Plus, how to improve your cognitive fitness
[Copy of my weekly Newsletter] Here are my hand-picked 4 Most Valuable pieces of content that I found this week, to help you live longer better.
These four topics stood out to me (click the links below):
1. 6 Common sleep myths you should know
Without a good night's sleep we not only get older faster, but we also lose some of the benefits of exercise and the value of the food we eat. Myths about sleeping can distract us from obtaining the rest we need.
What immediately caught my eye was the debunking of the myth that older people need less sleep. I recently rebuked this idea in an article I wrote about rest and recovery from exercise.
Another interesting myth concerns exercising in the evening. Sometimes it is said this can disturb our sleep compared to exercising earlier in the day. Apparently recent studies show that evening exercise might improve sleep, as long as it is not within one hour of bedtime.
(Personally, I think the most likely cause of poorer sleep quality as we get older is age-related imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters. Some of this can be corrected by the proper type of exercise, and diet.)
Our action: If you are beholden to any of the 6 myths, then let go and see if it improves your sleep.
2. Study pinpoints two exercises that give brain plasticity a big boost
That's a mouthful of a headline. Bottom line: the brain needs to keep adapting and rewiring to keep us cognitively fit as we age. Exercise helps.
The study team compared different types of exercise at different intensities.
There's good news. They found that 25 minutes of continuous moderate aerobic exercise produced as good results as anything else, including intense interval training. It's good news because it's easy to do moderate aerobic exercise.
Some examples include: brisk walking, cycling, easy jogging, jogging on a treadmill, easy rowing, swimming leisurely.
Your actions: Include 25 minutes of continuous moderate exercise in your weekly schedule - to keep improve your cognitive fitness.
3. Improve your balance by strengthening your core (Harvard Health)
You've read me saying many times that good balance is a key objective for us to maintain as we get older. A fall can be disastrous, as some of you may know from caring for your own parents.
This article has great advice on how to build your core strength without the risk of straining yourself. Some of the activities recommended at the gym can be too challenging if you haven't been exercising regularly.
Your actions: Check the article for 4 exercises which you can do at home: Plank on the table, Side hip raises, Pelvic tilt, and Glute bridges. Do these daily, and you are off to a good safe start to improving your balance.
4. Weight loss principles that say it all (for boxers)
These tips to help boxers maintain weight loss caught my eye. Boxers obviously take weight loss seriously - if they don't make the cut then they don't get to fight. That could mean no food on the table.
On the other hand, they have to eat enough to build muscular strength and feed muscular endurance. That's a tough set of requirements. The principles apply to us as well, for example: make your diet enjoyable, focus on vegetables and fruit, make sure that you get plenty of sleep, and eat a little more twice a week if you think that you can burn it off.
The author also recommends a higher protein intake. I think this is important not just for boxers, but also for everyone as we get older. I wrote about it here.
Your actions: Take some tips from the article and apply them in a way which works for you to help you in maintaining a healthy diet.
That's it for this week.
PS Want to know what happened when I was hit by lightning in Korea? This article on Medium tells my story.
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