Exercise. It’s something that makes us physically fitter. It lowers blood pressure, protects our ticker and boosts sleep quality, among a laundry list of countless other major wellbeing benefits. But for me, it’s the mental health payoff of a good sweat session that wins hands down. The proof? A recent international study (of more than 266,000 people over seven years) led by the University of NSW and the Black Dog Institute confirmed that exercise can help slash stress and reduce the risk of depression, regardless of age or geographical location. And that’s only just the start of the health gains this powerful prescription can help unlock. Back in the day, I used to exercise because, like, so many other women, I thought I “should”. But, to be honest, it wasn’t at the top of my list of fun things to do. Now, it’s something I do (and genuinely, passionately love) five times a week to feel calmer, happier, more focused and energised, no matter how crazy life gets. Whether it’s a 5km run, 30 minutes of yoga or a 6am weights class before work, the results are the same. I always walk away feeling more positive, and like I could take on the world. My new mantra? Calm mind. Fit body. Definite words to live by.
Looking for more fast, easy ways to feel happier and healthier? You’ll find them inside this issue.
Eat well all month long with 16 pages of deliciously clean meals, think Fodmap-friendly recipes direct from food blogger Georgia Mcdermott (sesame tahini brownies anyone?) to four health-boosting burgers practically dripping with goodness (p121). Get clued up on the new breed of super carbs that actually help you lose weight (p94). Fire up your fitness and double your workout results with our four-week power plan (p100). And don’t miss our must-read health report on the avalanche of science that continues to highlight how crucially important the mind-gut connection really is (p112). And if you’re looking for a serious dose of feel-good factor, turn directly to p88 for our exclusive interview with this issue’s cover star, Tessa James. Five years ago, at the age of just 23, Tessa’s world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now, three years in remission from cancer and living in LA with her husband Nate (a retired NRL player) and a brand new baby (Saynt, born in February) what she has to say about life, love, gratitude and not taking a single second for granted is truly inspiring. Read it and I guarantee you’ll have a richer appreciation of what really matters in life afterwards. Until next month, hope you enjoy this bumper issue!