You are pacing your office gallery, worrying about your upcoming project. Cut, you are sitting for a new meeting with your client in the Monday rush hour. Cut, you are walking away from your family, your kids, ageing parents and friends as you find new ways of capturing more market for your business. And unfortunately, in a matter of years or even months, you complain about stress-related issues, cardiovascular conditions, growing waistline and strained personal relationships.
If there is anything positive that has come out of the growing global pandemic, it is the increasing need for a healthy work-life balance. More importantly, the pendulum is slowly shifting towards health and fitness becoming a part of the daily routine of a person and of course, their family.
Building a healthy life starts with healthy body and mind
So, what is the best mantra of striking a balance between your professional responsibilities and developing a routine for a healthier mind in a healthier body?
Is there a single plan of action that can help you build your fitness routine or there could be a number of points to keep in mind for a healthy lifestyle:
- How to build a healthy body
- How to build a healthy gut
- How to build a healthy brain
- How to build a healthy diet
- How to build a healthy immune system
- How to build a healthy lifestyle
How to build a healthy body
Today, you seldom remember the importance of a healthy mind residing in a healthy body. Right from what we eat, what we think, what we do, how we do and when we do; actually takes an incredible toll on our mind, our body and our lives. Hence, building a healthy body is of prime importance.
- Eat healthily. It is like the guru mantra for everything. Whatever you put in your mouth reflects in your appearance, your thoughts and your personality. And no, I am not talking about a vegetarian vs Non-vegetarian saga here! Think about what exactly you need as per your age – more carbohydrates for energy, more proteins for a lean physique, vitamins and minerals to boost immunity and so on. A balanced diet continues to be the age-old formula to strike the optimal balance in this regard.
- Get regular physical activity, at least thrice a week. Whether you can walk, jog, hop on one foot or practice some easy yoga postures, whatever your body and space allow, get into some ‘real’ physical activity. Spend some time with your family, playing on the rooftops, porch or backyard for that matter. Just get going!
- Lose weight. No matter how easy it may sound, it is undoubtedly a steep road ahead. However, with some dedication and self-motivation, you can keep all the diseases arising from the mid-region visceral fat at bay.
- Drop the fag and chuck the drinks. We all, at some point or the other, have indulged in the ‘high life’. What remains critical is to understand that too much smoking and alcohol can spark irreparable damage to the body. The sooner you kick the butt; the longer are your chances of building strong immunity against the worst diseases around you.
How to build a healthy gut
During the difficult ‘Corona’ times of today, health needs to be your priority and not an afterthought, a replacement therapy, least of all, the result of social pressure. You need to prioritize now and set the rhythm for the post -Corona times ahead.
Your gut or simply put, your gastrointestinal tract or the digestive system comprising the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. It is home to 500 to 1,000 species of bacteria.
The importance of gut health has been stressed time and again. The gut has a direct relationship with our brain health and the overall immune system of our body. Most of the endocrine glands responsible for the hormone secretion in our body are part of the gut as well.
- Eat more fibre. The more fibre-rich food you add to your meals, the better is your bowel movements. You tend to suffer from less digestion-related disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and so on. It also helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the body.
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables are crucial. Fruits and vegetables provide the right dose of vitamins and minerals in the body. Having them as per their seasonal occurrence is also important, as they help enrich your body with the right macronutrients and without the use of harmful preservatives added to them.
- Avoid unhealthy snacks. Snacking is a habit that needs to be discouraged since childhood. You can damage your gut environment and result in the growth of harmful bacteria if you often snack and that too on unhealthy food such as gluten-rich and fatty food such as junk food, fried food, desserts etc.
- Probiotics. There is considerable research-based evidence that probiotics have the potential to prevent and to some extent, cure gut-related issues by balancing its microbial ecosystem.
- Yogurt and fermented foods. The same goes for fermented foods like yogurt. They help enrich the digestive tract with important and useful bacteria.
How to build a healthy brain (and mind)
With the world slowly moving towards a ‘new’ normal, we learn to understand and realize what nature and Mother Earth is trying to whisper into our ears. It wants us to slow down, pay heed to its beauty, without touching it but ravishing in its glory. It is time to pull the anchor and contemplate on what went wrong.
While building a healthy brain and keeping our psychological life sound, it is important to understand that we not only need to think right, but also eat right and move right. It is time for not just having a work-life balance but balance of the outside and inside of you at all levels, physically, mentally and spiritually!
For a healthy brain, remember the following:
- Maintain optimal mental activity. Learn to imbibe habits of reading right, get into sports and hobbies that let you use your brain in an agile manner.
- Stay Healthy. As stressed earlier, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Learn to exercise and indulge in outdoor sports activities as well to have a healthier lifestyle.
