Art Can Improve Your Wellbeing

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Did you know that going to an art gallery can help you relax?

Cultural experiences can improve your health and happiness. The physiological and psychological benefits are manifold: Numerous studies found that applied arts and cultural interventions have a positive impact on certain health conditions including dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease. According to the Arts Council, those who had attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months were nearly 60% more likely to note good health as opposed those who had not, and theatre-goers were about 25% more likely to state good health.

Close encounters with culture can offer you an escape from the pressure of modern living.

“You might have a stressful week and then you go somewhere like the Whitworth and there’s tranquillity.” (Consultant Psychiatrist)

Culture not only allows you to learn about the world and its people, but also about yourself. Art, for me, is like entering into another world, where I can let go of all my worries, strains and stresses. It’s simply restorative and revitalizing. I love going to the theatre and exhibitions. I did not only go to the recent Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, but I have also visited his current exhibition at Downing College in Cambridge. It’s fantastic! His art makes me stand in awe; I have never seen any exhibition that made me look at art in such a completely new light.

Tip: Check out the Dojo App for all the latest information on exhibitions, theatre plays and concerts in London.



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If you work your body or mind hard, you need to watch your iron levels. Iron is really important for your overall health and energy levels.

One of the most important health benefits of the mineral iron is that it acts as a carrier of oxygen and thus participates in transferring oxygen from one body cell to another. This is a vital function of iron, as oxygen is required by each and every organ system to perform routine functions.

Iron is a vital part of haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. Haemoglobin represents roughly two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t product sufficient healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells and thus it can’t produce oxygen. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anaemia (MD).

  • Immune System: The body is made proficient enough to fight against a number of diseases and infections. Red blood cells are necessary for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells and to help them to heal.
  • Brain Function: Since oxygen supply in the blood is assisted by it and the brain uses about 20% of the blood oxygen, iron is directly related to brain health and its functions. A good flow of blood in the brain can fuel cognitive activity and thus concentration.
  • Fatigue:Iron deficiency can be a natural cause of fatigue (and surprisingly also insomnia) since it is an important component of haemoglobin.
  • Muscle Strength:Iron is present in the muscle tissues and assists in the provision of oxygen which you need for the contraction of your muscles (for more details, click here)


  • 8.7mg a day for men
  • 14.8mg a day for women (NHS), some sites recommend 18 mg per day.


  1. Chickpeas: Also contains protein, fibre, complex carbs, folate, zinc.
  2. Pumpkin Seeds:  About 16% of your daily iron needs in just ¼ cup. You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of your salads or soups or add them to your breads.
  3. Beans: Kidney & Pinto Beans as well as Soybeans 
  4. Lentils:  They contain 37% of our daily iron value in just 1 cooked cup.
  5. Spinach
  6. Quinoa: This superfood contains 15% of our daily iron value in just 1 cooked cup. It’s gluten-free and packed with protein. Try making a quinoa porridge or salad.
  7. Oatmeal, rye
  8. Fish and Seafood: Salmon, Clams, Mussels & Oysters
  9. Meat: Liver, Beef, & Lamb &
  10. Fruit: Dried figs & apricots

Check out the BBC website for Iron rich recipe suggestions.

Healthy Bircher Muesli with Blueberry Compote

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Nutritious Bircher muesli made with low-calorie almond milk and healthy blueberry compote; both contain antioxidant properties, which are essential to your skin’s health.


5 min preparation time

3 servings



150g rolled oats

350ml almond milk

1 tsp vanilla powder or extract

Mix all ingredients together, stir well and leave overnight in the fridge.



300g fresh or defrosted blueberries

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 ½ tbsp honey


Puree the blueberries in a food processor or blender until smooth and stir in the chia seeds plus honey. The chia seeds will expand overnight and bind the ingredients into delicious compote. In the morning, serve the Bircher muesli with the blueberry compote on top and perhaps add some pistachios for a salty edge.

