Luxury Hotels

Ireland – Global Wellness Institute – Beijing

Ashford Castle’s Peugeot bikes are just one forever-happy memory that Girlahead has of her last visit to this Red Carnation gem, on 350 acres in Ireland’s gorgeous Co Mayo area. Thanks to GM Niall Rochford, Ashford Castle currently previews Valentine’s Day by telling stories that luxury travellers and their advisors REALLY want to hear.  Take one of these tales woven into Ashford Castle’s  800-year-old history… In 1915, on the death of her husband, Sir Arthur Guinness, Lady Olivia Guinness erected, on the shores of Lough Corrib, a granite obelisk inscribed with  Rien ne m’est plus, Plus ne m’est rien (‘nothing remains to me, anything that remains is nothing’).  This Leading hotel today displays, in its Connaught Room, the silver tea set presented to the couple, then entitled Lord and Lady Ardilaun, on their 25th wedding anniversary.  Now, says Girlahead, THAT is the kind of story that differentiates.

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Thinking of cycling or hiking at Ashford Castle is a reminder that the Global Wellness Institute, the not-for-profit organisation led by CEO Susie Ellis, shares worthwhile findings:

Exercise is Linked to Creativity and Innovation – a 2021 study from the University of Graz found a direct link between everyday physical activity (simple walking or moderate exercise) and greater creativity and inventiveness. Active people came up with significantly more­—and more innovative—ideas during tests (whether conceiving of new usages for an umbrella or finishing partial drawings) than sedentary people.

Exercise is as Effective as Mindfulness at Reducing Stress – a 2021 Cambridge University study found. The scientists reviewed 136 randomized control trials with 11,000 adult participants from 29 countries. In most cases mindfulness did positively impact anxiety, stress and depression, but there was no evidence it works better than exercise.

11 Minutes of Exercise a Day Counters Effects of Sitting; 35 Minutes Is the Sweet Spot – a 2020 study from global researchers, relying on movement tracking data from tens of thousands of people worldwide, found that people that were the most sedentary were significantly more likely to die young. The good news: It doesn’t take a whole lot of movement to counteract that threat. Just 11 minutes of brisk walking or other mild exercise each day (even for the group that sat the most) led to significant reductions in early death.

Weight Training May Reduce Anxiety – a 2020 study from the University of Limerick-Ireland found that a basic, twice-weekly resistance/weight training program of lunges, lifts, squats and crunches (sometimes using equipment like dumbbells) led to 20% better scores on tests for anxiety. The researchers noted that the effect was larger than expected.

An “Awe Walk” Boosts Mental Wellbeing – finally, a 2020 study from the University of California, San Francisco found that people that were consciously aware of the vistas and objects around them on a walk– what the researchers call “awe walks”–reported being more hopeful and upbeat than walkers who did not. Study participants were older men and women; one group was instructed on how to cultivate awe (i.e., to look at the world with fresh, childlike eyes) on their stroll. The researchers concluded that being mindful during exercise seems to increase the mental health benefits.

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Where are other places that provide mindful memories?  Girlahead thinks of running up and down the banks of the charming river immediately behind Kempinski Lufthansa Center in Beijing. Little old men sit fishing from early dawn on (why are old men traditionally ‘little’?). It is the same elders every day.  They merely nod to each other. They may not know others’ names but who cares? Well, dear friends-of-Girlahead, it is time, now, to listen to the new episode of Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, featuring Kempinski’s Man For Asia, Michael Henssler. Hear him here, below: