Low-Hanging Fruit a.k.a Cheap and Best!

Cheap & Best - that caught your attention, didn't it ;) Being healthy is not very hard work. You can get to a reasonable level of health and fitness by making a few simple changes in your lifestyle. It is only when you want to progress to attain a elite level of fitness/health that it gets harder, requires a lot of work etc. For those of you who want to make a few quick improvements, here's some low hanging fruit you should incorporate. [hr] Sleep We love to sleep. Sneaking in a few extra minutes in the morning, hitting snooze repeatedly - we've all done that. So, this should make you happy - sleep is essential to feeling better, to recovery, and to better health. But a lot of us have very poor sleep habits. Some common problems I see

  • Not sleeping enough
  • Fiddling around with electronics (phone, TV, iPad) until you pass out
  • Having a night lamp on (are you 5?), street light through a crack in the curtains etc
  • Noise levels are not at a minimum

Arv says- Buy black out curtains, or use black bed sheet and make your bedroom pitch black when you are sleeping. Sleep masks are not adequate!

  • Keep the bedroom an electronics-free zone
  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep. This differs from person to person, so figure out how much you need. Sleep without an alarm, note the time when you get up. Do this a few times and you will know how much sleep you need. Do not take this as an exercise to stay in bed all day
  • If possible, try to maintain a temperature of about 16-20 Celsius (65 F)

[hr] Stress Chronic stress can derail your health and fitness plans. Most of us have more stress than we should. Talk about a silent killer/saboteur! Sleeping less, guzzling the coffee, and working all day and partying all night might feel great for a bit, but it takes a heavier toll than you would realize. The body tries to cope by overworking the adrenal-cortisal system, which releases several hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. As Mark Sisson explains, > At this point I hope you can begin to imagine the potential health ramifications of what is often called “adrenal fatigue”: daily compromised immunity, continuous stress hormone release, being “on edge” generally, exhausted sex hormones (remembering my admittedly pet theory of why male endurance athletes often suffer from diminishing testosterone production and consequent receding hair). Your body thinks it must survive at all costs – and is there ever a cost.

Arv says- Eating more fruits and vegetables, to increase your anti-oxidant intake

  • Workout 3-4 times a week. Let those endorphins flow!
  • Get more sunlight!
  • Take a vacation. And here's a crazy thought - you could even try being electronics-free for an entire day gasp.
  • Stop bringing work home. Instead, hang out with your spouse/friends, play more with your kids. Get outside!
  • Get a massage, say once a month. You know how as you get old, it gets harder for you to stand up, sit down etc. Lots of reasons for it, including fuzz buildup. So, get a massage, mash those muscle layers and feel better!

[hr] Workout Exercising regularly does wonders for you. It is not necessary to spend 90 minutes a day, 6 times a week slogging at your local gym to see results. In fact, the odds of seeing results are minimal, beyond beginner gains. The ideal solution would be to hire a trainer who will create a programme suited to you and your goals. Time for a plug - email me if you are tired of spinning your wheels and want to improve your fitness. But if you don't have time for a gym or hiring a trainer, there are some pointers below that you can add in to your routine. Not all of them, mind you. Rest is important. Working out 3-4 times a week is sufficient. On other days, stick to low-intensity activities.Arv says- Walk 60+ minutes at a brisk pace. Low-intensity exercise is a great way to burn fat.

  • Sun salutations are a good workout, and will help improve your mobility and flexibility.
  • Pick up a sport. Having fun is important, this goes towards reducing stress as well.
  • Organize weekend activities with a larger group - go on hikes, explore trails. Use your imagination! There are things out there beyond drinking followed by passing out, other things to do besides dinner and a movie.
  • Continue going to the gym, if you already do that. You are better off going rather than not - my point is that you can accomplish a lot more with a smarter workout programme.
  • Don't have time or equipment? Well, you don't really need too much of either. Check out this 15 minute workout that you can try.

[hr] Nutrition Nutrition is a can of worms. Since everyone eats, everyone has their own opinion on this. Add to this flawed models about cholesterol, heart attacks, saturated fats and**, **a food pyramid plate built on stupidity, it is no wonder there's so many fat people out there. Arv says- Switch oils. Use coconut oil, ghee, butter, olive oil. Dump those vegetable oils.

  • Eat more vegetables. I eat about one and half kilos of veggies every day. Do you come close? And wait - you are vegetarian? Ridiculous, don't you agree?
  • Get some protein. Most vegetarians get miniscule amounts of protein. Granted you don't need the amounts an athletic person would but you still need some (about 15-20% of your daily intake). And no, lentils and pulses do not meet this need. Add more eggs, paneer, whole fat dairy, meat to your daily meals. If possible, buy some whey protein and mix it up with milk and fruit for a super delicious meal replacement, right after a workout!
  • Supplement with vitamins and minerals, depending on what you are lacking in your diet. Vitamin B12, Zinc, Vitamin K are common deficiencies. Get yourself tested, and add these to your daily routine. There are really good multi-vitamins out there too. Magnesium is another supplement you should be consuming, as it is often overshadowed by calcium, not just because it makes pooping easier.
  • Stop eating when you are about 80-90% full.
  • Drop wheat. Wheat is NOT better than rice. Both are empty calories but wheat does a lot of negative stuff to you. "Is this that anti-gluten thing" you ask. Yep - a quick intro is right here.
  • Stop drinking Coke, Pepsi, or whatever it is. Yes, even the zero-calorie ones. They are crap.
  • Same goes for juice. Eat the fruit instead. Have you tried eating 4 apples in one sitting? Then how can you drink the equivalent of it in under a minute and assume you get the same benefits?
  • Eat real food. The rest will take care of itself.

[hr] **Social Situations, Attitude, and the rest ** A lot of us fail because we lack a support system, or give in to peer-pressure, or feel embarrassed. Being labelled anti-social might be on people's minds, but think about it for a second. Was drinking/smoking/junk-fooding, your sole source of release when you were 15 years old? Then why should that be it now? Get your head straight - figure out a balance.****Arv says- Believe in what you are doing.

  • Be proud. You are right, they are wrong. As simple as that.
  • Recruit your friends and family, develop a support system
  • Learn to say yes.
  • Learn to say no as well, and learn to say it the right way.
  • Smile.

[hr] Almost all of these can be fitted in with minimal fuss. Get to it. Consistency is key. Stick at it, and you will surprise yourself.

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