Note: I used Madeleine Shaw’s cookbook Ready Steady Glow for inspiration

Top 10 Workout Songs for June 2016

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If you need a boost for your workout sessions, check out Run Hundred‘s top June tunes:

  1. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling: 113 BPM
  2. Calvin Harris & Rihanna – This Is What You Came For: 124 BPM
  3. Pink – Just Like Fire: 82 BPM
  4. Meghan Trainor – Me Too: 124 BPM
  5. Zayn – Like I Would: 113 BPM
  6. Alan Walker – Faded: 90 BPM
  7. Peter, Bjorn & John – What You Talking About: 127 BPM
  8. Good Charlotte – 40 oz. Dream: 112 BPM
  9. BRKLYN & Mariah McManus – Can’t Get Enough: 129 BPM
  10. Nick Jonas & Tove Lo – Close (Dan E Radio Edit): 125 BPM

10 Tips to Improve Your Sleep

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Arianna Huffington’s book The Sleep Revolution has sparked a worldwide conversation about the importance of good sleep and the dangers of sleep deprivation (AR).

In Britain, one in three people have trouble sleeping (NHS). A recent survey showed that 46% of women and 36% of men suffer from poor sleep. Over half of the women surveyed (60%) admitted to feeling irritable during the day because of sleep deprivation and 33% stated that they felt less confident in their appearance as a result of it.

The reasons for lack of sleep are manifold, but stress, computers and taking work home are often mentioned (NHS).

The cost of sleep deprivation is high. Regular poor sleep can increase stress levels and lower the immune system function (NHS). According to Prof Russell Foster, a neuroscientist from the University of Oxford, “lack of sleep damages a whole host of skills – empathy, processing information, ability to handle people, but right at the top of the chain you get overly impulsive, impaired thinking, because of this problem.” Sleep deprivation can also increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes and it may shorten your life expectancy (NHS).

Many of us need about seven to eight hours of good-quality sleep to function well. Some need more and some need less sleep, but if you wake up tired and feel like your head is in the clouds, you may need to know how you can improve your sleep.


Two Basic Rules:

I.   Sleep is an essential and non-negotiable human need (AR).

II. Exhaustion is a sign of chaos, not a badge of honour (AR).


10 Tips to Improve Your Sleep:

  1. End your day with a To Do List for the next day in view of your overall plan.
  2. Have a warm bath or shower with some calming oils before going to bed.
  3. Do relaxation exercises (e.g. light yoga stretches).
  4. A bedroom ought be a beautiful escape from the day – buy some nice bed linens and cushions, and add soothing lavender scent.
  5. No TV, laptops or mobile phones in the bedroom.
  6. Turn of the wireless network in your home before going to sleep.
  7. Leave unfinished business behind when you walk through your bedroom door. Use phrases like “Excuse me, can you not see that I’m going to bed?” when unwanted thoughts creep up.
  8. End your day on a positive note by practicing gratitude; e.g. write in a gratitude journal or say a gratitude prayer.
  9. Practice mindfulness meditation when lying in bed: The body scan meditation is very helpful in relaxing your body and mind.
  10. Read a book or listen to a sleep booster podcast to unwind.

Most importantly, do not judge yourself when you cannot fall asleep right away. Some people simply need a bit of time to unwind, it’s all quite normal – so no worries!

Up We Get: 10 Tips to Reduce Prolonged Sitting

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Every Movement Counts!

63% of British adults do not exercise the recommended amount of 2 1/2 hours per week. According to research by the University of Cambridge, insufficient physical inactivity leads to an increased risk of illness and premature death. In fact, inactivity causes 3.2 million deaths around the world per year (WHO).

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking“ (HP)

Excessive sitting is associated with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and untimely death (NHS). One study, for example, suggests that sitting down for more than 3 hours per day can shorten your life expectancy by 2 years.

What can we do about it? The answer is simple: Get Up and Move More!

Here are the top 10 tips to reduce prolonged sitting:

  • Active commuting: cycle/walk to work or get off one stop earlier off the tube or bus.
  • Stand on the train, tube or bus.
  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevator.
  • Walk up the escalator.
  • Get up more often from your office chair: More loo, tea and coffee breaks during working hours. Set hourly reminders.
  • Stand up when talking to a colleague.
  • Have walking meetings outside.
  • Walk around while talking to people on the phone.
  • Have lunch outside of the office.
  • Join exercise courses. A great way to gradually increase your activity levels is our ‘From 0 to 5k’ running course.


Restorative Yoga & Meditation Session

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Date & Time: Thursday, May 12, 2016, 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Location: The Postdoc Centre, 16 Mill Lane, CB2 1SB, Cambridge

Costs: £7

The gentle yoga class and soothing body-scan meditation will help you release your tensions, strains and stresses of everyday life and re-energise you – even if you haven’t practised yoga or meditation before. To sign up email