Newsletter: Martial Arts and Seniors and three other tips for living longer better if you are over 50
This is the first edition of my weekly 4 Most Valuable pieces of content I can find to help you live longer better.
I read a lot of articles each week. A lot are just factory-produced content for Google. A lot are search engine headlines with little substance. A lot do not gel with my 20 years of experience exercising and my Professional Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
But some have very useful hints and "how tos". I pick four of these a week to share with you. I also add my insights, generally to explain the "why" so that you have more motivation to try.
These four articles stood out to me this week:
1. No Age Limit: 4 Reasons Seniors Should Train Martial Arts
I absolutely agree with the premise and encouragement of this article. As we age our brain, balance, and strength decline. Moveover, the neural connections between all these things atrophy - the nerve pathways become ineffective due to lack of use.
Martial arts rebuilds the neural pathways from the brain to the body. There's also evidence that neurogenesis takes place in some parts of the brain. That is, some neural pathways regrow and become active.
Brain-body coordination is a key element of martial arts training. This is directly addressing the issues above and plus other factors such as improving flexibility and posture.
My daughter competes in karate. She is sometimes trained by two visiting teachers - father and son, both high ranking blackbelts. The father is 81 and the son 60.
They obviously don't look like bodybuilders, they don't look like cross-fitters, and they don't look ripped. But when you see them you say "wow" I hope that I can look like that at 80 - fantastic. That's what martial arts does - live longer better.
Your action: Search for a martial arts club near you and go see if they run a senior's class.
2. 20 Herbs and Spices for Super Health
I go along with the idea of healthy herbs and spices. The top herbs are those you would find in an Italian diet - rosemary, thyme, oregano. The top ten are all herbs that we can easily find and easily incorporate into our everyday cooking. I'll be pulling a few more of these into my regular food.
I must admit that I don't pay an awful lot of attention to herbs, but I do to spices.
The top spices are tumeric, cinnamon and garlic. Tumeric is anti-inflammatory and its active ingredients can cross the blood-brain barrier and help improve neurological health. When you're older that's very important.
Cinnamon helps improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control - control of the sugar in your blood. As a Type 2 diabetic I know how important that is. It becomes more important when you are older as diabetes is more likely to strike as you age.
The article does not mention this, but it's important that you buy only medicial cinnamon. This mostly comes from Sri Lanka. 99% of cinnamon in the world is non-medicinal - this has no health benefits.
Ginger and black pepper also caught my eye for their benefits. That's because I make a point of using tumeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper every day - in a variety of ways. For example I add them all to the half-avocado I eat every day, and also to the resistant starch cereal breakfast I eat every day.
Your daily action: find a way to incorporate as many of these herbs and spices into your regular everyday food.
3. Living well with diabetes
An article close to my heart - having lived with Type 2 diabetes for nearly 20 years. I have had my diabetes under control for a long time now, based on diet and especially exercise.
If you are diabetic or at risk of diabetes then take it very very seriously.
I understand that if you are not at risk then you probably have no interest - just like me.
When I was told that I was diabetic I didn't know what it was. I went back to my office and googled it. What I saw almost made me pass out at my desk!
Here's the stark hard truth - if you can do anything do avoid becoming diabetic then do it. There is no cure.
You may see that there are a lot of people on the internet spruiking "cures" for diabetes - google it.
Believe me, there is no cure. I manage mine day-to-day, every day, with fabulous results. But my body still suffers the lingering micro-effects 24 hours a day.
You can control it, very well. You cannot NOT have diabetes once you have it.
The article is must for those of us who have it. The link is actually to a Harvard Health booklet on the subject. You can buy it online.
Your action: If you are at risk of, or are a diabetic click over and buy a copy of the publication. It comes as a PDF or physical booklet.
4. I professionally stretch people for a living - and this is the best stretch in my arsenal
I love the title of this article, it is a real email marketing winner. And, the content makes a lot of sense to me. She recommends the "Closed Figure 4 Hip Stretch" as the one that everyone feels instantly better by doing.
As we age the large number of complex muscles which support us through activation via our hips grow weaker. This leads to stresses, strains and loss of balance - and to potential falls.
The recommended stretch is one you see a lot after gym classes, where you put one ankle up on the raised knee of your other leg, and "thread the needle" and pull back. During this type of stretch daily, even while you sit, improves your mobility.
Alert: oddly enough the hero image of the article is not the stretch that they are describing!
Your action: read the article and start doing this simple stretch every day at least once each day. You'll notice a pleasant difference in the feeling of doing it after a few weeks.
That's it for this week.
Any questions? Get in touch, I love to hear your questions and help out.
Other popular posts:
Over 50? Strength Training is an Essential Fitness Strategy
Five Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your (New Year's) Fitness Resolution
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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