Are You Helping or Hurting Your Heart?

The heart is the body’s most important organ. When the heart stops… it’s over.

An extremely hard worker, the heart pumps about 23, 000 liters of blood around the body, and beats an estimated 100, 000 times each day- no breaks or vacations!

As such, we should be doing everything in our power to help our hearts do their job, instead of making it more difficult with poor habits and lifestyles.

Here are a few things you should know about your heart.

Should You Include a Cheat Day in Your Diet?

A cheat day in dieting is that one day a week when you can break the rules of your diet either for the whole day, or just a meal. In other words, you stick to the diet 6 days a week, and on the 7th day you indulge a little.

Of course the main problem with cheat days is that most people don’t indulge a little; they indulge a lot, and this messes with the diet plan and has a negative effect on their bodies. Read more…

15 Random Facts for Health and Fitness Enthusiasts

More and more people are paying attention to what they eat and how it affects their bodies. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or you simply want to stay healthy and fit, knowledge of food classes and what they do to your body, matters a lot.

While you may know the basics about proteins, carbs, fat, vegetables and vitamins, here are 15 interesting things to know about food, health and fitness.

3 Reasons Why I Stopped Power Walking on the Main Road

When I started my weight loss journey, I exercised only in my compound.

Wearing a pedometer, I aimed for 10, 000 steps every morning, and the remaining steps I needed would be spread over the rest of the day (you need to walk about 10, 000 steps a day to stay fit and more than that if you want to lose weight). As a beginner a good day was 14,000 steps total and as time went on, about 20, 000 steps.

The funny thing is, these steps were all inside my compound. I would walk round and round and round my building for an hour every morning, six days a week. I never tried to jog or run, I simply power-walked. I didn’t give up any food. I simply combined exercise with reduced portions and I lost the 10kg I needed to lose.

After this, I came down to an hour every morning, three days a week, just for maintenance, but I decided I would start doing it on the road. I lasted only a week before I came back into my estate, and eventually back into my compound. Why?

  1. I realised I don’t like people all that much. All this time I thought I was a lover of people, I didn’t realise it was just the love of Christ. I have no patience for nonsense wey no join the matter at all. Some Nigerians don’t mind their business and it’s so annoying. They see you more than once a week and y’all are now chummy all of a sudden. Then there were the ones in their cars obviously gossiping about why a slim girl is exercising. One actually leaned out of his bus and told me I was “okay like this” and did I want “everything to disappear?” He actually thought he was advising me. SMH.
  2. I don’t like cars. Horns, fumes, people in them… Enough said.
  3. I’m a music freak. I’m almost always listening to music, whether I’m showering, cooking, or exercising. So for my walks I got one of those wireless headphones last year and loaded an SD card for it. Now, I didn’t realise the luxury that power-walking to music in the privacy of my own compound affords me. When Korede Bello’s Godwin or D’Prince’s Amarachi comes on? The music lover in me gives way to the music freak and my hands and body are doing their thing. Then Asa’s Baby Gone comes on and I’m suddenly all in my feelings. I have no idea what my face looks like. I don’t want anyone looking at me in any of the aforementioned states.

So yeah, I’m back in my compound. I’m glad I ventured out, however. I always thought of the distance between my house and a certain roundabout as faaaar but it’s only 30 minutes both ways. Just imagine. The same one hour (10,000 steps) I had been doing in my compound! It’s encouraging to know I walked that far daily.

I’ve flipped my routine and I’m happier with 30 minutes six days a week (that three days a week thing wasn’t making me happy) and I’m staying as far away from the road as I can!

A Joyful Road to Fitness

Power-walking is my favourite exercise. However, when we moved house, I couldn’t do it anymore because of the way the roads where I now live are constructed. Many years ago, I didn’t even power-walk; I just walked to my office and back home every day (22 mins in the morning, 22 mins in the evening), and I never had to worry about my weight.

