workout motivation

Tips to motivate yourself to workout

You’ve finally decided to commit to an exercise program. You’re into it for the first two weeks, only to find yourself needing some workout motivation as time goes by. Well, there’s a reason why the number of enrollees in a gym hikes up especially after the holiday season and becomes an occasional visit after a few months. 

Starting a workout routine is easy, but sticking to it is a completely different story. Everyone has good and bad days. It may be simpler to finish a HIIT now, but a struggle the next day That’s okay! Many factors could affect your workout motivation like a busy schedule, family matters, personal affairs, or even sickness. But the big question is – how do you bounce back to your workout program?

Realistically, it doesn’t matter whether you’re working out to lose weight, fight depression and stress, enhance your memory, or strengthen your bones and muscles – the journey has its highs and lows. After all, it’s a big commitment, and to see results, consistency is the only way to go!

Exercising isn’t just hype, or a trend that you follow, because it seems cool for a while. If you’re serious about the change you want to see in yourself and your body, you have to make time for it. It will take multiple hours of your week, and you may have to stick to it for the rest of your life. 

If the main reason you want to move and lift is to see physical changes in your body, you’ll need around four to six weeks to notice some results. Sometimes, it may lead to 12 weeks according to Women’s Health. This is the timeframe your nervous system requires to perform efficiently, and the interval your muscles need to contract. Surpassing the six to eight-week mark, on the other hand, gives you 50% more mitochondria, and that’s the best for endurance. Not to scare you, but this is just the start! 

Movement is one of the five main points that Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes for healthy living. (Others being wellness, diagnostics, treatment, and longevity.)  In this article, we hope to encourage you to move more and learn some tips on how to motivate yourself to work out.

The importance of workout motivation in your fitness journey

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Workout motivation is vital in staying fit and healthy. It has become even more necessary with the lifestyle changes brought by the pandemic. With all the things you have to prioritize in this busy world, how do you keep up with an exercise program?

Motivation, together with your discipline and perseverance, would make exercising a natural activity for you. But, what drives you? Is it enough to keep you moving? 

You set your goals, made your plans, but do you have the desire to work out? Motivation has two types – extrinsic and intrinsic. This is also true in working out. 

Extrinsic motivation is when you are focused on external stimulants to work out like the body aesthetics and physique. Meanwhile, intrinsic motivation surfaces from within. It isn’t bound to a result that you can see, but more on what you feel. For instance, some people love to exercise because it makes them happy, and that could be enough to keep going. 

Workout motivation tips to keep you on track

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If you’ve started a fitness program and you need some workout motivation to stay focused, here’s a sign! Don’t wait for the New Year! This doesn’t have to be a part of your resolution as you can start as early as now! Go check these tips for you to consider:

Begin with the end

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.”

Stephen R. Covey

Starting with a specific aim in mind will set the tone of your fitness journey. It doesn’t matter whether it is simple at the beginning. As you progress, you’ll have more time to make life-changing fitness goals. Regardless, be realistic with your situation and work from there. 

Just a tip – if you want sustainable workout motivation, find your intrinsic drive instead. Extrinsic reasons may be more motivating at first, but they may derail you for they are hard to manage in the long run. When you are not fixated on the superficial, you become more intentional and that translates to a major, physical transformation. So, start with the end in mind!

Understand what drives you

When you’re aware of your workout motivation, you’ll have more power to use it to your advantage. There surely are days when you are in the mood, so what do you do about that? Where do you put your energy? Do you take advantage of it and fuel your workout?

There are reasons why you are motivated on some days and not others. Was it because you had enough sleep? Did you eat right? Have you met a new workout buddy? Knowing what keeps you going will drive you to take action on a regular exercise routine. Listen to what your body tells you and keep your emotions in check.

Identify the barriers

Identify the possible stumbling blocks that you may come across in your fitness journey so you wouldn’t have to use them as an excuse. When you know your weakness, you give yourself the power to do something about it. Name the things that could hold you back. This may be uncomfortable at first, but that’s how you face it and get it out of the way. 

Does your schedule change from time to time? Plot a flexible workout routine. Do you need to go somewhere on a certain day? Exercise earlier. Maybe you don’t have any access to the gym because of the pandemic? Workout from home instead. When you are aware of the challenges that may stop you from this fitness journey, you deal with them. 

More workout motivation to master

Create a support system

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.”


Your fitness journey is personal but you don’t have to do it alone. You can involve the people around you to help you with the process. Enroll in a fitness center and make friends with people who are as passionate about working out as you are. Sure, you can get DIY tips on the internet about exercising, but sadly, they can’t be that reliable. 

At one point, you might find the need to hire a personal coach or trainer, if you’re clueless about your approach, and then it’s just valid to seek someone’s expertise and guidance. Surrounding yourself with supportive people makes the journey easy and positive. The last thing you’d want is hanging out with someone who mocks your diet or workout. The harsh truth is that there are people who are like that so create a support system that you trust.

Impose discipline

Working out takes a whole lot of discipline. And if it was only that simple, every person who attempted to work out would’ve seen results. 

People often interchange workout motivation with discipline, but the latter is more on the routine that you’re willing to stick to despite the odds, and bad days. Discipline is that voice in your head that makes you stand up and exercise even if you’re not in the mood. It is the rule you strictly adhere to even if you’re not in your fighter spirit. 

