Here's your February edition of Kinsei-Do Fitness Nuggets, our monthly newsletter that serves you little bites of health & performance wisdom!
Nugget of the Month
(This month's fitness nugget comes to you from Arnold Schwarzenegger's amazing "Pump Daily" newsletter, and I thought long and hard about "stealing" it, but in the end, I decided it was so good, simple and valuable that I just had to put it into the Fitness Nuggets for you!)
How long will you live?
Want to know how well you’re aging? You might want to see if you can pick up the heaviest dumbbell in your gym.
That’s because grip strength is one of the best predictors of longevity.
A study of more than 140,000 people found that grip strength was a better predictor of early death than blood pressure (typically the gold standard). But scientists wanted to know why. Recent research on 1,200 men and women helped provide some clarity.
Turns out that people with a weak grip show signs of accelerated DNA aging.
Grip strength is, in general, strongly linked to resistance training. And because strength training keeps your cells younger, the stronger your grip the more likely your body can help you fight off disease and age-related injury (think falling). Not to mention research shows that strength training, in general, helps reduce the likelihood of heart disease and high blood pressure.
If you’re looking for a baseline, researchers suggest the cutoff for longevity is about 23 to 39 kg (50 to 85 pounds) for men, and 16 to 22 kg (35 to 48 pounds) for women.
But unless you have the appropriate equipment to measure the force of your grip, these numbers don't help you very much. So here is a simpler way to both assess and train, if needed, your grip strength, courtesy of the incredible Dr Andy Galpin:
Go to a gym (or a playground) and hang from the pullup bar!
Your minimum target should be around 30 seconds. If you can hang on longer than a minute, your grip strength is most likely adequate, and anything less than 30 seconds should definitely be addressed.
Give it a try the next time you pass by a playground or pullup bar, and let me know how you did, I'm truly curious to know.
Food for Thought
People sometimes tell me that living a healthy lifestyle is too expensive. Gym memberships can be costly, and unfortunately, ultra processed food options are often the cheapest, whereas fresh, organic produce and meats can be quite pricey.
But the truth is, sooner or later, you are going to spend time and money on your health.
Money spent on your health can be working with a coach to keep you injury free and healthy. It can be spent working on your mobility, and addressing movement restrictions and compensations to make sure you keep yourself healthy and fix your niggles before they become a problem. It can be spent buying fresh and largely non-processed food ingredients, and cooking healthy meals for yourself and your family.
Or it can later be spent on cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons replacing hips, knees or other joints, or putting in a by-pass for your heart.
Either way, sooner or later, you will need to spend money on your health. How much and when is up to you and your lifestyle choices today.
In the latest episode of the Kinsei-Do Corner podcast, I had the great honour and pleasure of speaking to Dr Eoin Everard, who is an expert in physiotherapy and pilates, but on top of that, he’s truly a world class runner.
You’ll probably think I’m joking when I rattle off his personal best times, but trust me, I’m not:
One mile in 3 min 58
3k in 8:03
5k in 13:58
10k in under 30 min
I bet I have your attention now, don’t I?
However, in this episode, we don’t focus on his achievements, but rather, we dive in to how you can apply Eoin’s incredible knowledge and training tips to become a better runner or endurance athlete yourself. Not only that, we also - of course - talk about CrossFit and Functional Fitness, and how you can build your aerobic capacity and make sure you’re not afraid of those running WODs anymore!
What's Jo doing?
Earlier this month, I had the immense privilege and pleasure to accompany my son to his first ever overseas sports competition, the Manchester City Abu Dhabi Cup in, well, ... Abu Dhabi.
To say it was a once in a lifetime experience would on one hand be an accurate description of just how incredible the entire event was, yet on the other hand I am of course hopeful that this is only the very beginning of my son's journey as an athlete and person.
Absolutely everything about the trip, from the breathtakingly beautiful facilities in Abu Dhabi to the textbook perfect weather, and the delicious food to the delightfully entertaining level of football, was just world class.
And the icing on the cake was seeing my good old friend T.H. - who I first met when we were just a few years older than my son is now! - and his lovely family again after nearly a decade.
A truly perfect long weekend, and a memory that will live with me for years to come. And ultimately, isn't experiences and memories what life is all about?
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