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

[4MV] Insomnia? Master this one simple trick to fall asleep ✔ in 60 seconds or less!

publishedabout 1 month ago
10 min read

Walter Adamson @bodyagebuster Helping You Live Longer better

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I trust you're safe, fit and well.

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


In last week's newsletter (item #2) I discussed mindfulness apps, and their reported effectiveness or not. Researchers are sceptical about the value of these apps, but I think they serve a purpose as long as you don't rack up $$$ of subscriptions.

Since then I have cashed in some frequent flyer points (that came with a mid-year bonus) for an Apple Watch. It's a nifty device that's for sure.

I've now downloaded several health apps and I think they are genuinely valuable. For sleep I chose Autosleep, and for breathing, Breathing Zone is remarkably good and free! - see #item 2 below.

Our quality of sleep often deteriorates as we age. This leads to us waking up more often, so what's the best trick to get back to sleep? Here's one method that many people swear by - see item #2.

Vegetables are boring, just ask any kid. But as we eat less of them we are becoming more unwell from a global public health perspective. Here's how you can restart your old habit of eating more vegetables, and why this is so important as we age - see item #1.

Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:

⭑ Vegetables are potent preventers of cardiovascular diseases
⭑ Having trouble getting back to sleep during the night? Try this simple way ✔
⭑ The luck of the draw - some blood types are more protective of Covid!
⭑ Hate bear crawls? This tip will make them slightly more enjoyable ✔

01 Effects of Vegetables on Cardiovascular Diseases


I stumbled upon a 2017 study published in the journal "Nutrients" and it caught my attention (link above). Its message is very clear.

Eating vegetables is one of those things, like regular exercise, that we know that we should do more of but we just don't action it into our lifestyle.

Just as for exercise, there are compelling reasons to eat more vegetables. For example, eating vegetables is a great way to help control our weight and improve our overall health. Vegetables are low in calories and high in fibre, which can help us feel full and satisfied after eating, which reduces the likelihood of snacking.

But there's more. Many epidemiological studies have shown that vegetable consumption is inversely related to the risk of cardiovascular diseases. That is, eating more vegetables lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The cardioprotective effects of vegetables involve antioxidation (anti-aging) ✔ anti-inflammation ✔ anti-platelet (reducing blood clots) ✔ regulating blood pressure ✔ and lipid profile (reducing cholesterol) ✔ attenuating myocardial damage ✔ and modulating relevant enzyme activities as well as some other biomarkers associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Vegetables have been specifically proven to protect against heart disease in clinical trials, especially soybeans and their products which have been found to be potent protectors. Perhaps this is why the Japanese live so long?

Surprisingly, it is not yet fully understood how our basic vegetables protect us.

Scientists suspect that several kinds of components, like botanic protein, dietary fibre, vitamins (vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin and folate), essential elements (calcium and potassium) and phytochemicals (lycopene), might contribute to the cardioprotective effects.

What it means for us: Think about how to include more of these vegetables in your regular daily diet: potatoes, soybeans, sesame, tomatoes, dioscorea (think purple yams and sweet potatoes), onions, celery, broccoli, lettuce and asparagus.

It can be challenging to get into this habit. Here are my tips:

  • If you can, choose vegetables that are in season and local, as they will be most flavourful.
  • Try cooking them with spices or herbs for a different flavour profile.
  • Add veggies to meat dishes and soups. I’m a big fan of adding veggies to pasta sauce, stir-fry, beans and rice. Also add them to omelettes, salads and sandwiches.
  • Order vegetable side dishes when dining out. Choose a side dish of vegetables instead of fries.
  • Finally, make sure you enjoy the taste of the vegetables you choose as much as you enjoy the health benefits they provide!

What are your tips and tricks for eating more vegetables? Do let me know.

Related, read my article: Forget Beetroot Juice, Eat More Vegetables For Nitrate Potency And Longer Life

02 Master This One Simple Trick to Fall Asleep in 60 Seconds or Less!

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects people of all ages but especially seniors.

At night our brains continue to process information even when we are asleep. Studies show that we older adults have more trouble turning off our brains than younger adults. This can lead to restless nights or insomnia.

Additionally, certain medications prescribed for conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease can cause insomnia as a side effect. And health problems such as arthritis pain or other joint pain can also disrupt our ability to get a good night's rest .

One technique which has been found to be successful in helping get to sleep, and getting back to sleep if you wake up during the night, is focusing on breathing.

A specific technique called the 4-7-8 method is based on the fact that when you inhale, your body relaxes.

Yogis have known for centuries that the breath is intimately connected to the mind and body. They use specific breathing techniques to achieve a state of complete relaxation, counteracting stress and anxiety. Controlled breathing, or pranayama, has been shown to counteract stress and anxiety by slowing down the heart rate and inducing a state of deep relaxation.

The medical theory is that by imposing certain rhythms on the breath that gradually these slow rhythms gradually are induced into the involuntary nervous system. The involuntary nervous system controls most muscles in our body, including our heart, stomach and intestines. Thus these muscles gradually relax.

What this means for us: Controlled breathing is a powerful way to achieve a state of relaxation and calm.

The 4-7-8 method is an easy way to fall asleep, often in less than a minute. First, get settled into a comfortable position on your bed. Then:

  1. Simply inhale through your nose for four seconds;
  2. Hold your breath for seven seconds; and,
  3. Then exhale slowly through your mouth for eight more seconds.

Repeat until you fall asleep.

The long seven second pause holding your breath increases the oxygen absorption into your blood.

App Discovery! I found the Breathing Zone app works really well as a guide, and it has a setting for this 4-7-8 method.

