Explore how exercise can enhance your health management and fitness. Offering regular boost to your overall well-being.

Image for What are exercise snacks? Why you should add these to your routine

What are exercise snacks? Why you should add these to your routine

If the idea of long workouts seems intimidating or impossible to fit into your busy schedule, try increasing your daily movement with exercise snacks. Based on the concept of “snacking,” exercise snacks encourage physical activity in shorter, higher intensity workouts that typically last about a minute. (1) Exercise snacking has been shown to benefit overall health and wellness. What are exercise snacks? Exercise snacks are short bouts of vigorous physical activity, typically lasting about a minute or less, that are performed periodically throughout the day. (1) These “snacks” are feasible and time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and reduce the negative impact of sedentary behavior on cardiometabolic health. (1) The goal is to break up sedentary time and get your heart pumping and muscles working which elicit some of the beneficial effects of exercise on your metabolism. Doing these exercise snacks from time to time during the day can help your glucose control, improve heart health, and increase your energy levels. (1,2) How are exercise snacks different from other forms of exercise? The main difference between exercise snacks and other exercise is not the movement itself — it’s the amount of time you engage in them and the intensity in which you do them. Traditional exercise may be thought of as something like a 15-minute jog or 20 minutes of continuous movement that is done at a consistent effort or potentially bouts of higher effort intermixed with bouts of lower effort, while an exercise snack typically last less than a minute to a max of just a few minutes and is performed at a higher intensity. (1) Besides the length and intensity of each exercise snack, another difference between exercise snacks and regular exercise is the overall time frame exercise snacks are completed in. Exercise snacks are not consecutive exercises. Rather than working out for a full 20-30 minutes, exercise snacks allow you to break up your day with a few separate bursts of movement that can be spaced out hours apart from each other. Exercise snacks may also be referred to as “intermittent physical activity.” What are the health benefits of exercise snacks? Incorporating exercise snacks into your routine may offer some health benefits, including: Improving heart health and disease risk: as few as two or three short bouts of just 3–4 min vigorous movement per day, such as very fast walking or stairclimbing was associated with substantially lower all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality risk. (3, 4) Glucose control: Evidence suggests that a high volume of uninterrupted sedentary time is an independent risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. (5) Exercise snacks are useful in reducing disease risk because they can lower glucose after meals by shuttling glucose into muscles to be metabolized for energy. Movements that target the legs and lower body seem to be the most effective as these are typically the largest muscles in the body. Think: brisk walking, stairclimbing, air squats. Improved energy levels, mood, and cognitive performance: A 2016 study in 30 sedentary individuals found that exercise snacks improved both mood and energy levels. They also found a slight decrease in appetite before lunch when compared to those that were instructed to sit all day. (2) Additionally, a small study found that exercise snacks, done by taking the stairs vs the elevator, improved divergent (aka creative) thinking by 61% compared to those who just took the elevator. (7) Maintaining muscle mass: A 2022 study found that exercise snacks performed after meals helped maintain muscle mass and quality (how dense, strong, and efficient your muscles are). The research found that just 2 minutes of walking or bodyweight sit-to-stand squats allowed the body to use more amino acids from meals to build muscle proteins. (8) How can I incorporate exercise snacks into my routine? It’s useful to break up long periods of sitting with short bouts of movement. Take a short brisk walk, or do a few rounds of resistance exercises like squats, knee raises, or calf raises. This can help your glucose levels and prevent the damage that sitting all day can do. (3, 4, 6) Try this: Set your alarm for each hour and get moving for a minute. Do jumping jacks, burpees, lunges, or anything that gets your body moving. When watching TV, do a few jumping jacks during commercial breaks. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Dance around to your favorite tune or do a few push-ups. Fit in some squats or lunges while brushing your teeth. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. A final note from Lingo Exercise snacks are short, intense sessions of movement lasting less than a minute to just a few minutes, done throughout the day. Some ways to incorporate exercise snacking include walking, climbing stairs, or performing bodyweight movements like squats, lunges, and push-ups, spread out throughout the day. Exercise snacking has been shown to improve long-term health risk, glucose control, mood and energy levels, cognitive performance and help to maintain muscle mass. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand how incorporating exercise snacks into your daily routine can help limit glucose spikes and improve your overall quality of life. (9)   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

5 minutes 
Image for What Is the effect of exercise on your glucose levels?

