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Eating right and exercising has been praised for a very long time. But things work differently for everyone. This is why it’s vital you find your routine and follow it!
Days, weeks, months and years go by in a flash and then we end up wondering what the future holds for us. As for me, I continue living each day of my life unmindful of eating healthy and exercising.
You and I both know that these things are not really the same anymore. Right from the way we behave with each other to how we treat the environment, it isn’t the same. Add to it, the pressure of living healthy in a world where global warming and climate change are affecting absolutely everyone!
The very wise author Mark Twain rightly said, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want. Drink what you don’t like and do what you’d rather not.”
This is exactly what I think I ought to do soon too. There are some around us totally dedicated to exercising and are jogging away, gymming and watching their diet. And there are those who just lack the drive, a bit like me, who don’t really care about it a lot.
American comedian and actor, Milton Berle said, “My doctor recently told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right, I feel ten years older already.”
Honestly, I love the quote because it just makes me smile. So, do I jog? Five kilometres, in fact, each morning without fail. (In my dreams, of course!) I know, I see the grin on your face while you read this. At the same time, if tossing and turning were an exercise, I would definitely win that category.
Jokes aside, when it comes to fat vs. muscle, there can clearly be no winners. Both are equally necessary and the balance of both is what matters for a healthy body and mind. So, if you do not exercise, your muscles will restrict your movement, slow your metabolism and increase your fat stores.
Higher levels of fat have been shown to increase the likelihood of contracting diabetes, heart issues, breathing disorders and some types of cancer too. It is when muscle wins over fat, that you become fitter and healthier. I agree with the American musician Reba McIntyre who said, “All the money in the world can’t buy you back good health.”
Today, there are a number of exercising options for people. Right from aerobics which makes your breathing stronger and builds your cardiac fitness. Strength building exercises are all about the physiotherapy type of exercises. Balance training helps improve balance and build core strength.
Then there are exercises to improve endurance, flexibility, as well as low intensity exercises like yoga. Exercise is a scientifically proven to boost a person’s self-esteem, self-confidence and mood. It also decreases the symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is an important part of good health because mental and physical health go hand in hand. But taking the first step is always the toughest while giving up is the easiest.
Let me share a thought from actress, Disha Patani, that I subscribe to totally. She says, “We’ve all tried to bunk our gym session or dance class. A single routine can get monotonous. That’s why I have decided to make my fitness regime fun by incorporating different workouts into my schedule. From dancing to yoga, I plan to keep it as interesting as possible so I’m never bored of working out.”
I think that is indeed the true essence of exercising right. Finding ways to keep you going. I chose dance as a form of exercising and went for dance classes for several years. And I enjoyed every class!
But did I lose weight? No, that did not happen at all. It did, however, help me remain fit and more importantly, happy. So I continue to dance at every opportunity. Perhaps, a dance class is your thing too, or maybe a laughter club is. Maybe it is to hike on trails or join your friends on a walk on the beach. Whatever it is, it is extremely important to find a physical activity that you can enjoy.
Don’t think too much about the number of minutes of exercise people tell you that you need or even what others are doing. Each one of us is wired differently, so try to fit in as much as you can in your day. Honestly, feeling fit is not just about the number of hours you spend a the gym or exercising.
Don’t think of how many minutes of exercise other people are doing, just do as much as you can in a given day. It is your body and your heart. You are not here to compete with anyone- be it your spouse, your friend or your neighbour. Let them have their own fitness fundas and you find yours.
It doesn’t matter how you exercise- whether you climb the stairs to your house or sweep the house or walk around your building stretching or dancing while working in the kitchen. Most women are actually exercising everyday and without really realising it.
Any housework you do is basically exercise. It is said that you can burn up to 250 calories an hour doing housework. So stop thinking of exercise as something that requires a jogging suit, track pants or running shoes. Here let me quote what British Statesman, Edward Smith-Stanley said, “Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.”
As for healthy eating by changing your diet, I believe that it is all about eating in moderation. And with a thought that you do not want to be at the mercy of others. So when I read about people experimenting with different diet plans, it makes me think.
There will always be a new diet trending that promises to help you lose weight, gain muscle, have more energy and “look” fit. Since everyone wants to look and feel good, we tend to keep changing our diet preferences with every ‘new’ trend in hopes that it works for us. Another mistake we make is thinking that if you burn off a ton of calories, it is okay to binge eat whatever you want one day in the week. It doesn’t work that way and we all know it.
I very firmly believe that changes in food pattern in the name of religion, beliefs, age or diet for anyone, is a dangerous game to play with our bodies. I firmly believe that our eating patterns since childhood are what our body is accustomed to and changing it frequently only confuses it further. Why not then continue eating what we are used to, but in moderation. Think about it when you judge others or suggest vegan is the only way to go.
I obviously don’t want it to seem like you should not be changing your eating pattern if required or ignore your health. It is just that if something works for me, it may not work for you. In the end, it is up to you to decide what is the best for you.
Experts say that a good nutritious meal impacts health in several ways from organ function to digestion to brain function and cognitive ability. Some people just drop either the sugar or salt. But sugar is essential for your body to create energy to survive. Salt contains sodium which is vital to transmit nerve impulses, maintain a proper fluid balance, contracting and relaxing the heart muscles.
Experts also say that a healthy diet can add years to your life, help manage high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, dementia even strengthen the immune system. End of the day it is about being physically, mentally and socially active.
Personally, I should also give credit to calcium. I remember, at a workshop, we were told why calcium is vital for women over the age of 35. This is something I followed then, and follow just as religiously even now. I believe in the power of calcium and the one calcium tablet I take everyday has let me move even on bad days with my knees.
Most women, as they age, cannot escape the beast called osteoporosis and no matter how old (or young) you are, starting calcium tablets is always a good idea. However, it is also said that too much calcium leads to constipation and kidney stones. So try not to overdo it.
Another thing that is important is dropping smoking and drinking to a minimum. Drinking is an invitation to several illnesses while smoking just worsens your memory over time, among other things. But don’t we all need to keep our memory intact?
Let me reiterate for you things we are all aware of but often forget. As they say eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Have a fibre-filled diet, rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits and drink plenty of water. Be choosy about night time snacks. Cutting down (not completely) sugar and salt is also good.
When it comes to exercising, choose to makes you happy, space out your routine and make it a habit. We often get so caught up in our work that we forget to stand up, move and stretch our muscles. Simple things can go a long way.
The best thought that I can leave you with, is to eat thoughtfully, exercise routinely and always remember it’s also about listening to your own body! Your body is always sending you signals, whether you are aware of them or not. It is important to understand the signals and stop, and pay attention and listen to it.
If you cannot muster up the motivation to exercise or eat right start hanging around with friends who live healthier lives than you helps too. It is always a good place to start.
Find that friendly motivation now because as author and motivational speaker, Jim Ron said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.”
At the same time, don’t exercise so much that you forget to live. Live your life and use the funda that American humorist Josh Billings gave us, “There are lots of people in this world, who spend so much time watching their health that they haven’t the time to enjoy it.”
A version of this article was published here earlier.
Picture credits: Unsplash
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