Lifestyle 13 May 2017
Let’s face it. Most of us could take better care of ourselves, especially when it comes to our food choices. This is usually doubly true of those with hectic work schedules.
Often life gets in the way and finding the time to really look after ourselves is hard. In today’s fast paced society where not only are we striving for success at work but at home too.
In fact, we are also often striving for the success of others, like our kids. Spending time running them back and forward between numerous sporting events and acting classes in hopes they will become the next Cam Newton or Emma Stone.
But the fact is, maintaining your health should be the most important thing. Above work, above the day to day to-do list. Because guess what, if you’re not healthy, you cannot succeed at home or work.
Eating For Success
Let’s look at a typical scenario: It comes to lunch time, you’ve been working since the early hours and your stomach thinks someone has sewn your mouth closed!
Hunger pangs are raging and cravings kick in for greasy fast food. Of course, this seems more appealing at the time than a salad, but the absence of essential nutrients in that burger can mean your post-lunch productivity will take a hit.
Do you know there are foods which adjust your brain chemistry? Lifting your mood, increasing your focus and leaving you energized? For your busy corporate executive or entrepreneur, a diet packed with ‘brain foods’ is a must.
Which Foods Are The Best For Brain Boost?
Fish – Salmon is particularly good for a brain boost. Rich with omega 3 essential fatty acids and a good source of vitamin B12, both of which are vital for a healthy mind
Eggs – Eggs are rich with protein which contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps make serotonin – the hormone responsible for making you feel happy. Eggs also contain vitamin B12 which aids memory and concentration.
Blueberries – Beneficial to memory and learning, blueberries are labelled as one of nature’s superfoods. They don’t just taste great but can protect the brain from stress and damage.
Leafy greens – Your favorite leafy green vegetables are rich in folic acid which is said to fend off memory loss, making spinach an excellent addition to any salad.
Although certain foods (such as those mentioned above) are excellent choices for boosting brain power in order to achieve success, it is important to understand why.
When it comes to nutrition, most people know some foods are good and some are bad. Most people think of this in the most simple terms of how food affects our weight, but it goes much further than that.
Different nutrients have different functions within the human body. Ensuring your diet is packed with the right nutrients can guide you on an unlimited path to success.
Fatty Acids – fatty acids, most notably the omega 3 variety, promote brain health and improve memory.
Glucose – the brain converts the foods we eat into glucose, which it then uses as fuel in order to allow the brain to work at its best and stay alert.
Amino Acids – amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Certain amino acids build neurotransmitters in the brain which control mood, motivation, anxiety, learning and memory.
Antioxidants – Free radicals are created when glucose is processed into energy. This is a natural and important process, however, too high a number of free radicals can be harmful to cells and can cause numerous diseases including cancer. Antioxidants fight free radicals and are important to help your brain stay healthy.
Timing Is Crucial
Not only is good nutrition a factor in how successful you are, but the timing of when you eat could also play a major role. This is why it is important to not allow hunger to dictate your eating patterns.
Breakfast is known for being the most important meal of the day, but the harsh reality is that up to 30% of the population skip it. Research suggests that breakfast consumption may improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and for children even school attendance.
Research suggests that the best time to have breakfast is between 7 and 7:30 a.m., lunch between 12:30 and 1 p.m., and dinner between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
Although this can be difficult what with sporadic meetings daily, but having rough guidelines of meal structure is certainly beneficial.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.