3 Types of Exercise that Boost Heart Health

3 Types of Exercise That Boost Heart Health

Written by: Gemma Oberholzer, Wellbe&Co Founder & CEO

Movement and physical activity is one of the key contributors and determinants of good heart health. Studies have shown how exercise is one of your most effective tools for strengthening the heart muscle, assisting with healthy weight management, and helping prevent arterial damage from high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure that can lead to heart attack or stroke. 

 Here’s how the different types of exercise can benefit you and your heart.

Aerobic Exercise

  • What it does: Aerobic exercise (or what most of us know as cardio) improves blood circulation, which results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, it increases your overall aerobic fitness which positively impacts your cardiac output or how well your heart pumps. Through its positive effects on blood sugar control, aerobic exercise has also been shown to reduce risk or the management of type 2 diabetes.
  • How much: 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
  • Examples: Moderate heart-pumping exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics classes, playing tennis, padel and skipping. 

Strength Training

  • What it does: Resistance training’s heart health benefit comes from the effect it has on body composition and weight. For those carrying extra body fat (including the unhealthy belly fat which is a risk factor for heart disease), regular strength training can help reduce fat stores and promote healthy and metabolically active lean muscle mass development. Research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training may help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • How much: At least two to three 30-min sessions per week.
  • Examples: Training with free weights such as hand weights, dumbbells or barbells, on weight machines, with resistance bands or through body-resistance exercises, such as push-ups, squats and pull-ups.

Stretching, Flexibility and Balance

  • What they do: Flexibility workouts don’t directly contribute to heart health in the same way that cardio and resistance training do. However, their benefit arises from the role they play in ensuring musculoskeletal health and longevity, which enables you to stay flexible and free from joint pain, cramping and other muscular issues. This in turn enables you to consistently participate in the other heart health promoting exercise type, injury free. As a bonus, flexibility and balance exercises such as yoga have also been shown to promote more mindful movement and so help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • How much: Daily as well as before and after other exercise.
  • Examples: Your doctor, qualified fitness trainer, physiotherapist or biokineticist can recommend basic stretches you can do at home. Tai chi and yoga also improve these skills, and classes are readily available in almost all cities and towns.


Get in contact with the Wellbe Team today if you need any help putting together a fitness plan to optimise your heart health!

Adapted from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/3-kinds-of-exercise-that-boost-heart-health

Setting Yourself Up for a Year of Success – Advice from an Organisational Psychologist

Setting Yourself Up for a Year of Success – Advice from an Organisational Psychologist

Author: Amy Bands

The urge to take advantage of this time of year to come up with new goals, identify your purpose, set resolutions and start fresh with the clean slate of a new year is real. However, the reality is that just because the calendar has ticked over into a new year does not automatically mean we will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. In fact, you may even feel disappointed that this refreshed feeling does not automatically happen. 

More than that, we often dive into unhealthy ways of behaving and acting over the December period and overnight wish to change our habits in favour of strict and healthy alternatives come January 1st. We have high hopes that we will be our best selves in the new year – often referred to as “new year, new you”. However, it’s important to remember we are coming out of an end of year slump, a challenging 2022 characterised by readjusting after a pandemic, unemployment, economic woes, load shedding and readjustment to the office after working from home. In December we are making our money stretch further as we spend on gifts, feasts, holidays and sales. We renege on our boundaries as we spend time with family and friends, feel pressure and some may even feel lonely or disconnected.

What has the era of Covid-19 taught us?

One thing we have learned from the pandemic we faced and are still coming out of is that life is more uncertain than we ever thought it could be. For some of us the new year period could coincide with some misfortune, grief, hardship and despondency. We may have a rule of thumb that the new year is a time to refresh, reset and build for a year ahead. And so when the reality of our lives does not mirror that expectation, we can feel bad, disappointed or confused. Having self-compassion in these moments will assist us in managing and coping with the disconnect we may be feeling. Speak to yourself like you would to a friend or loved one to combat these feelings.

Rejuvenating for 2023, like most things in life, is not a quick fix. It is worthwhile to prioritise rejuvenation as a form of well-being that will set you up for success in 2023, and through intentional practices of rejuvenation, it will be possible to cope better with the challenges you inevitably will face. 