What Is the effect of exercise on your glucose levels?

Regular exercise has extensive, science-backed benefits on your metabolic health. Exercise elicits structural, functional, and metabolic adaptations to the body that improve heart health, insulin sensitivity, and glucose (blood sugar) control. Routine physical activity also promotes the efficient use of fuel in the muscle, decreases inflammation, and helps manage blood fat levels. (1) Since exercise directly improves metabolic health, including improving glucose control, you’d probably expect that your glucose levels would be lower during physical activity. However, certain types of exercise can actually increase glucose temporarily. This short-term rise is completely normal and not a cause for concern. In this article, we’ll explain what happens metabolically in your body during exercise, why it’s normal for your glucose levels to change, and which exercises can cause a temporary spike in glucose. Let’s dive in. Glucose levels during exercise It’s normal for your glucose levels to change during exercise. Muscle contractions use glucose for energy, and exercising muscles can take up and use glucose without the need for insulin. When you start exercising, hormone levels typically increase in the blood, triggering the release of glucose into the blood stream for available use by the muscles. The type and intensity of the exercise will determine the net effect on glucose, in addition to if you consume carbohydrates before or during exercise. Your individual fitness level can also play a role in how your glucose levels change during exercise. If you’re newer to exercising, almost any movement that gets your heart rate up may raise glucose. This is because exercise creates stress (the good kind) which temporarily raises stress hormones like cortisol, and muscle’s main fuel source: glucose. As your fitness level improves or if you have years of training experience under your belt, you’ll see glucose rise with higher intensity exercise, such as high-intensity interval training, a hard effort run, or heavy weightlifting. However, not all exercise will spike glucose. Lower intensity exercise, such as walking or hatha style yoga, can actually lower glucose or flatten a glucose spike. Will I experience glucose spikes during both low-intensity and high-intensity exercise? Walking and other low- to moderate-intensity exercise that you can do while carrying on a conversation are more likely to lower blood glucose levels. Think: a leisurely bike ride, rowing at a slow pace, or using an elliptical machine. Relative to higher intensity exercise, low and moderate intensity types of exercises don’t have as high of an energy demand but do help your muscles absorb more glucose, which is why we recommend walking after a meal. During higher-intensity workouts, such as HIIT, heavy weightlifting, sprints, or competitive sports, your body requires more fuel and uses glucose as the fastest source of energy. Stress hormones including adrenaline are activated and stimulate your liver to release glucose. This increase in blood glucose may last for an hour or so after exercise. It will eventually return to normal levels with the help of insulin working to lower blood glucose levels and restore glycogen in muscles. Glucose levels after exercise What is the science behind your increased glucose levels after hard activity? After exercise, the body is still working hard to restore normal metabolic function. During this time, your body continues to use glucose as a source of energy, and muscles continue to be more sensitive to insulin. (3) This is commonly called the afterburn effect and is scientifically known as oxygen debt. You may then experience overall lower glucose levels in the 24-72 hours after your workout as your body remains more sensitive to insulin. This is why regular exercise can lower your fasting blood sugar level, a measure of long-term glucose control and metabolic health. (5) Tips: improving your glucose levels with exercise How can exercise/movement improve my glucose? The UK Chief Medical Officer report recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a mixture of both each week. It also recommends muscle-strengthening activities two days per week and to reduce extended periods of sitting. (4) Following this guidance can improve your glucose by increasing insulin sensitivity and building and maintaining muscle, which is the primary user of glucose. Does it matter what time of day I exercise? Whatever time you can fit in exercise is the best time. While some research shows afternoon or evening exercise may be more effective than morning exercise to improve glucose control, other studies have found that morning training could provide additional benefits compared with evening exercise as it relates to changes in burning calories and appetite regulation. (6) Does it matter whether I exercise before or after eating? Again, whatever time you can fit in exercise is the best time. Incorporating walking soon after meals will promote steady glucose. If you have a hard workout planned, you may need a little more time to digest food before you get your heart rate up. Is there anything I can use to measure my glucose levels? Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) like the Lingo biosensor provide real-time glucose insights so you can see how different types of exercise impact your glucose. Lingo will help you understand why it’s still beneficial when your glucose elevates during certain activities and coach you to set healthy habits around exercise. For active adults and competitive athletes, CGMs offer unique insights to optimise their fuel tank prior to exercise, ensure steady energy levels during exercise, and guide proper refuelling afterwards. A final note from Lingo Low- to moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. walking) lowers glucose, and higher intensity exercise (e.g. HIIT) temporarily raises glucose. All exercise is beneficial for metabolic health because it improves insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation over the long term. Furthermore, exercise reduces stress, which has a positive impact on glucose. Overall, people who exercise regularly have a higher quality of life and better health outcomes. (7)

