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WE CAN ALL GET (& Keep) FIT DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON!!



Filed under : Africa, Lifestyle

Where has 2011 gone??

Christmas and the New Year are nearly upon us and with the holiday season bringing more invites through our inboxes; frequent late nights; more trips to the supermarket…many of us think we can ‘shelve’ looking after our bodies and then pop it on the New Year’s Resolution list.

Hmmm…whether you already exercise or not, here are some simple foundations to being healthy over the holiday season (and looong after).

*Remember: our bodies are precious and if we looked after them as much (& more) as we do our external appearance, what a healthy world we would be!

1. WATER

Up to 60% of the body is made of water, with 70% of the brain being composed of water. Therefore, drinking at least 2 litres of water is essential to maintaining the health of your body cells.  When the cells have sufficient hydration, waste can be eliminated effectively.  So, even when you have had a late night, wake up and reach for that glass of water.

*Tip: put a glass of water next to your bedside table before you go out; when you wake up that will be the first thing you can easily reach for.

2. REST

This may seem too simple, but it’s an essential need for the human body.

We need rest from exercise, physical and mental rest from our daily lives. You should aim for 6 to 8 hours sleep per night.  If you are exercising, don’t over exert your body. Thirty (30) minutes of intense exercise is better than over an hour spent, overtraining your body, risking potential injury & increasing the risk of illness.

If you are having lots of late nights during the holiday season, why not take a nap during the day to refresh yourself?

3. CHOOSE HEALTHY

You have a choice to be healthy and there are lots of great-tasting alternatives to those foods that are bad for us.  Here are a few healthier options during the festive season:

  • put more salads or vegetables on your plate than meat – one of the disadvantages of eating too much meat (particularly red meat) is that you increase your intake of fats & cholesterol. People with certain illnesses, including those with cancer, are often advised by doctors to cut out red meat altogether. Vegetarians further argue that they often find their focus and thinking to be clearer without meat in their diet. I recently started reducing/phasing out my meat intake and am finding this to be true;
  • limit or ditch the sugary foods or those with artificial sweeteners – the latter trick us into thinking we are eating sugar. Sugar tends to make us more hungry & artificial sweeteners make us hungrier even quicker;
  • where you can, buy as natural and organic as possible, including buying fruit and vegetables which are local. Buying local brings several benefits such as generating more income for smallholder farmers; getting exceptional taste & helping the environment as the food has less of a distance to travel.

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4. BE ACTIVE
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Besides joining a gym, you can increase your physical activity by taking a long walk with friends and family 30 minutes after a big meal or opting for the stairs instead of the lift.
And for those of you having Christmas in hot climates, why not take a dip in a pool with friends or family, including playing ball games in the water …a great way to cool down and get some exercise in too.
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5. WATCH YOUR ALCOHOL
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“But it’s the festive season!”  I hear you cry.  Yes, yes but if you think about it, alcohol can lead to a range of illnesses including high blood pressure and liver problems.  It also dehydrates the body and is often the cause of death of many serious road accidents, particularly over the festive seasons.
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So if you do decide to drink, choose options such as having a glass of water between drinks; mixing wine with a sparkling mineral water; going to a party with someone who is responsible enough to drive without drinking and to be able to tell you not to drive whilst drunk.
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6……AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS!
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Ok, so you may be thinking “there’s no way I can stick to these tips!”. That’s ok and it’s normal if you are not used to any or all of the above. The hardest part is always the moment just before you initiate change.
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One piece of advice is that if you truly intend to adapt a healthier lifestyle over the festive season and beyond,tell someone you trust and who genuinely supports you – for example, your partner or close friend. By telling someone, you are more likely to stick to it and at the same time, get encouragement.
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You can also get great nutrition and exercise programmes to suit your capabilities from the gym/personal instructors at your local gym or free from websites such as Bodybuilding.com.

And with that, we say have a happy HEALTYH holiday!

Teurai Chanakira is the Founder of Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust, which has as one of its objectives, raising awareness of Natural Health & Fitness, as a way of reducing cancer risk & fulfilling its vision of a healthier population.

*PHOTO: Getty images, Cutcaster; Kaushik; Celebitchy; Articlesweb

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Writer, Model, Founder of Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust

Teurai Chanakira – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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