Breath gives life, so breathing is one of the most important things our respiratory systems accomplish. The most vital components of breathing are our lungs. Here are some facts about our lungs1 that are notable: In… More
We love our pets so much and our affection is reciprocated in ways that melt our hearts. In North America, the two most common pets are dogs and cats. Not only do those who live with pets receive that special love from their furry family members but cohabiting with them teaches children how to treat non-humans with kindness, care and respect. This in turn shows children how to treat living creatures, big and small, as part of planet Earth.
Since 1998, the pet population in the United States has almost doubled, with two thirds of the country being pet owners.1 Similar to humans, dogs and cats that sleep well, live a healthier lifestyle than those that don’t. Not only that, but a good night’s rest can help improve your dog’s memory and can even make your pooch smarter, according to a study published in a 2017 edition of Scientific Reports.2
Domestic dogs and cats sleep an average of 12-15 hours daily, with up to 20 sleep cycles, each lasting 15 minutes. In contrast, humans average four to five sleep cycles, each lasting 90 minutes. Cats and dogs reach REM less, so they need more sleep to obtain adequate rest.3
Humans spend a lot of time searching for the perfect mattress that provides us with ample support, good circulation and all-night comfort. The Kenko Naturest® Fit supports quality human sleep and the Kenko Sleep Pet Pad does the same for our furry friends. Both are made with magnetic, rubberthane and tourmaline technologies. Together, these technologies impart a gentle massaging effect that is activated by the sleeper’s natural movements. The breathable fabric helps with temperature control by allowing air circulation and helping your pet to maintain a comfortable level of body heat. And because we know well how much shedding and staining can occur with any pet, both the small and large Pet Pad have removable covers that are easy to launder.
Keeping our pets healthy and happy also makes it easier for us to live the Active Wellness lifestyle. Recent studies suggest having a pet can actually help reduce our blood pressure, alter the course of heart disease and decrease our stress levels.4 By taking good care of our pets, we are actually taking better care of ourselves! Astounding numbers show that this reciprocal relationship between humans and their pets is growing:
• According to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association from 2017-2020, there were approximately 95.6 million pet cats and 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States as of 2020.
• In Canada, there were about 8.1 million pet cats and 7.7 million pet dogs in 2020.5
Contrary to common belief, some cats and dogs live together happily, proving that interspecies “siblings” can love each other as much as we love them! It’s a win-win situation!
Reflexology’s increasing popularity at present seems to derive from its reputation for dealing with stress and tension and in promoting relaxation.
Reflexology, otherwise known as zone therapy, is a type of therapy that uses gentle pressure on specific points along your feet (and sometimes the hands or ears) to help ease stress and assist your body in working better.1 Because of the close interaction of mind and body, relaxing one will help unwind the other too.
Many people confuse massage with reflexology, but it’s actually more comparable to acupressure. Reflexology connects spots on the outside of your body to the inside – different areas of the feet are linked to specific body parts, and putting pressure on one area of the foot can have an effect on the organ it corresponds with:
- Tops of each toe = head/brain
- Balls of your feet = heart, chest, and lungs
- Arch of your foot = liver, pancreas, and kidney
- Heels = lower back and gut system
Here’s how it works: A foot is divided into five zones that run from toe to heel: The big toe is zone 1, and the pinky toe is zone 5. The body is divided into 10 zones that run from head to foot. Zone 1 aligns with the left and right center of the body, and zone 5 aligns with the left and right sides of the body. When you place pressure on zone 1 in the foot, it can help relieve discomforts in the part of the body that’s linked to that area. Pretty cool, right?
The average benefits of reflexology include stress relief, relaxation and increased energy.
So, how exactly does reflexology provide all these benefits? One theory that dates back to the 19th century suggests that reflexology works by stimulating the nervous system. Pressing on areas of the feet in a calming way stimulates the nerves there, which sends a message to the central nervous system. This helps to relax the body and has positive effects on your breathing, blood flow, immune response and more.