6 minutes 
Image for 10 marathon tips from a performance nutritionist

10 marathon tips from a performance nutritionist

Running a marathon is a feat that less than 1% of people attempt in their lifetime. Whether your goal is just to make it across the finish line or put up a new personal best, we’ve got some tips to help you. The average marathon runner crosses the finish line between 4:30 and 5:00 hours, but the body can only store around 90 minutes of carbohydrates to fuel hard-working muscles. Whilst running, your body burns a mixture of fats and carbohydrates with pace and fitness influencing the exact blend of fuel. And, because marathons are a longer duration, some protein will be oxidised, too. You can put in work during training to train your body to burn fat at higher intensities (become more fit and spare glycogen), but to finish strong, you need to implement a fuelling plan. Prepare your gut by practising this plan, including both nutrition and hydration, well ahead of time to increase the chances of a successful race. 10 tips from a performance nutritionist Don’t break the cardinal rule of sports nutrition: never try anything new on race day As a runner, you may also be an adventurous foodie, but race week is not a time to try all the food samples at the race expo nor new foods you encounter while exploring the city hosting the race. Likewise, race day is not the time to try out a new breakfast or anything new on-course in terms of your nutrition or hydration. Instead, stick to foods that worked well and provided steady energy and gut comfort during training. Ideally, going into the race, you should know how your body will respond to your tried-and-true pre-run meal as well as any fuel you plan to take during the race. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) like Lingo can be used in training to help you avoid dips in energy and instead add enough fuel to make high performance a reality. Check on course nutrition Water is provided at many points along the course, and most races also provide sports drinks, electrolyte beverages, and carbohydrate-rich gels. Research what products your race will provide and if you plan on utilising on-course products, make sure you try them first during your long training runs to see if they work for you. A CGM like Lingo can be used to assess how nutrition products are impacting your energy during your run and if you need to add more or less to maintain glucose (energy) levels and pace. Remember to have a backup plan if the on-course products don’t work for you or are not available (or you run past them by accident). Practice your hydration plan The buildup to spring races often calls for training in cooler weather, so as race day approaches, be sure to keep an eye on the forecast. You can’t control what the weather will be, but you can be prepared to dial up or down your fluids and electrolytes. A 2018 study on London Marathon runners found a ~3% detriment to finish time for every 5 °C increase in temperature above 12 °C. (1) This means in warmer temps, you may be on course for longer. Bring a bottle and plan to refill on course, the few extra seconds it will take are worth it. Drink early and often while being cautious not to overhydrate. Replace the electrolytes you are losing in sweat by relying on electrolyte powders (like Abbott’s Pedialyte Sport Powder Packs) during training and racing, simply adding to your water bottle. Set alerts on your watch or phone every 15-20 minutes to take a few sips. Drinking to thirst may work for some, and others may need to rely on programmed drinking. Train your gut Muscles powering your run typically rely on glucose. Trained individuals that consume carbohydrates in their daily diet can store around 90 minutes of fuel before needing to eat or drink during a run. But you’ll want to start replacing burnt fuel well before you hit the 90-minute mark. Practice fuelling during training runs by consuming 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (some athletes need more and can work up to 90+ grams per hour). (2) Experiment with nutrition and hydration products that you like, can tolerate, and can carry. CGM data can be useful to see how products steady or spike your glucose and if your glucose increases to a level where you are able to maintain pace and performance. Alternatively, if you’re used to fasted training or strictly follow a ketogenic diet and are more metabolically flexible, generalised carbohydrate recommendations may far surpass your needs and tolerance. When adding in fuel, you may opt for a product with slow-release carbohydrates or even sources of fat when needed. Again, CGMs can help guide you providing