Discipline is action, and motivation drives the action. Your drive fleets. But the earlier shouldn’t. You take action when you know the reason why you workout, eliminate possible excuses and set realistic aims for yourself. All these instill discipline and that gets you moving even without workout motivation.

Document your journey

Some people may raise their eyebrows on the idea of documenting every part of their fitness journey, but it helps. It’s useful most especially if you dip in and out of your routine because of your hectic schedule, or other personal reasons. 

You can start by writing a plan of action. Setting a realistic deadline, and enumerating the ways you’ll achieve your goals will set you on the right track. Monitor your progress by noting your weight and measurement. Take before and after photos. Use fitness apps too! Do all of these before you hop into a new exercise and diet regimen. Documenting your journey means keeping a record of your progress. Tangible results have always been motivating!

How to motivate yourself to exercise at home

Oftentimes, it’s easier to dress up and go to the gym to work out, right? But, what if, for whatever reason, you can’t go out? Or do you have just enough time to squeeze in a workout for the day at home? You’ll need to be able to create a space at home where you can condition your body that it’s your exercise area. 

Good workout motivation is to just lay down your yoga/exercise mat on the floor. When you have established that area at home where to exercise, the next steps will easily follow. Many coaches recommend wearing workout clothes so you are training your body to remember that it’s time to get moving.

See, it’s important to separate work (or any other non-domestic activities) and home. So, it only makes sense to also be able to differentiate workouts within your home premises. This way, you will not easily be tempted to just sit on the couch all day and skip exercising.

Slowly, you can invest in space-saving gym equipment like adjustable dumbbells in packs and maybe a reliable, DIY bench. You have the freedom to modify your exercises routinely at the comforts of your own home. Just make sure you stick to your schedule. Block the time and days you are actually committing to work out. Remember, no excuses!

Also, wouldn’t it be good workout motivation to know that you’re saving money from membership fees you would otherwise be spending on? Plus, no more worries about getting stuck in traffic and missing your schedule in the gym. Less hassle! Stress-free!

Every once in a while, you can invite friends over. Make it a small group only whom you can be accountable with. It helps to know you’re not doing this alone. 

Overall, enjoy! Be patient. Get excited when you see even small progress. It’s all about the journey. Celebrate your wins and results of hard work for a stronger mental and physical health!

superfoods for a healthy diet

Top 10 Superfoods to Boost a Healthy Diet

There are many options to eating healthy – keto, paleo, vegan, etc. When you are already on this path, you might want to take the diet to a new level and go for superfoods! But what makes them superfoods and not just your usual?

Why are they called superfoods anyway? The term doesn’t have a lot of connection with nutritional or scientific studies. However, it is coined to mean any food loaded with a high amount of desirable nutrients. What makes these foods “super” is their massive impact on promoting health and preventing diseases.

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute lists down the top ten superfoods that are beneficial to your health. If you haven’t yet, make sure to have them readily available in your pantry for a quick fix to meet your daily nutritional needs.

What are the top ten superfoods?

We advise you to acquaint yourself with the superfoods available in the market and constantly incorporate them into your diet, for they are high in vitamins and minerals. They can serve as an arsenal for your body to fight off unwanted diseases; hence, keeping you healthy. 

It would be easier to promote overall health once you regularly include these superfoods in a well-balanced diet. They also play a role in weight loss, energy improvement, and ageing reduction. These are just some of the benefits of eating superfoods.

So, the next time you go to the grocery, these are the top ten superfoods you should add to your cart. Please take note of them!

1. Leafy Greens

You might have heard about leafy greens being healthy, so it isn’t surprising why they top this list. These vegetables are the best source for your dose of vitamins A, B, iron, calcium, and folic acid, which are necessary for strengthening your muscles, bones, and even teeth. 

The loss of nutrients exists. There are varieties that you can eat raw or cooked. Suppose you have more time, research, so you maximize the greens that you eat. Spinach, for example, becomes denser when cooked so you can absorb iron, calcium, and beta carotene easier. It depends upon your menu for the day. Creativity is the way to make the most of them! 

There’s no wrong way to take your veggies; however, dark greens are more nutritious when you cook them. They help your body break down even the toughest fibers, which aids your digestion to turn nutrients into bioavailable. Spinach, lettuce, and broccoli are at their healthiest when you eat them raw as cooking them would destroy their vitamin C.

2. Berries

Fiber is an essential nutrient, and it’s common to see people who don’t consume enough of them. If you have to boost this aspect in your body, berries can help you. Your digestion will thank you for them, and so as your whole system for these fruits decrease cholesterol, increase satiety, and enhance your glucose control. 

Berries have high water content and the lowest GI against other fruits available. It is the reason why they are effective for weight loss. You can pick from these popular berries – blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. One study from 2015 reveals that 12 pre-menopausal women who consume 65 calories as a snack eat less on their next meal.

Besides being a good fruit for digestion, berries are also food for the brain with their phytonutrients and anthocyanin. Research suggests that these enhance cognitive function and reduce age-related issues in one’s mental health. 

3. Nuts and Seeds

nuts and seeds - superfoods

Nuts and seeds are also a part of your superfoods selection. They may not be given too much credit, but these wholesome groups are the best health booster. Yes, they don’t have a lot of colors, and are often in earthy hues, but this doesn’t mean that they are inferior. 

Almonds, for instance, have the most nutrition compared to other nuts. Healthy Supplies, an online health food brand, dubbed almonds as the King of superfoods as it has become the best-seller of nuts famous for its total dose of calcium, fiber, magnesium and Vitamin E. People who are maintaining their cholesterol levels should also find them friendly. 

