I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
An eye on your heart health.
Researchers at St George’s, University of London, used the retinal images from 88,052 patients aged 40-69 to train an Artificial Intelligence model.
The study found that the wider the retinal vessels, the greater the risk of future cardiovascular disease. The AI algorithm was able to accurately predict a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. This is good news for preventative medicine and the early detection of these risks.
Does milk beat water for staying hydrated? Do you need to carry a water bottle? Read what a Harvard Medical School professor says - see item #2.
Meal plans suit some, but the majority find them repetitious and ultimately demotivating. There's a better way to diet while retaining your own food preferences - see item #1.
Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:
⭑ For most people, meal plans don't work. Try this instead ✔
⭑ Milk or water - don’t fall for the hydration hype. Tap water is fine.
⭑ Starting out, or a regular treadmill user? ✔ These tips will help
⭑ Keep your ankles in tip-top condition with these 4 easy exercises
01 Meal Plans Don't Work But 3-Day Food Logs Do
Why don’t meal plans work for most people?
Meal plans don't work because they're restrictive and don't allow for spontaneity or flexibility. Therefore, you fall off the wagon and find it hard to reset yourself.
Three-day food logs, on the other hand, provide the real picture of what you actually eat and help you identify patterns and areas for improvement.
For example, 3-day food logs:
- Make you more aware of your eating habits and patterns.
- Highlight your portion sizes.
- Start you on a journey of becoming more mindful of what you eat.
⇒ Periodic 3-day food logs followed up with action plans allow you to navigate changes to your diet in the context of your lifestyle and food preferences.
What it means for us: Here is how you can use 3-day food logs to help achieve your weight loss goals:
- Track what you eat for three days (without self-judgment, put it all down on paper).
- Then, review what you want to change. Is it food choices, portion sizes, food quality, or meal frequency for instance.
- Circle everything that you want to change.
- Ask yourself (with your family if you wish) what you want to change first, and number the first three things in priority order.
- Make a plan to change those three top priority items in a way that you know that you have the best chance to succeed. By having three items even if you only succeed in changing one this will be a success, compared to having just one "top priority item" and missing your goal with this one item.
- Include in your plan the support you need from yourself or others to achieve your goals for the three top changes. Perhaps it is not buying certain things, or not having certain things on open display on your kitchen bench.
- Follow your plan for one month, review your progress, then do another 3-day food log and repeat the process above. Use what you have learnt over the last month to improve the plan that you build as a result of your new 3-day food log.
Do this for 6 months and you'll be delighted with how far you have come.
USE THIS GOOD TEMPLATE FROM ILLINOIS STATE U for your 3-day log.
Related: How To Keep Your Weight Off With Daily Walks — 5 Fun Level-ups That Everyone Can Do
02 When Replenishing Fluids, Does Milk Beat Water?
The US Dairy industry has hopped on to the "hydration for health" bandwagon with a promotion - billboards and all - claiming milk keeps you hydrated for longer than water.
This article took a look at the research behind the claims and the author (Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, a faculty member of Harvard Medical School) was not convinced.
For one thing, the studies all involved a small number of people, over a limited time, and milk replacing water in one of the studies (after exercise) added 1000 calories to the participant's daily intake. You'd have to work out again and not drink milk to burn off the calories!
⇒ The hype we see around us on hydration for health is simply marketing promoted by advertisers selling sports drinks, energy drinks and, yes, water bottles.
What this means for us: So, there you have it. You don't need to obsess over your water intake, and in fact, it's probably healthier to listen to your thirst cues. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (such as when you're exercising intensely or in hot weather), but for the most part, drink when you're thirsty and you'll be just fine.
And ... you probably don’t need fluids at hand at all times or to closely monitor daily fluid intake to be healthy - unless you have related medical concerns.
For example, running while holding a heavy water bottle is likely to aggravate your back muscles more than any benefit from taking a drink now and then. Stop at the next tap instead if you are thirsty.
Coming back to the exceptions, I think that there are two important ones:
- If you are sweating a lot during exercise then use a bottle and drink just before you feel thirsty i.e. use your experience. Feeling thirsty is a sign of dehydration.
- After significant muscular exercise a glass of milk with a small sprinkle of salt is as good as a $6 protein drink for all but elite athletes. This IS a case for milk.
Related: I Started Trail Running At 70. Besides Being Bitten By A Dog I Love It
@Medium - Follow me on Medium ↗, covering ⭑food, ⭑brain, ⭑body, ⭑life
03 How To Train On A Treadmill - 7 Tips
This is a useful post from Runtastic because we often tend to use treadmills without giving the technique much thought.
Apparently this year, for the first time ever, home treadmills have emerged as a global fitness trend. It seems like they are the only piece of home gym equipment that isn't languishing after Covid.
Treadmills allow you to control your pace and gradient, so you can tailor your workout to your specific needs. For example, the cushioned running surface is more gentle on joints than on tarmac or concrete.
With a small bit of attention, you can get more out of your treadmill sessions e.g. by always raising the gradient to at least 1%, see below.
⇒ On the other hand, you can overdo it by running too many long sessions with no corresponding strength exercises, and your gait can suffer because the treadmill does the work of pulling you forward.
What this means for us: Apply these tips and you'll get extra "full body" benefits from your treadmill aerobics:
- Start out easy (for beginners) - start at a moderate, controlled pace. As with any new training stimulus, give your body time to adapt to the environment.