If you can’t find a reflexologist near you, try a DIY session! Here’s what you need to know about how to use a foot reflexology chart2.
- Any foot reflexology chart will have the major reflex areas marked (usually with bold colors).
- You’ll find the names of the different organs/body parts that correspond to each reflex area labeled. It should be easy to locate which is which.
- To recreate a mini reflexology session at home, use a small amount of lotion to massage your feet. Apply pressure with the ball of your thumb, holding for 5 to 10 seconds.
- If you don’t know where to start, try your heel and move on from there, applying steady, even pressure with your thumb.
- Before your first DIY foot reflexology session, familiarize yourself with the basic areas on a foot reflexology chart.
KenkoInsoles are Nikken’s founding product, derived from research into the effects of magnetic fields, with an added reflexological component inspired by the reflexology practices in Japan and the pebbles on the floor of the traditional baths. See the current special offer on the Kenko mSteps, with raised nodules for a gently massaging sensation as you walk, and Kenko mStrides, a high density insole with magnetic technology, available until 31st August 2021.
Proper circulation is key for maintaining optimal health. It ensures that blood and oxygen continuously flow throughout the body, allowing every organ to function properly. It helps to heal wounds faster, it keeps the brain sharp, it keeps the heart healthy and it even gives the complexion a natural glow.1 Therefore, it’s vital to look after our circulatory system as part of our active wellness.
Top tips for circulatory health include exercising for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week as well as maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Here are 7 further tips that are easy to incorporate in your daily routine!
1. Get More Omegas… Omega-3 fatty acids help improve blood flow in the body and are an excellent source for heart health. Omegas can be found in certain types of fish such as mackerel. For those who are vegetarian or vegan, kale also contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acid. There are many natural supplements that contain Omega-3.
2. Sip Smarter… Drink black or green tea. A 2001 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that black tea improves blood vessel health. The antioxidants in these teas help to increase the width of the blood vessels. This enables the body to pump blood more easily.
3. Quit Smoking… So, this one isn’t easy. But, it’s absolutely necessary! Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict or narrow, which limits the amount of blood that flows to the organs. Over time, the constant constriction results in blood vessels that become stiff and less elastic. Constricted blood vessels decrease the amount of oxygen and nutrients the body cells receive.
4. Get Iron-Strong… If you don’t have enough red blood cells to circulate oxygen throughout your body, then you’re considered anemic. Women are especially susceptible to becoming anemic, especially if they are pregnant. Consuming an iron-rich diet such as spinach, legumes and red meat (in moderation) can greatly help you increase your red blood cells.
5. Compression for Comfort… Compression socks are a staple of any runner, but they should be in every household regardless of athletic ability. That’s because these special socks reduce swelling in the legs. If you keep your legs elevated when you wear them, it will put pressure on the feet to help blood vessels push blood through the upper body and up to the heart.
6. Brush Your Body… If you’ve never heard of dry brushing before, you are seriously missing out on a relaxing and stimulating way to increase your blood flow! Before taking a shower or bath, use a soft-bristle brush and gently brush your skin in long, upward strokes. Start at your feet, and then move to your legs, thighs, stomach and arms. It not only feels amazing, it will help increase your circulation instantly.
7. Ease into Exercise… Sitting too much and for too long can be detrimental to your body. Your circulation system is no exception. Any type of movement is good, including a gentle walk, but experts say a good high-impact activity is jogging/running, and a good low-impact activity is yoga. Movements that involve bending, stretching and twisting help to compress and decompress a person’s veins, which may help improve circulation.2
Whether in doors, taking a gentle stroll outside or for more active exercise, Nikken’s Kenko mSteps and Kenko mStrides insoles can help energize your feet!
*Terms and Conditions apply.
Magnets have been used successfully for centuries all over the world. Naturally produced magnets are called Lodestones and were used in ancient China, Japan, India, Egypt and Greece to help people enjoy better health.