insights that connect energy levels and performance with glucose trends. Strength train to get fast and avoid injury Running a marathon means training will consist of mostly, well, running. But no training plan is complete without strength training, which can help make you a faster runner and reduce risk of injuries. (3) Additionally, strength training promotes metabolic adaptations in skeletal muscle, (4) helping to improve how efficiently your body uses glucose and fats for fuel. Not only is this advantageous to your running performance, but healthy skeletal muscle is also at the foundation of optimising metabolic health. (5) Rest and recovery Arguably the most difficult part of a training plan is allowing your body to rest so that it can become stronger. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and runners may need more. (6) Sleep ensures physical restoration and also supports optimal metabolic function during the day. (7) Recovery nutrition timing In addition to sleep, nutrient timing plays a critical role in recovery. Within an hour (preferably sooner) of finishing a workout or race, be sure to prioritise refuelling and rehydration. Replace fluid losses by drinking water and electrolytes (mixed into water or from salty foods and potassium from fruits and vegetables) and replenish energy stores with a snack or small meal that includes high-quality carbohydrates (berries and low-sugar granola to accompany Greek yoghurt, or whole grain pancakes to accompany eggs). Last but not least, be sure to prioritise protein. This hard-working nutrient helps keep glucose steady as you recover and is critical for stopping muscle breakdown and jumpstarting muscle repair and growth. Be sure to add in at least 30 grams of protein soon after your sweat session is complete. Dress rehearsal At least one long run during your training should be a full dress rehearsal, beginning the evening before the long run with a dinner that mimics what you’ll be eating before the race. Practice this tried-and-true dinner, allowing plenty of time (2-3 hours) to digest before falling asleep. Eating increases glucose, metabolic rate, heart rate, and body temp, but the opposite scenario needs to be happening to slide into quality sleep. The morning of the long run, wake up and eat the same foods, quantities, and timing that you plan to implement on race day. Because your glucose will rise and then fall following your meal, avoid consuming foods in the 30-90 minutes before setting out. You can either back up the clock and fuel early before the race or fuel as you run, utilising sports drinks, gels, and whatever fuel source you prefer. After fuelling, begin your run at race start time and test planned nutrition and hydration. Skip the night-before pasta dinner – unless it’s just to socialise You’ll need to top off your dinner place with carbohydrates to complement your pre-race carb load, but it’s best to stick to familiar foods at this important meal. Restaurant food portions can be much larger than you’re used to, sending your glucose spiking and disrupting an important night of sleep. Pre-race “carb loading” has merit, and you can simplify this process by continuing to eat your typical balanced meals the week (days) leading up to your race, making sure there’s high-quality carbs at every meal and snack. While your training tapers, these nutrients that would have been used to fuel your runs will be stored instead. Recovery nutrition at the finish line You’ve strategically fuelled across training and throughout the entire race, but just as you cross the finish line, you’ve got one more stop before the celebration begins. Take a moment for nutritional recovery. Your body is primed to utilise nutrients during the post-race window so take advantage of increased blood flow to muscles. Pack a protein shake in your drop bag at the finish line or ask your supportive fan crew to bring one along. Replenish, recover, and rehydrate with protein and fluids at the finish, then make your way to enjoy a celebratory meal. Bonus tip: Trust your training and HAVE FUN! A final note from Lingo The right nutrition is arguably one of the most important tools in your marathon training kit. And with Lingo, you can peek behind the curtain and know if the fuel you’re using is the right choice for you and your performance goals. Experiment with different sources of energy and lean on Lingo to learn if your nutrition plan is keeping your glucose steady and adequate to fuel your performance. Map out what works; the types, amounts, and timing of nutrients and fluids taken during your run and in the recovery hours. Soon, you’ll have mapped out a failsafe plan for race day.