On the other hand, Seeds have healthy fats and crucial antioxidants, minerals, and incredibly nutritious vitamins. When you make them a part of your diet, you’re subjecting yourself to a balanced eating habit that will be instrumental in reducing your blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol. 

Chia, flax, cumin, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, and hemp are only some of the popular seeds still around up to this day. Take advantage of these seeds that are the most reliable source of healthy fats, fiber, antioxidant polyphenols, and vegetarian protein. Sprinkle them in your yogurt, salads, smoothies and oatmeal so that you can optimize their health benefits!

4.  Yogurt

yogurt as another superfood

Yogurt is a probiotic food with detoxifying properties perfect for you to change eating habits to lose weight. It is considered one of the complete superfoods you can find in supermarkets packed with good bacteria. 

If you have digestion problems, yogurt can help alleviate symptoms of bloating and improve your condition when you feel like going to the washroom frequently. Combine with other vegetables such as broccoli, and you can enjoy a healthy meal that can fight against gut inflammation.

It is also rich in vitamin D and B5, which are good for hair fall prevention. Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, you can also use yogurt topically to restore your skin and prevent acne. Your body will thank you for its many benefits and nutrients such as zinc, calcium, riboflavin, phosphorus, protein, etc.

5. Avocados

Avocado is a superfood

Oh, to have an avocado toast for brunch! Avocados are superfoods packed with magnesium and good fats that are beneficial for your health. Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. And, because type 2 diabetes is often associated with magnesium deficiency, avocados can aid in combating risks for this disease.

Avocados are rich in fiber, folate and potassium, and healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These superfoods are great alternatives for saturated fats such as butter to lower the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.

6. Seafoods

Seafoods are superfoods

Processed meats and red meat in supermarkets have high saturated fats in them. If you’re watching your fat intake, fish is your best alternative. Kinds of seafood, like fish, have omega-3 fatty acids with healthy benefits for your body. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids help promote gut health.

For example, salmon and tuna have high concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These omega-3 fatty acids help decrease the risk of coronary diseases and heart failure.

7. Olive Oil

Include olive oil in your cooking!

You probably have heard of virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. They gained popularity, especially in recent years, due to their health benefits. , Olive oil is the better alternative for butter, often the culprit for heart disease as it is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats.

It is rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, which provides its anti-inflammatory benefits. Moreover, olive oil can be used as a delicious salad dressing. You can use the oil in soups and marinades or add flavor to your meals. Not only does it promote good cholesterol in your body, but it can also help regulate your blood sugar. This is definitely one of the superfoods you should have in your pantry! 

8. Ginger

Ginger is one of the most underrated superfoods as it is packed with bioactive compounds and nutrients. It has anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant properties that can help with your digestion and fight common colds.

It is known to provide relief from vomiting and nausea, and morning sickness for pregnant women. Some studies show the link of ginger intake to weight loss and prevention of obesity.

If you are experiencing pain in your body joints, topical ginger may help alleviate symptoms, too. To avoid osteoarthritis, you can incorporate ginger into your diet to reduce the risk of this disability. 

Note, however, that ginger may cause stomach upset. As in any other food, eat (or drink, if in a juice or tea form) moderately.

9. Oatmeal

Oatmeal as a superfood

There’s a reason why many like oatmeals for breakfast. It’s the best time to get your daily dose of soluble and insoluble fiber; plus, oatmeal is calorie-dense, too. It’s one of those natural superfoods rich in health benefits.

Because oatmeals are 100% whole grains, they maintain the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Oats have beta-glucan, which is the fiber responsible for reducing the reabsorption of cholesterol.

Due to its minimal processing, it’s also low in sodium but rich in protein and carbohydrates. All these are packed in one meal, and you get a good source of nutrition, including muscle maintenance and energy.

10. Apples

In another article here in Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute, apples are at the top of the list of superfoods for gut health. Hence, when the doctors tell you to eat an apple a day, it’s not just a catchphrase. That’s backed by science because apples are good for your gut and can help avoid risks of chronic inflammation.

Apples are superfoods rich in Vitamin C and strong antioxidants. This means you can avoid any lingering colds and have a stronger immune system. Additionally, these fruits help the lower free radical formation and stop the growth of cancer cells. 

If you’re someone who likes snacks, apples are your best go-to superfoods. Did you know that a medium-sized apple is only under 100 calories? Daily apple intake can keep you satisfied compared to other fruits or snacks. As a bonus, you can even stay healthy and reduce the risks of heart diseases.

How to eat more superfoods in your diet?

Indeed, superfoods are super for a reason. Now, we take action, and the real question is – how do they become a regular in your meals? The most obvious initial step is to slide them in your grocery list as consistently as you can and eat them in these different ways:


Sprinkling is the easiest way to consume your superfoods, so you don’t have an excuse! This will work for seeds and nuts. Add them to your favorite meal!


Swapping may take some time, but with commitment, you should do it as naturally as you can. For example, swap your rice with fiber, or even the protein-rich quinoa, your mashed potatoes to sweet potatoes, and your sour cream to Greek yogurt.


Blending shouldn’t take much of your time too. You can create a nutrient powerhouse by blending coconut water, kale, spirulina, and your favorite fruit. A superfood smoothie will be a good meal replacement, and that should do the trick.


