Disco and the art of the exercise snack
You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking. This isn't entirely true. Prolonged inactivity that too often accompanies sitting turns on your body's inflammation response that can lead to a number of nasty health outcomes. When you break up periods of sitting by periodically rolling out the disco ball and enjoying an “exercise snack,” you can help prevent chronic inflammation that turns sitting into the smoking gun implicated in diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's. This week, as always, the focus is on the science of taking small, practical, and enjoyable steps such as exercise snacking to improve your wellbeing. ONE QUOTE “Set precise, dynamic goals that are not too easy, but realistic.” – Dr. Guillaume Chevance shares the results of a new study of goal-setting and exercise that reveal Goldilocks goals–not too hard, not too soft–are best (or you can simply add 500 steps to your daily activity count). ONE DANCE PARTY
"After I dance, the world looks brighter to me," says Rebekah Blok of Toronto who joins the Rise and Shine Shake dance party at 9 o'clock each weekday morning for 45 minutes of daily dancing to refresh, reset, and recharge in advance of another lockdown workday. THREE FOUR IDEAS #1 Do you put the 'pro' in procrastinate? Hopefully you're not a professional procrastinator because procrastination has been linked to high levels of anxiety, an increased risk of chronic illness, and at least $14,000 less in annual income. PhD candidate Jason Wessel from Griffith University in Australia believes that procrastination can be avoided by targeting its psychological roots. His research has found that the following four questions based on Temporal Motivation Theory will give you a micro-dose of cognitive behavioral therapy that can help knock you out of a procrastination loop:
How would someone successful complete the goal?
How would you feel if you don’t complete this task?
What is the next immediate step you need to do?
If you could do one thing to achieve your goal on time, what would you do?
The cure for procrastination is self-awareness: you need to connect with who you want to be, and then take one small step in the direction of your aspirations. “The important thing is to regularly question what goals you value, and to check whether you’re prioritizing them enough.” – Jason Wessel, Griffith University, Australia #2. Exercise snack, anyone? Last week’s newsletter included a link to a study that found as little as 4 seconds of intense exercise repeated until it adds up to about a minute of exertion can have meaningful benefits in strength and fitness. Another recent study found that just 11 minutes of moderate exercise—equivalent to a brisk walk—has a noticeable positive impact on life span. Let's make 2021 the year of the exercise snack. Whether it’s a dance break after a Zoom call, a walk around the house during a conversation with a friend, or even squirming in your seat while bingeing on Netflix (as Daniel Lieberman advises in his wonderful new book Exercised), you can wake up your mind and body and improve your fitness without ever touching spandex. “Let’s get people out of the mindset that exercise is this special thing we do.” – Martin Gibala, professor of kinesiology, McMaster University, Canada #3 Take a dose of Vitamin New. You may think that keeping your brain sharp as you age means doing crossword puzzles, sudoku or other familiar mental workouts. However, according to neurologist and CNN chief medical corespondent Sandeep Gupta, maintaining a healthy brain as you age may be as simple as eating with your opposite had or trying out a new skill such as drawing that creates fresh pathways in the brain, rather than reinforcing old well-trodden pathways. In his new book Keep Sharp, Dr. Gupta also strongly recommends getting 7-9 hours of sleep, connecting with others, and exercise to keep your brain nimble as you age. “We want to constantly be using new paths and trails and roads within our brains.” – Sandeep Gupta #4 Time or money? (Thanks to Idea #1, I overcame my procrastination and accidentally wrote up four ideas rather than my usual three.) What do you think will make you happier: having more time or more money? Judging by New Year’s resolutions, many people put money at their top of the priority list, but this may be yet another example of how our minds can lead us away from happiness. Although money is easier to measure than the accumulation of quality time, and is often used as a proxy for success, according to behavioral scientist, Harvard Business School professor, and author of Time Smart Ashley Whillans, people who prioritize time over money report being happier, less stressed, and more satisfied with their relationships. You can become more time smart by becoming more aware and intentional about where you spend your time. Whillans recommends that you place boundaries between work and personal time, treat weekends like holidays, and block time in advance for deep work. People who are time smart avoid the pings of distraction that create “time confetti” where attention is fragmented and time passes meaninglessly. “Chasing money is valuable to a point, but it’s an infinite errand...we need to see time as the more critical currency that it is, the resource that, more than any other, determines our happiness.” – Ashley Whillans as quoted in the A Life of Productivity podcast *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. How to (Finally) Start Meditating - GQ (Meditation is very simple, but not so easy.) 2. New Year’s Resolutions That Will Actually Lead to Happiness - The Guardian (Dr. Laurie Santos is pledging to be more self-compassionate in 2021. You should too.) 3. You're Doing Resolutions Wrong. Here’s How to Fix It - Ten Percent Happier podcast (56 minutes) (Dr. Laurie Santos will tell you why you should consider anti-resolutions.)...and if you're like me and can't get enough of Laurie Santos's wisdom, check out her latest Happiness Lab podcast (38 minutes) featuring self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff 4. New Year's Resolutions The Art of Happiness podcast (Arthur Brooks delves into the science of what makes good and bad resolutions, and gives you two proven resolutions you can act on right now to increase your happiness.) 5. I lived like an astronaut for months in isolation - The Guardian (“When an astronaut comes back, Earth isn’t where it was.” Kate Greene gives us a taste of what to expect when we return from pandemic isolation.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR MICRO-RESOLUTION 2020 was tough and 2021 is off to a rocky start, so this week's 5-Minute Recharge challenge encourages you to take it easy on yourself with a pint-sized goal that supports your wellbeing and comes from a place of self-compassion. Simply write down a micro-resolution, and if you're drawing a blank, let your resolution be to walk an extra 500 steps per day...or borrow Kathy from Cooperstown's resolution... “I will only wear comfortable shoes.” – Kathy from Cooperstown, New York shares her micro-resolution for 2021. Wishing you a healthy, happy, and comfortable week ahead, Lynne Everatt, The 5-Minute Recharge