Mix and match during the week, or daily if you are a runner
We take our joints for granted until they're injured. None more so than our feet.
Our feet have 26 bones (25 percent of all bones in the human body are in the feet), 33 joints, and more than 80 tendons and ligaments. There are also 20 main muscles, each with different actions and jobs that help us walk, run, jump and stand.
These muscles can become weakened, tightened and inflamed just from our everyday activities. There is a lot that can go wrong - a lot of attached parts that can transmit stress through the entire foot and into our leg, hips and lower back.
That's why keeping our feet flexible and strong is worth a little extra effort. This effort not only helps reduce foot and ankle pain but also strengthen the tendons and improves our mobility and gait.
Not to mention the earthing benefits of bare feet
We take our feet for granted until they're injured. I persisted in running too many extra kilometres in my favourite running shoes until my feet told me to grade-up to new shoes.
As well as bringing out my new shoes, I decided to walk barefooted every day as a way of reconditioning my feet. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision, as I have now found out. You might like to give it a try.
When I decided to walk barefooted, I had no specific theory in mind. I just figured that having the bones, tendons and muscles of my feet moving across a natural surface - road, trail, and the beach in my case - would activate neuromuscular pathways that shoes don't.
Your tendons help your brain understand how to balance
We rarely hear of the need to keep our tendons healthy. But we know that our balance gets worse as we age. The things we need to do to keep our tendons healthy also help us better sense the position and movement of our joints.
As we age, our ability to sense the position and movement of our joints degrades, even in very active older people. This loss is more severe in inactive people and leads to a less stable gait and more falls.
This is why it helps to think of regular daily exercise as a means of living longer better by avoiding falls - and also looking better longer with an upright posture. Your aim is not to build muscles and exhaust yourself; it is to improve your balance. In doing that, you'll need to build more muscle, but that outcome is a side-effect.
The best program to combat loss of balance is a combination of aerobic, balance and strength exercises. This combination keeps our tendons healthy, as well as our ligaments and muscles.
My feet told me that they'd had enough
I have zero brand allegiance. I buy when a quality item is on special, including running shoes, irrespective of brand. But from the moment that I stood up in my Saucony Freedom ISO shoes (Black 8.0D) I knew that I could be a fanboy.
Just two years before, almost to the day, I hated running. You know, when you do a "power hour" and the instructor lines you up at the finish for the fireman's shuttle run. Hated it. Even just lining up for sprints across the room - not happy.
I could do it well. It was rare if I was not in a leading group. But I just wanted it to finish.
The gym went on a summer roster over Xmas (down under in Australia). Although classes were peripheral to how I trained at the gym, I liked to do one class each week for variety. I tried boxing classes and found them a waste of time. As there was nothing in the Xmas program that interested me, I decided to run, twice a week.
Six lingering after-effects that will devastate your old age
While research into the longer-term effects of COVID-19 is in its infancy, we know that they include fatigue, brain fog, palpitations, mood swings, kidney damage, blood clots, cognitive decline, and increased chronic inflammation. While these symptoms can severely affect older adults, they are recorded in all age groups, even the 18 to 35s.
And they may last forever.
The horror stories from COVID-19 survivors of their lingering impairment and suffering are only just coming to light.
In July, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report which found nearly a third hadn't returned to their usual state of health two to three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.
"In contrast, over 90 per cent of outpatients with influenza recover within approximately two weeks of having a positive test result," the report's authors note.
Of this we can be sure - the long-term effects of COVID-19 on our health are pervasive and can be devastating. They are nothing like the rare damage caused by influenza.
Get the balance right, and live longer better
The benefits of omega-3 fats from fatty fish and likely from plant sources like flaxseeds and walnuts are well known. After all, the media frequently talk about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, and sales of fish oil supplements are more than $1 billion per year in the United States.
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, and our only source is from food. Omega-6 is omega-3's cousin, also derived from the food we eat.
The only difference between omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is in the structure of their molecules. Both are essential. Our body cannot produce them, so we need to obtain them from our diet.
It is not a matter of one of them being "better" than the other. We need both, and generally, we all need to eat more of them, as long as we don't get the ratio out of balance.
An imbalance in our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is associated with adverse health outcomes, potentially negating the overall benefits. For example, a high dietary intake of omega-6 induces a proinflammatory response (raising the level of chronic inflammation) whereas omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties.
Exercise and healthy food count but there's an unexpected twist
Scientists are increasingly discovering that the changes in the circadian rhythm as we age are associated with reduced longevity.
Normal, healthy aging is associated with a weakening of the circadian system. The first indication of damping of circadian rhythms with advancing age came from studies by Franz Halberg in the 1950s, on mice. We now know that circadian rhythm plays a vital role in health, and prolonged clock disruptions are associated with chronic diseases.
Knowing how to boost strengthen the circadian rhythm may yet turn out to be as important as strengthening our muscles, for longer life.
Until now, the taste of raw eggs made me sick
When younger, even the thought of raw egg would start my stomach churning. I couldn't comprehend how awful an eggnog must taste.
This month I replaced my usual morning proprietary protein share with - an eggnog! I couldn't believe how innocuous it tastes, and my nog is jam packed with protein.
Until this month, I was using a proprietary protein shake with 36g of protein per serving, at a cost of $68 for 14 serves - about $5 per serve. It was a quality product, but in these times it pays to preserve cashflow even it means sacrificing some quality.
Reducing inflammation eases pain gets you mobile again
About three weeks ago, my shoulder suddenly locked up while I was brushing my hair. I was tremendously painful, so I researched all the ways that I might get it moving again. One way that was new to me was Red Light Therapy.
It seems to have helped a lot. It might help you if you have inflamed or injured muscles, tendons or joints - here's what I found out.
Lower blood pressure and more flexible arteries
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that dietary nitrate may have a protective role in health, in particular vascular health, and in particular by lowering blood pressure.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and heart failure are three of the leading causes of death globally. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are responsible for a significant (typically about 25%) of premature deaths, and the risk substantially increases with age.
For such a major public health problem, it is perhaps surprising that by simply improved our diet quality - by eating more vegetables - we can substantially reduce the risk of dying early.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter