Newsletter: Fasting may be good for your body but it is better for your brain - breaking news - keeping dementia at bay
Plus, to reduce risk of early death forget your weight and start measuring your waist, says global study of 2.5 million people
[Copy of my weekly newsletter] Surprisingly, intermittent fasting has been found to improve our brain health and functioning - see #1. Forget the scales, measure your waist - check item #2. The pandemic has more people exercising - are you one of them? - item #3. The reverse lunge with front-kick is one of my fav movements, for all purposes - item #4. #staysafe #keepmoving #stayhealthy
Here are my 4 Most Valuable pieces of content from around the web, to help you live longer better:
⭑ Your brain will stay brighter for longer if fasting is part of your life
⭑ Even if your BMI and weight is good your belly fat might kill you earlier
⭑ The ways we've reacted positively to the pandemic
⭑ Kicking your way to better balance and less hip pain
1. How Intermittent Fasting Changes Your Brain
Most of the interest in intermittent fasting is focused on weight loss. A new study, published in the journal Brain and Behavior, set out to answer this question: how does intermittent fasting affect neurogenesis?
Great news! The study found that (in mice) intermittent fasting improved the brain's ability to form new neuronal connections in the hippocampus. Generating new connections allows us to form new memories and helps to keep dementia at bay.
The study adds another piece to the puzzle of how diet—specifically in this case, when you eat—affects cognitive health. Judging by these results, it appears that restricting our feeding window can have profound effects.
What this means for us: I know that it feels a bit faddish - it still does to me - but there is mounting evidence that causing our body to feel to mild stress from periods of fasting is beneficial for our health. How hard would you try if you could maintain better brain health for longer?
Try not eating after 8 pm or doing morning exercise fasted (light to moderate exercise), or fitting in a 12 or 14-hour fasting window twice a week.
It's not explained in the article, but the actual reason fasting works is that it trains our body to be more metabolically flexible, namely to burn fat more efficiently and to store and use glucose in healthier ways. When you have 9 minutes, I explain here: Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often - Here's How To Start
2. Even If Hips, Legs Slims Down, Belly Fat a Danger (WebMD)
Even if other areas of the body are in good shape, once fat starts to accumulate in the belly region, the risk of dying an early death goes up. So says an extensive review of 72 studies involving more than 2.5 million patients from all over the globe.
The study author says people should be more concerned about their waist, rather than just focusing on [overall] weight or body mass index. On the other hand, retaining muscle mass reduced the risk of early death. Specifically, every 5-cm increase in thigh circumference was linked to an 18% drop in early death risk.
What this means for us: We all need to watch our waistline. While we cannot target belly fat, exercise and a balanced diet will reduce belly fat over time. In a nutshell, it means doing aerobic exercise, more strength exercises, and cutting out excess calories. Fasting - the previous item - may be part of the answer for you.
The real message is that just weighing yourself, and your body mass index, does not give you the evidence you need to protect your health. My rule of thumb is that if your waist measurement is more than half your height then go see your doctor.
Related: Measuring Your Waist Will Tell You If You Are On Your Way To Diabetes
Medium - a publishing platform with 250 million views a month -
recently awarded me a ⭑Top Writer in Food⭑ status.
Follow my publication there, covering food, brain, body, life.
3. Here’s How the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Changed Our Lives
A new survey, published by Cleveland Clinic, reveals how Americans have changed their approach to health and health care, in ways both positive and negative.
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has triggered a wave of mental health issues. Top of the list are stress and anxiety, then depression and loneliness.
Perhaps less expected are the positive responses. Since the pandemic started, nearly two-thirds of the survey’s participants (62%) say they’ve made a significant lifestyle change, including:
One-third of the participants (34%) say they’re eating more healthy food and a whopping 87% say they’ll keep the habit up. Over a quarter of respondents (28%) say they’ve increased their exercise frequency during the pandemic,
What this means for us: While we are all feeling the stress, try to use the pandemic as a trigger to get outdoors more, to exercise more, and to shape up your diet. It often takes a health-scare to get us moving - that's what happened to me more than 20 years ago.
I am certainly seeing more people outdoors running, walking, jogging and cycling, and there is more community connection than before COVID! Be a part of it. We are all in the same boat, and it's motivating to see people moving their bodies.
Related: The Best Food To Help You Sleep Better And Break The COVID Stress Cycle
4. Reverse Lunge With Front Kick
Our exercise of the week is the reverse lunge with front-kick. I like this exercise because you can use it in many scenarios. For example, gently to warm up first thing in the morning, as a serious warm-up before running or another exercise, or as a daily conditioning activity for your balance.
The video is a very good example, so follow that > here.
Progression: When you have the necessary strength and stability, bring your knee across your body while simultaneously bringing the elbow of the opposite arm across a little to touch the rising knee - while standing as upright as possible.
What this means for us: This exercise is an example of those which should the foundation of your fitness routine. Your foundation exercises do everything that a gym machine cannot i.e. work your muscles in teams, coordinate with your brain, strengthen your stabiliser muscles, and build functional strength for life.
The reverse lunge will activate and strengthen your core, quads, hamstrings and glutes, and the many stabilising muscles of your hips. This will improve your coordination, decrease the risk of falls and injury, and eliminate overcompensations that probably have developed over time, especially those niggles on the outside of your hips from running.
In case you missed it...
Keep your feet strong: Avoid Ankle Injuries And Balance Better With These Four Everyday Simple Exercises
That's it for this week.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Disclaimer.
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