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Staying healthy this new year

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It is common during festive seasons to over-indulge in food and drinks. But this is not good, especially for those that care about their fitness. So, now that the end-of-year festivities are winding down, it is important to create a healthy living plan. Esta Morenikeji, a fitness instructor and founder of Zonefitness Ng said January is usually the time of year, when many people make commitments and promises to lose weight and get fit. “That’s why detox and cleansing programmes sell like water in January. New fad diets will pop up everywhere, and one or two magic teas might catch your attention. Please, don’t allow yourself to get caught in the web of fad diets,” she said.

The following are steps to guide you in the quest for a healthy living:
Stick to the Fundamentals
THERE are no magic formulas for weight loss; there are only fundamentals. Fad diets will come and go, but the fundamentals will remain.
The Fundamentals:
• Practise time-restricted feeding (Don’t eat in-between meals)
• Eat real food (It’s even better, if you can grow or kill it) ​
• Eliminate or avoid highly processed foods
• Avoid added sugar
​• Eat more nutrient dense food and less calorie dense food
• Do not overeat
• ​Drink enough water

A dietary strategy that works for you today may not work tomorrow, but the fundamentals will always work. So, stick to the fundamentals. They always work!

Prioritise Sleep
ONE of the worst things you can do to your health and well-being is staying awake, when your body is supposed to be resting and rejuvenating. Studies have shown that sleep is the master regulator of our hormones. Therefore, you must prioritise sleep in 2020.

If you’re one of those people that are always on their phones or watching television until midnight, you need to stop! Being awake when you’re supposed to be sleeping is disruptive to your circadian rhythm, and can increase your risk factors for certain lifestyle-related diseases.For every hour you spend on your phone at night, the production of melatonin is suppressed by 30 minutes.

Melatonin is the sleep hormone. The human body begins to secrete melatonin as darkness begins to fall. The appearance of darkness signals the body to wind down and prepare for rest.

The blue light from electronic devices suppresses the production of melatonin, thereby, confusing our brain and messing up our circadian rhythm. For the human body, darkness means rest and light means to be alert.

So, you’re sending confusing signals to your brain, when you stay up late at night scrolling through social media or watching television. Several studies have shown that sleep deprivation disrupts the appetite-regulating hormones, thereby causing unnecessary weight gain. Nighttime is for sleep. So, don’t spend it staring at your phone or watching television. Get off your electronic devices at least two hours before bedtime.

Do Regular Breathing Exercises 
Incorporating regular breathing exercises into your day can be beneficial to your overall health. In a study that involved 21,563 participants, researchers found that systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate significantly reduced after six cycles of deep breathing exercise.

Yes, you read that right: deep breathing exercise causes a reduction in blood pressure and slows down the heart rate. Make it a habit to take six to 20 deep breathes throughout the day. Breathing exercises can be done anywhere, so no excuses not to do them.


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