Success-focused habits to take with you into 2023 and beyond

1. Reflect often

We can engage in this activity where we look inward to learn about ourselves and build our self-awareness. It is important to look back at the year that was and see what worked (and what didn’t) so that we can take these learnings with us into the new year.

2. Examine your strengths

Wisdom from positive psychology encourages us to focus on and build on our strengths as opposed to agonising on and rectifying our weaknesses. Where do your strengths and talents lie and how can you enhance them?

3. Journal more

When we put pen to paper real transformation happens. We can look back on our writing and get a deeper sense of ourselves, our struggles and our hopes for the future. These writings act as a catharsis – where we can let go of what has been on our minds or as a record where we find messages from ourselves, written to ourselves.

4.   Clarify your values

Shining the light on our values regularly assists us in streamlining and sharply defining what matters to us and provides a clear compass with which we can make our decisions. Take time to zoom in on 3 to 5 values that will guide your actions, decisions and plans for the year ahead.

5. Consider a theme for the year 

Maybe it’s growth, to be a role model, or adventure. Consider how this theme will guide you in multiple aspects of your life – relationships, work, hobbies and health as some examples.

6. Create a vision board 

Making your purpose, vision and goals visual to consistently remind you of what you are setting your intention towards will provide you with regular reminders of why you are putting in effort and what you are striving towards. Choose a visual, a song, a passage, a poem, a photograph or a quote to capture the entirety of your vision that you can constantly hang onto – even when your energy wanes.

7. Take breaks 

Be intentional with scheduling your breaks, whether these will be during your work day where you regularly get up from your desk or requesting leave. Look at your calendar to ensure you are intentional with your time this year and look at the public holidays that you can take advantage of to schedule your time off – this way you will have more time without using as many leave days.

8. Dive into something today that your future self will thank you for 

Plan something that is just for you, that scares you or that meets your deepest desires. When we do something today that our future self will thank us for we are sure to shape our lives in ways that wow us! Write a journal entry imagining you are reflecting in January 2024 – what is that thing you did in 2023 that you are grateful for – add this to your intention for 2023. The year will pass by regardless of whether you have the experience, enrol in the course or make a move or not. If you choose to engage you will be left with more than just another year crossed off on a calendar.

 How can you apply this in the workplace?

Now, more than ever employees are prioritizing their mental well-being and considering what they want to do with their lives. Organisations need to prioritise the holistic well-being of their employees if they wish to remain competitive and relevant in the war for talent. Organisations can ensure ongoing rejuvenation and mental health for the employees by:

  1.   Empowering employees with mental health tools – training, practice and investing in these tools are crucial. P.S. Contact info@wellbecompany.com to see how Wellbe and our mental health team can support you and your organisation.
  2.   Take action towards improving the work-life balance of their employees – many organisations are experimenting with the 4-day work week and we could take the lead from European countries who are legislated against contacting employees outside of strict working hours.
  3.   Carefully consider hybrid working policies – consulting employees is crucial as employees no longer see the relevance of working in the office meaning that organisations need to lead the charge in redefining what it means to work in-office.
  4.   Employers would do well to recognize that it is no longer hours worked and input into work  that needs to be monitored, rewarded, and micro-managed but rather the impact and output of work that needs to be recognised and encouraged.

 Partner with Wellbe today to empower you and to shape a healthy organisation.

7 Refreshing tips to keep you rejuvenated this year

7 Refreshing tips to keep you rejuvenated this year

Author: Words We Write

The start of the new year is the promise of new beginnings. Thinking of the things you want to achieve, getting back into a routine and going back to work can be a little intimidating though. There is a lot of pressure to hit the ground running and make this your best year yet and by the end of January, you’re exhausted all over again. 

It doesn’t have to feel like that though. We’ve done a little digging and found some pretty nifty ways for you to achieve everything you set out to while still feeling rejuvenated throughout the year. 

Don’t get us wrong, there will be days when you’re tired and need a rest, that’s normal. Our goal is for you to use these tips to create a sustainable lifestyle that will keep you going all year round.

Why is a sustainable lifestyle so important? 

