Can this hi-tech headband that reads your brainwaves help you find inner peace?

As I sit cross-legged, eyes closed, I can hear the rain gently falling. I concentrate on my breath – in, out, in, out. It’s not long before my mind wanders – to work, to plans for later, replaying a conversation that’s been bothering me. The rain begins to fall more heavily, the wind whipping up into a storm. Concentrate! I breathe more deeply, and the rain lulls. A bird twitters, then another. Eventually, a bell sounds, and I open my eyes. I’m not in a rainforest, but in my sitting room, and w

Meet the tech CEO who lost five stone thanks to his own app

Many of us would never dream of darkening the door of a gym when travelling for work or pleasure. Fritz Lanman isn’t one of those people. “I went to Sweat It yesterday, do you know it? Pretty tough. I landed from Bangkok into Heathrow and I just knew I was going to have to stay awake all day, so I had to get a workout in to get my energy levels up. And then this morning I went to Another Space, I did a boxing HIIT workout and it was packed in there.” It’s hardly a surprise that the chief execu

This 88-year-old fitness instructor who qualified in her 70s believes everyone can keep fit

Alacia Elliott doesn’t fit the mould of the stereotypical fitness instructor – no bulging muscles, menacing stance or “push through the pain” mantra. But she’s made of tough stuff. And, at 88, is older than most of her clients. “When I retired at the age of 59 from my job in local government, my husband was still working, so I decided to take some fitness classes at the local leisure centre,” says Ms Elliott. “There was so much – water aerobics, even badminton. It was also really sociable, so m

The man who gave Margot Robbie a Hollywood body – and can reboot yours in just 21 days

On the morning I meet David Higgins, bloated as I am from a weekend of excess and struggling with a frozen shoulder, I don’t exactly feel that I fit the mould of his typical clientele. The personal trainer and physiotherapist has worked with Colin Firth, Margot Robbie and even Samuel L Jackson to get them fit for camera. His new book is titled The Hollywood Body Plan – and my body doesn’t even qualify as a Hollyoaks body after a sluggish start to the year. Sitting in his sleek BodySpace gym at

Dr Michael Mosley: the man behind the 5:2 diet on why he now wants you to eat just 800 calories a day

He is the man who got Britons to lose weight, has written a slew of best-selling diet books and fronted dozens of health documentaries. But don’t leave the biscuit tin unattended when Dr Michael Mosley’s around. “I have no willpower. If there’s a bar of chocolate, I will eat the whole thing. If there are salted peanuts, I’ll eat the whole bloody bowl. “Clare knows – very occasionally we’ll have a packet of biscuits in the house and she’ll say ‘what are you doing’, while I’m *makes munching noi

Can’t sleep? Millions are using the Calm app to hear a soothing bedtime story for grown-ups

It’s enough to make you lose your sheep. The clock ticking mercilessly on, while sleep remains elusive. The frustration of knowing that the morning – and the time to face a new day – is drawing closer. It’s no secret that we’ve become a nation of night owls, partly due to the never-ending stream of technology at our fingertips. As many as one in 10 of us could be turning to medication to help us drop off, with sleeping pills costing the NHS £50m a year. The chief executive of Netflix, Reed Has

Turning pensioners into fitness instructors could be just what the doctor ordered – for all of us

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to retirement. Granted, I’ve got about three decades to go (or more if the goalposts keep moving), but by then I’ll be more than ready to put my feet up. Or perhaps not, if the health tsars have anything to do with it. A new campaign from ukactive is encouraging pensioners to consider retraining as fitness instructors to help over-55s feel more comfortable in the gym. I know what you’re thinking – we slog all our lives and then you want us to pra

The secrets of living to 100? We've known them all along

I always wonder if the centenarians are pulling our legs when we beg them to reveal the secrets behind their longevity. Raw eggs, they tell us solemnly. Daily plunges into icy ocean waters. A can of Stella and a packet of custard creams (props to you, Eileen Maher of Blackpool). No wonder we’re desperate for some nuggets of wisdom – barely a day goes by where scientists are not locking horns over the best course of action for a long life. High-fat, low-carb, some say, while others wring their

Cycling through history: new London bike tour celebrates women’s achievements

Think of your average historical city tour: chances are, it will comprise a rambling round-up of dead white blokes. Statues of conquering heroes on horseback, plaques for playwrights, those kinds of things. But a new London bike excursion is taking people on a tour marking a few of the city’s females heroes, some of whom you will probably never have heard of. Tour de Force, a joint initiative between Santander and Transport for London, is aiming to put the spotlight on some inspirational women