- Meditate. Yoga and meditation have shown the best results in improving your brain activity and lending more positive thoughts into your life.
- Eat Well. It is a proven fact that there is a direct relation between your gut health and mental well being. The right food and its effect on the body help you maintain brain functions. Foods like nuts (walnuts, almond), eggs, broccoli, oranges, dark chocolate etc. are considered suitable for preserving brain health.
- Sufficient Sleep. Sleeping less or more than required is as detrimental to your well being as eating unhealthy or inadequate amounts.
- Think Positive. You are what you think. Your brain health depends on the surge of positive emotions that you learn to inculcate and how you fight negative thoughts on a routine basis.
- Quit Smoking. Lastly, again – kick the butt. Smoking stimulates certain parts of your brain and gives you a false feeling of relaxation. It also results in increasing fats, debris and cholesterol in your body that affects the optimal functioning of the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs etc.
How to build a healthy diet
A healthy diet packed with the right dose of nutrients helps you keep diseases at bay and boosts your immunity as well. A balanced diet is essential in maintaining a healthy body and mind in the long run. For a healthy diet, some of the best tips are discussed below:
- Add colour to your platter. There should be a fair balance of green vegetables and fruits on your plate that help you maintain good health. Make half your plate of veggies and fruits. These are full of nutrients that support good health.
- Include whole grains. Remove refined grains from your diet. Limit the intake of white rice, all-purpose flour and similar simple carbohydrates that quickly turn into fat in your body. Instead, opt for whole grains such as brown rice, multi-grain cereals, oats etc. that are rich in complex carbohydrates.
- Dairy products are a must. Though a lot of studies indicate that animal protein can damage your heart to some extent, adding low-fat dairy is essential in helping you consume the right amount of calcium, proteins, good fat etc.
- Switch to lean protein. Cut down on fat from proteins. Increase your intake of white flesh such as chicken and fish, eggs and pulses/ lentils on a regular basis.
- Experiment with spices and herbs. In your bid to eat healthily, do not worry about going bland. You can add a number of herbs and spices that help you add taste and magic to your healthy food. Make optimal use of Indian spices such as cloves, black pepper, curry leaves, bay leaves, ginger-garlic; Italian spice mix such as oregano, basil, rosemary etc. They help you keep your food interesting and healthy.
How to build a strong immune system
With so much talk about the survival of the fittest, you must take the importance of your immunity seriously. There are hundreds of things you can do daily to keep your immune system in top shape to ward off the deadly diseases lurking around the corners of your life.
- Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. Since childhood, we have been told to eat a lot of veggies and fruits for good skin, better eyesight, good hair and keeping the flu at bay. Moreso, the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables help increase antioxidants that are important in killing the free radicals that give rise to diseases such as cancer and viral attacks in our body.
- Quit smoking. Smoking has an adversely negative effect on our immune system as tobacco smoke makes us susceptible to respiratory infections such as influenza, pneumonia etc.
- Increase physical activity. Sedentary life is one of the main culprits behind the body’s reduced potential to fight diseases. Switch to an active lifestyle that includes at least some form of physical activity for 5 hours a week.
- Shed extra pounds. A healthy body begins with an ideal weight that is not home to too much body fat; especially, visceral fat that gives rise to cardiovascular complications and diabetes.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. If you are prone to binge drinking, then it is important to understand that too much alcohol and frequent drinking sessions can severely hamper your liver and kidney over a period of time. The best is to quit the habit. If you are unable to do that, at least reduce it into a social and occasional affair.
- Sleep well. Your 8-hour sleep is a necessity too. Many experts are advising people to get proper rest to rejuvenate their cells and further boost their immunity.
- Good hygiene. A disciplined life begins with good hygiene. Simple steps such as washing hands after touching raw food, before eating and so on need to become an integral part of your day-to-day activities.
How to build a healthy lifestyle
Your body is like a long term project that is sitting in anticipation for your attention. You have forgotten where exactly you need to pull the brakes and where you need to gear up. Now, that billions are ‘stuck but safe’ in their homes, it is time for some spiritual realization. It’s time for healing. Today, we need to learn to unlearn the social norms and pressures of the society and learn to become a more natural, original and genuine human being first.
The right mix of all the above habits along with revisiting the child in you is important to have a healthy lifestyle. Turn into a player for outdoor activities, stay inquisitive about the world around and go globetrotting and most importantly, spend time with your loved ones. Inculcate habits that let you keep your body into a routine and stay happy.
Let us make a conscious effort towards understanding the different limitations and potentials of our body and work towards a healthier society, your healthy family and of course, a healthier you.
It should always start with you first! You are the most important and fundamental block of the society. In your journey to find a refined version of you, you will find support and resources from the industry experts, right here!