Something special for New Year’s Eve, that does not take long to cook and tastes delicious!
Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat and add the bacon and olive oil. Cook until the bacon has rendered most of its fat but is still juicy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl and increase the heat to high. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan cut side down and sear hard, without shaking the pan, until well-charred and beginning to black (see photo above), about 5 to 7 minutes. The idea is to get a deep, penetrating sear that nearly blackens the sprouts, but keeps them relatively green inside. Reduce the heat back to medium, flip the sprouts, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the dates and cooked bacon and toss well. Add the stock to the pan, a little at a time, using a wooden spoon to smash the dates into the stock, breaking them into smaller pieces as the stock reduces into a sauce. Once the dates are incorporated, add the vinegar.
Continue cooking for 2 or 3 minutes, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the sprouts but be careful not to reduce it too much or the sauce will become cloyingly sweet and sticky. (If you do over reduce it, add a splash of stock or water to get it back to where you want it.) Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm
You may have been lucky enough to sail or swim alongside a dolphin, seen them perform at a waterpark, or perhaps grew up watching Flipper, but I am sure you can a picture a dolphin swimming having fun! What you might not know is that Dolphins have a great sense of fellowship and are extremely social. By nature, they are very curious and enjoy playing with objects and other dolphins following the waves created by boats. As well as being able to jump almost 5 meters out of the water, they frequently make bubbles and take the time to recreate * themselves in the ocean.
Back on dry land, the impact of the Covid pandemic highlighted that inactivity is now seen as an ongoing pandemic due to the link between poor health and weakened immune system. A point reinforced by the Sport England Active Lives Adult Survey November 2020-21. Their report suggests that four in 10 British adults were so immobile they risked their long-term health.
Exercise’, according to Peter Walker, author of ‘The Miracle Pill – Why the sedentary world is getting it all wrong.’, is the issue. He believes that labelling physical activity as exercise turned off the majority and created a belief that it is a pursuit of a minority, whether that be elite athletes, or a routine squeezed into busy schedules of busy people! Since time began, daily physical exertion was an integral part of humanity, but in less than a half a century movement has almost been designed out of our lives with transformed workplaces, our reliance on the car, and a whole host of appliances that aid our domestic life.
So where do you start and what is the best activity to do? According to Steven Blair, one of Americas leading experts on the health benefits of exercise his answer is, “The one you’ll do and keep doing.” And the good news is, it is never too late to start exercising and benefitting from all the health benefits that physical activity brings. Even if you have had, or you think you have had a lifetime of inactivity, don’t worry about which exercise you need to do, or which class to attend, just think about moving more and moving well.
Once you have practiced the squat and gained some competence in the movement, the next step, (literally!) is to lunge. Just like squats, lunges work all the major muscles of the lower body and can help improve your balance as well. Lunging is a great exercise because it mirrors many of our day-to-day movements, such as walking and running. It is also very similar to the position we assume when we get up from the floor and creates the same muscle-activation patterns used for ascending or descending stairs.
Any good technique is crucial in order to avoid injury and gain the Take a big step forward with your right foot, keeping your spine in a neutral position. Bend your right knee to create a right angle, focusing on keeping weight on the toes of your left foot whilst dropping the knee of your left leg toward the floor. (Repeat on other leg)
This article has highlighted that the aging body has the propensity to become weaker, less flexible/mobile which has the consequence of impacting our balance. Brazilian Physician Claudio Gil S Araújo developed a simple evaluation of balance, flexibility, and strength to prove this point. **
From a standing position, without support or leaning on anything, you slowly lower yourself to the floor, and then attempt to stand back up again.
Then as you attempt to stand up you place your left hand and then left knee on the floor for support, you would deduct a further 2 points giving you a total score of 6 (10-4=6) for the Sitting-Rising Test.
The Sitting-Rising Test, or SRT was performed by over 2,000 patients between the ages of 51 and 80. Araújo and his team found that individuals who scored less than 8 points on the test were twice as likely to die within the next six years. Those who scored 3 or fewer points were more than five times as likely to die within the same period compared with those who scored more than 8 points. Araújo concluded that each point increase in the SRT score correlated with a 21% decrease in mortality from all causes.
The Sitting-Rising Test reinforces the point that muscular strength and flexibility are just as important aerobic health in delaying the impact of old age.
We are all mortal and our time on this earth is limited, but the quality of that time can be improved if we feel better and move better. Getting started is never easy, but one of the simplest things you can do is to try and lessen the amount of time spent sitting and walk a little bit more every day. The thought of entering a gym can be intimidating and overwhelming for many, but some of the best physical activities for your body don't require the gym or assume you are preparing for an Ironman. Remember the dolphins? They move just for the fun of it! Find something you enjoy whether it is on your own or in a group, indoors or outside. Don’t give yourself a hard time, find joy in moving and recreate just like our aquatic friends!
*RECREATE verb (used with object), rec·re·at·ed, rec·re·at·ing.
to refresh by means of relaxation and enjoyment, as restore physically or mentally.
**Sitting–rising test: Sex- and age-reference scores derived from 6141 adults
Claudio Gil S Araújo, Claudia Lucia B Castro, João Felipe C Franca, Denise SMS Araújo
European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, vol. 27, 8: pp. 888-890. First Published May 1, 2019
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