8 minutes 
Image for What is a metabolic workout? Metabolic conditioning explained

What is a metabolic workout? Metabolic conditioning explained

What is metabolic conditioning? Metabolic conditioning, or “metcon” for short, is a term to describe a workout style that is highly effective in improving how efficiently the body’s energy systems use fuel. A metcon can be performed with minimal equipment (e.g. kettlebell) or no equipment (e.g. burpees), and typically involves repetitive short bursts of very intense effort with little rest in between. Read more to find out more about metcon and some sample workouts below. What are the benefits of metcon workouts? While all exercise is good for your health (1), metcons offer several metabolic benefits, including (2): Maximises calorie burn Increases insulin sensitivity Improves glucose regulation Builds muscle in less time than traditional strength training Improves the efficiency of energy systems Increases aerobic capacity Promotes reduction of body fat Improves athletic performance (speed, power, agility) Individuals reap significant metabolic benefits with a minimal time commitment. (3) Metcon workouts are short but intense and effective, making them time efficient. This can be particularly appealing to those with busy schedules. The science behind why metcons are so beneficial metabolically is that they engage all three energy systems the body uses to convert fuels (i.e. fat and glucose) into energy, and over time the body becomes better at using and storing these fuels. This translates to greater fitness, improved glucose levels, and better insulin sensitivity. (4) The body uses metabolic fuels to power everything from a leisurely walk to physically demanding workouts. The differences between the energy systems are the type of fuel used, and how quickly they can convert fuel into energy. Immediate energy system (phosphagen or creatine phosphate system) uses phosphocreatine to provide energy for short burst high intensity activities lasting up to 10 seconds, like 100m sprint or lifting a very heavy weight for one repetition. Intermediate energy system (glycolytic or anaerobic glycolysis) uses glucose for quick energy needed to fuel activities lasting around 30 seconds to 3 minutes, like 400m sprint or repetitive weightlifting. Long-lasting energy system (aerobic or oxidative system) uses fat (primarily), glucose, and can use protein to provide energy for low to moderate intensity activities lasting longer than 3 minutes, like long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. In your body, all metabolic pathways contribute to producing energy. It’s never fixed and is always changing, depending on type and intensity of exercise. During lower-intensity activities that primarily recruit muscle fibres that have high oxidative capacity (like walking, and any activity where you can hold a conversation), the long-lasting energy system dominates, so a greater percentage of fat is used for energy production. Glucose only contributes a small amount to the energy needs of low-intensity exercise. As the intensity of exercise increases, more muscles are recruited that can react quickly but rely on glucose, so a greater percentage of glucose is used for energy production. Have you ever run a 10k race at a leisurely pace (oxidative system), then sprinted through the finish line (phosphagen and glycolytic systems)? These are your energy systems at work. Metabolic conditioning uses a range of intensities requiring all energy systems, and over time improves the efficiency of these systems. It also combines strength training with cardiovascular exercise, improving muscular strength, endurance, and function. (5) How is metabolic conditioning related to the concept of metabolic flexibility? Metabolic flexibility is all about how effectively your body can switch between the different energy systems that burn fat and carbohydrates for fuel. This involves transitioning between fasting and feeding states, leading to changes in fuel availability. It allows the body to use whatever fuel is available, whether from dietary fat, stored fat, glucose, or glycogen (stored glucose). Being metabolically flexible is associated with a range of health benefits, including sustained energy, fewer blood sugar fluctuations, reduced cravings, enhanced fat burning, cardiovascular health, and reduced risk of metabolic disorders. (6) 5 metabolic workouts you can try: Exercise movements are typically compound movements, which means multiple large muscle groups are involved. Think about a deadlift or kettlebell swing, which recruits not only leg muscles but back and core, compared to a bicep curl, which isolates a single muscle. The intensity and time spent doing the exercises are more important than the type of exercise performed, so try a variety and find your favourites. Examples of metcon workouts: Always begin with a dynamic warm-up of around 5-10 minutes, for example, alternating between jumping jacks, high knees, bodyweight squats, and push-ups. Circuit training or Rounds for Time (RFT): Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete the entire circuit 3 times and a 1-minute rest in between: box jumps, kettlebell swings, burpees, dumbbell thruster, rowing machine (or cardio of choice). As many rounds as possible (AMRAP): Set a timer for 20 minutes, and perform the following exercises continuously for 20 minutes, completing as many rounds as possible: 10 kettlebell deadlifts, 15 air squats, 20 push-ups, 30 double-under jump rope (60 single-unders). Tabata: Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat each exercise for 8 rounds (4 minutes), and then move to the next exercise. Mountain climbers, plank, bicycle crunches, burpees. Every minute on the minute (EMOM): Perform the set of exercises at the start of every minute, and once you complete the required repetitions, you rest for the remainder of the minute. Start the next exercise at the beginning of the following minute. Even minutes: 10 dumbbell cleans. Odd minutes: 25 walking lunges A final note from Lingo Metcon workouts can be a beneficial addition to your fitness routine and offer many health benefits, including building muscle, improving glucose regulation, and increasing insulin sensitivity. It’s important to note that while metcons offer numerous benefits, they should be approached with caution, especially for beginners. Proper form, dynamic warm up, and recovery are crucial to prevent injuries. The information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

