Exercise keeps you young longer

Exercise is the best anti-aging treatment.  

Researches show that an active lifestyle can make your body stronger and more resistant to the wear and tear of time.

Regular physical activity contributes to maintain/build muscle and bone mass, keeps your heart and lungs attuned, and improves metabolic function and hormonal production all of which prevent many chronic diseases related to aging.

Oh, and it’s never too late to start.

If you’re new to exercise, you can begin with small bouts here and there. Like going for a lap around the block when you arrive from work or taking the stairs instead of the lift. I know it doesn’t seem much but small steps are easy to do and build up your confidence. And as you get fitter, you can add the next step.

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Why taking breaks is important for mental health

Are you usually so busy that you spend your day going from one task to the next with no time to breathe?

And when you hit the pillow at night your mind suddenly becomes very active. Reminding you of all the things that were left undone, reliving past experiences, worrying about the future etc.

Well, that usually happens when you don’t give yourself enough down time.

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Are you getting enough whole grains?

Whole grains are part of a healthy balanced diet. They provide important nutrients that may help reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular disease.

The current recommendation is to have at least half of your grains as whole grains, meaning 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day.

But do you know what they are and why they are important?

Whole grains are unrefined cereal seeds that still contain the whole kernel (bran, germ and endosperm). This means that they hold more nutrients than their refined counterparts.

During the refining process, the bran and germ are discarded in order to improve taste and texture. However, this process strips away fibre, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. What is left is basically starch, which is quickly broken down during digestion causing a rapid rise in blood sugar.

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Three Tips to Make Exercise Part of Your Life

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve noticed that lots of people are having a hard time reengaging in regular physical activity.

The thing is that we had so many disturbances in our routines (blame the pandemic 🙄) that many of us have fallen off the bandwagon.

Even people who were regular exercisers before the lockdowns are now finding quite challenging re-establishing a routine and getting their mojo back.

So if this is happening to you (or if you simply want to make exercise part of your lifestyle), keep reading😊

 3 tips to make exercise part of your life (and to actually enjoy it!)

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How Open-Minded Are You?

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.

Frank Zappa

Open mindedness is usually considered a positive quality and it’s a personality trait.

But what exactly is open-mindedness?

Being open-minded means being receptive to a wide range of ideas and experiences with no judgement or prejudice. Open-minded people are willing to listen to another person’s point of view with curiosity, even when they don’t agree with it.

They may think “what can I learn from this person?” rather than argue or try to prove their point. The thing is that open-minded people know that they don’t know everything, and are ok when their ideas and beliefs are challenged.

Why would you want to be open-minded?

Well, It gives us the opportunity to review outdated concepts and beliefs so we can learn and grow. This allows us to gain insights about ourselves, to experience new things, to feel more optimistic about the future and to become mentally resilient.

How can you become more open minded?

  • Nurture a beginners mind – instead of saying “I already know this” which closes your mind to new ideas, try shifting to a “what can I learn from this?” mentality.
  • Keep in mind that every idea is valuable – don’t discount ideas that don’t agree with your beliefs straight away. Let them simmer in your mind. This way you’ll be more likely to see nuances that you haven’t considered before.
  • Explore polarities – instead of labelling everything as right or wrong, true or false, look at things through different perspectives. Ask yourself – “what else could this mean?” or “what would be like if I was in this person shoes?”
  • Look at everything with curiosity – when you look at things with the eyes of a child, your imagination kicks in. Your horizons expand and suddenly anything is possible. That’s when you get “ah-ha” moments.
  • Allow yourself to experiment – if you look at every experience as an opportunity to try new things, you stop perceiving mistakes as “bad” and more like part of the process. It’s liberating!
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How Lack of Sleep Impacts your Weight

Did you know that poor sleep can impact your waistline?

That’s right. Fat tissue has it’s own biological clock that can be affected by lack of sleep.

For instance, our bodies tend to release enzymes that promote fat burn at times of high energy demand (such as early in the day) and that promote fat storage when there’s less energy demand (at night), following our natural circadian cycle.

However, when this cycle is disrupted, let’s say by staying up late watching Netflix, our ability to regulate appetite is also affected. We tend to crave high calories treats at a time in which the body is storing energy.

In addition, a poor night of sleep reduces levels of leptin (hormone that promotes satiety) and increases levels of ghrelin (hormone that stimulates hunger). That means you’ll be more likely to overeat.

Besides when you’re sleep deprived, you’ll also be moody and foggy. So there’s a good chance that you’ll look for comfort in tasty snacks and won’t have the willpower to resist cravings.

So here are a few things you can do to have a better night of sleep.

5 steps to better sleep

  • Move your body – Regular exercise may help you realign your internal body clock. Just avoid very intense exercise late in the evening because it may interfere with sleep.
  • Turn off electronic devices – Artificial light disrupt melatonin production which is responsible for deep sleep. Put away your phone and other devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Clear your mind – A mind full of thoughts and worries creates stress, making harder to fall asleep. Journaling before bed is a good way to empty your mind.
  • Find relaxing activities – Activities that calm you down reduce the fight or flight response and contribute to a better night of sleep. Take a bath, meditate or read (paper book, no electronic devices!).
  • Make the room dark – A dark room induces melatonin production making it easier to fall and stay asleep. Turn off the lights, cover your windows and put your phone facing down.

BONUS TIP: Be careful with sleep ins – most people need to be awake around 16 hours before they feel sleepy. So if you wake up very late, you probably struggle falling asleep at night.

Keep in mind that a good night of sleep can make you feel good during the day. It also contribute to better food choices, more energy to work and exercise and better ability to manage stress. Seriously, sleep is a recovery rock star.

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Breaking Bad (habits)

A habit is hard to break.

Old Proverb

You’ve probably heard that many times. But do you know why?

Well, a habit is a behaviour that has become nearly or completely involuntary due to continuous repetition. This behaviour becomes so ingrained that it is triggered without conscious awareness and elicit an automatic response.

Because of this nature, it is said that a habit is hard to break. Unless…

… you make a conscious effort to rewrite the pattern.

But in order to rewrite a pattern, you must first understand it.

Which brings me to the habit loop.

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3 reasons why you shouldn’t set weight-loss as a goal

How many times have you said that you were going to lose weight? And how many times have you given up before you got there?

According to several researches, almost half of the adult population of the USA (49.1% – CDC 2018), UK (48% – Mintel 2016) and Australia (46% – DAA 2017) are actively trying to lose weight.  Unfortunately, the success rates seem to be very low because many people make several attempts throughout their lifetime.

But what is the real problem here? Is weight-loss a mythical creature that no one seems to know how to capture?

In my perspective, the problem lies on how we have been conditioned to approach weight-loss and it all starts with the goal setting process.

You see, for most people, weight-loss is not even a goal. At best, it is an intention. The same as getting rich, being successful or finding happiness. What does it even mean?

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Self-care vs Self-indulgence

When you are feeling down and need to lift your spirits, what do you usually do?

A Bubble bath, a walk in nature, a cup of tea and a book…

Self-care is noticing your own needs and taking an active role in maintain or restoring wellbeing.

But be careful with the strategy you choose to adopt.

Eating a whole bag of cookies or draining a bottle of wine, – is not good for you and you know it. Neither is sitting in front of the TV for hours or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

Don’t mistake self-indulgence for self-care. How do you know the difference?

By how you feel after it. If you feel energised, joyful and in peace, it’s definitely self-care. But if you end up feeling guilty, ashamed or simply yucky, it was just a desperate attempt to break an undesirable state. 

We all have our moments. It’s not realistic to think that you must feel bubbly and cheery all the time.

There will be days, in which you will feel less than best and that’s ok. Just understand that in those days, you will need a little more love, kindness and compassion. That’s what self-care really means.

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