Nikken have been researching and developing magnetic technologies since 1975 with the launch of the first Magnetic Insoles – KenkoInsoles®. Nikken’s founder, Mr. Isamu Masuda began his wellness revolution with a brilliant thought: “If people feel better after walking on pebbles, why not create a way to experience this effect all day long?”
Drawing inspiration from the combined research into the positive effects of magnetic fields and massage inspired by the reflexology practices and the pebbles on the floors of the traditional Japanese hot baths – he combined a textured surface with magnetic technology and this is how the Magsteps® (later called KenkoInsoles®) were created.
Since then, Nikken’s research teams have continued the process of research and found that the more complex the magnetic fields, the more effective they are on the body. As a consequence, a number of further developments designed and adapted for different applications are now available.
Kenko mSteps® – a gentle massage in your shoe!
Raised nodules on the surface of mSteps are designed to provide a very gentle massaging sensation on the soles of the feet. Walking, standing or sitting, these nodules will stimulate and invigorate your feet.
Patented DynaFlux® Magnetic Technology acts like a magnetic field generator inside the shoes. This happens when magnets are placed in a way called ‘polar opposites’ – as you walk, the components of the magnets move, changing position to produce a dynamic field of energy.
mSteps are available in two sizes: Small 5-9 (20213) and Large 7-12 (20214). The insoles can be trimmed if needed to fit perfectly in your shoes.
The Kenko mStrides® – great for active activity!
Kenko mStrides have the same patented DynaFlux® Magnetic Technology as the Kenko mSteps but without the massaging nodules.
They are thicker to provide more cushion and flexibility, ideal for use in soft athletic shoes such as trainers and hiking boots, etc.
Kenko mStrides are also available in two sizes: Small 5-9 (20201) and Large 7-12 (20211), these insoles can also be trimmed if needed to fit perfectly in your shoes.
Whichever insoles you choose this summer, you can comfortably walk your way to Active Wellness!
In the age of CrossFit, hot yoga, Pilates studios and Soul Cycle classes, walking can seem like a tame alternative. However, nothing could be further from the truth! Walking is convenient, free, doesn’t require any special equipment or gym, and it can be done anywhere—even right outside your front door! Here are six reasons to make walking a lifetime commitment towards your Active Wellness.1
- Keep your heart pumping
If you’re looking for a way to prolong the health of your ticker, walking only 30 minutes/5 times a week can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 19 percent! Contrary to the public health recommendation you need 10,000 steps daily to see results, 7,500 steps is also an ideal daily goal with comparable benefits.2
- Walk faster, live longer
According to a 2016 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, walking briskly (approximately 3 miles per hour) can increase your lifespan between 15 to 20 years. As with any exercise, the individual physical benefits gained from walking depends on three things: duration, intensity and frequency. Put simply: walk often, walk fast and walk long. The goal is to walk fast enough to raise your heart rate — even if just for a short burst.
- Leave stress behind
There’s something about getting out for a walk that just melts the stress and tension away. Whatever has you frazzled, overthinking, tired, frustrated or furious, seems to dissipate with a brisk walk. Studies have even proven daily 20-minute walks (especially outside) have been linked to significantly lower levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol.
- Lose weight, feel great
According to Harvard Health Medical School, walking can burn anywhere from 120–178 calories in 30 minutes. It’s also been proven to help you lose weight in an important area: the belly. This is a significant finding because women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches (and men of more than 40 inches) are considered to have abdominal obesity, which is considered a health risk.3
- A brighter mental outlook
Multiple studies have shown that regular physical activity can help increase the release of the ‘feel-good’ hormones such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. A single walking session can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s also important to make a human connection when you’re feeling isolated, and chances are you will come across other people on your walk. Waving or exchanging a simple smile with others can uplift your mental state instantly.