Just before my wedding, I took up skipping. I tried to resume when we moved, but then I saw somewhere online that skipping hurts the knees. Bye-bye skipping rope.

These days, though I can’t be called fat, I’m rounder than I used to be. Pregnancy and breastfeeding played a small part in my weight gain. The main culprits are my sedentary lifestyle (I work from home and spend hours sitting with my laptop), and my new-found love for food.

When I chased my toddler around the house one day, and started panting after a few minutes, I knew I had to find a way to not just lose a little weight, but be fit.

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1. A question: @SirZuma asked me on Twitter, “you can’t walk around your rooms and your house?” My answer was no at the time, but I later realised I could power-walk round the compound. Soft ground is preferable to concrete, but I have to make do with what I have for now. I’m loving it!

2. The Sportrate App: Thanks to @Ms_Isioma, I now have the Sportrate fitness app on my Blackberry. It tells me how long I’ve been walking, how many kilometres I’ve covered, and how many calories I’ve burned, among other things. I’ve gone from 2km, to 3.5km, to 4km every morning, and my goal is to power-walk 10km every day, considering how much time I spend sitting at my desk editing and writing every day.

3. Smaller portions: She may not have known it, but @chikaunigwe encouraged me to try reducing my portions. Prior to this, I was skipping meals (esp dinner). Smaller portions have helped me eat less, and I feel healthier than when I was skipping meals. My friend @UgochinyeluA selected a small bowl for me start using, and brethren, it was PAINFUL. Now that I’m used to it, I wonder how I was demolishing those mountains of food before.

In addition to these, I spend my power-walking time listening to Bible teaching. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be losing weight where I don’t need it, and gaining weight where it really matters. I’m a very happy woman.

The Power of Small Changes

It doesn’t always have to be big changes. Every little change to your daily routine counts. Here are 5 small things you can do today for your tomorrow:

1. Drink more water: Use a timer to remind you if you need it. Your brain, hair, skin, hormones…your entire body in fact, will be better for it.

2. Skip body lotions: Go for body oils instead. Did you know that body lotions are 70%water? Your lotion is basically water + oil. The reason you can’t see that is because an emulsifier is used to bind them together, giving the final product a creamy consistency. So when you apply oil on your wet skin, you get a lotion- without the emulsifier, which you don’t need as it does absolutely nothing for your skin, anyway.

3. Exercise: The main thing that scares us about exercise is it appears to be something we need to put on gym clothes and go to the gym to do. Get a dance video and work up a sweat in your living room. Buy a skipping rope. Or simply go for a brisk walk- my favourite any day. Don’t forget your music: get good earphones and go!

4. Read: Again, books scare people. Start by reading articles. Pick a good blog and read one post a day. Subscribe to a magazine (@barows21 will deliver to your door if you live in Lagos). Join a book club and read a few chapters each week. Reading is life-changing.

5. Speak God’s Word to yourself: Take a closer look at Psalm 23, or 27, or 91. David wasn’t praying, he was simply declaring what he believed. I use God’fessions by Goke Coker, it has the Bible verses on one side and the confessions on the other. Tell God you believe His Word. I can’t tell you how starting your day this way will infuse your spirit with light and power. Let there be a “yes, Lord!” in your belly each morning!

 

Do you have a small life-changing tip that has worked for you? Please leave a comment!

Fitness Friday- Spiritual Workouts

I love power walks. Jogging used to be my favourite, and for a period my skipping rope and I were inseparable, but since I discovered power walking, nothing has been able to take its place.

The Bible tells us that physical exercise has value. However, it also tells us in that same verse, “but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8)

We are exhorted to exercise ourselves unto godliness. Your body won’t automatically get into shape and stay that way unless you train it, and neither will your inner man. So, pay attention to your spiritual fitness, otherwise you’ll be out of shape before you know it. That’s the default.

D.A Carson writes in For The Love of God:

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to scripture, faith and delight in the Lord.

We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith.

We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.

Selah…