“I will surely get back to the gym on Monday.”
“Last 3 days then I have to start my jogging again!”
“I am going on a diet after these holidays!”
“I’m feeling drained out!”
With the start of yet another holiday with the Chinese New Year coming so soon after Christmas, it’s difficult to get back into routine. It takes a while to read and reply to the truckload of emails, takes time to get your kitchen into a working mode, takes time for our body to adjust to daily movement, leave alone hitting the gym after bingeing over the holidays, and certainly takes a while for our mind to start dealing with regular workload and routine. Then comes the guilt, the blame and the self imposed restrictions which are never good.
A complete ‘0-carb diet’ or a ’20-day detox’ are great while they last but are hardly sustainable and certainly never applicable to holidays and festive periods. The best fitness comes in the form of easy, simple practical exercises – both for the body and mind, but instead of going through those list of exercises, what we can do is to see how to incorporate fitness into our daily routine, mainly through these 3 basic functions – WALK, EAT and SLEEP. The caveat is doing each one of these MINDFULLY.
- Walk like you mean it – Walking – something that we take for granted. After all everyone starts walking roughly around the age of one! Walking is nothing but taking one step after another, no big deal! Yet if, God forbid, we are rendered immobile, wouldn’t walking be a miracle! Let’s look at walking in a whole different light today. Let’s give it the respect that it deserves! We all know how difficult it is to find time to ‘go for a walk’ in our busy working day. How about finding ways to build walking in our normal routine? For eg. If you take the bus to work, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way, or do so on your way back home. Don’t take the lift, walk up and down the stairs or if you are in a high-rise walk up just two floors everyday! Don’t text your colleague, get up and walk to them. Now let’s focus on the sensations of a walk. Imagine how you as baby would have felt in your legs when you first started walking. The tingle in your legs, in your calves and thighs, the force under your feet. Feel your feet as you walk towards your car, as your step up on an escalator, as you crush dried leaves under it. Being present in the moment, aware of our senses helps us exercise the right mental muscles keeping our minds fit to take better decisions and getting less stressed in difficult situations.
- Eat to enjoy – Getting into a healthy food routine is easier said than done. However you need to make a start somewhere. Try eating home-cooked food as much as possible, incorporate green salads, raw vegetables, nuts and seeds into your diet and gradually make that a bigger part of your meal. Be mindful while you eat. Chew your food slowly and really taste each morsel that you put into your mouth. Don’t watch TV or look at your phone while you are at it. Instead have a meaningful conversation with your colleague or family as long as you are not talking and chewing at the same time. While you are talking notice the person in front of you. Notice their eyes, see how they blink and react to the conversation. Smile like you mean it and feel your cheeks stretch while you do it. You can also talk about food – the texture, the colour, the taste. Not only will you start enjoying your meals more but you will also eat less as the brain gets more time to receive the fullness signal from your body as you eat slowly and mindfully.
- Sleep soundly – You might think what does sleep have to do with fitness but sleep is an essential part of our day that helps to keep the mind and body healthy and active. The better rested we are, the better our mind and body can function. It is true that looking at our phone at bedtime can disturb brain chemicals making it difficult for us to fall asleep and then wake up the next day and we all know how drowsy and uncoordinated we feel when we have a disturbed night of sleep. Keep your device away from you at least two hours before going to bed, eat early and mindfully so that both your brain and body have time to digest before rest time. Just after you lie in bed take a few long breaths and then notice your breath. Feel the air going in through your nose all the way to your lungs, feel the temperature when you breathe out. Stay away from any thoughts that might come while you are breathing, just keep focusing on your breath. During your sleep your body is working to support healthy brain function to maintain your physical health and having poor sleep can result in weight gain increasing the risk of falling sick. Work on a sleep routine for yourself that will help you get those hours needed for a restful sleep. Feel the difference when you wake up each morning alive and ready to take on the world!
Once you incorporate these few small changes in your lifestyle, holiday or no holiday, fitness will be for life!
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