- Stronger bones and joints
It’s a fact of life as we get older our bone density decreases and our joint tissue breaks down. Repetitive, high impact movements such as running and aerobics can place stress on bones and joints. Walking is a fantastic exercise for the young and old, because it doesn’t involve jumping or landing on hard surfaces. A regular walking routine can also increase bone density and size.
Walking requires comfortable, supportive footwear. If you can’t find the right amount of support, consider investing in a good pair of walking shoes and even a pair of insoles.
Immune health has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially in the past year. People have tried to come up with a variety of ways to “boost” their immune system. But, is that really possible? It’s actually a common misconception that the more active our immune system is, the healthier we will be. The fact is, when it comes to our immune system, more is not necessarily better. While we don’t want an underactive immune system, an overactive immune system can cause problems, too. So, what we really want to achieve is a balanced immune system1. Here are five tips on how to get it!
1. Keep those vitamin D levels up!
Many people have low vitamin D levels, and studies show our levels drop in the fall and winter months (in the Northern hemisphere) when we begin to spend less time in the sun. This is bad news for our immune system. If our vitamin D blood levels fall rapidly – as often happens when the weather gets colder and our time in the sun decreases – our innate immunity suffers. So, to maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D we need to get daily, moderate sun exposure and/or take a vitamin D supplement.
2. Sleep like a baby
For years, science has linked a good night’s sleep (6-8 consecutive hours) to a healthier immune system. That’s because during this regular time of rest, our immune system promotes a healthy inflammatory response. Stress hormones fall to the lowest levels at night, allowing our bodies to undo the physical stress exerted during the day. One of the best ways to improve the quality of sleep is to improve “sleep hygiene.” Create the right ambience in your bedroom by making it cool, dark, and quiet. You can even light some candles, take a bath, meditate, or just sit quietly. Sweet dreams!
3. Say sayonara to stress
Easier said than done, but it’s so important because stress takes a significant toll on our immune system. Physical, mental and emotional stress, especially when it’s ongoing, can impair our immune system’s ability do its job. Mindfulness-based activities like meditation, deep breathing and yoga are excellent tools for managing stress. Don’t forget exercise! It not only keeps us healthy, but it strengthens our immune system. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate activity is all it takes.
4. Feast on fermented foods
You may be thinking, “Fermented foods? What the heck is that?” Fermented foods consist of sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir and kombucha. Eating them is great for our immune system because 80 percent of the immune system is found in our gastrointestinal tract. If these foods aren’t appealing to you, you can get the same benefits by taking probiotic supplements. Ingesting probiotics (friendly bacteria and yeasts) is an effective way to improve digestion and support immune health.
5. Add mushrooms to your diet
Did you know there are a few species of mushroom that contain some of the most powerful immune boosting compounds in nature? It’s true! Mushrooms such as shiitake, cordyceps, reishi, and maitake can reduce the negative stresses on our bodies. Not a fan of mushrooms? Consider adding a mushroom supplement to your diet such as the Kenzen® Immunity. It contains a combination of 14 different mushrooms, including rare varieties not available in conventional mushroom products.
Incorporating the active wellness tips described above to your lifestyle now will help you feel better and more balanced long-term.
By Guest Editor: Jeff Isom, Chancellor of Nikken University
Most of us are continually striving to be active, healthy, and well. The idea of Active Wellness is perhaps more of a process than a result and encompasses a variety of aspects in our lives. One of those areas is the personal growth we work towards as we decide what to create and accomplish on a day-to-day basis.
A question someone might ask themselves is, how do I do more with the time I have? It may be that we can accomplish more by deciding to focus on less. Think about the idea of limiting your daily to-do list to the top 3 most important things you want to accomplish for that day. You could do this same process at the beginning of every week for the week ahead. It is a simple strategy, but one that might prove to be extremely powerful.
This habit turbocharges your productivity because it forces you to prioritize the most significant things you want to achieve, and then causes you to have laser-like focus in getting them done. Having just three items to focus on throughout the day and week can help you stay centered and to accomplish more, even on days when you feel overloaded.
