Monique Rana - Seven Tips for Optimum Health and Fitness

Publish Date
Friday, 6 December 2013, 12:00AM
By Monique Rana

I often get asked what I do to obtain health and fitness. I have listed seven of my daily gifts for myself. I hope you get as much benefit out of them as I do.

  1. Gift yourself a morning ritual. Get up 15 - 20 minutes earlier than the rest of the household and create some “ME” time. For me, I spend 15 minutes in quietude each morning; this sets me up for an awesome day. Or you can kill two birds with one stone and get outside in nature and walk while being in meditative space. Nothing beats the stillness of the early morning.  People who walk in the morning have more energy than those who walk at night after a long day.

  2. Gift yourself laughter. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Where ever you are have some fun, laugh out loud! This is one gift I could do more often.
  3. Gift yourself whole unprocessed foods daily.   Nuts, seeds, legumes, organic meats (if you’re not vegetarian), fruits and vegetables should be the staple of your daily eating plans not the exception. A great way to get your daily vitamins and minerals in, is to make a ‘green smoothie” and raw vegetable juices like: spinach, (or any green leafy veg) carrot, beets and ginger.  There are so many great juices out there to experiment with – I dare you!  A great recipe book that I bought last Christmas was Dr. Libby’s The Real Food Chef.  A great goal would be to implement a new recipe weekly and enjoy adding new whole foods to your eating plan.
  4. Get Active. The recommended quota of exercise byThe American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) — preferably spread throughout the week. Activity sessions should be at least 10 minutes long. Also, twice a week do strength-training exercises using weights or body weight.
  5. Keep it challenging. It’s important for the regular exerciser to keep your workouts progressing. Nothing destroys motivation as much as doing the same exercise day in and day out and not getting results. Not only that, your muscles will adapt to the workload placed on your muscles and you’ll no longer see changes in your body.  Mix up your workouts; try shorter intensity workouts and or longer duration. Get a Personal Trainer to write you up a new challenging weight programme, or take up a new activity like Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi. 
  6. Get your zzz’s. Your body needs sleep to correct itself. Sleep helps your body to heal, however the lack of sleep can cause the accumulation of cortisol, the strain hormone, to develop. Cortisol can negatively affect your gains by making you store more energy as fat and also causing physical strain on your body, like fatigue and headaches. Also, remember not to go to bed on a full stomach. Eat your last meal 2 hours before you hit the sack. Your body needs to rest and recharge to get optimum sleep. It can’t do that if your stomach is busy processing foods eaten late at night.
  7. Gift yourself evening reflection time. At least one hour before bed, turn off all electrical devices –cell phones and computers. This is a great time to review your day’s work. Go over your goals (long term and short term), and plan tomorrow’s schedule.If there are any worrying issues on your mind, jot them down on a writing pad or journal. Unwind with a good book, or you can practice meditation for your evening wind down. Lights out.


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