On the Ball: Healthy habits take time to develop, says Oman fitness trainer
February 27, 2018 | 7:27 PM
by Times News Service
Be disciplined about your exercise and your food.

What has happened to our health? It’s a pertinent question, isn’t it? It seems nigh impossible, in many ways, to answer it, simply because there are so many ingredients that form the foundations of good health, and it is sometimes hard to know where to begin.

There is, unfortunately, no GPS to tell us which path to take on the road to good health, whether you’re pushing yourself to complete that last set of crunches, or consciously picking salad over pizza for dinner, because you know it is the right choice.

The journey to physical and mental wellbeing is actually rather simple, and rests on an innate human quality that has been part of our DNA for generations – simply do what is right. In case you are lost, however, because the journey can get a tad topsy-turvy, do feel free to stop and ask for directions. Don Pradeep Kumar, a fitness expert and trained lifeguard in Muscat, was quick to offer his advice to those who needed it.

“With technology taking over, we were busy sitting on our chairs with remotes in our hands, or fiddling with laptops, mobiles and the TV,” he revealed. “We all know the harm this can cause, but there are only a few people trying to recover from it. Some continue to follow a sedentary lifestyle until a doctor tells them to change.

“Others, due to the busy nature of their work and the stress that comes with it, have forgotten to eat or drink, or lose their appetite for it because of the stress of their job,” he added. “Others choose to not even walk a hundred metres a day. All of them choose to travel in cars, motorbikes, or even Segways today.”

Kumar says that it is time to put the brakes on these electric modes of transportation.

“Use your bicycles, walk, jog and run wherever possible, or play a sport with your friends and family,” he explained. “Be disciplined about your exercise and your food. No matter what, eat every day at the same time, never skip it. “When foods are low in fibre and high in sugar or salt and partially hydrogenated trans-fats, the tendency is to over-consume. When you’re eating five to six small meals a day containing high-fibre fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, the result will see you burning more calories and storing less fat because your body’s thermal effect is raised more frequently. Bingeing on refined, processed foods is probably the greatest cause of obesity.

Although the ubiquitous tall paper cups and their plastic lids that display the now well-recognised logos of Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Second Cup, Kumar’s advice was to switch to a far better drink to stay in shape, even if it didn’t contain the ‘cool’ quotient found in designer lattes and frappucinos.

“Drink water!” he exclaimed. “Not coffee, soda or cola. I have seen people drinking litres of coffee instead of water, and this will only harm your system. Water is crucial for your brain cells and every organ in your body, including your skin, to work properly. For your body to burn fat, it needs at least eight glasses of pure water every day. Water not only satisfies your thirst, but reduces hunger and flushes out toxins. Liquids such as soda and coffee actually deplete your body of water.”

“Sugar raises blood sugar (glucose) levels, causing your body to produce insulin and change your metabolic rate,” added Kumar. “Those who eat a lot of white flour and sugar products, loaded with empty calories, will store more fat and have a harder time burning it. Caffeine also raises the insulin levels, slowing down the fat burning process that starts in the morning and slows down throughout the day. Eating simple sugars such as carbohydrates late in the day promotes fat storage and blood sugar swings. Eating high fibre whole foods as a late night snack can help maintain a steady blood sugar level to give your body deep rest.

“The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure,” he revealed. “The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys, and brain. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and kidney disease.

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