Fighting Covid With Habits
Covid-19 isn't showing any signs of slowing down and it's really starting to feel like it's a matter of when, and not if you contract the deadly virus. It's up to you to be ready for the fight when it comes to your doorstep. A few basic lifestyle adjustments and adopted health habits can be very beneficial in keeping your immune system in optimal condition. I want to share some actionable practices that I believe will be useful to you.
General guidelines for health habits:
Sleep for a minimum of 8 hours per day
Sleeping is your body's auto-repair and revive process. If you skimp out on sleep then your hormones will be thrown off balance and your immunity will fall. Distance yourself from an 'I'll sleep when I'm dead' attitude. Sleep is very important for your health and neglecting to prioritize it can suppress your immunity and leave you vulnerable to the destructive nature of Covid-19.
Eat your fruit and vegetables
Many of us know that this is good for us but so few go out of their way to ensure adequate intake. In times like these it's crucial that you prioritize its intake. Check out a previous blog detailing immunity boosting nutrition with a sample meal plan here.
Manage your stress
Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, that if elevated for a sustained period wreaks havoc in your immune system. It's particularly damaging to individuals with high blood pressure. If you don't control life's 'pressure' your body may very well start quitting on you. Get your state of mind under control to protect your immunity. Ma ganizo daily = health problems. I recommend the consistent practice of prayer to allay any fears and help calm your spirit. Whatever it is, whatever you're going through just trust that 'it shall be well'.
Consume warm beverages and 30-40mls of fluid per kilogram
Drink warm fluids to protect your throat and calculate your daily fluid intake target of 30-40 mls multiplied by your bodyweight in kilograms. For example, if you weigh 100kgs then you should target a daily fluid intake of 3 - 4 liters.
Exercise (run) for at least 30 minutes, 5 times per week
Exercise, in general, and among many other things strengthens your immune and respiratory system. During times like these I can understand your reluctance to do so from a gym facility or even out in the open on a road run so I wrote another blog post to help you exercise from home.
Drink alcohol in moderation
Moderation as a general guideline means no more than 3 beers, 3 shots of any spirit, and 3 glasses of wine on a daily basis.
Stop or reduce how much you smoke
If you smoke, stop. It's not cool and neither are you for doing it. If you can't, try to reduce how many cigarettes you smoke a day until such a time (hopefully) that you get to zero a day. Another thing: steer clear of shisha. It's no healthy alternative, in fact it's worse than regular cigarettes. Again, it's not cool and neither are you for doing it. You shouldn't wait for a ventilator to remind you of how important your respiratory system is. Protect yours.
If you experience any unpleasant Covid-19 like symptoms then it's prudent to incorporate a daily practice of steaming. This involves the inhalation of water vapor coming from boiled substances. The warm, moist air will loosen the mucus in the nasal passages, throat and lungs. My wife prepares eucalyptus in a bowl of boiling water for us to inhale the vapor whenever either one of us starts to feel a bit off. We both feel great after doing this and there's a greater sense of wellbeing. You should try this yourself.
Wash your hands (or sanitize) as frequently as possible
If provisions are made for handwashing and sanitizing then you should make full use of them as often as possible. If not, take charge of your own hygiene and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer with you everywhere you go and be sure to use it often.
As always, mask up, maintain the social distance and don't move about chimbwi no plan unnecessarily.
Gyms are open but you're not willing to go there? The streets are clear but you're not eager to run outside? I know the feeling. I've been there. I went for a run over the weekend and had two unsettling encounters with people that were obviously unwell🤧. The first was with an individual that seemingly came out of nowhere and couldn't stop coughing. I had to go across the road just to put a few more meters between us. He had no mask on and was clearly not as concerned as I was about his condition; it was business as usual. My unqualified opinion concluded that he should be stationed at a health facility and not freely roaming the streets during times like these. The second one was not sexy. At all. I was literally 50 meters from home when I approached the last corner where a woman was just standing there (perhaps waiting for someone) sniffing aggressively, and right when I got near her she started powerfully sneezing in my direction! Listen, when an unmasked individual starts sneezing in your direction with no attempt to cover their mouth, I don't care how much social distance there is, it's just not where you want to be. In that moment I was ready to teleport myself away from the situation! Sadly my powers failed me and I ended my run sulking because I honestly felt violated.
Here's what you can do if you don't want to have such encounters:
Purchase a skipping rope from Game or anywhere else you can find one and use it in your own private space. It's inexpensive and effective. Anywhere between 20 - 40 minutes of active skipping represents a solid daily workout. You must attempt to stay active for as long as possible and rest when you need to. Try to focus on the duration (time spent skipping), not the repetitions completed (number of skips).
Download the 7 app from the Google Playstore or App Store and perform 3 circuits daily for a guided full body workout. It's effective and it's free!
Perform a bodyweight circuit by combining any of the following exercises:
Burpees, Star Jumps, High Knees, Jump Squats, Push Ups, Pull Ups, Butt Kicks, Lunges, Sit-Ups, Glute Bridges, Fire Hydrants, Planks, Crunches, Wall Sits, Chair Step Ups, Chair dips, Mountain Climbers, Leg Raises, Calf Raises are all great exercise options for you to perform at home. Structure your circuit in a way that gives you 30 - 45 seconds of active time exercising for at least 5 different exercises, and a rest period of 30 - 60 seconds in-between sets. Repeat the cycle for as many times as you can endure. Again, emphasis should be on time spent exercising and not the repetitions completed. Anywhere between 20 - 40 minutes of exercise time represents a solid daily workout. For visual demonstrations, YouTube, Pinterest & Uncle Google all got you covered.
Purchase a punching bag and bag holder (I got mine from Game), hook up it at home and unleash your little warrior. Boxing is excellent cardio! You should try to get in 10 rounds, 2 minutes each with 1 - 2 minutes recovery. Use the timer on your phone. You don't have to follow this template, just make sure that you're getting in at least 20 minutes of active boxing in there however you choose to structure it. Also, It doesn't matter if you punch, kick or elbow/knee the bag, just move your limbs towards the bag and make contact consistently. If you can't or won't commit money to the purchase a bag and holder then shadow boxing will get you going as well provided you 'stick & move'.
If you have a stationary bike use it! Working out from home is boring, I get it! But music can cure that. Plug in your favorite earphones or grab your Bluetooth speaker and start working out. 30 minutes of exercise will only be approximately 10 of your favorite songs. That doesn't sound too unreasonable does it? Get started.
A great option with plenty of free resources on YouTube. Lay off the gossip and Team Chimpwena and use your phone data/WIFI for a health benefit. 20 - 30 minutes will give you a good workout and a daily sustained effort in your yoga practice will improve your flexibility, balance and it has been proven to help with stress management as well. I view Yoga as meditation in motion.
Insanity & P90x
Insanity and P90x represent, in my opinion, the two best possible home workouts you can do. Purchase yourself digital copies (or DVDs) on Amazon or anywhere else that you can find them and you won't regret it. They're both essentially guided home workouts designed to get you in shape in 2-3 months. Insanity in particular blows your favorite aerobics class right out of the water!
Dumbbell, Barbells & Other Fitness Equipment 🏋🏾♂️🏋️♀️
Many fitness enthusiasts have these things at home but seldom use them. Now is the time. If you don't own them, but would like to then they can be purchased from Game or most China Mall outlets at a reasonable fee. You can perform your favorite exercises with weights right at home.
Despite all these recommendations being home workouts, I strongly encourage you to perform them outside in the open. Your little backyard or veranda will do. Don't confine yourself to the inside of a home with compromised airflow. You'll make exercising harder than it needs to be and you'll start to lose interest in the activity.
If you're self-isolating and eating whatever you want and doing nothing but pick up the TV remote and attend ZOOM meetings I can assure you that by the time you're ready to leave home you won't find any clothes that still fit. Ladies - you'll end up embracing a chitenge lifestyle by force. Men - you'll find yourselves wearing compromised slim fit outfits and if you're not careful, you'll end up with a wardrobe malfunction at a place far from home.
As always, stay safe, mask up and maintain the social distance.
