Put it to the Test - Part 3
Easy As C.A.T. Part 2
Body Barking? It Might Be As Easy As C.A.T.
The Focused Mind? It Matters.
Building Strength: I yam what I yam?
Much Ado About Something...
Healthy Headlines: Beware the Triple S
The Long Lever of Spring- A COVID-19 Update
Choose to MOVE: A Solution at Every Age
Limiter or Lever? It's The Little Things.
Ready for Reset? Start Priming.
Keep Growing - Performance Longevity
Digging Deep - Respect the Surge
Zoomies for Humans: Resolution 5
A Watched Pot Never Boils: Resolution 4
Resolution 3: Make Time For Tea
Micro-habit 2: The Oatmeal Resolution
If you've read along for a while or sat through one of the presentations we've given you've probably heard us talk about the goldilocks phenomenon....you know, the grading system for the perfect bowl of porridge.....not too hot, not too cold, just right. In mathematical terms this could be called "non-linear", that is a situation where more of a good thing doesn't necessarily produce better results (and less doesn't necessarily make things worse) which means there is a "just right" amount, a sweet-spot, which in the case of the Three Bears, was the temperature of baby-bear's morning hot-cereal.
There are so many aspects of life where this concept applies. Even things like water and Oxygen - definitely vital for us - can be problematic or even deadly in the wrong concentration. Certain kinds of Oxygen in fact ("reactive oxygen species") are markers of cellular stress which plays a role in aging and disease. This would generally be thought of as bad but, and this is where it can get really confusing, because even this too has a sweet-spot, short-term and resolving exposure can actually be good for our health such as in the case of exercise while constant or unresolving exposure such as in the case of regular e-cigarette use puts our nervous system on overdrive.
Q: So where does this leave us in terms of a New Year's micro-habit resolution?
A: Circling back to porridge......and oatmeal in particular.
Although oatmeal is not the ONLY type of hot cereal eaten for breakfast, the micro-habit resolution for this week centers on it because it is one of the most well studied. More than 100 years ago physicians started advocating for oatmeal as a way of reducing the impact of diabetes and there are countless other studies which have tested consumption of this whole grain and shown a positive impact on health. Of course it's important to remember that not all oatmeal is the healthy kind. Some pre packaged brands are very high in sugar and lower in fiber than the whole/cooked type, which may negate a lot of the benefit.
If you can make oatmeal for breakfast a 4 week habit you may be able to lower your inflammatory profile significantly as shown here.....but even if you don't get that far, this small study showed that a serving of oatmeal before even a single session of high-intensity exercise blunted the markers of cellular stress.....which means it likely has the same effect before a hard day's work.
We're 20 days into the Winter, which means we've got +/- 70 to go. Keep up the great start.
Have a great weekend,
Resolution Idea 1: Stair Snacks
Maybe it's a yearly tradition for you. Maybe you never do but somehow this year has been enough of wildcard that you're going to dust the old concept off. Maybe it'll be the start of something entirely new. Who knows where it could take you.
Yes, of course I'm talking about New Year's resolutions. Not whether they work for everyone (spoiler, even though change was 11 times more likely stick when a resolution was made, resolutions work less than 1/2 the time) but rather as a tip of the cap to those who are going to make an effort.....and to give a few ideas to those who are on the fence. After all, sometimes the hardest step is the first one.
Resolution 1: Take the stairs, 4 times in a row
In 2018 an interesting finding was reported by a cardiologist in Spain. In more than 12,000 individuals tested and followed, those who did not have the fitness capacity to walk up 3 flights of stairs "very fast" or 4 flights of stairs "fast without stopping" were approximately 3 times more likely to die of heart disease or cancer in the following 5 years when compared to those who could.
The elegance of this finding is in its simplicity. Stairs are not specialized fitness equipment. The whole thing can be done in a minute or so. The pay off, although not surprising since fitness capacity has been connected to MANY risks, is pretty huge.
The drawback (and some of the criticism at the time) however was in quantifying what "very fast" or "fast without stopping" meant. This left people wondering - was their version of fast, fast enough?
Well, now, almost exactly 2 years later, the findings have been refined in a smaller subset of patients. As it turns out, the ability to climb by walking (but not breaking into a run) four flights of stairs (approximately 60 stairs) in less than 1 minute was an important risk-lowering threshold for cardiac issues, with 45 seconds or less the lowest risk.
Health-geek-speak: I will achieve at least 8 METS of fitness capacity in 2021.
Resolution Translation: I will do at least 1 minute of stairs most days of the week, stopping for rest as needed, until I can do at least 60 stairs in under a minute without stopping.
Need some additional help making it stick? Here are some good tips on how to make the process work for you.
We'll bring you another one next week!
Happy New Year, have a great weekend,