Arnold's Birthday Wish

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Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Arnold's Monday Mindset

  • Planking is Back

  • Workout of the Week

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Arnold's Monday Mindset

First of all, I want to thank all of you for the birthday wishes yesterday. I couldn’t open up my machine without seeing a happy birthday, from my app to social media to email.

I always tell people not to get me anything for my birthday because I have everything I could possibly want or need.

But this year, I thought since we’ve built this village of more than half a million people, I should actually share a short wish list of my dreams that I can’t turn into reality alone. Together, I know we can realize these visions, though.

Help me convince everyone they’re worth the effort it takes to be healthy and fit. My impossible dream from the 1970s that America would have more gyms than supermarkets became a reality. But we still have a long way to go. About 69% of Americans are obese or overweight. Globally, 1.5 billion people are obese or overweight, and the percentage of obese people has more than doubled since 1980. Today, 60% of Americans don’t get their recommended activity, and 25% are completely inactive; inactivity is a problem worldwide.

When I look around the world at obesity and inactivity trends, I can’t help but think we’re becoming spoiled. The better a country does economically, the more likely its citizens are to be sedentary and obese.

We have to reverse this. We have to get people moving.

What can you do? Today, for me, get in a workout or go on a walk. And don’t just do it for you. Invite a friend or family member. Share this email with anyone you know who needs it and commit to reducing that 25 percent of inactive people down to 0 percent. Bring people into our village because we’ve seen people changing their lives by finding an activity they love.

They realize that they are worth the effort. Now we have to reach about 2 billion more people. But we can do it because, bottom line, I think every one of you and all over the world is worth the effort to be healthy and fit. Let’s spread the pump.

Next, I want to convince all of you to log off a little more often. Don’t check your phone during workouts. Don’t check your phone during dinners with your family. Don’t check your phone when you’re in a meeting.

We can kill two birds with one stone here. The next time you realize you’re mindlessly scrolling social media, notice it. And don’t beat yourself up. These machines are made to suck us all in, even me. Beating yourself up is proven not to help.

Instead, when you see you got sucked into social media, do 10 squats or push-ups. If you’re in an office and afraid you’ll look weird, say Arnold told you to do it.

We’ve talked before about rising anxiety and depression, and I believe that our inactivity and our machines play a big role in this. They’re just two pieces of the puzzle. But when I challenge the village to log off over a weekend, I’m always blown away at how many people email to say how much happier they were.

We aren’t meant to be plugged in every second of every day. Carve out times that work for you to unplug and live in the moment. And do your push-ups or squats whenever you catch yourself getting stuck scrolling and scrolling. It’s for my birthday!

Finally, I want to convince you not to stop inventing problems and start solving them. This goes with the other two visions.

Somehow, social media and 24/7 cable news have convinced people that it’s their patriotic duty to monitor current events at every moment. This is absurd.

You’re logging in to apps or watching news channels owned by billionaires who get richer and richer the longer they keep you engaged, and they know that anger is the best way to keep your eyes on their screens.

Stop loaning your eyeballs to other people. Use them to solve the problems right in front of you instead of pretending your social media is solving all the world’s problems.

People will post about schools failing our kids on social media and never offer to volunteer at an after-school program or as a tutor (here you go: Volunteer – After School All Stars). They’ll tweet about childhood obesity but never think of coaching youth sports. Their Facebooks are filled with complaints about rising homelessness, but they’ve never donated or volunteered to help expand shelters. They’ll say our politics are rigged but never volunteer to collect signatures to get political reforms on the ballot or through the legislatures.

This one is easy. Just follow my rule. If you want to complain about something, stop, and find something you can do about it.

Everyone feels powerless today because they focus on global problems instead of neighborhood problems. We all have the power to change the world. It just won’t happen by opening Twitter or X or whatever they call it next. It will happen by looking around the real world right in front of you and finding a way to help.

That’s not a bad birthday wish list, right?

  1. Get moving because you’re worth it.

  2. Log off social media when you can because it isn’t worth it.

  3. Change the world right in front of you because it is definitely worth it.

The best part is that it’s so easy that you can do it all in one day.

Turn off your social media, call friends, and walk through your community picking up trash or doing something that makes the world better. If you hit some push-ups and squats along the way and finish with a delicious schnitzel, that’s my kind of party.

Planking Is Back

Approximately one out of every five deaths occurs from cardiovascular disease. If you want to keep your heart safe, research suggests a popular core exercise could help protect your ticker.

A recent study suggests planks (and wall squats) are the most effective exercises for lowering blood pressure.

But there’s much more to the study than what the headlines offer. The scientists reviewed 270 different studies, including nearly 16,000 participants. And they compared 5 different types of exercise: isometric exercise (where you hold a position, like a plank or wall squat), aerobic exercise, resistance training, combined aerobic and resistance, and high-intensity interval training.

All forms of exercise were effective at reducing blood pressure, with the isometrics having the most significant impact.

In general, resistance training tends to do a better job of lowering blood pressure. This could be because, during resistance training, your blood pressure rises more — but it drops significantly after your workout is over (something called post-exercise hypotension). The stronger post-exercise hypotension could result in bigger improvements to your blood pressure.

While adding those exercises is great, don’t obsess about a single movement. The biggest cardiovascular benefits occur when you consistently exercise — research suggests 150 minutes of movement per week. So add planks and wall squats (or other isometrics) if you can, but doing exercises you enjoy is better than doing no exercise at all or forcing something you won't do often.

If you want a way to incorporate isometrics into a short, challenging workout, give our workout of the week a try (see the next item).

Workout of the Week

This workout has a little bit of everything to protect your heart, crush calories, and build muscle. You can do this full-body program approximately three to four times per week, resting one day between each workout.

Part I: Aerobic block

10 minutes of walking (do it in your home, on the treadmill, or outside)

Part 2: Strength block

Complete 8 to 20 reps (depending on your strength) of the first exercise followed by a 30-second hold (isometric) of the second exercise in the “bottom” position. Performing exercises back-to-back is called a superset. And this workout consists of five supersets.

Here's how to do it: In the first superset, you might perform 10 pushups. On the tenth rep, lower your body down, and hold for 30 seconds (or as long as you can). Then, move to the next exercise.

You’ll perform one set of each superset. Rest for 1 minute. When you do all 5 supersets, rest for 1 to 2 minutes, and then repeat the entire sequence again. Complete a total of 3 to 8 rounds, depending on your training experience. (Beginners = 3 rounds, advanced = 8 rounds)

Superset #1

1A. Pushups

1B. Isometric pushup

Superset #2

2A. Squats

2B. Isometric squat

Superset #3

3A. Crunch

3B. Plank

Superset #4

4A. Alternating Lunge

4B. Isometric lunge

Superset #5

5A. Pullup or inverted bodyweight row

5B. Isometric pullup or inverted bodyweight row

Give the workout a try, and let us know what you think!

We know the start of the week can be tough, but get your mind right, set your vision, and go make it great!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel