News - 19th May 2017

Three simple steps towards a healthier head

cheering woman hiker open arms at mountain peak cliff

Our friends at Healthspan are always looking at ways to improve health and wellbeing, not just for body but for mind as well. Here they provide some really simple steps to help you relax and switch off:

1. Step away from the screen and relax your bedtime routine


Mobile phones, computers, iPods, tablets; we all know how easy it is to endlessly traverse through social media a few too many times in one day, or to choose sitting in front of the TV over reading a relaxing novel. Even before we go to bed a significant number of us are checking through emails or having a last scroll through the Instagram homepage, when we should be adhering to an adequately relaxing bedtime routine.


Not getting enough sleep is a sure fire way to expose yourself to heightened levels of stress, something that is extremely common in this modern day and age. Put aside all electronic devices a good hour before bedtime to ensure your eyes (and your head) have had a break from the screen.


Dr Michael Moseley recently showed prebiotics to be of possible benefit to sleep quality, too. Try Healthspan’s Pro 5 supplement which contains prebiotics along with five billion friendly bacteria to support your gut health.


2. Walk, a lot (especially since May is National Walking Month)


The power of walking goes far beyond its physical benefits. Not only does it reduce stress, walking has extensive benefits on cognitive function and is an all-inclusive activity that pretty much everyone can do. It’s completely free and a comfortable pair of shoes is the only piece of equipment you’ll ever need- unless some serious walking inspires you to get your hands on some hiking poles, that is.


Small changes like walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking further away from the supermarket are an easy way of increasing your daily step count. It has recently been revealed that seventeen thousand steps a day means Amazonian hunters have the healthiest hearts and, although a mere ten thousand steps a day might seem like a struggle for the average Brit, there’s nothing stopping us aiming high. A weekly parkrun will add on a few.


3. Take a deep breath


According to Dr Meg Arroll we should take time to concentrate on our breathing:


‘Over time we tend to get into the habit of breathing through our chests, but this type of breathing can lead to feelings of anxiety. If you watch a baby, you’ll see his tummy rise noticeably on the inhale and dip when he exhales.’


To breathe for good wellbeing, Dr Meg has the following tips:

  1. Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. If your chest is rising and falling, rather than your stomach, it is worth re-training your breathing patterns. Start by breathing in through your nose to a count of 3 as deeply as you can. By breathing deeply you’ll be able to engage the diaphragm and your stomach will lift.
  2. Then, breathe out again through your nose to a count of 3, feeling your stomach dip as the air is exhaled.


Get into the habit of deep breathing by doing this exercise every morning as well as if you ever feel stressed or anxious. Breathing through the diaphragm helps.


Oh and remember… it’s okay to relax! Relaxation is an important part of every person’s health and wellbeing and can often fall by the wayside, due to busyness being a more popular and perhaps even more fashionable way of life.

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