LET’S talk about six – because it really is the magic number.
A new study has revealed how just six extra minutes of physical activity can aid brain power in middle age by boosting a protein essential for learning and memory.
Scientists from University College London found that both moderate and vigorous physical activity can help slow down the onset of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
That’s an added incentive to keep up your New Year exercise regime.
And the rule of six can be applied across the board for a happier, healthier life.
Here is our six education . . .
Enjoy six-minute quickie
FORGET hours of foreplay before getting down to business because research suggests there’s a quick way to turbocharge your sex life.
A 2020 study by Trojan condoms and the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada found that just six minutes of foreplay, including kissing and cuddling, can leave people feeling “very sexually satisfied”.
Stay healthy on six meals a day
EATING six meals a day can help you reduce hunger, stabilise blood sugar levels and stick to a healthy diet.
The findings – which fly in the face of the accepted total of three square meals per day – come from a study carried out by the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, in 2017.
But it’s important to ensure your intake of calories remains the same as a standard three-meals-a-day diet.
Ease tension with six-a-day fruit and veg
WANT to get your five a day?
Well, don’t. Consider going one better.
People who eat at least six portions of fruit and vegetables daily are less tense than those who swerve the salad, according to a 2021 study.
Researchers at the Edith Cowan University in Australia found that those who consumed 470g or more of fruit and vegetables every day had ten per cent lower stress levels than those people who munched on less than 230g.
Boost energy on six glasses of water
AGE-OLD advice to drink eight glasses of water a day is likely to be excessive for most people, according to a study published in November.
Prof John Speakman, of the University of Aberdeen, said: “This study shows that the common suggestion that we should all be drinking around two litres a day is probably too high for most people in most situations, and a ‘one-size-fits-all policy’ is not supported by this data.”
And according to another study, people who drink six glasses of water daily reported being more optimistic, successful and energetic.
Only ten per cent of those drinking less than one cup share the same sentiment, the research commissioned by Bosch home appliances found.
Cut stroke risk with six cups of caffeine daily
MANY people believe that a cuppa can cure all ills.
And a 2021 study revealed those who drink a combination of up to six cups of coffee and tea had the lowest risk of stroke or dementia.
The research, which was carried out by Tianjin Medical University in China, is the largest study of its kind.
And it followed 365,000 people aged between 50 and 74 for more than a decade.
Get up at 6am (and have more sex)
IT seems there really is some truth behind the old saying “early bird catches the worm”.
People who go to bed early and wake up at 6am or earlier are 25 per cent less likely to develop depression compared to night owls, according to findings published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2018.
A separate 2019 study carried out by OnePoll on behalf of mattress company Sleepopolis found early risers are likely to have more sex and earn more money than those who sleep in.
Improve memory with daytime doze
SIR Winston Churchill, Lady Margaret Thatcher and Albert Einstein were all said to be fans of a daytime doze.
And a six-minute cat nap can improve your memory, according to Dr Olaf Lahl from Germany’s University of Dusseldorf.
He led a study in 2008 which found that falling asleep does more than refresh the brain – it can also improve memory recall.
Six-minute read will ease stress in heart and muscles
PRINCE Harry’s memoir Spare is the fastest-selling non-fiction book since UK records began – and for those who dip into it, there could be some surprising health benefits.
Research has found reading for as little as six minutes can reduce stress by as much as 68 per cent.
The 2009 findings by the University of Sussex concluded that reading a newspaper or book worked better and faster than listening to music, going for a walk or sitting down with a cuppa when it comes to relaxing.
Psychologists said that concentrating on reading and the distraction it provides eases the tensions in the muscles and heart.
And relax…by breathing out six times a minute
SCIENTISTS have found that a particular frequency of breath – around six exhalations a minute – can help trigger a “relaxation response” in the brain and body.
Known as coherent breathing, it has been linked to an increase in cognitive performance and a decrease in stress.
Try inhaling for four seconds, resting at the top of your inhale for two seconds, and then exhaling for another four seconds.
Six bicep curls will boost muscle and size
CUT down on going to the gym – no, really!
Research published last year revealed that a little bit of daily activity is more beneficial than longer periods of exercise spread out across the week.
The four-week training study, by the Edith Cowan University in Australia, found that eccentric contractions of the bicep, achieved by lowering a dumbbell, can lead to significant gains in muscle strength and size even if performed just six times a day.
Great, if you hate too much exercise.
Raise your heart rate with six-minute exercise bursts
JUST six minutes of intense exercise a week can keep you as fit as three hour-long jogs, according to a study in 2005.
Martin Gibala, an associate professor at Canada’s McMaster University, said: “Short bouts of very intense exercise improved muscle health and performance comparable to several weeks of traditional endurance training.”
But be prepared to sweat, because those six minutes come from four 30-second bursts of all-out pure effort with four-minute rests in between each sprint.
Walk six miles a week
THE benefits of running are well known – but several studies have found that even just walking up to six miles a week may prevent arthritis from forming.
Walking is said to help protect the joints by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.