Don’t write off summer just yet: here are some reasons to be cheerful

Remember how summer used to stretch on for ever? Long, hazy days, barbecues and Mr Whippy ice creams, scorched grass and paddling pools? That’s how this summer was beginning to feel, only with a more grown-up flair: we woke up day after day to blue skies, drank cocktails at sunset (on a Tuesday!), and watched England beat the odds to rise through the World Cup ranks. And then, all at once, summer sort of sputtered to a halt. The clouds rolled in just as England crashed out, just as the English

Plogging: the Scandinavian trend that helps you get fit while doing your bit for the planet

If you’ve ever fancied drawing the ire of thousands of commuters during morning rush hour, I have some tips. Number one, join a pack of runners for an 8.30am city-centre jog. Number two, have each of those runners randomly stop without warning and crouch to pick something up off the street. It seems that trying to save the world won’t win everyone over, especially not on the mean streets of the capital. But as I find myself donning gloves and a bag for a central London plogging expedition, I’m

What can we learn from a 16th-century wellness bible? That snake oil has been around for quite a while

The world of wellbeing is undoubtedly a strange one. I must admit I have fallen down the rabbit hole on occasion, spending my hard-earned cash on “superfood” concoctions including outlandish ingredients such as baobab, and spirulina (ugh), and turmeric, and chlorella. Use these ingredients and you could be like us, the wellness goddesses cooed, all glowy skin and shiny hair and flat tummies. So I imbibed, and spiralised, and infused, all with the hope that this was some kind of elixir of youth

Brain training: why running could be the best medicine for your mind

If you’re a regular runner, the brain benefits are probably already obvious. Plenty of people use the miles pounded out on the road or trail to decompress, de-stress and re-energise the mind. And it appears that the advantages of clocking up the miles are more than anecdotal. Studies have shown tangible benefits to the brain in runners, with the positive effects lasting long after you have reached your destination. “There is evidence that if you want to learn something new, it’s better to lear

The surgeon who fell in love with broken hearts

As an organ, the heart has been rather unloved in recent years. Column inches and bestselling books are dedicated to the brain and even the hitherto unglamorous gut, while the heart soldiers on unnoticed. Heart surgeon Nikki Stamp, though, is smitten. “Even when the heart is outside the body – if you give it blood with oxygen and nutrients the heart muscle just beats,” she says. “I think that’s amazing.” Stamp has no shortage of interesting facts about the heart – in fact, she’s written an ent

How a photo from my past reminded me of how much I have gained

Ah, the Facebook Memory. Sometimes it taps you on the shoulder with a lovely little reminder of a happy event. Sometimes, like a sneaky little frenemy, it pokes you in the ribs, pointing out how much you’ve aged… or widened. It happened to me recently – a Memory popped up, featuring the “me” of six years ago. A version of me taken by a professional, looking skinny, youthful and, dare I say it, aspirational. It was my one-and-only stint as a cover girl – the editors of a fitness magazine had p

The running app that helps you explore the ocean – on foot

Your lungs are burning now, as you will your legs to keep pumping. All around you, the gloom closes in – it’s hard to see in the half-light. As you approach the 4km mark, you encounter a strangely familiar landmark. Is that… could it be… the Titanic? Being a staunch landlubber, a journey to the depths of the ocean isn’t something I’m likely to do anytime soon. Friends have told me about the joy of meeting silvery shoals of fish on a scuba dive, or the macabre wonder of exploring a decaying ship

What’s the secret to Tom Watson’s six-stone weight-loss? Eating less, exercising more, and dogged determination

Tom Watson gained inches of the column variety earlier this week when he revealed the secret to his six-stone weight loss. The now-svelte Labour MP told Robert Peston that one of the measures that helped him slim down was good old-fashioned butter. “Yippee!” went the newspaper headlines. “Watson’s weight loss secrets”. “Watson reveals eyebrow-raising trick he used to lose six stone”. But hold your horses before you reach for the Lurpak. This isn’t butter smeared lovingly on hot toast, or melt

At over 100 years old, the YMCA is one of Britain’s oldest gyms. Here’s how it went from strength to strength

The gym floor can be a fairly prosaic place. Imposing machines here, racks of free weights there, rows of treadmills and bikes. It’s a factory for building bodies, after all, so it makes sense that it’s regimented and systematic. Yet a stroll around Central YMCA in London feels a little different. The space is massive, for one: a modest entrance gives way to an open interior, Brutalist architecture allowing you the chance to peer down past open concrete storeys to the courts below, where two e

Priority Seating Week: TfL is right to take a stand for people with hidden conditions

I was halfway home from work this time last week when I started to feel unwell. The Tube was fairly busy, with no spare seats, so I clung on to a pole as if it was a long-lost love, gritted my teeth, and counted the seconds until my stop. I made it home unscathed, and crawled into bed to see out the ensuing bout of flu from a less precarious vantage point. Diddums, you might think. But I have form – I’m a bit of a fainter when I’m under the weather, and I have been known to hit the deck in a c
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