- Add "air resistance" - by raising the gradient to 1%. This will help you translate your treadmill running into outdoor running endurance.
- Watch your posture - pay attention to your gait and stride length, and look ahead instead of down at the display. This will help avoid neck strains.
- Go light on the soles - the well-cushioned, rolling belt of the treadmill changes the way you strike and push off the running surface. Compared with outdoor running, you don’t have to push off as hard or for as long to generate forward propulsion. This allows you to wear light flexible-soled shoes.
- Add variety - your body will respond to variations by including inclines and intervals, think of it as a program you follow - easy, heavy, slow, faster.
- Go outdoors if you can - this is important for improving push-off and negotiating varied terrain – meaning ankle strength and flexibility.
I've omitted the 7th tip as it recommended "HIIT" on a treadmill which is, in my opinion, a great way to injure yourself.
Pro Tip 1: Don't overdo the treadmill. I've observed many gym-goers - mainly women - who spend an hour on the treadmill on every visit. This is not great for your bone strength, as endurance running sheds bone mass. Do strength exercises at least once a week.
Pro Tip 2: The fact that you don’t have to push off, and that you don’t have to "pull the ground" towards you if walking on a treadmill, or spring forward elastically if you are running, leads to imbalances which you should correct - see my "Related" article below:
Related: How To Walk Better (And Undo The Damage Of Treadmills)
04 Avoid Ankle Injuries And Balance Better With These Four Everyday Simple Exercises
Our exercise of the week is... for your ankles. Why ankles? Because without being confident on your feet, or worried about lower limb injury, then your opportunity to exercise and live longer is severely diminished.
When I searched online I only found ankle exercises that require some manual pushing or pulling or using a band or ball or other tools. So I wrote the above article which requires no props.
Here are four very simple foot flexibility exercises that require nothing except your feet. They will improve ankle flexibility, help keep your feet limber and reduce your risk of injury.
⇒ Strengthening your feet and regaining the range of motion at your ankles also helps to take the stress off your knees and promotes healthy knee function.
What this means for us: Do these before or after walking or running, or just when you have a chance in the ad break while watching TV. I do them before running as a warm-up, and after as an active stretch.
The four exercises are:
- Feet pointed out.
- Feet pointed in.
- Walking on the outside of the foot.
- Walking on heels.
In all cases, walk down your hall, or across a room a few times, or 6 to 10 metres outside. Walking in a figure-8 is even better as it stimulates a more intensive neuromuscular response.
See the video below, or read more and see the video at the full article.
Feet pointed out - While standing, turn your toes so that they point outward, about 45-degrees or until you feel resistance. Turn out to your full range of rotation. Slowly walk forward, and feel your lazy muscles all the way up from your feet to your hips.
Feet pointed in - This exercise is simply the opposite of the above activity. Turn your feet in to the full range of motion - aiming for about 45-degrees. Slowly walk forward while keeping your feet in this position.
Walking on the outside of your foot - This one takes a little more getting used to, but it is very worthwhile to improve your range of ankle motion and to condition the muscles and tendons.
Roll your feet out slightly so that only their outside is touching the ground, while the inside is slightly off the ground. Be cautious when you first start doing this, it is quite safe but don’t roll your foot so far that you roll your ankle and sprain it!
Slowly walk forward while balancing carefully on the outside of your feet.
Walking on your heels - Last but not least, raise your toes and hold your foot up at the front to balance on your heels. Keep your toes in a more or less straight line with your raised foot.
Only your heels will be on the floor as you slowly walk forward. If you find it difficult to balance, slow down and recover your balance, but stay on your heels and move slowly forward.
Thanks for reading!
I will add today's exercise above to my free app, so look out for it.
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: How Many Pistachios Should I Eat For Sleep and When?
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'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:
How To Go From On-knee to Full Pushups, and Reap The Benefits
The Exact Slow Pace You Must Run and Cycle To Max Fat-Burning
As You Age Pistachios Can Help You Sleep Better
Vitamin D Is Free Yet We Don’t Get Enough And Our Health Is Suffering
Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better
Measuring Your Waist Will Tell You If You Are On Your Way To Diabetes
How Avoiding A High Viral Load Can Save Your Life - Coronavirus
Skipping Breakfast May Make You More Likely To Develop Diabetes - Research
This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game
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
People With Problems Want To Give Them To You. Here’s How To Not Accept Them
Forget Beetroot Juice, Eat More Vegetables For Nitrate Potency And Longer Life
Drink This Many Cups Of Coffee Daily For Better Health
Dizziness And Cataracts - Is There A Link?
Rebuilding Your Fast-twitch Muscles Doesn’t Require Fast Movements
Rebuilding Your Fast-twitch Muscles Doesn’t Require Fast Movements. Rebuild Your Balance in 2 Minutes Daily
How To Get The Health Benefits Of Black Tea - Even If You Don't Like Drinking It
The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily
How To Exercise And Eat In Your 40s To Live Longer Better - Ten Tips
Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often — Here’s How To Start
Don’t Distract Your Immune System By Poor Dental Hygiene
Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now
How To Sleep Better And Recover Like Elite Soccer Players
How To Find Purpose In Your life Without Feeling Like You Are Endlessly Chasing Your Tail
Walking Barefoot Improves Your Brain, Balance, and Soul And Reduces Running Injuries
Every one of these weekly emails has [4MV] in the subject line to help you filter them and search for previous ones.