An open letter to my beloved readers,

Under the strains of modern hectic lifestyles, we often face the pressures of juggling the demands of job, family and social life. This continuous stress adversely impacts our body, lowering our immunity and increasing demands on our cellular metabolism.

As we push ourselves through life¡¯s pressures, we often neglect our wellbeing. Poor nutrition, inadequate exercise and lack of recharge time, push us toward burnout. Too frequently, our cellular recovery functions become disrupted, and aging starts to set in prematurely. We then find it even harder to cope with our daily routine in the face of a declining energy level.

Fortunately, there are strategies we could apply to interrupt this vicious cycle.


Nutrition

Eating a healthy balanced diet provides us with essential nutrients including protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and phytonutrients to ensure optimum cellular functions to prevent chronic diseases and prevent premature aging. A healthy diet is mostly plant foods (e.g. vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, whole oats, etc.) and moderate amounts of animal products (e.g. milk, fish, lean red meat and egg, poultry). Fats should normally provide less than 30% of our energy requirement, and less than 10% of this would be saturated fat. It is also important that our food intakes are in the right proportions and tailored to age and activity level. Eating a variety of foods is important to ensure we receive different types of nutrients.

As we are all busy with the pressure of work and family commitment, healthy eating becomes a secondary concern. Take away and fast food outlets, allow quick and easy access to food that is not necessarily healthy. Unhealthy eating eventually takes a toll on our health either through weigh gain or a decline in our energy level. Fortunately, there are many quick healthy meals recipes online which we can refer to. Food choices and meal planning are important for optimum health. While we seem to always run out of time, a comprehensive shopping list including fresh vegetables, salads, fruits, lean meat to provide for at least a week of meal planning. Include some healthy snacks when travel to work or kids activities. Fruits, nuts, salads, veggies and cheese are great and healthy snacks.

There are great sources of information on http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au and http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.


Exercise

Numerous studies shown that exercise makes us feel good with the release of endorphins; boosts blood circulation, improves joint coordination, muscle mass and bone density, prevents chronic diseases and improves sleep. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a style of workout that alternates short bursts of intense exercise, with slower ¡®recovery¡¯ periods. This can be done with any type of movement. With running try sprinting for 30 seconds then slow jog for 30 seconds and repeat. Bike or with core exercises like pushups, lunges, or crunches in fitness classes. A recent study published in http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131(17)30099-2 suggests that HIIT may reverse certain aspects of aging in the elderly.

Other types of exercise such as resistance training and Cardio training are beneficial as well. However, exercise doesn¡¯t have to be an intense workout at the gym. Physical activities can be incorporated into your daily schedule such as a short strolls down the block, climbing stairs, household chores etc. You can use resistance bands at home for excellent workouts of all major muscle groups. Our bodies just move better when we move them consistently. Being physically active promotes our general wellbeing and gives us a positive outlook on life, so let¡¯s get active!


Sleep

Our body repairs and recovers from day time activities during sleep. Sleep is important for our skin to rebuild collagen and repair UV damage, thus reducing wrinkles and age spots. Sleep is also an active period when our brain processes and consolidates memories. Good sleep allows our mind to stay alert and keep on top of life¡¯s daily challenges.

Strategies to promote quality sleep such as maintaining consistent sleep routines, assuring exposure to natural light during day time hours, ensuring your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet, having a comfortable bed and pillow, and avoiding caffeine or heavy meals before bedtime. My favorite activity before bed time is reading as this helps me unwind. You may find other ways to help you relax, such as soothing music, pure lavender oil etc. I can¡¯t stress enough the importance of good quality sleep for our health, wellbeing and maintaining our youthfulness for years to come.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is turning our attention intentionally towards the present rather than being controlled by the inescapable memories that our mind takes us on. This allows us to stop and observe what is truly happening within our mind, body and surroundings; and strengthens our ability to perceive the challenges of daily living with greater clarity, openness and acceptance. Mindfulness improves our ability in dealing with stress, by helping us make better decisions, and creating positive relationships while showing resilience in the face of adverse conditions.

Mindfulness induces a relaxation response which engages the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for restoring the body to baseline after a stress response, calming it down by lowering the heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, and muscle tension. Scientists postulate that mindfulness is linked to changes both in the brain and in the body¡¯s production of hormones and chemicals that are associated with positive psychological and physical outcomes https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/mindfulness/how-does-mindfulness-work.

Mindfulness can be incorporated into our daily routine easily by using strategies such as sitting still and focusing on our breaths, meditation, body scan, mindfulness listening etc. Here I have attached a helpful resource on various mindfulness techniques https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-exercises-techniques-activities.

In the face of the inevitable ups and downs in life, I hope my sharing will inspire you to embrace these strategies to optimize your health and reconnect to the beauty of life. Let¡¯s unleash our potential and embark on a rich and fulfilling lifetime journey!



Cheers to better health and lifespan!



Yee Wei Seak
Product Strategy Manager
Genes Biotech (Aus) Pty Ltd

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