Image for 18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

With the start of a new year around the corner, many people gear up to set their New Year’s resolutions. Not surprisingly, “lose weight” and “get in shape” tend to be at the top of people’s lists each year; a poll from Forbes in October 2023 (1) found that 48% of respondents reported “improved fitness” as their resolution, and 34% reported “lose weight.” While improving your health is an admirable goal to tackle, putting New Year’s resolutions in these vague terms often doesn’t set you up for success. Getting in shape, losing weight, prioritising your health, improving your wellness — these all require a multi-pronged approach that involves setting habits, lifestyle changes, and being consistent. The decision to improve your well-being is the first step, but it’s important to take any New Year’s resolution and put it into the context of goal setting. To achieve your goals, it’s a good idea to map out the actions you’ll need to take. Instead of just promising yourself that you’ll improve your health and well-being in 2024, plan to take concrete steps in the right direction. Below, we’ve outlined some New Year’s resolutions that will benefit your overall well-being as well as tangible tips you can incorporate. Remember: progress is better than perfection, and establishing gradual habits and being consistent will help you achieve your goals. New Year's Resolution Ideas for Wellness and Well-being 1. Move more Whether you are an avid exerciser or just starting to think about getting more activity in your day, setting a goal to move more can be a great way to improve your health (2). Since many adults have desk jobs, they often spend most of their day sitting and not moving much, even if they are regular exercisers. In fact, it’s the movement that you do outside of a formal workout that really adds up to benefit your overall health. (3,4) Finding time to move throughout the day may also help lift your mood and can help keep your glucose steady, which is key for metabolic health and long-term well-being. (5) Studies have shown that even short breaks taken throughout the day to stand up or go on a brief walk can help to keep glucose steady, especially following meals (6). Action ideas: Set a timer on your phone to stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour. Take short, 5-minute walking breaks between meetings. Plan a 10–20-minute walk after lunch. Walk with your partner, family, or friend after dinner — or take the dog for a solo stroll. Take some of your meetings on the phone while walking (outdoors or on a treadmill). Aim to increase your step count by 2,000 – 3,000 per day (7) 2. Choose more whole foods As life gets busy, it can be easy to grab convenience processed foods that are pre-packaged and shelf stable. However, these ultra-processed foods can negatively impact our health and well-being. Not only are they low in nutrients, but they are designed to be highly palatable so that you’ll eat more of them. (8) These processed foods are high in sugar, calories, and other additives that make it tough to stop eating them and recognise our fullness cues, which leads to glucose spikes that affect our mood, energy, and sleep (9). Setting a goal to reduce the amount of ultraprocessed foods you eat can be a great way to prioritise your health for the New Year. Think of ultraprocessed foods as those found in boxes and bags, often have a long shelf life, and usually made with a lot of ingredients, including unfamiliar additives. Some examples are breakfast cereals, pretzels, crisps, sodas, instant noodles, oven pizzas, ready meals, and packaged desserts. Action ideas: Make a grocery list before heading to the store and stick to foods on the perimeter (most ultra-processed foods are found in the centre aisles). Plan a day of the week to meal prep so you always have quick options on hand. Batch cook proteins, vegetables, and whole grains ahead of time to quickly throw together meals. Swap refined grains for whole grains: buy whole-grain bread over white and add items like quinoa and rolled-oats to your diet. Try a new vegetable each week: Find a recipe and try something new to add more variety to your meals. Once you find something you like, you can add it to your regular routine. 