I have worked with thousands of clients to make them healthier, fitter and stronger, both mentally and physically over the past 20 years of my professional career as a trainer and fitness entrepreneur. I have listened, learned and worked with many of them in close proximity understanding their fears, challenges and needs. I have also understood what makes people want to exercise and what makes it fun and enjoyable and an integral part of their lifestyle for them. To start the new year, I am sharing my top five tips to enable you to have a greater relationship with exercise and wellness in the coming year.

Fitness for the right reason. A majority of people take up exercise to lose weight or on the doctor’s advise. The reason however should be to better understand your body and to stay fit and strong. Movement begets more movement. Movement burns calories, makes you stronger and fitter, frees up energy and takes care of your wellbeing. Our bodies are designed to move. It’s as simple as that. When you exercise for the right reason, it easily becomes a part of your lifestyle.

Eat to nourish and nurture your body. Today, people eat for multiple reasons and with little or no understanding of how food affects your body. It’s become a social more and limited to what your taste buds demand. The easy availability of food off store-shelves and across food counters does not help, especially those who are limited in how they understand food. In 2019, I encourage you to eat more home cooked meals. Eat foods that are seasonal, simple and good for you. Eat at fixed hours and eat only when you are hungry. You know you are eating right when the food does not make you feel heavy and sluggish. The relationship of food should be with your body and not your mind and emotions.

Believe and it shall come true. Your mind is a powerful tool. You are a sum of all that you think. Find a motivational tool that will encourage you on your path to fitness and wellbeing. Staying aware and making conscious choices is part of this exercise. But the most important is that you believe in what you are doing.

The indulgence factor. We all tend to slip up and go off track every so often but that should never deter you from giving up on the process entirely. That’s the easy thing to do: to say I tried but I can’t or this just isn’t meant for me. Instead you should fix it. For example, if you have a sweet tooth or enjoy your drink, set a barometer for it. You could decide to have only a very small amount of dessert on special occasions, or enjoy one drink on a weekend. Stay true to this as much as possible. It will not always be easy, but if you want it, you can do it.

Ensure you get your sleep. In a culture that demands meeting deadlines, being seen at parties and social events, staying active on social media and catching up on your favourite TV shows, often sleep patterns and quality are compromised. Most urban working people are today functioning on sleep deficit status. I often hear my clients say that the want a holiday just to get good sleep. It’s time to change that. Not getting adequate and restful sleep is a major cause for emotional disorders and physical ailments. It makes you unable to think clearly and compromises your body’s immune system. Here it’s not just about the quantity of sleep but the quality of it. In 2019, figure out and address the deterrents to sleep: take the TV out of your bedroom, set a fixed time for bed, turn off your phone two hours before bed time, do not check your phone first thing in the morning, etc. These may seem like really simple things that you already know but they matter because you do not do them. I always recommend 10 minutes of quiet me time as soon as you wake up. Just sit on your bed or lie down with your eyes closed and listen to your breathing and nothing else.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and stronger 2019.

Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.

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