Doc's note: Today, I have a special issue to share exclusively with Health & Wealth Bulletin readers...
If you've followed me for a while, you know that I launched a service that's the culmination of my life's work: Prosperity Investor. In Prosperity Investor, my team of experts and I explore the huge opportunity as the health care sector and technology take off over the coming years... through investing, becoming better health care consumers, and improving our overall health...
It's a way to put money in your pocket while improving your health.
Last week, I released a brand-new special report for Prosperity Investor subscribers with four ways to increase your healthspan. It's so important that I'm sharing an excerpt of that report with you.
If you're not already a Prosperity Investor subscriber, click here to learn how to join me on the journey to better health and wealth.
When you think back to your grade-school years, you may recall reading about mitochondria... the "powerhouse of the cell."
Just what does that mean, though? And what exactly are mitochondria?
Simply put, mitochondria produce the energy needed by every cell in your body (except for red blood cells). Each cell can have thousands of these tiny structures.
You can almost think of mitochondria as the cell's small "organs" – or "organelles," as they're called – that act like a combination of your respiratory and digestive systems... In a metabolic process called "cellular" or "aerobic" respiration, these organelles use oxygen to create energy for the cell by releasing it from the food you eat. That energy comes packaged in the form of adenosine triphosphate ("ATP") molecules. All the cells in your body need ATP to function.
However, these organelles are more than just "powerhouses" or "power plants." They have a host of other duties, like...
- Breaking down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
- Releasing chemicals that tell old, damaged cells to self-destruct.
- Regulating the cell's calcium levels, which is needed for muscle contraction and nerve function.
- Creating hormones like estrogen.
- Creating heme, which contains iron to carry oxygen in your blood.
- Containing harmful free radicals, which are byproducts of the usual biochemical reactions that take place in the mitochondria.
If your mitochondria stop working normally, they produce less energy for your cells. And when your cells don't get the energy they need, organs comprising those cells malfunction, too... which can manifest as cancer, along with cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Aging and age-related diseases are linked to mitochondrial problems, too. Specifically, mitochondrial function declines as we grow older. With every passing decade, the capacity for generating ATP drops by 8%.
Keeping our mitochondria in tiptop shape is critical for lowering disease risk and slowing the aging process... thereby lengthening our healthspans.
And guess what, folks?
Exercise is the best drug-free solution for mitochondrial health. Even if you haven't exercised in years, you will still reap the benefits as soon as you start.
It kickstarts several chemical processes in your cells which benefit your mitochondria in different ways. Here are a few...
Exercise changes the shape and structure of mitochondria. Think about how your intestines are extremely long – they allow for maximum nutrient absorption as what you've eaten travels through. And they're coiled and folded up to fit inside your abdominal cavity.
Similarly, the mitochondrion's inner membrane is where all the ATP protein machinery is located. To squeeze as much machinery as possible into the small mitochondrion, the inner membrane comes in multiple squiggly folds (cristae). Exercise can increase cristae density... and more folds mean more surface area for ATP production.
Exercise increases the number of mitochondria in each cell. Since mitochondria are the energy producers, having more of them means you'll have more energy – in the form of ATP – for carrying out an array of bodily functions.
Exercise maintains quality control in mitochondria. Like car batteries, mitochondria eventually lose function or become damaged. Exercise helps the replacement process by improving the cell's ability to eliminate defective mitochondria (a phenomenon called "mitophagy"). Plus, the brand-new ones created from exercising help keep the cell's pool of mitochondria fresh.
Exercise improves cellular respiration in mitochondria. Your cells need more energy when you work out, so exercise can activate a process to create more of the proteins that make up the ATP machinery. More ATP machinery means more ATP is created.
And here's the great news... You don't need to spend as much time exercising as you think to make a difference...
Just 20 Minutes a Day Increases Your Healthspan
The risks and benefits of exercise sit along an inverted U-shaped curve... which means any little bit you can start doing (or adding to what you're already doing) will move you to a better place on the benefit curve. And at a certain point (which varies from person to person), too much exercise becomes harmful to your health.
Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts set out to find exactly how much exercise we need. The group reviewed 4,600 clinical trials that had studied different types, intensities, and durations of exercise in older adults.
This broader study found that exercising for about three hours per week – or just 26 minutes per day – was all it took to get maximum benefits. Even better, the intensity didn't matter. They found the same benefit from aerobic exercise (like running and walking), resistance training, and even yoga and tai chi.
And movement helps boost your immune system and fight depression, too.
A 2015 study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that participants who used just two minutes out of every hour that they spent sitting doing light-intensity activity (like casual walking, light gardening, or cleaning) lowered their risk of dying from health problems caused by sedentary behavior by 33%.
And a 2017 study from the U.K. showed that substituting 30 minutes of light activity, such as walking, for 30 minutes of screen time cut risk of early mortality. The study followed nearly half a million participants over about seven years.
Make a promise to yourself: Commit to exercising for at least 20 minutes every day and – in doing so – increase your healthspan.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
December 1, 2022