Pro Tip: Breathe deep "into your stomach" not high into your chest. Place two fingers across your stomach right under your belly-button. Now "pull" your breath down to below the two fingers and feel the rise. When you breath deeply and use your diaphragm, it pushes down on your lungs, allowing them to fill with air. This is the best way to breathe while lying down.

I am not a restless sleeper so it only took me a few minutes to fall asleep using this technique. If you are someone who struggles with falling asleep, or staying asleep, then I would definitely recommend trying the 4-7-8 method!

Of course such breathing exercises are not like a sleeping pill. They take time and regularity to produce lasting changes. But over weeks, months, and years of practicing this method you will see a difference in how you feel mentally and physically.

There other things you can do to improve your sleep if you are struggling with insomnia: make sure your bedroom is dark and cool; avoid caffeine before bedtime; establish a regular bedtime routine; limit napping during the day; exercise regularly but not within three hours of bedtime; avoid watching television or working on the computer in bed.

Sleep well!

Related: Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better

@Medium - Follow my publication there↗, covering food, brain, body, life

03 These Blood Types Could Be More Vulnerable to COVID-19

Type O blood is the most common, followed by Type A. AB is the least common and apparently has some immunity to certain diseases. Blood type doesn’t affect us much in our daily lives in the West. Most of us don’t even know whether we’re Type A, B, AB, or O.

In contrast, in Asia, and Japan in particular, everyone knows their blood type. It is included as a necessary data field in all Japanese dating apps! If this field is not completed readers would find that to be quite unsettling ! You won't get a date.

Amazingly, several studies now suggest that people with Type A blood are at a much higher risk for contracting COVID-19 than those with Type O blood.

Researchers in China first shared this idea back in March, and the findings were echoed by a paper out of Columbia University a month later. Even DNA testing company 23andMe tapped their customers and found that among 750,000 people (by far the biggest study population yet) who were diagnosed and hospitalized for COVID-19, those with type O were more protected.

There are a lot of theories as to why people with Type O blood might be more protected against the coronavirus. But we still don't know for sure why this is the case.

Some experts believe that it has to do with the strength of a person's immune system, while others think that it may have something to do with the antibodies we produce depending on our blood type.

What this means for us: The bottom line is that blood type is actually a pretty weak player in the whole gamut of coronavirus epidemiology compared to working in crowded buildings, travelling, living and shopping in tighter quarters with strangers.

Age and health are next in line for susceptibility. If you’re older or have an underlying disease like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, you’re more likely to develop a severe case of coronavirus.

It's worth knowing your blood type - enter it into your smartphone "health" app.

The main benefit of the discovery of Type O's protective effect is in building an understanding of how the virus works rather than offering a new paradigm for public health recommendations (at this stage anyway).

04 The Tiny Tweak That’ll Make Your Lateral Bear Crawl Feel Easier

Our exercise of the week is ... the lateral bear crawl. The lateral bear crawl is a great exercise to have in your repertoire because it can be done anywhere, can serve as a warm-up and as part of a challenging set of bodyweight exercises, or as a segue between strength exercises for example.

If you've ever tried a lateral bear crawl, you probably already know that it's one of those (hard)core exercises that's as much a mental workout as a physical one.

It takes concentration and focus to maintain proper form while crawling laterally, and your muscles will definitely feel the burn when you're done. The challenge is to keep your balance while crawling sideways, and it definitely takes some coordination and practice to get the hang of it.

But once you do, this exercise can really help improve your overall balance and stability, plus for strengthening your core, hips, glutes and shoulders.

What this means for us: The key to success in the lateral movement is to stay stable as you move side-to-side. If you move the "intuitive" way you will most likely step your left hand and your left foot out, and then bring both your right hand and right leg in to come back into your bear.

This technique adds a little bit of a sway to one side and diminishes your core's effort to maintain stability. It's better to maintain the tension in the core. You may find yourself feeling tangled up and unsure of how to transfer your weight to one arm and leg at a time.

Here's an alternative crawl method which improves core tension and stability:

  1. Firstly, get the set-up right. This is rarely done properly. Place your wrists directly under shoulders, knees under hips, raise your knees about one foot width, no more, keep your back parallel with the floor. This creates your stable base.
  2. Think about pressing down through your palms and the balls of your feet to keep yourself anchored.
  3. Keep your abdominal muscles at least firm so that they act as a natural stabiliser for the rest of your body.
  4. Now, as you step out laterally e.g. to the left, your left hand and opposite leg (right leg) are going to step to that same (left) side. Then the other hand and the opposite leg are going to step the same way. This allows for your weight to be evenly distributed and maintains stability and core tension.

Try not to let one arm or leg dominate the movement - instead make sure to evenly distribute your weight between both sides.

You can do whatever combination of steps, distance, sets, reps that suit your purpose e.g. try 10m each way in the gym, 20 second rest, three times.

Check the video below for a clear illustration.

Lateral Bear Crawl Stability Movement Walter Adamson Blog @bodyagebuster
Lateral Bear Crawl - Stable Movement Sequence

Pro tip: See point #1 in the list above.

Good luck!

In case you missed it...

Related: Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now

Thanks for reading!

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Walter Adamson @bodyagebuster Helping your live longer better

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This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game

The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily

As You Age Pistachios Can Help You Sleep Better

I Started Trail Running At 70. Besides Being Bitten By A Dog I Love It

Shining Light On Infrared Therapy - It Helped Unlock My Shoulder

Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often — Here’s How To Start

The Exact Slow Pace You Must Run and Cycle To Max Fat-Burning

Vitamin D Is Free Yet We Don’t Get Enough And Our Health Is Suffering

How Bananas Benefit Your Bones — And Brain

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

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