Naturally and healthily, coloring your food is also another technique that you can apply in superfoods. Don’t be afraid of the rainbows! There are many superfoods that you can color your food with. Berries, greens, potatoes – these are the choices waiting for you.


Sneaking greens in your everyday food is as simple as making a morning smoothie or a healthy salad. These are densed and won’t require cooking. You can also play around them on your plate during your day off. If not, make them the toppings of your meal, and you are all good!

A Superfoods diet for a healthier you

To maintain a healthy diet, remember two (2) things: variety and moderation. Just like Superman (or Supergirl) aren’t the sole heroes to save the world, you shouldn’t just rely on superfoods and nothing else. 

Make your meals more exciting and flavorful by gradually adding superfoods to your diet, especially if you’re new to them. If you want to get started with a healthy diet rich in Superfoods, these recipes may be helpful to you. 

Take heart; it’s not too late to choose a healthy lifestyle. Cognitive and Health Wellness Institute is here for you to provide the resources you need for a stronger, healthier you!

healthy habits

How to Develop Healthier Habits

Choosing to live with healthy habits can easily make life better and longer.

Who hasn’t tried to eat better, exercise regularly or sleep longer? At one point, people decide to create a list of healthy habits and give up those that are not for the sake of their mental health and wellbeing. 

But, what is a habit? A habit is a routine that you repeat whether you are aware of it or not. Some practices are good; some are the opposite. Once you recognize that you have tendencies and urges that negatively affect your health, that’s when you embark on an objective, lasting change and rethink your routine

Some people are okay with what the world offers, while some continuously make excuses when they fail to achieve the results they want. But why should you settle for complacency when you have the power to enhance the quality of your life by establishing healthy habits? 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute is on a mission to help people enjoy better food and quality of life. In this blog, we list down some of the healthy habits you should incorporate into your routine to attain the goals you have envisioned for yourself.

How to start healthy habits

How to start healthy habits?

It boils down to just getting started, right? But we all know that, sometimes, it’s not easy. Or is it? You can make better choices now with the end goal in mind: to feel better, grow more robust, and live longer.

Now, with that north star, you can jumpstart your journey with healthy habits for your overall health and wellness. Identify your weak spots and consider the support system you might need. You will need this compass when you are actually within the method you have developed for yourself initially.

Have a growth mindset from the start so that you don’t stress yourself too much. This point means you won’t have to be too hard on yourself when challenges come because they do. Instead, welcome them headstrong and keep going. You can even use challenges as stepping stones to further improve yourself.

Start writing down your current habits so you can compare what boxes you’ve ticked and evaluate yourself in stages. Know and accept what needs to be changed, what else you need to do, and what you can ultimately let go of. Being aware of where you’re at will significantly help you see how much you can still positively change.

 How to develop healthier habits

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Who has not heard of this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin? It may sound cliche by now, but this mindset will never run out of style. Planning is necessary to succeed in whatever you need to do or change, and this stays true in developing healthier habits in life. 

Whenever you want anything turned into a habit, you need repetition for it to happen. Regularly doing something over time will establish a good foundation of stepwise progress you want to see in your life, and it will become automatic to you.

For example, if your goal is to be alert and productive, set a schedule for sleeping and waking up. Regular sleep times are crucial to maintaining a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Plan your week so you can start your day at 7 am and make sure you’re in bed at 10 pm, for instance. No extra Netflix shows at night. No snooze buttons in the morning. No more, no less.

Having an organized schedule always wins. You can even incorporate workouts within the day to have mental breaks and still take care of your physical health. A good tip for developing healthy habits? Create routines that will eventually become so natural to you; it’s like you can do them without thinking.

Routines turn into habits

Nir Eyal, author of the book Indistractable said that “if you value your time, focus, or relationships, you will need to form new patterns of behavior.” A routine is a series of frequent behaviors intentionally repeated, so they stick.

Routines can be uncomfortable because you need to put effort into doing them consciously. You can have to-do lists to interject certain behaviors to where you want to turn into habits. 

Say you want never to forget to hydrate and drink at least 7-8 glasses a day. Add “water breaks” or set the alarm for when you remember to drink at certain times of the day. Over time, with discipline and commitment, you’ll be looking for your water tumbler like it’s the back of your hand.

Consistency is key

Some people say it’s good to commit to a new habit for a few days first. (A good benchmark is 30 days). Once you get past that, you’ll find yourself consistently making such habits. During the first 30 days, you need to get into the habit every single day, as much as you possibly can. It is crucial.

For instance, if you want to exercise regularly, get that yoga mat daily and without fail. It’s not a workout routine if you don’t stick to it consistently (see what we did there?). If you plan to do only 3-4 days of exercise, stick to the same days. Do not miss a single day because it can be challenging to bounce back.

Keep things simple

Do not overcomplicate your plan. Remember: it takes repetition for the habit to kick in. You can’t change a harmful habit overnight. It’s tempting to get overly excited in the first few days and to do too much. But, the real test is in the days, weeks, and months following that. Sustainability keeps you on track with the change that you want to make. 

Build on the simple steps first, gradually increasing repetitions each day or adding hours where possible. If you’re developing healthy habits in your food, you can add progressively new vegetables or fruits to your plate, for instance. The adjustment doesn’t have to be drastic but realistic. 

It’s better to see little progress over time than a sudden change in a short time. There are no shortcuts, for they are bound to fail. Often, the latter produces abrupt changes that even your own body can’t tolerate. That could be destructive to you mentally and physically rather than beneficial in the long run.

Find an accountability partner

Someone close to you is an ideal buddy to help keep you in check. This person should be a reliable and trustworthy ally who will support you without judging you, especially when struggling. The last thing you’d want is to be around people who mock your journey to change. 

It would help if you had someone to motivate and encourage you to keep going when times are tough. Also, an accountability partner is someone who will cheer you on to celebrate your small wins. It’s an excellent boost to your morale to know someone sees your victories – big or small.

Whether you choose a relative or a friend, your accountability buddy should know your triggers, too. That way, you wouldn’t feel alone or helpless when laziness kicks in. You can tell them to call you at certain times of the day to check on you, for example. Doing this can help you get back on track when you don’t feel like failing on the habit you want to develop.

Healthy habits to do every day

How do you start your healthy habits?

Did you know there is a science to how healthy habits can work? According to James Clear, author of the book Atomic Habits, there are four (4) stages of habit.

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward

Clear said this is the backbone of every habit. Your brain usually runs through this four-step pattern in the same order, almost without fail. He suggests the following questions, which you can use as a guide when you want to change a specific behavior:

  • How can I make it obvious? (Cue)
  • How can I make it attractive? (Craving)
  • How can I make it easy? (Response)
  • How can I make it satisfying? (Reward)

Sometimes, you ask, “why don’t I do what I say I’m going to do?” Let’s say you want to create a habit of saving money. Your ultimate goal is to set aside a portion of your budget for your plans of getting your dream house.

How do you do it?

  • How can I make saving obvious? 
    • You can set a reminder on your phone on your payday with the exact amount or percentage of the amount you want to save. (e.g. 10% of your 2-weeks salary pay goes to your dream house project)
  • How can I make saving up attractive?
    • Create a calendar showing the dates and amount you save so you can track your progress. Sometimes, visually seeing how much you’re holding can motivate you more to continue what you’re doing. Put photos of furniture you want to put in your dream house that closely estimates the amount you have so far. This plan acts as your vision board that slowly becomes a whole house with each addition in your savings account. 
  • How can I make saving easy?
    • If you have the option to auto-debit or transfer this specific amount to your other bank account, consider that. You can also call your bank to help you set the maximum limit of your card expenses. Or go to your online bank account settings to limit your withdrawals to ensure you don’t touch your savings.
  • How can I make saving up satisfying?
    • You can gamify your habit of saving up by asking your accountability partner to reward you with anything. For example, when you can set aside more than you regularly do, your buddy can walk the dog for you. (You can be creative on this one.)

Every day is an opportunity to convert bad habits into good ones. Clear says that you can ask the same questions above to evaluate bad habits, guiding you to make better choices.

Healthy habits to look into

Here are other vital habits you can develop that you may have heard before but haven’t paid attention to:

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet.
  2. Drink alcohol moderately.
  3. Hydrate more.
  4. Avoid vices such as smoking.
  5. Have at least 7-8 hours of sleep each day.
  6. Move. Work out at least 3-4x a week.
  7. Smile more to minimize negative vibes.
  8. Cultivate positive relationships and avoid toxic people.

Three steps to replacing bad habits

Everyone has established habits, but no one is exempted from the wrong ones which are often triggered by stress and boredom. If you recognize that you need to change some of your bad habits, replacement is the proper term for it. 

It may be drinking too much caffeine, biting your nails, eating unhealthy food – you always have the power to replace bad habits with healthier practices.

Changing isn’t a walk in the park, of course. Norcross and Vangarelli from 1988 relieved that 77% of resolution-makers could only maintain their pledges to start anew for a clean, one week. However, 19% can stick with them for the next two years, or to simply put – eight out of ten would go back to their old habits. 

So, what can you do to not fall on the same path?

Commit. Committing to a habit is essential in changing your ways. You have to be serious about your goal. If you don’t start on this proper mindset, you won’t have a direction.

Substitute. Substituting your bad habits to a new, healthier habit is the way to change them. What prompts you to do what you don’t want to? For example, if you’re feeling the urge to smoke, change it with breathing exercises. If it is spending too much time on Facebook, find a new habit that could eliminate that. Commit and plan.

Sustain. Sustaining the new habit is the most challenging part, but it is possible with the first step, commitment. Celebrate your progress. Somedays, you’d trip on your goals, but it’s always in the matter of how you go back on track.

Importance of healthy habits

Whatever it is that you’re doing now is a result of your habits over time. Anything that naturally occurs to you, any routine you’ve been doing, they’re the sum of all your patterns combined. What you do repeatedly are the things that you do all the time. The same goes for food. You develop an appetite for the food that you crave. 

But, you see, healthy habits aren’t limited to food or mundane tasks. What you spend time most – doing and thinking about every day- forms which you ultimately become. Healthy habits are essential because they can prevent you from getting sick or experiencing health conditions. 

A healthy lifestyle is rewarding, in and of itself, because there’s less stress and problems. You feel good about yourself, so you have a positive self-image and good self-esteem. You can confidently face each day because you are strong and healthy.

Healthy habits lower the risk of poor decision-making because certain behaviors become automatic that positively impact your life. You have better relationships and socialization with friends. You’re more productive, have more energy, and can handle stress better. 

If you want to remain youthful and improve your mood every day, healthy habits can make this happen. Enjoy a quality of life that meets the length of life! Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute fully supports your journey to improve the quality of your life. Get started with healthy habits, if you haven’t yet, with recipes you can find here.

healthy gut

Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Gut

The importance of a healthy gut can never be understated.

