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Today’s Health Upgrade
The stress equalizer
Can you pass this test?
Eat this, live longer
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Even if you’re going through a stressful time, a shift in perception can help protect against the the harmful effects to your mind and body. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Research suggests perceiving stress as harmful to your health can do more damage than the stress itself. In fact, the study found that stress was not linked with premature death, but people who were worried about its effects had a 43 percent increase in premature death.
When you consider that the American Psychological Association suggests 60 percent of people feel under extreme stress, resetting your mind can be a key part of overcoming tough times.
Instead of trying to reduce stress, Stanford researchers suggest it’s far more effective to embrace stress. They outline three things you can do to change your mindset and improve your outcomes:
1) View stress as helpful — such as a challenge that will make you better — rather than debilitating
2) Tell yourself you can handle or learn from the situation, and that it’s not bigger than you.
3) Remind yourself that everyone deals with stressors, and it’s not an indication that something is wrong with you.
If you can change your beliefs and realize that stress will make you better, you can reframe challenges, not be overwhelmed in the moment, become more resilient, and improve your health.
Can You Pass This Test?
We frequently discuss small steps you can take to be happier, live longer, and feel healthier. But, there are also simple tests you can do to keep you honest.
A study published last year found that 10-second test can help determine your longevity.
The researchers examined people who were older than 50 on the 1-foot balance test. Specifically, they wanted to assess a correlation between standing on one foot for 10 seconds and mortality. They found that those who couldn't pass the test had a higher risk of death from any cause over the next decade.
Whether you're over or under 50, it's an ability worth building. To test your performance, stand on both legs, and then raise one foot off the floor until your thigh is at a 90-degree angle to your hips. Try to hold for 10 seconds, and then repeat on the other leg.
To ace the test, focus on doing more single-leg exercises, such as lunges, split squats, step-ups and single-leg squats and deadlifts. You typically can't go as heavy, but building up single-leg strength translates to the bigger lifts, and it will help you improve your stability and balance...which can pay off in big ways down the road.
Eat This, Live Longer
Most diets focus on what to remove or restrict. But when you spend your life subtracting, it’s easy to end up with nothing. You’re hungrier, grumpier, and never satisfied.
Instead of thinking about what to remove, focus more on what to add to your diet. When you eat more of what’s good, you’ll give your body what it needs (think healthy foods), and still have a little room left over for what it wants (think dessert).
Research published in The Lancet from 58 clinical trials found that people who eat more fiber reduce their risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease by up to 30 percent. If you’re keeping score, those are four of the biggest killers around the world. Not to mention (and not coincidentally), those who ate more fiber almost lost weight and kept it off.
To bump up the fiber, focus on fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and oats. You can even eat bread and pasta, but opt for whole wheat options with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving