Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter during which many Christians observe a period of self-denial. Historically, the time period is intended to increase spiritual discipline by setting aside time to reflect on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The 40-day period has gained popularity even among non-religious people as a time to cleanse the body and mind. This time of resetting can truly be beneficial both physically and mentally, whatever the reasons for observation.
Here are a few unhealthy habits you can ditch this year for Lent that your body will thank you for:
Sitting — Sitting has been termed the new smoking and sadly, it’s true. Sitting for extended periods of time is one of the biggest health risks the modern world faces. Too much sitting can slow down metabolism, weaken postural muscles, and increase the likelihood of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. While it is impossible to truly give up sitting, a good goal for Lent would be to stand or walk every hour for a few minutes.
Sweets — Processed sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. All the sugar the body needs can be obtained through naturally occurring sources such as fruits, which also provide water, fibre and various micro-nutrients. Processed sugar is literally added calories with no added nutritional value. Increased sugar intake has been likened to weight gain, which walks hand in hand with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This Lent cut out soft drinks, baked products and table sugar.
Screen time — Increased use of televisions, smart phones and computers is another unhealthy price of living in a modern society. Though it is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to completely give up screen time, limiting it can do you a world of good. Too much computer and television use has been proven to cause neck pain and increased smart phone usage has even been linked to headaches and runny noses. This Lent shut down devices a minimum of one hour before bedtime so that you can get a better night’s sleep.
Saying yes — This is a tough one, but learning how to prioritise and say no at times can do wonders for your mental health. People in the modern world are typically overcome with trying to be perfect and usually put themselves last. Being more picky about when you say “yes” can result in decreased stress, decreased worry and more “me” time.
To find out more about how to achieve your rehabilitation goals, contact a healthcare professional at Align Wellness Studio.
Kristina Maxwell is a doctor of physiotherapy at Align, a wellness studio with an integrated approach to physical rehabilitative treatments and preventative care.