Following a summer of indulgence, many of us will be looking to get back to our health and fitness goals, especially as the time we spend outdoors becomes more limited in the colder months. However, it can be difficult knowing where, and mostly importantly, how, to get started. Fortunately, micro-learning app and platform Blinkist, which takes key ideas from non-fiction texts and condenses them into 15 minute audio and text digests, has you sorted. The team looked to its 7 million users in order to find out what advice they found most useful when it came to their wellbeing. Below, are the most frequently highlighted tips from health and fitness books-in-blinks, alongside with expert comments on why the tips are so useful.
‘Eight hours of sleep is a minimum which should never be compromised – people who sleep any less tend to develop health issues.’ 30 Ways to Reboot Your Body by Ben Greenfield
Sleep is a key theme that crops up in our health and fitness category, with more and more people really taking stock of how much they sleep and the quality of their sleep. There’s been a lot of debate about what the right amount of sleep is, and the general consensus is that 8 hours is a good average for adults, and if this is compromised, then health becomes affected.
‘Bulletproof oils and fats include MCT oil, ghee, cocoa butter, krill oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sunflower lecithin and grass-fed butter.’ Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey
The Bulletproof diet has been incredibly popular over the last few years and the morning’s bulletproof coffee has been a much-needed energy boost for many. Adding the above mentioned oils to your coffee does a lot to speed up the fat-burning effects of the diet as a whole.
‘There’s one question you should ask yourself before you take a bite of anything: Is this a net gain or a net loss in terms of nutritional value?’ Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath
In recent years there’s been a lot more awareness about what we eat, going beyond the typical calorie-counting. The realisation that not all calories are the same has led to us really thinking about the nutritional value of the food that we consume, making sure that each meal contains a good balance of nutrients and vitamins.
‘Eating five servings of veggies a day is the magic solution. Out of these five, two should be leafy greens like kale, arugula and chard. One should be a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower. And the other two should include carrots, beets and mushrooms.’
How Not to Die by Gene Stone and Michael Greger
Most of us are already familiar with the ‘five-a-day’ rule, however, it can be difficult to know what exactly the five should be, especially for a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet. Having a guideline is incredibly useful, especially when meal planning for the week ahead.
‘The first rule is to stop eating white carbohydrates. That’s all types of bread, rice (including brown rice), potatoes, pasta, tortillas and cereal.’ The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
Just as with calories, our knowledge and understanding of carbohydrates has changed. For example, we now know that carbohydrate is essential to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, but that some carbohydrates are better for us than others, so are therefore preferable. Fortunately, the foods listed above have healthy alternatives, so you don’t need to stop indulging completely.
‘SW sleep preserves our memories by recapitulating information we learn during the day, while REM sleep incorporates these memories into what we already know.’ The Secret Life of Sleep by Kat Duff
While we already know that sleep is important, and that a set amount of good quality sleep is essential, many of us might not know enough about the different stages of sleep and their importance. Understanding slow-wave sleep and how it impacts memory and retention of information is useful when it comes to educating yourself about the overarching importance of a good night’s rest.
‘So, if you want to get a good night’s rest, put your computer or phone away by 9 p.m. Try reading a book instead!’ The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
It is interesting to see that in our list of the top highlighted pieces of health and fitness advice, sleep is mentioned as many as three times. Not only does this suggest that sleep is something we want to know more about, but also that sleep quantity and quality is something many of us worry about. Most of us typically don’t fall asleep the minute we lie down, turning to scrolling through social media on our phones instead. Forming an alternative habit, such as reading before bed, is a great way to make sure that you fall asleep quicker and that the quality of your sleep is better.