a simple meal with a friend can bring unexpected happiness but that is not your goal in having the meal together.
Related: People With Problems Want To Give Them To You. Here’s How To Not Accept Them
04 6 Isometric Exercises to Help Cure Your Neck Pain
Our exercises of the week are ... neck exercises, six isometric exercises to relieve and potentially cure your neck pain.
I always feel that isometric exercises are underrated. Bruce Lee's isometric routine is famous, and he credited it with developing his explosive power.
Our necks start to make more grinding noises as we age. This noise is initially not because of degenerating joints, as we often think, but because our neck muscles have lost their strength. The loss of strength means that the muscles cannot hold the joints in the correct position to avoid misalignment and grinding.
Eventually, the joints will become damaged and painful. We can avoid this, and reduce existing pain, by strengthening our neck muscles.
⇒ Do these at your desk during the day, they take about 6 minutes.
What this means for us: Isometric exercises are where force is created and held for a short period - usually under 10 seconds and in this case from 5 to 8 seconds.
When in position, exert your force smoothly, and as powerfully as you can and hold for 5 to 8 seconds.
Do 3 repetitions of each isometric push, with a 10 to 20-second break in between each repetition. Just one set.
Start all of these by sitting with your head upright, and move your head into each exercise by maintaining a straight line from the top of your head to the base of your neck. In other words, think of your head as a lever.
- Forward Neck Flexion - With both your palms pressed onto your forehead press your head forward and resist with your arms. Feel the tension in the front of your neck. Hold 8 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.
- Backward Neck Extension - With your hands clasped behind your head, up high, press your head back, and resist with your arms. Feel the tension in the back of your neck. Hold 8 seconds, and release. Repeat 3 times.
- Lateral Flexion Right Side - Place the ball of your right hand above your ear, press gently, resist with your neck and head, and increase the pressure. Feel the tension in the right of your neck. Hold 8 seconds, and release. Repeat 3 times.
- Lateral Flexion Left Side - Place the ball of your left hand above your ear, press gently, resist with your neck and head, and increase the pressure. Feel the tension in the left of your neck. Hold 8 seconds, and release. Repeat 3 times.
- Neck Rotation Right Turn - Place the ball of your right hand on the side of your right chin, fingers running up your right cheek. press gently, resist by attempting to turn your head to the right, and increase the pressure. Feel the tension on the opposite side. Hold 8 seconds, and release. Repeat 3 times.
- Neck Rotation Left Turn - Place the ball of your left hand on the side of your left chin, fingers running up your left cheek. press gently, resist by attempting to turn your head to the left, and increase the pressure. Feel the tension on the opposite side. Hold 8 seconds, and release. Repeat 3 times.
These exercises are demonstrated on this video, which is also accessible from the your personal version when you click to get the program, above.
In case you missed it...
Related: How To Go From On-knee to Full Pushups, and Reap The Benefits
Thanks for reading!
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 email@example.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:
The Exact Slow Pace You Must Run and Cycle To Max Fat-Burning
As You Age Pistachios Can Help You Sleep Better
I Started Trail Running At 70. Besides Being Bitten By A Dog I Love It
Vitamin D Is Free Yet We Don’t Get Enough And Our Health Is Suffering
Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now
Measuring Your Waist Will Tell You If You Are On Your Way To Diabetes
Rebuilding Your Fast-twitch Muscles Doesn’t Require Fast Movements
Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often — Here’s How To Start
How To Keep Your Weight Off With Daily Walks — 5 Fun Level-ups That Everyone Can Do
The Surprising Way Hip Flexors Pull You Down Into An Elderly Stoop And Shuffle, And How To Avoid It
Shining Light On Infrared Therapy - It Helped Unlock My Shoulder
This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game
Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better
Forget Beetroot Juice, Eat More Vegetables For Nitrate Potency And Longer Life
The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily
How Bananas Benefit Your Bones — And Brain
Every one of these weekly emails has [4MV] in the subject line to help you filter them and search for previous ones.