Fighting Covid With Nutrition
There's been an upward surge in Covid-19🦠 cases in the recent past and many of the outcomes have been fatal and the situations dire. This time around, Covid-19🦠 isn't only threatening the livelihoods of the aged and those with underlying health conditions as young people with no known health conditions are quickly finding themselves hooked onto ventilators. It's time to wise up and protect yourself in the best way possible and it starts with nutrition🥘. Covid-19🦠 will expose any vulnerabilities detected in your immune system so it's prudent to eat in a way that supports your immunity. I will outline my recommendations for healthy eating during this second wave of the pandemic.
General food and hydration guidelines for enhanced immunity:
There's many different options available to help improve immunity, however, I wish to focus on a core group of easily accessible foods from any of your local supermarkets.
Health supplements to consider:
If you have the pocket for it then a small investment in certain supplements may be beneficial to your health.
Sample Meal Plan for enhanced immunity:
Breakfast - 1-2 slices of whole grain bread🍞 with peanut butter, 1 boiled egg🥚, 1 cup of natural yoghurt with berries (strawberries🍓, blueberries) + a cup of warm water💦 or tea☕
Lunch - Roller meal, grilled fish🐟, spinach, beans, African eggplant aka 'impwa' + a cup of room temperature water💦
Supper - Brown rice, chicken breast🐓, broccoli🥦, carrots🥕, red bell peppers + a cup of room temperature water💦
Snack: Immunity boost smoothie (must include a handful of ginger, a small cup of chopped of celery, a small cup of chopped spinach or kale🥬, 1 cup of natural yoghurt, 1 handful of berries🍓, 1 green apple🍏, 1/2 lemon🍋, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of honey🍯)
Remember to always mask up😷, maintain the social distance, and don’t move about chimbwi no plan unnecessarily. Stay safe!
2021 - Dream. Pray. Work.
It’s that time of the year again! A time of making promises to ‘change’, to ‘evolve’, to experience a ‘breakthrough’ and committing them to a notepad📝. But this often doesn’t go according to plan. For most people, all you have to do is refer to your previous years’ new year resolutions for an example of this. I hope to change that with my prescription for success this year: dream😴 --> pray🙏🏾 —> work👊🏾.
Dreams are God’s way of communicating and revealing His plans. In the book of Jeremiah (29:11) God makes it clear that He plans for and intends for us to thrive so once you dream it, believe it. Be ready for times when excitement pushes you to share your dreams with other people and they end up killing your vibe by telling you to “be realistic”. ‘Being realistic is the most commonly trodden path to mediocrity.’ God said you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Remember this verse and use it as fuel when you wake up. Do not be defeated and do not accept other people’s limiting beliefs... that dream came to you for a reason.
Prayer🙏🏾 is your chance to openly express your heart’s desires. An opportunity for you to ask for that which you wish to receive. Oftentimes the missing component of realizing a dream is prayer. If you’re not where you want to be then understand that the only thing wrong with your dream is that you’re trying to go at it alone. Get on your knees and pray... Understand that prayer is part of the hustle.
Work is all about output. Life gives you what you deserve. Not all the time, but often enough to appreciate the value of actively working towards something. You’ve wished enough. A dreamer is an individual that doesn’t put in the required work to realize their dream. Wake up and get to work because the bigger the dream the harder you’ll have to work. You must work and persist until you get what you want. Mpaka vi chitike.
Here are the dosage directions for the successful completion of your New Years resolutions in the year 2021:
Big plans require the consistent application of the little things to order to see them through. Always remember that as you take on 2021.
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritionist
Photos used under Creative Commons from Wilka, OLCR, SqueakyMarmot, ella.o, shixart1985, frank.shepherd, orlandofringe, Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel, wuestenigel, wuestenigel, MattysFlicks, Tobyotter, wuestenigel, Andrew Gustar, Artotem, wuestenigel, aqua.mech, homegets.com, wuestenigel, shixart1985, DVIDSHUB, wuestenigel, focusonmore.com, wuestenigel, quinn.anya, airdrie.m, htomari, denisbin, One Way Stock, shixart1985, The Nutrition Insider, planetlight, volkspider, wuestenigel, Ray in Manila, M McBey, Jodiepedia, Ivan Radic, middlekidd, The National Guard, twm1340, stoneysteiner, wuestenigel, focusonmore.com, wuestenigel, wuestenigel, mobilyazilar, wuestenigel