I received an email query recently that sounded fairly bit the same as many others I get in person or in my inbox and therefore in this issue, I am presenting you with a QnA that may be a familiar subject for you. Hope it helps.
Q. I am 30 years old, fairly active male. However, I have been unable to exercise regularly ever since I took up a full-time job four years ago. I have a demanding career and often suffer from stress and sleep issues. It’s hard to have meals at regular hours during weekdays. I see friends and family in my age group become victims of lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, infertility and obesity. What are the most basic things that I should know about a healthy and fit lifestyle that will help me get started and stay the course? Please advise.
A. Making simple changes in diet, regular exercise and managing your stress are the keys to good health, longevity and quality living. Its simple modifications that really matter rather than setting big goals which most people find difficult to stay with. A lot of living healthier has to do with how you think, what you say to yourself each day, and the choices you make when stressed for time or when you are under emotional duress. As you know, it’s so easy to pick the wrong food, skip a meal or reach out for a snack even when you are not hungry, miss out or shun exercise and physical activity, drink excessively, sleep late or simply become careless about your body. And when that happens, we are prone to blame it on some situation or the other or assume that there’s always plenty of time to get it right.
Your wellbeing is really a lot about you and it shows in your body, your behaviour and your ability to take responsibility and immediate sustaining action, no matter how small it is. Here are some simple tips you can adopt to make positive changes:
- Think positively and productively to train your mind to catch your thoughts and stay off negativity and procrastination. You need to create a mental map about reaching your goal. It has to be clear and any derailment should be rectified.
- Fill your plate with more vegetables. There are many changes we can make with our food to make it nutritionally balanced and enriching, but I have found suggesting more veggies has worked magic for people. It’s an answer to many food-related concerns. Raw, steamed and lightly stir-fried is the best way to eat your vegetables.
- You can manage your erratic eating by breaking it down into smaller meals/snacks. Having small 3-4 meals in regular intervals throughout the day will keep your metabolism and energy levels steadily elevated. This also allows you to manage your weight, reduce cravings, and make healthier food choices. Fruits, nuts, salads, boiled eggs, carrot sticks, etc. are some examples.
Exercise every day. I have heard it many times – lack of energy and time. Exercise frees up more energy and you have to make time. Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can make a difference. I suggest at least 3-4 days of regular and organised exercise in a week and staying active in the remaining days.
- Good sleep. It is one of the most essential aspects of wellbeing. Many people suffer sleep deprivation today and most of it is self-inflicted. Your body needs to feel completely rested to recharge, repair and heal. Towards this, you must ensure that you sleep at the same time approximately every night and get 6-8 hours of good sleep on average every day. Here please note that the quality of sleep you get is more important than the quantity. If you are highly stressed, it is also a good idea to get what is now termed as power naps of as little as 10 minutes of shut-eye in between your hectic schedule. This will do wonders to rejuvenate you.
Begin with small changes. This will allow you to progress more effectively rather than get you overwhelmed and go off track. Don’t make room for excuses, and even if you do deviate every now and then, accept it and move forward, back on schedule.