Staying fit and healthy should be the most important issue before you as your intellectual, emotional, and spiritual fitness is heavily dependent upon it.
‘Health is wealth’ is a golden rule because good health is the foundation of a good personality and success in life. Even if we have a slight headache, we don’t feel like doing anything. We tend to postpone even the simplest of tasks.
Unfortunately, not too many people take due care of their health. We must realize the importance of a healthy body, which is a boat to swim in the ocean of life. If the boat is strong, it can withstand the strongest waves in the ocean and a leaking boat cannot cross even a rivulet.
Those who aspire to achieve success in spiritual or even worldly life have to be very particular about physical health. Achievers cannot afford to fall sick. How many times have you read that Virat Kohli or Novak Djokovic missed a game because of ill health? But remember that good health does not come on a platter; we have to work towards it.
Resolve to stay fit and healthy
We must take care of our eating, drinking, thinking, and sleeping habits. We should also take care of our attitude towards life, day-to-day stress management and relaxation habits to achieve perfect health.
What I am sharing here is from my personal experience of staying fit over the decades.
Good health makes us feel good, look great, and act with confidence. But it requires strong willpower.
What happens if we are not keeping good health? We would request someone to run errands for us, becoming dependent on that person. This certainly does not mean that those who fall sick should not be taken care of. Rather, if we can serve anyone indisposed or unwell, that should be considered a great privilege. But if the indisposition is self-inflicted because of carelessness, that is not acceptable. If despite taking good care of our health we sometimes fall sick, we should not feel guilty about that either. In that case, try and analyze what triggered the health problem to avoid that routine, food, or drink.
We should regularly check our weight, sugar level, and blood pressure, test our flexibility, and look out for any unusual symptoms in our fitness level. If you are having constipation, get tired very quickly, have stiffness in the joints, or gaining weight, you must get yourself checked up by a doctor.
To have a relaxed mind throughout the day is not easy. So start your day by taking time to get out of bed, and doing things in slow motion.
Eat to live not live to eat
Research has shown that those who have a healthy breakfast have a better attention span in their daily routine. But unfortunately, not many of us have a healthy breakfast in peace. It is because of the mismanagement of time. So, let’s first resolve to have a healthy breakfast to start our day on a good note.
Next comes diet management. Our body tells us what suits it and what doesn’t. If you feel that after consuming a certain food or drink, you do not feel good or energetic, avoid that item. You must have noticed that when you overeat, you feel sluggish and do not feel like studying or doing anything that requires attention or energy. The rule of thumb is never to fill your stomach to more than two-thirds capacity. Instead, opt for small quantities at frequent intervals. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables would keep you fresh and energetic. One should also have plenty of fluids and water throughout the day.
Our supper should be as light as possible and as early as possible. There should be a gap of at least three hours between the last meal and going to bed. Avoid too much coffee or tea. Junk food, alcohol, and smoking are a big no-no.
Consult a dietician occasionally to decide upon our food habits. But one should not be overly fussy about it.
Sunday morning secret
Have you ever noticed how fresh you feel on Sunday mornings? The answer is obvious. We feel fresh and alert after a good night’s sleep and when there is no hurry to rush to work.
So why not get a sound sleep on weeknights too? To ensure that, it is advisable to retire to bed at the same time every night so that our body clock works efficiently. ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ is the golden rule.
You must have noticed that if you get even one hour of sleep less than usual, your fitness level suffers. Sleep deprivation causes an imbalance in body and mind. You will be irritated and exhausted throughout the day. Sound sleep enhances our energy level and stamina. We feel more focused and relaxed. Our calmness and concentration levels improve manifold. Sound sleep even creates immunity cells and rejuvenates us.
We must all have at least six to eight hours of sound sleep for a healthy life. Face creams or cosmetics cannot give us a better glow than sound sleep and a healthy diet. For good sleep, avoid items like coffee, tea, alcohol, junk food, spicy food, oily food, and tobacco. Have a hot water bath and a cup of warm milk before bedtime.
Remember to switch off your mind when you go to bed. All your anxieties, problems, and pending work should be put to sleep till the next morning. The next day’s planning should be done immediately after dinner. Play some soft and sweet melody before going to bed. You may also mentally repeat a mantra or word that gives you peace—‘Om’, ‘Allah’, ‘Waheguru’, or ‘God’…
Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables would keep you fresh and energetic throughout the day. The rule of thumb is never to fill your stomach to more than two-thirds capacity.
Never jump out of bed
We know that during sleep our blood pressure levels drop. There are instances when people suffer heart attacks in the morning because they immediately start the day at a vigorous pace.
Have you seen a cat stretching itself? Once you open your eyes, you should stretch your body. Then sit up gently, swing your legs off the bed, and do some leg movements to get the circulation going in the body.
Next, do some neck rotation exercises. Turn your head gently to the left and hold this position to a count of 10. Repeat the same on the right. After this, look up and count to 10, then look down and do the same. Finally, turn your head in a clockwise and anticlockwise motion a couple of times.
Many of us complain of headaches and stiffness of the neck, particularly those with desk jobs. This is because of long hours of sitting and because of bad posture. So spending five minutes every morning doing these simple exercises can go a long way in avoiding going to a physio. To have a relaxed mind throughout the day is not easy. So right from the start of the day, we should consciously relax our mind till it becomes a habit.
After getting up, you should gently massage your arms, legs, and the whole body slowly for two minutes. Even brush your teeth in slow motion. Such are indicators to assess your calmness. Drink a couple of glasses of water first thing in the morning. Instead of tea or coffee, drink warm water mixed with lemon juice and honey.
We all know that many people have been able to stay fit for decades just by going for a morning walk regularly. A morning walk is such a wonderful experience that there can never be any good substitute for it. In addition to exercising your cardio-vascular muscles, leg muscles, and the whole body, it is so refreshing that you feel energetic the whole day. If you cannot spare time in the morning, go for a walk in the evening.
Cycling, swimming, or jogging are good too. If nothing else, then do spot jogging or aerobics at home. Follow up with breathing and stretching exercises.
Three things to be taken care of are the spine, stomach, and body weight.
Do some forward and backward bends, both in sitting and standing positions, but do them slowly, vertebra by vertebra. Do some exercises for your stomach and also take care of your weight.
You may seek guidance from a yoga teacher to do some easy yogic postures. Each yogic position being held for a while adds to your calmness and mental strength. You should also do some lightweight training to tone up your muscles.
It does not take more than an hour every day to maintain health, which would relax your mind too.
Achieving perfect health should be the most important issue before you as your intellectual, emotional, and spiritual fitness is heavily dependent upon it. Your attitude, mood, and energy to prepare for your spiritual journey would improve manifold by your physical fitness.
Photos courtesy Nathan Cowley/Pexels and Vitalii Pavlyshynets/Unsplash