In order to make this approach work, it is important that you write out these 3 main focus areas before busying yourself with “urgent” but not important tasks like checking email, texts, or social media. It is necessary to prioritize what you want to achieve during the course of the day. You can also reference your schedule for the day and your week to see how much time you’ll have to devote to your top tasks. Then, you can shift around meetings and commitments to concentrate on what really matters.
As you think about putting this Rule of 3 into practice, create your list on a daily basis first in order to realize how effective it can be. You can then add the weekly exercise from there. Make sure that your top 3 items are challenging but also realistic and achievable. This will help you stay motivated and ride the momentum for getting things done.
After you list out the top 3 items to accomplish, it is okay to write down additional minor tasks to take care of during the day (such as remembering to buy stamps, writing a thank you card, or going to the dry cleaner). What’s important is that you prioritize and place your energy on your top 3 tasks, and work on smaller items as time allows. At the end of the day, you can measure your productivity by looking at how successful you were at accomplishing your main 3 tasks.
To accomplish more and to spend time on your highest-impact tasks, you have to act on them on a daily basis. The Rule of 3 is a great way to do exactly that. This habit will help you do more by doing less. It will increase your growth as a person and move you closer towards Active Wellness in a variety of areas in your life.
About the guest editor: Jeff is Chancellor of Nikken University and regularly runs Nikken’s Humans Being More Workshops around the globe!
My 3-year-old’s favorite color is orange. I know this because he prefers to eat orange fruit, wear orange clothes and will always choose the orange popsicle when offered a variety of other flavors. Orange makes him happy and puts him in a good mood. Is this a coincidence or is there more at play here?
Psychologists and scientists have long believed that colors can impact your mood, sleep, energy and eating habits. It’s called color psychology or color therapy. And you can use it to create a wellness plan for yourself1.
Color therapy uses the benefits of different colors and shades to affect your wellbeing. As each color has a unique light wavelength, the color therapy principles use the energy of each shade to boost your mental and physical health.
- Red and pink colors are linked to your blood, circulation and breathing. Use these colors to help raise your pulse, blood pressure and the speed that you breathe, and strengthen your veins. Wearing red or pink for a high energy workout could improve your results. Red is also linked to feeling of passion, so keep a red outfit at the ready for date nights!
- Orange, as one of the warmest tones, notably resembles the color of the sunset – one of nature’s most calming and peaceful gifts. Watching a spectacular sunset can rebalance your joy, optimism and wisdom. Orange is also said to inspire creativity and enthusiasm.
- Yellow is the most intense color in the spectrum. This color can make you feel happier. It can bring out your intelligence and wisdom. It’s also said to bring energy and encourage action. Yellow flowers can brighten your day and uplift you!
- Green colors have a harmonious, calming effect. This is why many people choose to have plants in their homes and on their desks at work. And, when you’re indoors for a prolonged period of time, you know the exhilarating feeling of getting out into nature with the greenery.
- Blue also encourages relaxation and calm, which is why it’s such a popular color on the walls of a bedroom. Many people prefer to choose blue mats to practice yoga or daily meditation. Stronger shades of blue support the brain’s thought processes, while lighter shades help improve concentration2.
- Purple or indigo colors are beneficial for problems with the eyes, ears and nose, while more violet shades of purple with a pink tone can help relax your muscles and nervous system. Violet colors are also useful when meditating.
- Black is often regarded as color of authority and power3. If you’re looking to take charge this is the color you should be gravitating to.
There’s a whole world of color out there! Embrace what it means and how it can improve your overall active wellness.
Boost Your Mental and Physical Health Working Remotely
If there’s a silver lining to the past year, it’s the ability for most of us to work from the comfort of our own home. No commute, no business attire and no noisy coworkers! However, working remotely can come with unique challenges when it comes to mental and physical wellness: burnout, loneliness and uncomfortable working conditions. Here are some workplace wellness tips for the home to help keep you happy, healthy and productive1.
