benefits of a healthy diet and exercise plan during the lockdown by Maya Nassar

BENEFITS OF A HEALTHY DIET AND EXERCISE PLAN DURING THE LOCKDOWN

BY MAYA NASSAR, FITNESS MODEL, MOM AND ENTREPRENEUR

Exercising and healthy eating habits during the global pandemic left millions of people around the world preoccupied. Many people find it hard as they cannot seem to commit to a certain exercise plan or diet during these circumstances. The inability to have access to gyms have made many people give up on their fitness goals and lose their motivation. How can people eat healthy? What about healthy snacks? How to exercise with minimum equipment?

 

  1. INCLUDE A WELL-BALANCED INTAKE OF NATURAL AND UNPROCESSED FOODS

It is recommended to eat wholegrain carbs (brown rice, brown bread, lentils, oats, quinoa, etc.), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, raw nuts, etc.), lean protein (fish, chicken and meat), fruits and vegetables daily. These foods have little to no ingredients which means they are natural and not processed. These foods should make up the majority of our diet, with processed food or junk food eaten once or twice a week in moderation.

A healthy diet will also enable us to feel good, positive, and energized. Junk food will deplete our body of nutrients and make us feel lethargic, which is why it is only recommended to eat these kinds of food in moderation.

 

  1. STICK TO SNACKS THAT ARE 100 CALORIES OR LESS AND PAYING ATTENTION TO PORTION SIZES

Maya recommends fruits as they are typically 80 calories or less per serving, and are full of vitamins and fiber, plus they taste sweet. Another good option is a bowl of non-fat yoghurt which can be mixed with fruits or honey. Protein shakes also make a great snack and can be mixed with skimmed milk or water and can be blended with fruits or oats. Another idea is to eat some rice cakes with healthy toppings like low fat cheese, labneh or even peanut butter. Finally, baking kale chips at home and adding a sprinkle of salt is also a great substitute to regular chips as she mentioned.

 

  1. EXERCISE TO MAINTAIN YOUR FITNESS LEVEL AND ELIMINATE STRESS

As many people ignore the physical and mental health benefits of a healthy diet plan, Maya insists that a healthy diet during lockdown is essential to maintain our weight and overall general health. It can be very easy to gain weight during lockdown since we are not going anywhere, but if we burn as many calories as we consume, then weight gain will be impossible.  Some people believe that it is nearly impossible to get fit during lockdown, the lack of equipment demotivates them and make them postpone their fitness goals. Maya, International fitness model and owner of SLR Gym recommends to do bodyweight exercises and if someone does not have any equipment at home, it is a great idea to follow workout videos or DVDs. She also pointed out that she has a mobile app called “startlivingright” that anyone can download for free and it has exercise plans and diet plans to do.

Using the stairs of a building is also a good workout. “It’s a great idea to run up the stairs and walk back down and repeat three to five times daily. Also, simple exercises can be done using water bottles if someone does not have dumbbells at home” as she mentioned.

Working out during lockdown is very important to maintain our fitness level and to eliminate stress. Exercise releases anti-stress hormones which help us feel positive and happy.

 

  1. SET A ROUTINE AND STICK TO IT

Maya addresses the issue of commitment and motivation during the pandemic by giving her personal advice “set a routine and stick to it. Make it a daily habit to exercise at the same time every day and commit to this time no matter what”. She adds that It is also important to choose a time that is convenient by giving an example, “if you are not a morning person, then it’s not advisable to exercise early in the morning”.

 

Focus on the benefits of working out: “You will feel good and help to relieve yourself of stress. Lockdown can be a very stressful time for busy people, especially if we feel like our lives have been paused, and exercising is one way to help us get through it”.

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