In this edition, a smart mat improves your yoga, A.I. cycles its way to better fitness, research looks at the lifestyle factors that reduce memory decline and your weekly recommendations.
Smart Yoga. If you often find yourself asking, “Am I doing this right?” while doing yoga, the YogiFi mat is here to help. Sensors in the mat correct your form as you move from pose to pose and an LED indicator helps you identify and fix imbalances when you take your practice away from the studio. The companion app offers guided classes and the mat’s rechargeable battery lasts up to seven hours on a full charge.
Spin A.I. CAROL wants to elevate your spin bike. The A.I. powered bike learns your fitness and performance and sets your optimal resistance to create an efficient Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT) workout that lasts five minutes (!). On the 11 inch screen, you can choose from 18 workouts and fitness tests and view your performance metrics. The researchers behind the CAROL bike say it will improve your VO2 max by 12% in eight weeks. Fitness podcasters Dave Asprey and Ben Greenfield are fans.
Lifestyle Choices Slow Memory Decline. A new study says six healthy lifestyle factors can significantly reduce memory loss in old age. The research followed almost 30,000 adults for more than 10 years.
The six factors are: 1) A healthy diet, which meant eating at least 7 of 12 eligible food items (fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy, salt, oil, eggs, cereals, legumes, nuts and tea). 2) Exercise (150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week). 3) Never or previously smoked. 4) Active social contact twice a week. 5) Active cognitive activity twice a week. 6) Never drinking alcohol.
If participants had four to six healthy lifestyle factors, they were put into the favorable group. Two to three of the factors put them into the average group and zero to one placed them in the unfavorable group.
When the researchers looked at rates of new dementia diagnoses over the 10-year period, they found those in the favorable lifestyle group were 90% less likely to develop dementia compared to those in the unfavorable group. The average group was 30% less likely to develop dementia.
About 20% of the study participants carried a gene variant known to increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In this group, the combination of several healthy lifestyle factors also slowed the rate of memory decline.
The team notes that the study was not set up to uncover which of the six factors was the best for dementia prevention or which combination of factors was optimal. But, the data breakdown did show a healthy diet seemed to offer the greatest effect on preventing memory decline. (Active cognitive activities and regular exercise were close behind).
Stand. This feature-length documentary explores the life of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, from his impoverished childhood to his rise as a basketball prodigy. Abdul-Rauf, born Chris Jackson in Gulfport, Mississippi, overcame extreme poverty and Tourette’s Syndrome to make it to the NBA All-Rookie team. The film covers his conversion to Islam, his groundbreaking stand against racism and the backlash that followed. Stand premieres Friday, February 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.
Counseling and Functional Fitness. In this podcast, mental health therapist and CrossFit Level-One Trainer, Adam Barfoot talks about integrating mental health and fitness. Topics cover resilience, learning from difficulty, and how emotions affect performance.
The Rule of Compounding: Why Small Steps Lead to Big Gains. In the spirit of one of my favorite fitness instructor phrases, “You showed up today!” this piece from The Growth Equation discusses why it’s important to resist skipping small good habits. Brad Stulberg suggests that a reliable path to growth, in all aspects of life, is to “think about being great at being consistent.”