Fitness for dummies, 10 small changes that make a huge difference to health
Let’s face it, we are bombarded with advice from all sides on how to eat healthy and exercise to stay fit or lose weight. But after the trial period, it can seem like a chore to shop for ‘superfoods’ or hit the treadmill regularly.
Lifestyle changes need not always be time-consuming, or require you to splurge. Instead, you need to focus on setting small, tangible goals over the long run. Dr Deepti Bagree, nutritionist and Head of Department-Healthcare, at RESET: Holistic Living Concepts, Mumbai, suggests 10 simple tweaks to your daily routine to feel healthier:
Chew your food well
This is the easiest and most effective way to conquer gut issues. 70% of our immunity lies in our gut. So better the digestion, healthier is the gut. Due to a fast-paced lifestyle, we rarely pay attention to chewing food, but this important habit can help resolve digestive issues like flatulence, burping and indigestion. Remember, digestion starts right from the mouth and just chewing food thoroughly and being mindful of what you eat can help food become your greatest medicine.
Go off white poisons
A simple change in your kitchen ingredients can help you manage blood pressure or blood sugar fluctuations. Just say no to white sugar, salt, and refined flour. Instead, switch to healthier options, such as pink salt/rock salt, organic jaggery, and unpasteurised honey or manuka honey. You don’t even have to compromise on the taste.
You can also replace regular tea with green tea, and kombucha tea which are rich in antioxidants. Fermented tea also helps healthy gut bacteria to flourish. You can also replace regular milk with coconut or almond milk to overcome lactose intolerance and reduce inflammatory foods going in the system.
Make the plate colourful
Add dark-coloured fruits and vegetables to your meal to boost levels of antioxidants. Such foods combat cellular damage caused by free radicals and produced during various body processes. Having salads 30 minutes prior to major meals can also curb appetite and make weight loss goals easier to achieve along with adding roughage to the food to help better excretion of waste.
The art of drinking water
Drinking water at the right time and quantity is crucial for good health. Water should never be drank immediately after a meal. Instead, a gap of 45 minutes to an hour should be maintained as drinking water immediately afterwards prevent absorption of nutrients. It’s also important to hydrate before, during and post a workout to replenish lost electrolytes.
Similarly, detox water (water infused with fruits or herbs) can flush toxins, keep the body adequately alkaline, control flatulence, acidity, and prevent indigestion. These detox drinks can be sipped through the day to add to your total water intake.
Stay fit while travelling
For individuals who travel frequently, it’s important to stay fit and not deviate from the fitness routine. Stick to general guidelines like using the wait time at the airport to walk around, not leaving home without eating a meal so that one doesn’t feel tempted to eat at food counters and following the GPRS mantra (grilled, poached, roasted steamed/stir-fry) while ordering food at restaurants.
Do chair workouts at work
If you start early for work and are tired by day-end to hit the gym, learn some easy chair workouts to practice while you are sitting in office. Just 10 minutes of this will help you stay active, as well as avoid aches and pains that arise from sitting for long, as well as improve circulation and posture. Stretches like shoulder rotation, arm rotation, ankle rotation, and push-ups done keeping the desk as support is a great way to stay active.
Walk after your meal
For those who don’t find time for physical activities, walking 10 minutes after each meal can help you get fit. On an average, we eat 5-6 meals a day, so walking 10 minutes 5-6 times would make it to 50-60 minutes of total activity in a day, which will keep you healthy, improve digestion, and keep joints supple.
Keep a gap between dinner and sleep
Keep a gap of two hours between dinner and sleep to avoid acidity, heart burn and acid reflux. Meals that are eaten close to bedtime can affect quality of sleep as foods rich in proteins, spices, and oil interfere in deep sleep and may lead to chain reactions that cause fat storage. So to stay healthy, eat a light dinner.
Learn to de-stress
Try Pranayama or deep breathing, take up a hobby, go on a short vacation or meet friends to de-stress. De-stressing helps in lowering stress hormones, soothing nerves and relaxing tense muscles. Organs like the heart and intestine are also muscles, so stress can impact them in the same way as other skeletal muscles. Simple deep breathing exercises are a great way to feel fresh and get vital oxygen.
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