A healthy gut is crucial for a significant proportion of your immune system resides in the GI tract. There’s considerable interaction between your immunity and outside bacteria and reflects the state of your digestion. 

More and more experts understand the role gut health plays in keeping your whole being well. Neglecting this aspect may lead to diseases and other complications, so taking care of your digestive system should be one of your priorities in life.

Healthy bacteria and immune cells are vital in warding off infectious bacteria, fungi, and viruses that could be harmful to the body. Who is even exempted from gut problems? At one point, you may have experienced loose stools, abdominal pain, vomiting, and heartburn. Avoid the consequences of a destructive lifestyle and start making a change today! 

So, in this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute lists down different ways to achieve a healthy gut.

The secret to a healthy gut

A healthy gut translates to a more beneficial immune system. This is the answer to enhancing your mood and optimizing your digestion. When you achieve this for your body, you are doing yourself a favor by boosting the state of your heart and brain.

Your lifestyle, and eating habits would reflect your gut health. Thus, these are some of the changes you can observe:

1. Consume food with insoluble and soluble fiber

Aiming for at least 25 grams of fiber each day should be friendly to your metabolism. Widen your plant-based nutrient source as this promotes the growth and diversification of your gut bacteria. Don’t be afraid to add foods like beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, and spinach to your diet. 

Soluble and insoluble fiber comes with their own set of advantages. For instance, soluble fiber helps improve digestion and lower blood sugar; on the other hand, insoluble softens stool, which allows you to have a smoother and more regular bowel movement. A combination of these would, in turn, have the best effects on your gut. 

2. Restrict your fat intake

Fatty foods have always been problematic for the body, but this needs reinforcement because people tend to be oblivious. 

Fats slow down the digestive process, which triggers constipation. This macronutrient is essential. But, it would help if you focused on healthy fats more and couple them with foods with high fiber to realize its benefits for the body.

Findings from various studies show that gut bacteria go through unfavorable changes with a high-fat diet. Thus, consuming too much of this macronutrient stimulates inflammation. This imbalance in bacteria also causes a leaky gut. This crack gives toxins, bacteria, and antigens the chance to penetrate the tissues beneath it, and it bears problems. 

For this reason, go for healthy fats in your diet. The best sources are walnuts, avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, ghee, and coconut oil. Eggs may also be a fine addition, and fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon. Gradually increase your intake of these to maximize their benefits for your body!

3. Exercise regularly

There is a common notion that only nutrition is good for the gut, but physical activities can be equally important. So, including frequent exercise may keep your digestion happy. How do you get active for your gut?

The first thing you can do is to start moving. Make it as regular as possible. Track your steps if you need to. Take the stairs if you can. There are low-impact cardiovascular workouts that you can embark on. Yoga, stretching, and weightlifting – are suitable for the body. 

A study suggests that implementing a steady fitness regimen improves microbes in the gut for only six weeks. You can optimize this positive effect by combining it with a nutritious diet that balances all the macronutrients your body requires.

Exercising is a big commitment. So, it would be best to be realistic with your goals. Make small, baby steps. Whether you are a pro or new in working out, sustainability is the key. Be consistent and build internal and external fitness for your body to realize a healthy gut.

4. Eat lean meat

A healthy and balanced diet isn’t complete without protein. However, be careful because fatty meat cuts lead to some digestive discomfort. Hence, the answer is to stick to the lean parts, including skinless poultry and pork loin. Control the portion of what you eat and fill more of your plate with fiber-rich foods coupled with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Lean meats are a rich source of zinc, iron, and B12. The body quickly absorbs them, even faster than plant-based foods. But of course, the vitamin C in vegetables and fruits is also essential to the body, so an amount of them on your plate would be necessary.

How much lean meat is good for your body? Eating 1-3 servings per day is the recommended frequency, though the amount may vary depending upon your age. Variation is still the key so you can make the most of these food groups. 

5. Include probiotics and prebiotics in your diet

Probiotics and prebiotics are both beneficial to your body, with each of them playing vital roles to a healthy gut. While prebiotics feeds your gut bacteria, prebiotics, on the other hand, are good bacteria that contain live microorganisms essential to your digestive system.

Unhealthy gut bacteria causes gut inflammation. Those bacteria can consequently compromise your immune system in the long run. Hence, your body needs food and proper hydration to perform well. 

Incorporating probiotics and prebiotics in your diet can help maintain balance in your gut. Also, probiotics such as yogurts and prebiotics such as whole grains can prevent symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, for example. Including these in your plate once in a while can help you improve your gut health.

6. Get enough hydration and sleep

Sleep deprivation is enough to mess with your gut health. 

Most animal studies show that lack of sleep may disrupt the microorganisms in the intestines. They indicate that irregular sleep habits have negative outcomes in the gut flora, hence, risking inflammatory conditions. 

When it comes to sleeping, quality is king. It doesn’t only improve mood and cognition, but the health of the gut as well. Establish a pattern that your body will thank you for. Sleep and get up on the same schedule every day. Adults should get at least seven hours or more every night. 

Increasing your water intake is also vital in your digestive health. Remember that your body loses water as you breathe, sweat, and digest. Hence, replace it by getting enough hydration. Start assessing your physical activity, metabolism, and medications, for these would affect the water your body requires. 

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an average healthy adult should take at least: 11 cups of water for women and 15 cups for men.