Establish a Daily Routine
It is so important to keep the ritual of your regular morning routine as if you were still leaving the house to go to work. Set your alarm for your regular waking time, shower and dress, make your breakfast and coffee, etc. Consider scheduling in a few minutes of meditation every morning before you sign into work. It’s a great way to start your day with a clear and focused mind! You can find many free guided meditations online or through your mobile app.
Create a Designated Office Space
Not everyone has the luxury of a private office space to work in. If possible, avoid working on your bed or couch. Aside from the back pain you’ll experience, it will be difficult to get into “working mode” in these spaces. Experts highly encourage you to find a dedicated space in your home with natural light, enough space for all your materials and an excellent desk chair! Did you know the average worker sits for approximately 10 hours a day?* Therefore, it’s extremely important to invest in a durable chair with a supportive back.
A separate working space also lets you disconnect at the end of the day. If your office is also the place where you sleep and watch television every night it will be difficult to differentiate work from relaxation.
Take a Break
Set limits on how long you sit and stare at your computer screen. You need breaks to stretch your body, eat your meals and decompress. Schedule at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, do an online workout video or try some yoga moves.
Remember, just because you are at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a coffee or a lunch break. Avoid eating in front of your computer as much as possible. If needed, schedule your lunch breaks at a certain time every day, so your coworkers know that you are not reachable during that time.
Make it a point to stay connected and bond with your coworkers through Zoom lunches or virtual team Happy Hours. Send your best friend a text or give your mom a call – chances are she would love to hear from you! Smile and wave to people you see on your walks when strolling through your neighborhood on a break. We are social beings and we need to maintain that human connection!
Structure a Beginning and End to Your Day
Working from home makes it very easy to stay connected until the late hours of the day. To maintain mental wellness, it is important to set limits and end your work days as you normally would in a traditional office setting. Keep track of your hours to make sure you aren’t constantly working overtime.
Work smart with workspace wellness to help maintain your active wellness.
Congratulations, Class of 2021! Whether you finished school on-campus, remotely or hybrid, the end result is you did it! You achieved a monumental milestone and now the future is yours. You may wonder, what now? Should you join the workforce? Pursue higher learning? Well, if you’re looking to join the workforce, we recommend these tips to help you succeed1:
- Identify the key soft skills (power skills) you have and need. Examples include critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and learning agility. Learning agility is your most important skill, because it means you have the curiosity and motivation to continuously learn new skills throughout your career.
- Consider core technical skills you have that are likely to stay in high demand, such as digital literacy, data science and data analytics. And then build upon those skills.
- Focus on skills that are portable and that will be critical regardless of what field you enter. For example, the data analytics skills you developed in your marketing job may be just as valuable — or even more valuable — in e-commerce or product development.
- Keep a permanent, personal list of past and future learning. This will help you have better conversations about your skills in interviews and on the job.
- Discover, filter and apply your learning. Utilize low or no-cost technology. You can also use Twitter Lists for streams of topic-specific material from those you choose to follow and platforms like YouTube have many relevant talks and interviews.
Some new grads may find joining the workforce right away to be bad timing, too intimidating or be looking for an advantage to find their perfect position. For these reasons and more, higher education can be a worthwhile option. Here’s what you’ll need to excel2:
- Be an effective planner and initiative taker. You’ll need to be mentally ready for the marathon of graduate studies.
- Have the maturity to rebound from disappointments. Graduate school is a whole different ballgame than college.
- Build up your stamina to complete long projects on your own, without much interaction or (potentially) direction.
- Do specific research on job placement for the programs you’re considering. It’s a competitive market out there!
- Finances matter. You’ll need to weigh the cost of graduate school against your future earning potential, and then figure out how much you can afford to spend on your degree.
Remember, no matter what you choose, this is an exciting time in your life—enjoy it!