“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha.
When you are out leading your busy, busy life, it becomes difficult to focus on your health. You need to be in office at 9.00 am so you miss breakfast. The meeting goes on and on so lunch is a hamburger, a couple of samosas or a doughnut. Reach home late so any form of exercise is just not possible. Increasingly, it is becoming inconvenient to really take care of one’s health. However, lest we forget, if we lose our health, we end up losing everything. So slow down a bit! Prioritise what is important and, trust me, your health has to be at the top of the list.
We know how difficult it is to go to that gym on a regular basis or prepare healthy meals all the time. Yet, healthy we must be and here are 20 simple tips, listed randomly, that will help you and which won’t even require a lot of your precious time, effort or money.
1. Carry home-cooked food: Why waste money on buying lunch every day? Get up early and prepare a little something for yourself or, if possible, ask someone to prepare it for you. Believe me, it’s easier on the pocket and way healthier than the fast food or outside food that you are likely to indulge in.
2. Eat breakfast: I meet many young people who actually take pride in the fact that they skip breakfast. Not good at all! Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast; without breakfast you are effectively running on empty. There is conclusive evidence that shows that a good breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it re-fuels you and gives you a positive start to the day. A good breakfast also ensures that you do not binge later on in the day. Research studies also show that people who eat breakfast are less likely to gain weight compared to the breakfast skippers. When having breakfast, concentrate on eggs, milk, whole grains and fruit. Avoid starchy and sugary foods, including juices and bread. People swear by juice but having it regularly is not healthy at all, given that it contains high levels of fructose.
3. Eat and then shop: Shopping is no fun when you are running on an empty stomach. Your brain will work a little slow and you might miss on a great buy, because you were feeling lethargic or simply hungry. More importantly, you will end up going to the food court and eating something completely unhealthy to quench those hunger pangs!
4. Simple exercises can be done: Okay, fine, I understand, you don’t have time for the gym. It’s too far from your office, or even home. It’s too expensive. You won’t be a regular, so you don’t want to waste money. We have heard all that! So don’t join a gym, I am not asking you to! But there are many exercises like, crushes, pull-ups, push –ups, lunges and squats that can be done in the comfort of your home! Try doing them! They aren’t that difficult. Or do some yoga. Or make the effort to wake up an hour earlier and go for a morning jog or walk.
5. Drink water: Drinking water is very important – you tend to feel less hungry and also manage to keep yourself hydrated all the time. Many a times, you may just be thirsty but feel that you are hungry. Also, drinking water is a great way to flush your body of toxins. So carrying a bottle of water is certainly a great thing to do!
6. Plan your cooking in advance: You have weekends, don’t you! Cook a couple of dishes and refrigerate them. Cooking in advance will help save you time during those busy weekday evenings and will allow you to pack your lunch as well. I know of so many working couples who cook enough food to use during the week days.
7. Do what you enjoy: I speak of exercise, though in life you should actually do all the things that you enjoy. Doing enjoyable things is a great way to keep stress levels low. So if you are passionate about dancing, dance to your heart’s content; if you like swimming, go for it. Even if what you enjoy is not physical, do it – it can be very relaxing.
8. Use the power of the internet: So if you want a personal trainer but cannot afford one, why not Google an exercise programme that would suit your requirement? YouTube has some great practical demos and you can choose the ones you like.
9. Friendships count: Exercising with friends is so much fun! Form a group and exercise together – it will be so much fun. Also, good health is dependent on a positive frame of mind and spending time with friends is just what the doctor would order!
10. Fresh is better, frozen is not bad: So if you don’t have much time going vegetable shopping every day, buy the frozen ones; they give you almost similar nutritional values as the real thing. Sadly, we Indians have been brought up on the erroneous axiom that fresh veggies are the only way to go.
11. Cycling is good for you and the environment: You don’t always have to drive to work or even cab it or take a bus. If your workplace is not too far from where you reside, take a serious look at bicycling. If cycling to work is just not possible, take out the bike over the weekend.
12. Cut down on carbs – Keep your consumption of carbs to the bear minimum. Avoid refined carbs and always choose whole grains. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and other foods items that are healthier – for example, nuts and seeds and yogurt.
13. Walk a little: You have been sitting at your desk too long; it’s time to stretch your legs. Walking is the best form of exercise and you get a lot of opportunities to do it. Walk after lunch, walk a little after every hour of work and if the home is near – walk home!
14. Dining out always is not good: Avoid eating out too much and if you do have to go out, visit restaurants and food joints that offer wholesome meals, not just fast food.
15. Have whole grains: Incorporate whole grains in most of your meals and avoid those nasty refined carbohydrates as much as possible!
16. Sit properly: Weren’t we told at school about ‘no slouching’ and keeping our backs straight? Listen to that now, especially while working. Keep your monitor at eye level and, for god’s sake, make sure you have a comfortable and supportive chair and at least a little room for you to stretch your leg!
17. Clean your house: Whether or not you have someone to help you, you need to do the housekeeping. It’s an exercise in itself and burns calories. Even better, your home will look spic and span and that is very good for an emotional kick!
18. Try using chopsticks: Exactly! We know that it slows your pace, but that is what you need – it will help you digest your food better as well, as you may just have to eat that much slower.
19. Chew away: There is no hurry; you don’t have to gulp it down. Break down that food into easily digestible bits. We know you are in a rush but take out time to make sure that you enjoy your food. Chewing food well is great for your health as well.
20. Carry a little something: Fruit is great, nuts are better! You can easily carry these in your bag to munch on whenever you feel like having a snack. They will also combat the craving for something unhealthy. Of course, be sure not to overindulge on your almonds or walnuts!
Keeping healthy is simpler than it seems. You could add to the list above or you could follow some of the tips from above that seem possible to do. But do make those small changes to ensure that you lead a more energetic and healthier life.