21 Short­cuts to Health

From mi­cro-work­outs to power poses, self-im­prove­ment can come with min­i­mal ef­fort – these in­sider tips and tricks re­veal how

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Sally Brown

From mi­cro-work­outs to power poses, self-im­prove­ment on the road can come with min­i­mal ef­fort

1

SEVEN-MINUTE WORK­OUT

The noughties was the decade we dis­cov­ered less can be more when it comes to ex­er­cise. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fit­ness Jour­nal, the key to get­ting re­sults from a su­per-short work­out is you need to be in pain (but not ac­tu­ally hurt­ing your­self). Us­ing just your body weight, you per­form a se­ries of 12 high-in­ten­sity ex­er­cises such as push-ups, lunges and tri­cep dips as hard and fast as you can – with cor­rect form and no more than ten sec­onds rest be­tween. There are nu­mer­ous ded­i­cated apps – search your app store for “seven-minute work­out.”

2 FO­CUS IN­TER­VAL TRAIN­ING

A wealth of stud­ies show short, in­tense gym ses­sions can be more ef­fec­tive at in­creas­ing fit­ness lev­els and shift­ing body fat than longer, more mod­er­ate train­ing. Now there’s a gym-free ver­sion – Fo­cus T25 is a 25-minute, five day-a-week pro­gram de­liv­ered via 11 DVDs from the mak­ers of the cult work­out In­san­ity. It’s a mix­ture of com­pound strength­train­ing moves with high-in­ten­sity car­dio de­signed to shift fat and sculpt mus­cles. The only equip­ment you need is a pair of train­ers (and some­times a re­sis­tance band and mat). And it’s pos­si­ble to do it in a mod­er­ate-sized ho­tel room. $119.70 beach­body.com.

3 30-DAY FIT­NESS CHAL­LENGE

“It’s a re­al­is­tic goal and as ef­fec­tive as any­thing you can do on a ma­chine. It doesn’t re­quire any equip­ment so you carry it on when you travel,” says per­sonal trainer Peter Le­mon, founder of the Academy of Fit­ness Pro­fes­sion­als. “For best re­sults, be con­sis­tent – you have the best chance of stick­ing to a fit­ness rou­tine if you do it at the same time ev­ery day. Early morn­ing works for a lot of peo­ple. Mo­ti­vate your­self by mark­ing an X on a cal­en­dar ev­ery time you work out.”

4 TRAIN THE DNA WAY

We’re all ge­net­i­cally wired to re­spond to dif­fer­ent types of ex­er­cise – do the wrong kind and you won’t see re­sults no mat­ter how long you spend in the gym. That’s the the­ory be­hind DNA Fit, which tests for dozens of gene vari­ants sci­en­tif­i­cally linked to your body’s ca­pac­ity to re­spond to train­ing and nutri­tion. Swab the side of your cheek, send it off, and in about two weeks you’ll get an as­sess­ment of what type of ex­er­cise you’re ge­net­i­cally built for, whether that’s en­durance, speed or stamina-based ac­tiv­i­ties. From $159,

5 RUN LIGHT

If you lack the mo­ti­va­tion or are wary of run­ning in a strange city, in­vest in some wearable tech so you feel less alone. The su­per-light Jabra Sport Pulse Wire­less ear­buds com­bine rich Dolby sound with an in-ear bio­met­ric heart rate mon­i­tor (no need for a chest strap) and a voice coach that up­dates your speed and dis­tance. It comes with an easy-to-use app, Sport Life, which pro­vides maps of your runs and de­tails of dis­tance and speed. $199.99, jabra.com.

6 IM­PROVE YOUR POS­TURE

Walk with your head up and a spring in your step and, be­fore long, your mood will lift, says a new study from Cana­dian re­searchers. They also found the op­po­site was true – walk with slumped shoul­ders, look­ing down, and your mood will dip. Re­search in the Health Psy­chol­ogy jour­nal re­veals slouch­ing in­creases feel­ings of stress. At­tach the Lumo Lift, a dis­creet sen­sor, to your shirt just be­low the col­lar­bone and it will vi­brate when your shoul­ders and chest start to slump. It also keeps tabs of your daily ac­tiv­ity lev­els. $79.99 from Ap­ple Stores and Ama­zon.

7 GET THER­APY WHILE JOG­GING

Lon­don-based psy­chother­a­pist Wil­liam Pullen pro­vides dy­namic run­ning ther­apy (DRT) ses­sions while jog­ging around the cap­i­tal city’s parks. The idea is less about get­ting fit than about talk­ing through your prob­lems with a ther­a­pist with­out be­ing stuck in a more con­fronta­tional, face-to-face of­fice en­vi­ron­ment.You can go at your own pace and take a break for a chat on a bench. It’s rec­om­mended for de­pres­sion, trauma, ad­dic­tion, anx­i­ety and sad­ness, and teaches peo­ple to dis­cover the power to change and over­come from within them­selves. £150 ($230) per hour, dy­nami­crun­ningther­apy.co.uk

8 MED­I­TATE ON THE MOVE

Med­i­ta­tion app Bud­dhify 2 is ideal for plane jour­neys as it can use the names of your de­par­ture and des­ti­na­tion cities to an­chor you in the present. Cre­ated by Glas­gow-based en­tre­pre­neur Rohan Gu­natil­lake, there are 80 guided med­i­ta­tions from five to 30 min­utes to choose from, with no up­grade costs. For Ap­ple and An­droid users – $2.99 from Google Play; $4.99 from iTunes.

9 PER­FORM A POWER POSE

Ev­ery­one knows how im­por­tant body lan­guage is to in­ter­act­ing with oth­ers, but ac­cord­ing to so­cial psy­chol­o­gist Amy Cuddy, per­form­ing a “power pose” in pri­vate be­fore a job in­ter­view or im­por­tant pre­sen­ta­tion can phys­i­cally boost your con­fi­dence. (Watch her talk on ted. com.) Stand­ing tall with your hands on your hips for a cou­ple of min­utes will tem­po­rar­ily in­crease your testos­terone lev­els and lower your cor­ti­sol lev­els, which are con­nected to stress.

10 BE KIND TO YOUR IN­SIDE

Friendly bac­te­ria does more than keep your in­sides happy and boost your im­mu­nity. The latest re­search shows it may also play a role in staving off anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. Keep the bal­ance right when you travel by pack­ing Ohso Bel­gian cho­co­late bars, for­ti­fied with more than a bil­lion live lac­to­bacil­lus and bi­fi­dobac­terium. In tests, they de­liv­ered more live bac­te­ria to the in­testi­nal sys­tem than yo­gurts or pro­bi­otic drinks. As a bonus, the 70 per­cent co­coa con­tent pro­vides im­mu­nity-boost­ing an­tiox­i­dants. $7.98 for a pack of seven from vi­ta­min­life.com.

11 BOOST YOUR BRAIN

Green tea is more than just green liq­uid. Beat jet lag-in­duced mind fog by adding green tea ex­tract to your fa­vorite smooth­ies or hot drinks. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study, brain scans show that con­sum­ing the ex­tract in­creases con­nec­tions in the frontal and pari­etal re­gions of the brain, im­prov­ing work­ing mem­ory. Try Bloom’s Su­per­charge pow­der, made from matcha, a type of green tea renowned for its high an­tiox­i­dant con­tent. It also con­tains guarana and maca root for caf­feine-free energy. £17 ($26) from Sel­fridges, Har­vey Ni­chols and bloomtea.co.uk

12 PRO­TECT YOUR SKIN

Take the guess­work out of sun pro­tec­tion with June from Ne­tatmo. De­signed by Camille Toupet, who has pre­vi­ously col­lab­o­rated with Louis Vuit­ton, this fem­i­nine bracelet sends in­for­ma­tion to an iPhone app and tells you when to reap­ply sun­screen or seek shade, based on your lo­ca­tion and skin type. $129, ne­tatmo.com

13 CHECK YOUR SYMP­TOMS

Get a fast di­ag­no­sis at home or abroad from Is­abel, an online symp­tom checker orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for healthcare pro­fes­sion­als and now adapted for pa­tient use. Sim­ply type a brief de­scrip­tion of your symp­toms into a text box to get in­stant, ev­i­dence-based in­sight into what is wrong with you. In tests, it di­ag­nosed con­di­tions with 95 per­cent ac­cu­racy. Free for Ap­ple and An­droid users and at symp­tom­checker.is­abel­health­care.com.

14 BRUSH FOR LONGER

Keep­ing gum dis­ease at bay may re­duce your risk of heart dis­ease as den­tal plaque is linked to ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis. If you never brush for the rec­om­mended two min­utes, down­load Brush DJ, an NHS-ap­proved app de­vel­oped by den­tist Ben Un­der­wood, and short­listed for the AXA PPP Health Tech and You Awards 2015. It plays two min­utes of mu­sic, se­lected at ran­dom or from your playlist, and re­minds you to floss, rinse and see your hy­gien­ist. Free for Ap­ple and An­droid users, brushdj.com.

15 SKIP BREAK­FAST

If you want to lose weight, it’s largely a myth that break­fast is the most im­por­tant meal of the day, says sci­en­tist David R Hack, au­thor of The Back to Ba­sics Diet ($16.99, ama­zon.com). “Eat­ing first thing in the morn­ing, es­pe­cially car­bo­hy­drate-rich break­fast ce­real, floods the blood­stream with in­sulin, which switches the body into fat-stor­age mode for sev­eral hours.” In­stead, try to wait un­til lunchtime so that your body has to rely on fat stores and glyco­gen (energy stored in the liver) for fuel.

16 STAY COOL

Strip­ping off a layer so you feel slightly chilly (but not freez­ing) ac­ti­vates your stores of a metabol­i­cally-ac­tive type of fat called brown fat, burn­ing off calo­ries to raise your core body tem­per­a­ture, says sports nu­tri­tion­ist Peta Bee, au­thor of The Ice Diet (from $8.75, ama­zon.com). If you can bear it, turn the tem­per­a­ture down in the shower as well. “Ex­po­sure to cold wa­ter is known to ac­ti­vate the sym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem and to in­crease blood sup­plies of en­dor­phins [feel-good hor­mones] to the brain,” Bee says. “Try a five-minute warm shower fol­lowed by two to three min­utes of cool wa­ter.”

17 PHO­TO­GRAPH YOUR FOOD

Con­vinced you’re a healthy eater but can’t lose weight? Send pics of a typ­i­cal week’s eat­ing to your per­sonal coach via the Hapi Coach app for an ex­pert anal­y­sis of your food choices and por­tion sizes. Your coach will help you to set goals and ad­vise on bet­ter op­tions. The app works with a tracker to gauge your usual ac­tiv­ity lev­els and work out your daily calo­rie needs. For An­droid and Ap­ple users, £99.95 ($152) with tracker and 12-month sub­scrip­tion; hapi.com/hapi­coach

18 GET TO BED EAR­LIER

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent US study, go­ing to bed late and skimp­ing on sleep in­creases neg­a­tive think­ing, even among peo­ple who con­sider them­selves night owls. Re­searchers found the later peo­ple went to bed, the more they ru­mi­nated and wor­ried, in­creas­ing the risk of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

19 SEE AN ONLINE SLEEP SHRINK

Sleepio is a per­son­al­ized online course based on CBT (cog­ni­tive be­hav­ioral ther­apy), which im­proved sleep in 75 per­cent of in­som­ni­acs in clin­i­cal tri­als. Code­vel­oped by sleep ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Colin Espie, it’s based on the the­ory that many sleep prob­lems, such as dif­fi­culty drop­ping off or night-time wak­ing, can be caused by un­help­ful be­liefs about our abil­ity to sleep. From $79.92 for a 12 week pack­age, or pay as you go $9.99 a week, sleepio.com.

20 FAST WHEN YOU FLY

Skip­ping an evening meal can help you to stay awake and ad­just to the time at your des­ti­na­tion. Sci­en­tists from Har­vard Univer­sity think we may have a sec­ond “feed­ing clock” that can over­ride our body clock, keep­ing us awake to look for food when we haven’t eaten for some time.

21 TRY LIGHT THER­APY

De­vel­oped by re­searchers at Flin­ders Univer­sity in Ade­laide, Re-Timer may look like a pair of div­ing gog­gles but the frame emits green LED light to help reg­u­late your sleep pat­terns, im­prove the qual­ity of your sleep and re­duce tired­ness. You wear them for 30 min­utes first thing in the morn­ing when you wake up. In stud­ies, users found they were able to fall asleep ear­lier and sleep for longer. $299, re-timer.com. BT

Fast-track

Boost your mood

Take care of your body

Beat the bulge

Sleep easy

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