Strong Body, Strong Brain

Want to protect your brain from cognitive decline? Adding more strength might be your best line of defense.

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

  • Monday motivation

  • Strong body, strong brain

  • Workout of the week

Arnold’s Podcast

Motivation every day. Want Arnold to help you start your day? Each morning, we post a new podcast with tips you’ll find in the daily email and bonus stories, wisdom, and motivation from Arnold. Listen to Arnold's Pump Club podcast. It's like the daily newsletter but with additional narration and thoughts from Arnold. You can subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Arnold’s Corner: Monday Motivation

This weekend was the 20th anniversary of my election as California’s Governor.

October 7, 2003 was a day that changed my life. I have no problem admitting that as I was putting on my tie to head to the victory party and I heard, “We can now project that the Governor will be recalled, and the new Governor will be… Arnold Schwarzenegger,” I choked up.

Imagine the feeling. This country and this state gave me everything. This was my chance to give back and try to help when it needed it the most. I spent the campaign ignoring naysayers who said Schnitzel becoming Governor was a joke. And now I heard that the people of California, the greatest state in the greatest nation in the world, the fifth largest economy on Earth, had put their faith in me.

Just imagine the responsibility. I knew the tremendous duty of public service. Before that night, my life had already shifted over the past few decades from being about me to about we. I started giving back by helping Special Olympics athletes find their power and confidence. After that, I was addicted, and I found myself traveling to all 50 states on my own dime after I was appointed by President George HW Bush to be the Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to help kids all over America learn the importance of exercise and to lobby educators and administrators to stop cutting funding for physical education, which they were cutting left and right back then.

When I visited all those schools, I saw that kids had nowhere to go after-school, so I founded After-School All-Stars to give 100,000 students in 13 states a safe place to continue learning and growing after-school when studies show that kids fall into drugs, gangs, teenage pregnancy, juvenile crime, and all of the problems that derail their lives. And then I spent my own money to campaign for a ballot initiative in 2002, Proposition 49, to ensure that California spent $500 million a year on after-school programs — more than the other 49 states combined.

So by 2003, public service was in my blood. But this was bigger. When I did all of those other things, I was still Arnold. Now I’d be Governor, a representative of 40 million people.

It was the best job I ever had. I’m proud of what we accomplished:

The largest infrastructure investment in California history to rebuild the state — schools, roads, levees, affordable housing, prisons — if it could be built, we built it.

The most aggressive clean energy policies in the world. We achieved our goals of a million solar roofs and a 25% reduction in pollution and 50% clean energy by 2020, proving a lot of naysayers wrong.

The most diverse judiciary appointments. More women and minorities, more public defenders —judges chosen not by their party, but by their talent.

And maybe most importantly, I’m proud of how we returned power from the government to the people and took it away from the parties and special interests. We terminated the 200 year old system of gerrymandering where politicians draw their own districts so that even when they continuously fail to do their jobs, the people have no chance at throwing them out of office. We ended partisan primaries, so instead of each party picking the candidates, the people picked their top two and they fought it out in November.

I’m disappointed we couldn’t get California’s fiscal house in order, mostly because I was proud to work on policies that would change the state long after I was gone, and I know the next time we got a recession we’ll have another gigantic deficit. But you can’t do everything you want in two terms — it isn’t a dictatorship.

Even after my 7 years as Governor ended, my public service never will. I will be repaying my debt to the United States and California until my last day.

That’s why on Saturday, we didn’t have a big party for my anniversary. We had a fundraiser for After-School All-Stars at my house and we raised 7 million dollars.

The work never stops. The service never ends.

I’d never ask all of you to run for office. I know that’s not for everyone, especially with some of the lunatics in politics now. But I do want to ask you to find your own ways to give back and change the world.

In Be Useful, the final chapter is all about giving back because none of us are self-made, and once we realize that at some point, we got some help, no matter how small, we can acknowledge our duty to help others.

You can change the world by tutoring a young kid, coaching a soccer team, or picking up trash. Those things might seem small, but each of them does what I ask of all of you:

Just leave the world a little better than you found it.

That’s it. You can do that for me, right? That’s as useful as it gets.

Strong Body, Strong Brain

Do more pumped-up muscles give you a more pumped-up brain? According to new research, exercise and strength influence the health of your brain more than the amount of muscle on your body.

The study revealed that strength training and intense physical activity were associated with better cognitive function. Specifically, individuals who performed strength training at least twice a week had a 30 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment compared to those who did not engage in any strength training. Other research suggests that people participating in strength training and other activities, such as aerobic exercise, also have a lower risk of cognitive impairment.

What was unique about this study was that it determined whether the benefits came from the amount of muscle mass gained. Based on this research, the amount of activity you perform, the intensity, and your strength matter more than whether the goal of your workouts are to pack on muscle.

So if you exercise, build strength, and prioritize daily movement, you’re likely to have a healthier, high-functioning brain that is less likely to have disease or disorder.

Workout of the Week

Last week, we gave you a taste of timed sets. Rather then the normal counting reps, you set a stopwatch and learned that 30 seconds can feel like a lifetime when performing an exercise.

Many of you seemed to like the plan, so we’re back with another version. This time, we’re pushing the intensity even more. You’ll perform the first exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and then move to the next exercise and repeat. Once you complete all six exercises (that's one round), rest for two or three minutes, and then repeat the circuit of exercises again. You can perform two rounds of this plan and call it a day. If you’re more advanced or feel like challenging yourself, go for four to five rounds.

Bodyweight version

  1. Squat

  2. Inverted row/pullups/Superman pullup

  3. Stepup

  4. Pushup

  5. Hip Raise

  6. Plank

Dumbbell Version

  1. Dumbbell front squat

  2. Dumbbell overhead press

  3. Dumbbell straight-leg deadlift

  4. Dumbbell bent-over row

  5. Dumbbell lunge

  6. Dumbbell weighted crunch

Give it a try, and let us know what you think. Here’s hoping you have a great week ahead!

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell