Seven wellness trends to see you into autumn
Kick-start a health and wellness routine this autumn and enjoy a new zest for life
From nipping and tucking your diet to blasts of fresh-air exercise, we offer seven top tips on how to maximise your feel-good factor in an enjoyable, cost effective way.
1. Treat yourself to a non-toxic manicure
The preoccupation with a healthy but eye-catching set of talons is entering a new era, with non-toxic manicures paving the way. Vegan, eco-friendly, 100% natural products are increasingly popular in on-trend treatment salons around the capital. Not only do you get the benefit of a gorgeous mani at the end, but also the comfort of knowing that it is being done in a sustainable way.
Still Salon in Dalston is one of the best new non-toxic salons. It offers a wide range of luxury hand and foot treatments, including Icelandic hand and foot massage/scrubs and striking ‘nail art’ at surprisingly affordable prices.
2. Try light therapy for glowing skin
Light therapy, which has been used for years to promote salon skin tanning, is having a resurgence as a credible treatment to combat an array of health problems. Autumn brings shorter daylight hours, changeable weather, and hectic work and school schedules. All of these factors can cause an assault on the immune system, and consequently lead to ill health.
Red light therapy uses low-level wavelengths of light to treat or improve many surface conditions of the skin. It can help to prevent acne, psoriasis, eczema, the resurgence of cold sores and other inflammations of the skin.
Infrared light therapy is another form of light therapy that works at a deeper wavelength and may help to boost your energy levels, improve your mood and sleep quality, as well as eliminate some forms of chronic pain. According to some health professionals, it may also help to dissolve fat in the body.
Devices can be used at home to achieve results or you may choose to visit a salon. The luxurious Bamford Salon in Brompton Cross in South Kensington offers light treatment as part of its extensive range of feel-good skin therapies and products.
3. Know your circadian rhythms
Circadian rhythms are part of the internal body clock, in which essential processes and functions take place in 24-hour cycles. These include the sleep/wake cycle, body-temperature cycles and certain hormone-release cycles. These different systems have a direct link to the master clock in the brain, which is directly influenced by external stimuli – one of which is light. Maintaining equilibrium in our circadian rhythms is a key concept in maintaining optimum mental and physical health.
NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is present in the body to help prevent cellular ageing. It also plays a critical role in many crucial physiological processes and has a powerful influence on circadian rhythms. As we age naturally our stores of NAD deplete.
NAD supplementation is now commonly used in the health and wellness industry. There are many companies that offer NAD, but one of the best ways to boost your levels of this vital substance in your body is to look for a product that contains Niagen, a form of vitamin B3, which is a precursor that naturally promotes NAD production in the body.
4. Fall back in love with the great outdoors
There is nothing quite like the exhilaration of open-air exercise – it helps to buoy the spirits, boost energy levels, and improve breathing and circulation, which all help to calm the mind and reduce stress. Make a good brisk walk in the great outdoors a part of your autumn exercise routine, whether it is in London, or in an area of natural beauty outside the capital.
If swimming is your go-to exercise, try braving an al fresco plunge. This summer has seen a rise in the popularity of river, lake and pond bathing, as well as cold-water sea swimming. Indian summers are not unusual in this country, so there is nothing to stop you opting for this healthy and fun pastime well into the winter months. Some die-hard swimmers are regulars at the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds in London all year round. There really is no excuse.
Then there’s paddleboarding, which is now the world’s fastest growing watersport. Not only does it give you a great all-round body workout, but it also offers plentiful opportunity to enjoy the beautiful river or coastal scenery and wildlife around you. Active 360, a London-based SUP company, offers paddleboard classes or individual lessons in four locations along the Thames: Kew, Richmond, Paddington and Brentford.
5. Stretch for posture and emotional balance
Complement your exercise routine with dedicated stretching sessions. We all know the benefits of a good workout, but the benefits of stretching can sometimes be overlooked. Repeated exercise tends to shorten muscles, which if not stretched appropriately, can then predispose them to injury. Stretching will help to lengthen the muscles helping to minimise this risk of injury. It will also condition the soft tissues around the joints to maintain optimum range of motion. By increasing flexibility, stretching will greatly enhance posture and can prevent stiffness and chronic aches and pains in the body.
Stretching is known to help with emotional equilibrium. When done in coordination with healthy breathing techniques and relaxation practices, it can calm the mind, increase energy, reduce tension and give an overall feeling of empowerment. The hips are known as ‘the emotional wardrobe of the body’ for women, so it makes sense to keep the muscles around the hips and thighs in good condition. Yoga is a great way to enjoy these benefits.
On a daily basis try to set aside at least 15 minutes to stretch each of the major muscle groups – the back, chest (pecs), hamstrings, quads (fronts of the thighs), and glutes. The smaller muscles, (the biceps, triceps, shoulders and calves), also need to be in good condition, so give them the once over as well.
6. Embrace a plant-based diet (if you haven’t already)
Eating a plant-based diet, strictly speaking, means eating mostly vegetables, fruit, beans, wholegrains, nuts and seeds – it doesn’t mean that you can’t ever indulge in the odd bit of fish or meat. Amongst other benefits, a plant-based diet will provide you with the essential nutrients to help boost gut flora (the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract), which in turn will greatly improve digestion. It will also enhance brain function – our brains need nourishing, too. Interestingly, the brain uses about one quarter of our daily energy supply. A healthy, happy gut and well-nourished brain will help to boost mood, lead to balanced energy levels, as well as give a good fillip to the immune system.
With autumn now under way we should be looking to maximise our nutrient intake to stave off unwelcome coughs and sniffles. Focus on foods that include vitamins B, C, D and E, as well as iron, selenium and zinc. Load up your diet with oranges, berries, wholegrains, avocado, spinach, kale, beans, nuts. If you want to go a little off-piste try oysters for a super-fix of zinc.
Always try to eat non-refined foods and minimise sugar intake to reduce slumps in energy. For many people now working from home, the temptation to snack is all the more present. If the classic mid-afternoon energy crash hits, reach for healthy options to graze on. Deliciously Ella is showcasing new veggie, fruit, nut and chocolate treats that will hit the spot.
7. Download the Meditopia app
2020 brings a continued focus on meditation, which facilitates stress reduction, good-quality sleep and calmness of mind, body and spirit. Download the Meditopia app to kickstart some seriously relaxing meditation sessions. It offers top-quality audio and over 1,000 variations of mindfulness, meditation and music sessions, and promises to reduce anxiety, promote better sleep, change behaviours and, for the really dedicated devotees, even to dive into the realms of the soul with deep, contemplative thought.