look on the bright side

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. 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

  • How to shrink your fat cells

  • Look on the bright side

  • The bad mood buster

How to shrink your fat cells

The new class of weight loss drugs may grab all the headlines, but that doesn’t mean fat loss requires a prescription.

A 20-year study on nearly 12,000 people found that strength training reduced the likelihood of obesity by up to 30 percent. Or, as we interpreted the research: the pump prevents (unwanted) pounds.

It appears that our muscles and fat cells communicate during and after workouts, according to recent research. We still need more data, but scientists found evidence that suggests overloading your muscles causes them to release vesicles that shrink your fat cells.

In the 20-year study we mentioned above, the benefits of weight training were achieved with just 1 to 2 hours of resistance training per week, or at least two days per week of resistance exercise. If you need help finding a program that works or having accountability and support, Arnold will soon be releasing his workout app soon. You can join the waitlist here.

Look on the bright side

Too often, the best advice is overlooked because it’s not fancy, new, or expensive. We tend to value the novel and nuanced and underestimate the practical and proven.

Case in point: Being more optimistic can help you live longer, according to researchers from Boston University and Harvard.

We know biological and genetic factors can influence longevity. And behaviors like strength training, going for daily walks, and avoiding smoking and alcohol can add up to a decade (or more) to your life. Turns out, your mindset matters too — independent of your healthy behaviors (such as whether or not your smoke or drink).

The scientists found that being more positive and having hope for the future can help people live up to 15 percent longer. Not to mention, having positive vibes increases the likelihood of “exceptional longevity,” which is characterized as living to 85 or beyond.

Don’t feel like the optimistic type? There’s still hope for you (you probably figured we’d say that). Research suggests optimism is a learned trait. One study found spending 5 minutes per day imagining your “best possible self” — in your personal, relationship, and occupation domains — can boost optimism. And if that doesn't do the trick...

The bad mood buster

We had a feeling some of you might be equally excited by and skeptical about the last item. So, we’re giving you even more reason to have hope about becoming more hopeful.

The next time you’re having trouble seeing a better future, a 30-minute walk outside can extinguish your negative thoughts and lift your mood.

From Arnold: As a matter of fact, last week I got up at 5:45 to do my chores and feed the animals and I felt a little depressed. I wasn’t as excited as I normally am to see the animals and start my morning routine. I felt off. I said to myself, “You have no reason to be upset.” But then instead of thinking, I did what I always tell you to do. I stopped my brain and went about my routine, and as I walked around to the animals, I felt a little better but still not like myself. Then I went on my bike ride and trained at the gym, and by breakfast, it was like a black and white TV turned to color. I was back to my normal self. I don’t know why I felt down -- I don’t know enough about brain chemistry, but I do know that the things we talk about in here work. That’s why I practice what we preach.

One of the reasons we struggle with hopeful thinking is something psychologists call “rumination.” You know it as those moments where you overanalyze everything, including your life, friendships, jobs, and that thing you said to someone you no longer speak with back in junior year of high school. When you ruminate, it increases negative thoughts, and that begins a domino effect that can influence thinking, problem-solving, and self-perception…and then the cycle continues.

The combination of walking and being outdoors is like hitting the reset button on your mindset. Walking can disrupt the feedback loop of negative thoughts and elevate mood, and being in the outdoors redirections attention and shifts your focus.

Just 20 minutes per day is all it took for mood-lifting improvements. And the icing on the cake? If you do that seven days per week, you also will achieve the recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise per week, which is associated with longer life and less disease

look on the bright side

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