Our editors share their best health tips.
Mind over matter
Author and international speaker Gabrielle Bernstein is a big believer in the power of positive thinking. "We can have up to 60,000 thoughts a day," she says—which is why it's important to stamp out unhappy ones. Researchers say there really is something to positive thinking: A 2016 study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found that optimistic women live longer, healthier lives, while 2014 research by Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore discovered a connection between having a positive outlook and better heart health. But that doesn't mean ignoring life's challenges or pretending negative emotions such as depression and anxiety don't exist. Instead, Bernstein offers tips (below) for changing your mind in a healthy way.
Three steps to empowering your mind on a daily basis
1. Shift your focus. Pay more attention to the positive things in your life. Direct your focus away from what you're trying to control (getting a more senior job title, for example) and toward what's already working (having a successful career).
2. Deactivate negative thoughts. When you spot the negative train approaching, witness it without judgment—even laugh at it. Whether it's a sibling squabble or a nagging weight issue playing on repeat, acknowledge it, then steer away from that thought and onto a more positive one— to stop the train in its tracks.
3. Get back to basics. The best way to change your mindset is to create a new thought. So make it a good one.
Whether you're hiking or kayaking, inclement weather will be no match for this waterproof jacket—and you can feel good about buying it, too. Conventional rainwear is made with PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds, a synthetic material that repels water but doesn't biodegrade and presents potentially serious hazards to the environment. This tailored topper, on the other hand, is made with 100-percent-recycled materials, including approximately 21 plastic water bottles. And it's dye-free, which saves a whopping 49 litres of water per jacket.
OutDry Extreme Eco jacket, $280, columbiasportswear.ca.
Good eats: Go nuts!
Athletes often smear peanut butter on their Clif bars for an added hit of healthy fat and protein, and the organic-food company took notice, updating its energy bar with a nut-butter filling. And that's not the only upgrade: The new bar has fewer carbs, is certified organic and non-GMO, and is made in Canada with organic oats from Saskatchewan. The bars are available in four flavours—our fave is Coconut Almond Butter.
Clif Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar, $2, clifbar.ca.
We tried it: Spinco
The workout: A 50-minute Spinning class that feels kind of like being at a club: You're in a dark room, there's a disco ball and the music is a carefully curated playlist with high-energy hits.
Best for: Indoor-cycling lovers, music junkies and anyone looking for a cardio boost.
The final word: It's a fun and inclusive way to try Spinning. Instructors motivate but aren't pushy, so you can work out at your own pace.
We've known for ages—or, at least, since 2004—that warmer weather can make us happier; that's when a study by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that spending at least 30 minutes outside on warm, sunny days had a measurable mood boosting impact. But there are other physical benefits to getting outside besides loading up on vitamin D. A 2015 study of postmenopausal women by researchers from Quebec's Université de Sherbrooke found that women who exercised outdoors were more likely to stick with their workout routines. And a review published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2015 suggests being surrounded by nature can boost your immune function. So go ahead and skip the gym, as long as you're replacing it with gardening, a trail run or a game of Frisbee in the park.