7. Quit vices

Did you know that significant changes in gut bacteria can happen when you quit smoking? A study in 2019 showed that there’s a substantial decrease in the beneficial bacteria living in a smoker’s gut. So, if you’ve been in this habit for a long time, it may be best to re-think it. 

Other vices can be as bad as taking illegal drugs, for example. That’s going to ruin your entire immune system. Taking unprescribed medication can negatively impact and disrupt the microorganisms in your gut, too. Drinking and alcohol overdose can damage the lining in your gut and, consequently, overwhelm your gastrointestinal tract as studies showed.

You might not notice that staying up late at night and playing video games all day is taking its toll on your body. More often than not, when you’re excessively doing these activities at irregular hours, you tend to eat more. And for convenience’s sake, you will eat only what’s readily available such as processed foods. This needs to change!

8. Manage stress

Reducing stress may also be the answer to elevating your gut health. 

Psychological and environmental stressors may trigger your digestive system to be in overdrive. For this reason, finding stress-reducing activities will help you prevent this. When you know how to manage your stress, you have the power to reduce uncomfortable GI symptoms. And the development of your whole being will follow. 

There are techniques to manage stress. Some go for meditation, while others seek physical activities. Research emphasizes exercise to reduce the stress levels in the body. Hence, you may try this.  

No wonder stressed people often end up with an upset stomach. They are related and so learning how to deal with your anxiety is helpful for your gut. Consistently sticking to the routine that gives you peace is the way to go!

9. Give your gut a rest

Resetting your gut means giving your digestive system a break. You don’t realize how much work it does; it needs time to heal and repair itself. This rest can be done by increasing levels of beneficial bacteria in your large intestines, which helps break down the food you consume. This way, you’re helping your body absorb nutrients better and manage waste more efficiently.

Sometimes, you may need to detox for optimal gut health lightly. Pay attention to both what and how you eat. Choose whole-grain varieties of bread over white, for example. Let fiber quickly assist the transit and delivery of food to your gut. Be mindful of your food choices. Sit down when you eat and take your sweet time chewing your food to digest it well.

Eat probiotics such as Lactobacillius from yogurts. Incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Other times, you may need to go on fasting for a few days or only set several hours when you eat or drink in a day. Or, minimize snacking for a few days and maybe totally stop doing so. Stay hydrated so you can regulate your digestion well.

10. Avoid overly-processed food

Processed foods like frozen pizza, potato chips, and bacon are comfort foods you can quickly get. However, consuming a lot of them is detrimental to your gut health. Ready-to-eat meals and processed meats, for example, tend to be high in trans fats and refined carbohydrates. 

In many cases, ultra-processed foods increase the risks of coronary heart diseases and cardiovascular illnesses. Instead of frozen dinner take-outs filled with too many sugars and sodium, recreate them in your kitchen. Although it takes more planning, grilling chicken and preparing some vegetables to help you eat healthy meals at home.

Eating processed food occasionally is okay. But, don’t let them take bigger portions on your plate daily and in your weekly diet. Limit overly-processed foods so you can focus on more fresh and whole foods as much as you possibly can.

What does your gut tell you?

Often, you don’t “go” with your gut and follow what it tells you. Maybe you need to change your eating and lifestyle habits. Perhaps you need to cut down on high sodium food. “Listen” to what your gut tells you.

Every individual may have unique gut microbiomes, but the same recommendation applies: Moderation is key. Train your body on having a good relationship with food, especially those that give you proper nutrition. Find a good mix of a high fiber diet with fruits and vegetables, for example.

You will better understand and appreciate your gut when you take care of your gut health. In turn, you can enjoy better, quality food plus both length and quality of life. That’s what Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute is all about.

Top Ten Online Workout Classes

Are online workout classes worth it?

With the whole world locked down from the covid-19 scare in 2020, most people, if not all, had to continue working out from home. Gyms aren’t allowed to open and there are still a few countries that aren’t open yet due to health protocols. But, we all need to stay healthy and keep our bodies strong by doing exercises indoors, even on our own.

That said, many workout classes went online. The experience is not the same as actually being with your coach and friends to work out with. However, it’s the best alternative one can do given the situation.

Yoga instructors, boxing coaches, and dance class teachers are now available online. That means you can continue your regular workout routines without having to go to crowded places like the gym. It removes the fear and worry if you’re still a little hesitant to go out for your own safety. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute is the place where the quality of life meets the length of life. In this article, you can find some of the best online workout classes worth checking out, if you haven’t yet.

Best online workout programs in 2021

You don’t really have to spend too much when looking for online workout classes. In fact, there are even free online subscriptions and apps you can download with 30-day trial periods. Depending on your own fitness goals, there are cardio classes, zumba sessions, pilates meetings, etc. that you can find online.

Read on to help you which of these top ten online workout classes that best suit your needs.

1. The Be.come Project by Bethany C. Meyers

This program focuses on pilates with a 10-day free trial. With pilates routines available every week, you can find modifications of movements based on your body type. 

The digital fitness platform is led by Bethany C. Meyers (@bethanycmeyers), who taught fitness classes in Manhattan and Union Square in New York. She brought her workout classes online with tutorials and healthy lifestyle reminders.

The be.come app is so widely popular because the company embraces people’s differences and for them to truly see their bodies as beautiful. In doing so, more people enjoy doing the workouts either on their own or with other patrons, on any level. 

Plus, the app has a video player’s music mode which allows you to freely move at your own pace. The online workout classes are even pregnant-friendly.

