The other day, I chanced upon this nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, in his book “What the River Knows”.
And, it struck a chord.
Nature has given us everything that we need to be healthy. We just need to acknowledge this abundance and bring it into our lives.
Let’s see how one can incorporate these gifts of nature in our lives.
Sunshine boosts levels of serotonin – the body’s natural happy hormone.
It also the main source of vitamin D. It is made by our bodies through the action of the sun’s rays on our skin.
Professor Michael Holick, of Boston University School of Medicine and author of The UV Advantage says: “We get about 90 to 95 per cent of our vitamin D from the sun.”
Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium, keeping our bones healthy, and may help in preventing diabetes. It also helps regulate hormonal imbalance in women.
So, soaking some morning sun is good for the mind and the body.
Like I suggested in one of my earlier emails, drink water before you feel thirsty.
Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. Our bodies are composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
Every day we lose water in form on sweat, through breathing and toilet breaks. And, it is important to replenish it.
So, make sure that you drink water on a regular basis throughout the day. 8-10 glasses a day is the general guideline but if you are active, you may need more.
Rest should be an important part of a person’s daily routine.
Sleep is one of the main ways for our bodies to get rest.
Sleep plays an important role for our physical health. It is also important for healthy brain function, emotional well being, daytime performance and safety.
As per US National Institutes of Health (NIH), sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
If you want to get a different take and how we can sleep better – check out the book written by Jessa Gamble, a Canadian author and renowned sleep expert. In her book, The Siesta and the Midnight Sun: How Our Bodies Experience Time, she documents the rituals surrounding daily rhythms.
She has also done interesting research on reducing the need for sleep by making it more efficient and concentrated.
It is good to compliment your sleep with short relaxing breaks during the day. You can take these breaks in form of short chats with friends, or as a quick bite break with friends or family. A nap in afternoon is fine if you are an early riser like me.
You need a calm mind for proper sleep. Meditation helps there. If you do not know how to meditate then just sit silent in cross legged position for about 10 minutes every morning soon after you wake up. It will be a good preparation for meditation whenever you get to learn and start with it.
It is all around us. Sad part is that air is polluted in most of the Indian metros.
It is good if you can take time to go to a nearby park or a ridge area to inhale air that is less polluted. I often go to Sanjay Van for my morning walks and runs.
Whenever you get time (or better schedule it) go for treks in mountains. The air there is still pure and the surroundings serene. It works wonders for both mind and body. I can vouch for it, and will be happy to guide you with your first trek 🙂
Definitely, add some form of exercise to your daily routine.
Go for a short walk in the morning if you are just starting out. Morning walks are magical – because they give you sunshine, fresh air, and the feeling of calmness all at once.
Evening workouts are also ok.
I prefer to get it done first thing in the morning.
A workout in the morning will make you feel accomplished and pumped.
I love my morning runs.
I hope you experience this feeling. I am sure you will be hooked for life, once you get the taste of it.
We have discussed this in detail in last couple of emails when I shared the ideas about keeping a happy vibe in the kitchen, and when I shared about the importance of having right lifestyle and right food as per season.
Do not fall for fad diets. Instead, focus on getting wholesome foods at right time of the day. Avoid eating when you are not feeling hungry and avoid late night binges. Avoid food with too much oil in it. Make fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks (I shared my meal packing ideas earlier with you), nuts and seeds, a part of your daily diet. Do not eat while reading, watching TV, driving etc. Be fully present to enjoy the flavours and to get maximum satisfaction.
Use common sense and do not over do anything.
Like for getting sunshine, early morning sun is the best.
Drink water but do not over do it because once our body is adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.
Same for sleep, as per Ayurveda over sleeping will make us feel lethargic and if done for a long period, will make one fat because it increases Kapha in our bodies. So listen to your body, and go for a 7 or 8 hours sleep that makes you feel totally awake.
Over exercising is not good. The goal of the exercise for most of us should be to get all parts of the body moving and make you feel and perform better for the rest of the day. Unless, you are a fitness model, which most of us are not 🙂
Exercise smart. It makes no sense working out for 1 hour and then needing 2 hours of rest before you can get going.