3. Reduce stress While setting a goal to “reduce stress” may seem vague, studies have shown that increased stress can impact the way we eat, setting us up for other metabolic and health-related issues. (10) Chronic stress also negatively impacts your well-being in other ways such as interfering with sleep, concentration, and mental health. (11-13) Finding small ways to reduce stress can have a big impact on your overall well-being and may even help keep your glucose steady, which can have a huge impact on things like energy, mood, and cravings. (8) While you can’t erase all stress from your life and there are some things beyond your control, taking some time to unwind and destress each day can lead to major improvements. (14) Action ideas: Set aside 10 minutes to meditate. Look for guided meditations online or with an app. If meditating isn’t for you, try breathing exercises. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises specifically improve cortisol levels and people report less stress. (15) Spend 20-30 minutes outdoors. Research shows that spending 2 hours weekly in nature (city greenspaces count, too) can improve stress levels. (16) Whether you go for a walk, bike ride, or just sit in the sun (with SPF!), tune in to your environment and appreciate your surroundings. Try a yoga practice, whether a flow at home or a class in a studio. Cultivate gratitude. Each day, write down a few things that you are grateful for. Studies show that people who practice gratitude feel happier and have stronger relationships. (17) 4. Improve sleep quality Sleep is a crucial aspect to our health and well-being, yet it’s the one thing many people sacrifice if they are busy or overwhelmed. It has been shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is related to a wide range of health complications such diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and obesity. (18) Setting a goal to prioritise sleep can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health and has also been shown to be a major factor in glucose stability. (19) Although achieving quality sleep may be easier said than done, you can set yourself up for a restful night with these tips. Action Ideas: Set a reminder on your phone a couple hours before bedtime to start winding down: turn down lights, avoid screens, and take a bath or read a book to help prepare your body for sleep. Finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest before you lay down. Limit alcohol before bed and swap for a calming beverage like herbal teas or golden milk. Set a bedtime to allow 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and crawl into bed earlier to fall asleep earlier. (20) Check out our guide to sleep better for more ideas. A final note from Lingo As we approach 2024, it’s a perfect time to reflect and set goals for the year to come. Envisioning your future self is a great way to identify the areas you want to focus on. While going into the new year with optimism is a great starting point, it is also important to identify the actions you will take to make that future self a reality. Even though you don’t have to announce your goals to the world, it’s important to have something to keep you personally accountable for what you set out to achieve. Tracking your progress can be a great way to do this, and Lingo’s biosensor can help you track your glucose patterns and encourage healthy choices towards improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.


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