2. The Class by Taryn Toomey Digital Studio

For this one, live online workout classes are available on the site every day, 7 days a week. You can access the live classes anywhere with your computer, Apple devices, or Android gadgets and apps.

Taryn Toomey’s childhood is strongly connected to music, spirituality, and movement. She taught yoga and learned calisthenics and plyometrics along the way. Later on, she launched The Class Digital Studio which now helps more people by taking her classes online.

If you’re up for dancing to Fleetwood Mac music while doing burpees, this workout class will get your heart pumping. Your bonus? You’re building strength while enjoying the rhythm.

3. Aaptiv

Different people have different learning capabilities. While most people are visual or kinesthetic, there are some who learn better sonically. Aaptiv is a good choice for those who can easily follow audio-only instructions.

You only need your earphones and the app which gives you unlimited access to thousands of online workout classes. The program can be tailor-fit to your specific fitness goals whether it is to lose weight or train for a marathon. 

Aaptiv has expert trainers to guide you at the comforts of your own home through each and every workout. You won’t feel bored or miss going out to the gym anymore. Why? Your trainer can still encourage you directly and help improve your technique to achieve the results you want.

4. Gaga

Just watching a Gaga class can help you reconnect to your body. Gaga is Ohad Naharin’s movement language, first popularized in Israel but now known all over the world.

These online workout classes make international dance even more popular. Ohad Naharin’s artistic vision makes the choreography even more attractive. The instructions within the workout routines are filled with rich visuals and creative imagination. 

The whole experience becomes multisensory. But don’t underestimate the multi-layered experience, it can also be physically challenging which is precisely what you need in a workout.

Gaga provides exercises that can increase your stamina, agility, flexibility, and coordination. All these combined make working out more fun.

 5. Yogis Anonymous

If you want to work out with an amazing roster of yoga teachers who are highly skilled and professional, then Yogis Anonymous is an option. This program should be able to accommodate both your budget and schedule and signing up for that membership is as easy as going to their website.

Be ready for the videos that you’ll come across in this class. Choose from different sessions until you warm up with a teacher that you find is effective for you. If you are busy, you won’t have a hard time squeezing this in your calendar too for the class is short. It’s sustainable.

6. Barre3

Barre3 has built a following for its mind-body workout approach. It implements a combination of yoga, Pilates, and dance (specifically, ballet). The class usually begins with three deep breaths that would require you to reach overhead). Afterward, there would be a cardio warmup which may vary with hamstring curls, squat taps coupled with arm movements. Then, the yoga stretch comes next. This is one routine you can expect.

Whatever the customizations you go about with this online class, you’ll most likely focus on breath control. You can also go for modifications that would fit your capacity. The tools you should prepare for the program are resistance bands, playground balls, gliders, and weights.

7. Crunch Fitness Live

If you are one who does not have the time to research workout videos on YouTube and design a program that is going to work for you, then Crunch Fitness Live is for you!

Going to Crunch Fitness’ website for their workout videos is the best way to pump up your exercise routine. Even if you are on this journey by yourself, you’ll surely get some motivation from Crunch Live with its renowned classes. Whether you are sending a baby to sleep, or sneaking in some workouts in between errands, this can be your go-to place!

8. Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Kayla Itsines is the one company you should seek if you are into high intensity without the use of too much equipment. And yes, you can also do this wherever you are, and whenever you want too (but of course, it would be best to exercise regularly!). 

The workout guru intends to help women build strength, and eventually confidence in their bodies through 28-minute videos. After all, exercising doesn’t have to be a long, tedious activity. This guide will allow you to maximize what your body can do by exerting your best force in a limited period of time. 

9. Tone It Up Fitness App

Working out every day should not be a struggle with Tone It Up Fitness App as this would only take 20 to 30 minutes of your time. To have a feel of what it’s going to be, you can sign-up for their free 7-day to have an idea of what the program will be like. 

You can exercise with this application daily. As said, the routines are not long, but that doesn’t mean that they are not productive. You have the option to go for high or low-impact moves. Once you are fully dedicated, there are other options you can also explore. From guided meditation to stretching, advance with Tone It Up!

10. Alo Moves Multi-Class Series

Ala Moves is an established yoga subscription service that has done an efficient job in connecting fitness experts to users who want to make a change in their bodies and lives. This class consists of courses and classes. The features include not only yoga and fitness but also skill and mindfulness training. It’s indeed a holistic approach.

Marco Degeorge and Danny Harris founded the Ala Moves. Today, it has a million followers and is also affiliated with a yoga clothing line. On top of the online fitness and meditation classes videos, the brand has expanded its business. This platform has 2,500 classes with 60 instructors that you can count on.

Do you need equipment for your online workout classes?

Do you need equipment if you are to embark on online workout classes? Well, the answer would depend upon your goals. But, it wouldn’t hurt to own some of the basic equipment that would allow you to optimize your fitness journey. 

You can invest in the best athletic shoes, hand weights, resistance bands, and a mat. Having the best pair of footwear is helpful in getting you in the mood when you’re working out. It would also set the environment for you even if you are at home. On the other hand, hand weights are the best for strength training, and if you could make them heavier, that’s going to be much better. Lastly, a resistance band would enable you to perform other types of exercises that would make you fitter and healthier. 

In today’s time, online exercise classes have become an option for many fitness enthusiasts, and exercising has never been more flexible and convenient. If you are still adjusting to the changes brought by the pandemic, this alternative may be worth-taking!