Running to the nearest cosmetics shop to stock up on the latest anti-wrinkle creams and potions won't get you far in the race to stay young. Not unless you fulfil other requirements for a fit, youthful body.
What you put into your body is just as significant as how well-oiled the machinery is. While most of us would not miss our car's servicing deadline and might even take some time off from work to stop by at the service station and explain all that needs to be done, we quickly forget to fit a health check-up for ourselves in our crowded schedules. And, this, after all the junk food we regularly feed our bodies.
You are what you eat
Unfortunate, but true. Our skin and hair reflect what we put into our bodies. A diet that lacks fibre is simply not good enough. Remember, we, unlike our forefathers, are battling a variety of environmental toxins and adulteration in foods. In order to combat its ill-effects, we need to invest in organic foods or, at the very least, ensure that our diets are rich in fruits and vegetables and low on refined foods.
- Avoid anything white - maida, sugar, and white bread. These foods are unrefined and are simply calorie-adds
- Eat 4-5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Salads and sprouts are extremely healthy additions to your meal
- Say a loud "no" to aerated drinks. Opt for the good, old-fashioned water instead. Water moisturises all parts of your body. A well-hydrated body shows in the glow of the skin
- Drink herbal tea, rich in anti-oxidants, to fight free radicals in your system and enhance your wellbeing
- Spice, fatty and deep-fried foods are best left for the occasional binge. They affect your skin and cause pimples
- Sugar is a zero-nutrient; so try and opt for fruit salads instead of gooey cakes and rich Indian sweets
- Eat smaller meals for better digestion than three heavy meals; also, make it a point to eat at least two hours before your bed-time.
Our bodies were not designed for TV-viewing all day long; so turn the telly off. That we lead automated lives means we don't work our muscles enough and they shrivel over time. Fit in adequate physical exercise into your daily life.
- Take the stairs - give the lift a miss. Start by doing this twice a day and increase the number of times you walk up
- Visit the gym at least three times a week. Of the three sessions, make sure two are cardio and one is weight training
- Weight training converts fat into muscle mass which also burns more calories, thus giving you a leaner, fitter body. Start with a pair of dumbbells and increase the level of difficulty under the supervision of a qualified physical trainer
- When you exercise, the improved blood circulation to your skin clears it of toxins and gives it a healthy, youthful glow.
- Walk everywhere possible - to the corner vegetable shop, the local library, your friend in the neighbourhood, and the beach. Every step you take is calories burnt.
Walking also gives you a slimmer figure, and takes years off you.
Yoga and meditation
Research has proven that the regular practice of yoga keeps your mind and body fit, thus making you a calmer person - something that is extremely essential for anti-aging. Focusing on the breath as you perform pranayama is a great way to train the mind towards a state of calm. Each yoga posture you do is about stretching the muscle and holding the pose while focusing on your breathing all the while. This improves concentration and makes your body supple. Flexibility enhances self-image and definitely contributes to a feeling of rejuvenation and youthfulness.
People who see positive things in a situation are sure to stay younger and fitter. A positive attitude gives them the edge over others whose stay-calm barometer wobbles in life's situations. The positive thinker does not allow regular stresses and strains that afflict others to upset his/her equilibrium. Such people make a conscious choice to stay happy, no matter what life throws at them. According to them, the glass is always half-full. All of us can choose to cultivate a positive attitude.
Nurture the child in you
All of us have an adult and a child in us. As we grow older, the child becomes more and more invisible while the adult takes over. We forget simple pleasures that brought us such delight as children. A well-known saying goes: we don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
It is very important to laugh and take delight in small things as a child does. Never lose that sense of amazement when you watch a flower bloom to the warmth of the morning sun. Fill yourself with joy when you get caught in an unexpected shower and jump in a puddle. Or, make faces in front of the mirror, so you make sure that the child inside you is still alive and vibrant!
Diet: Get it right
- Eat at least 3 [small] meals, each day
- The most ideal thing to do is - eat a variety of foods.
- Take at least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday
- Take at least 8-10 glasses of water during the day
- Do not skip breakfast
- Do not take a second helping of your favourite dish/food
- Avoid the use of sugar, sweets, coffee, or caffeinated drinks, as far as possible.
Note: Vegetarians need to incorporate a diet that suits your requirement best. It is ideal to supplement vegetarian diets with added helpings of food fortified with soybean, for example. You may also, with good effect, use vitamin and mineral pills, including supplements, in your diet. Speak to your nutritionist - for exact dosages.
Walk. Skip. Jump.
- If you are using public transport, especially bus, just try to board the vehicle a couple of stops away from your residence, or workplace. Repeat the same plan in the evening, and walk home
- Walk a bit after lunch in the vicinity of your office
- Walk to the nearest mall, and do window-shopping
- Join a dance class: hop, skip, and waltz your way to fitness
- Do take a break from your work every hour, and walk a bit. Or, go to the pantry and drink a glass or two of water
- Do rebounding exercise on a mini-trampoline, while listening to music, or watching TV, at home, for just 10-20 minutes, daily. Rebounding exercises are a fun way to fitness.
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