Burnout is real and pretty common. Building healthy habits that you follow and implement into your daily life will assist in avoiding high-stress levels and feelings of total exhaustion. 

By maintaining a healthy and sustainable lifestyle you won’t be trying to crawl through the last months of the year with your holiday just out of reach. You’ll continue to feel fresh and rejuvenated to take the year on and finish strong while achieving your goals.

How to stay rejuvenated this year

1. Set boundaries

This has been a tough one, even for us but we can’t express how important your boundaries are. Your boundaries are unique to you, and you can have specific boundaries for work, friends, family, and even yourself.

The important thing is to make sure that you stick to your boundaries once you’ve decided on them. They won’t be helpful to you if you keep trying to enforce a boundary and then give up soon after. 

Explore: How to beat cognitive fatigue to re-energise

Examples of boundaries you could implement:
  • Sticking to the working hours stipulated in your contract
  • Only watching TV for an hour a day or going on social media for a certain amount of time in a day
  • Saying no to people (especially if you’re a people pleaser)
  • Choosing not to be around friends or family that constantly put you down

2. Start the year slowly

As we mentioned, there is this unspoken pressure of getting into the new year and being the most productive, smashing goals left right and centre and letting nothing get in your way. 

While we commend people for wanting to start the year strong, it can lead to fizzling out pretty early. Think about a marathon for example, if you come out guns blazing and sprint as fast as you can for the first few laps, the longer the race goes on, you don’t have the energy to keep the same momentum going. 

A year is a marathon, never a sprint. Take your time to reflect on the past year, sit and figure out what you want to achieve this year and game plan for how you’re going to do it. Most importantly, remember that you don’t need to achieve everything in the first 3 months. 

3. Prioritise your sleep routine

You have probably heard this a billion times in your life but we can’t stress how important sleep is. Set yourself a bedtime and stick to it. If you need to wake up early, go to bed early. 

Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night so that you are performing at your best.

4. Take care of your gut

Choose foods that will nourish your mind and your body. Life can get busy and it might be easy to quickly stop at a drive-through on your way home rather than cook but we advise against doing this regularly. 

Make this the year where you plan your meals ahead of time and make conscious decisions about what you put in your body. Foods high in added sugars and processed foods can make you feel sluggish.

5. Practice being still

Whether it’s sitting outside for 20 minutes, meditating or laying on your bed, being still can improve your brain function, reduce stress and anxiety and aid in productivity. 

A few minutes a day where you sit with no distractions and let your mind and body completely relax. 

6. Set new goals 

Goals and intentions are important. We’re not calling them New Year’s Resolutions because there’s a connotation around resolutions that no one ever sticks to them. 

We prefer goals and intentions. As we mentioned above, figure out what you would like to achieve this year. But most importantly, indicate HOW and WHEN you’re going to achieve these goals. Being specific and having an action plan is vital to achieving your goals. 

7. Practice gratitude

Lastly, be thankful. 

Yes, life is difficult, work can suck and we would all rather be on a beach somewhere. BUT you have a job, you have friends and family, you have a home and food. There is so much you have in your life that someone out there wishes they had. Life isn’t going to be perfect and there are going to be days when things seem impossible but we encourage you to find something to be grateful for every single day, no matter how small it may seem.

Before you know it, you’ll be reminded of all the positive and amazing things surrounding you.

To feel rejuvenated throughout the year is to practise small things daily that remove you from the hustle and bustle and remind you to take each day as it comes.

How to beat cognitive fatigue to re-energise.

How to beat cognitive fatigue to re-energise.

Author: Amy Bands

What is it about this time of the year that makes us feel so tired? Everyone you speak to, shocked that the year is nearing a close! Where did the year go? Time flies… when you’re having fun? We have not been having such a fun time as a nation or as a globe. Emerging from a more than two year unprecedented pandemic has fundamentally changed us as people. We are not the same people who left 2019 for the upheaval of 2020 and beyond. Many of us are struggling to recall when we last saw each other. Thinking back to ‘last year’ only to realise that was two years ago. The lockdown years are a blur. All melding into one. 

Organisations are failing to notice that their people are fundamentally different. Re-looking at their lives, their work, their organisations, their priorities and their boundaries. Many organisations are doing a forced return to the office without consultation on what their people really want and need. The rationale behind the return to office is feeling weak for many. Organisations are finding tremendous push-back on their carrot and stick methods of ‘collaboration’.

Returning to the office has been a major shift for organisations and their people. Organisations are failing to notice the fundamental change in priorities and expectations of their people. This failing could cost organisations in the war for talent, where even South Africans are participating in the Great Resignation. Returning to the office comes with its peripheral challenges. Traffic, loadshedding battles making it worse where we are consulting multiple timetables of stages of loadshedding throughout the day, multiple areas on differing schedules along our routes and ever more agitated drivers on the road. The other planning that needs to take place is also reinstating childcare, transport for kids, and giving up the hours we have come to use productively, instead, for time spent in traffic. Not to mention how all of this hits our pockets, including the fuel and transport costs, temptation to buy food in the office, and the expenses to again manage our home lives while we are not there. 

Locally and globally we are dealing with the fallout of the pandemic, economic woes, political upheaval, warring nations, radically different social norms, loss, grief, fear and worry over when it could all happen again. The loss we faced in Covid-19 violated our social ways of losing loved ones. Hospitals barred from visitors, funerals conducted online and guilt for those who survived. Some of us also faced our own mortality in contracting the virus and continue to experience health effects related to Covid-19. 

Outlining all of this is important to highlight that we are carrying a lot at the moment. For us to realise the cognitive load we are dealing with. To pause and notice that we are in cognitive overload. 

What is cognitive load and how have we been pushed into cognitive overload?

Cognitive load is the capacity we have for holding short-term and long-term information in our minds. The brain has a designated capacity to take in stimuli. There is only so much we can think about and focus on. We begin to feel a cognitive overload when we are over stimulated, That is more stimuli and information coming into our awareness and thinking than we can manage. Our cognition – as in our ability to take knowledge in and understand it, no longer functions optimally when we are in cognitive overload. Prolonged experience of this can lead us into cognitive fatigue. This is a constant and prolonged strain on our cognitive processing. All the stress and strain we are facing and trying to juggle mentally is causing us cognitive overload, putting us at risk of cognitive fatigue. 

What cognitive fatigue can look like:

  1. Difficulty concentrating
  2. Forgetfulness
  3. Irritability
  4. Simple tasks becoming a struggle
  5. Feeling overwhelmed
  6. Difficulty sleeping
  7. Physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, tension, and a racing heart
  8. Feeling disconnected from the world in a dreamlike or foggy state
  9. Experiencing a mental block – where you can’t engage in thinking

How do we regain our energy?

There are ways to tackle the cognitive overload and fatigue we are facing. Considering what is in and outside of our control will assist us in taking action where we can, and putting boundaries in place to help us say yes to more of what we enjoy and feel energised by and saying no to more cognitive load. This also allows us to use our energy productively on that which we can control. Letting go of unnecessary thoughts of what is outside our control. 

Some further ways to re-energise include:

  1. Reduce the task load you are taking on – give yourself permission to tackle less while you are overloaded mentally
  2. Give yourself more time than usual to do the same tasks
  3. Let go of perfectionistic standards in favour of completing the task and receiving feedback to improve, that way you keep the flow of work moving
  4. Planning and scheduling tasks – compiling these plans and managing our schedule puts the load into our control
  5. Delegate tasks where possible
  6. Put boundaries in place and stick to them – saying no to more if we cannot realistically take more on
  7. Taking on enjoyable tasks will not increase your cognitive load
  8. Take responsibility for your wellbeing – eat well, put good sleep habits in place, ask for help when you need it
  9. Organisations can also put shorter work days in place, introduce flexi-time and encourage their people to take regular breaks.

Moving into the final stretch of a year where we are adjusting to life where hybrid work is taking shape, socialising is coming back, and where we are dealing with a lot mentally, we can start to re-energise by giving ourselves a break. It’s time to gear down for the end of the year in the ways that we can. Putting less pressure on ourselves to perform at a high level will give us a chance to take a breather before the festive season, allowing us to have the energy to tackle the change of pace coming our way. Gaining energy is not always about digging deep but also balancing our ‘doing’ with resting. If we do not make time for our wellness we will be forced to make time for our illness.  

Allow me to leave you with this final thought:

How to recharge and eliminate what’s sapping your energy

Author: Words We Write

How to recharge and eliminate what’s sapping your energy

We’re reaching the end of the year and this is usually when we start to feel drained, unmotivated and simply exhausted. Finish this year strong by using these simple ways to recharge both your body and mind. 

Have you ever tried using your phone with less than 15% battery? Your apps are slow, your phone freezes, and it can cause a lot of frustration.  Well, humans are pretty similar. 

When your battery is low, it’s difficult to do even basic tasks at your best. Silly mistakes are easily made, and it can begin to take a toll on your mental health. This is why it is so important to create habits that help recharge you inside and out. 

Things that might be draining you 

It’s not only towards the end of the year that you can feel depleted. This can happen at any time when you’re constantly surrounded by or engaging in things that drain your energy. 

These are just some of the things that could be sapping your energy;

1. Too many processed foods 

We’re all pretty aware that too much processed food isn’t doing us any good. This time of the year is go, go, go so it might be easier to grab a takeaway or snack on some crisps rather than prepare something. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that… in moderation. Grabbing something convenient in a time crunch is perfectly fine, the problem comes in when you make it a habit.

2. Too little sleep 

We often underestimate how important our sleep schedule is. Whether you aren’t sleeping due to stress, trying to meet deadlines or anything in between, it is vital that you prioritise at least 8 hours of sleep a night. 

3.  Toxic relationships 

Having people around you who demand from you and that don’t lift you up is exhausting. Take note of who you’re spending your time with and how you feel afterwards. 

4. Clutter and disorganisation 

Trying to find things or remember where you left things is tiring and draining. It’s easy for things to get cluttered when you’re busy or feeling overwhelmed but take some time to clear out your space, it will do wonders for your mental state. 

5. Lack of exercise 

We bet you don’t get tired of hearing this one. But yes, lack of physical activity actually drains you. Being active gets those endorphins racing and re-energises you but find activities you actually enjoy. 

6. Your own attitude 

If you wake up every morning thinking “ugh, I’m so tired”, “I really don’t want to do this” or “I’m over this day already” then you are preparing yourself for a really draining day. 

Your mind and your attitude are very powerful, and the thoughts you put out there are what you will experience. Try making a conscious effort to change your attitude when things are tough. 

Habits that will recharge you 

Apart from changing the things we mentioned above, there are a few things you can do that will recharge your body and mind. It’s a great idea to try to make these simple things regular habits in your life.

1. Live mindfully

Don’t just go through the motions in life. Think about everything you’re doing, what you want to achieve, and what you already have achieved. There is so much more to life than just getting through it. 

Take a look at this awesome blog on mindfulness for a deeper understanding. 

2.Take a break from technology 

The online world is a massive energy drainer. From being inundated with world news to comparing your life to a stranger’s, you can physically feel the light being zapped right out of you. 

Set a date once a week or twice a month when you limit your social media usage or stop using it completely for a day or week. Whatever feels right for you but we highly recommend this. 

3. Create manageable to-do lists

This time of the year is manic, and it can leave you feeling completely depleted. Rather than trying to keep up with everything, create to-do lists that you’ll be able to keep up with. 

By doing this, you can share your energy across these tasks rather than trying to take on everything all at once. 

4. Prioritise fun 

Life is busy, there is almost too much to get done in a single day. Often, we focus on the work aspects and family commitments and fun falls by the wayside. 

Start scheduling time for fun into your days, whatever that may be. Fun takes on many forms, from going for a walk to visiting a friend or reading a book. 

5. Spend time outdoors

Fresh air and some sunshine do wonders to recharge your body and soul. Try to spend at least 10 – 15 minutes outside each day. Use this time to silence your mind, be mindful and take a breath. 

6. Be thankful 

Life is just as beautiful as it is chaotic. When you’re run down, it’s difficult to see the positive, but it’s so important to sit back and reflect on all the good you have in your life. 

You can even write down everything you’re grateful for so that you see it in front of you. By being cognisant of what is good, you will start to fill your energy levels with positivity and in turn, re-energising yourself.