Healthy body and mind.

By Sacha Vaz

Winter is the ideal time to start working out, especially since the human metabolism requires us to ingest more calories to keep the body from losing heat. Consequently, this means gaining a few extra pounds.

Physical activity is important not only for those who want to lose weight, but also for those who want to stay healthy, have physical strength and a good mental disposition. “Exercising strengthens the heart, the cardiovascular and circulatory systems, besides reducing the risk of depression, stress and anxiety“, states Viviane Rosa, a certified fitness instructor by CANFITPRO – Canadian Fitness Professional.

According to Viviane, from the minute you introduce physical activity into your daily routine, the results will begin to appear, among them, more energy and a toned body through muscle strengthening, or weight loss. All these good results contribute to a person’s well being, which increases self esteem and confidence.

Viviane Rosa from Zumba Station.

“The secret is to start slowly. Don’t try to run a marathon or go to the gym seven days a week. Sedentariasim is almost an addiction, it is difficult to get rid of and people tend to get used to the situation. You need to face it head on, decide to change, take the iniciative and want ot feel better”, says Viviane.

It is important to identify with and take pleasure in the chosen physical activity, so that it can become part of your routine. A fun way to exercise is doing Zumba, a dance and fitness class, with salsa, merengue, flamenco, samba, axé and other rhythms.

“The atmosphere, energy and fun are contagious and the people dance and exercise without even realizing that they are doing physical activity”, says Viviane, who is also a Zumba instructor, in the cities of Mississauga and Oakville, in Ontario. On February 26th, there will be a Zumba Party, with two hours of dancing, fun and prizes! Part of the proceeds will go to the Canadian Cancer Society. For more information go to: www.zumbastation.com

But, of course, proper nutrition combined with physical activity, brings even more benefits. Some enemies of health are lack of water, nutritional fibers and the excessive consumptionof processed foods. “The ideal foods are those that come from nature: fruits, vegetables, meat, water and others. We should avoid everything that is packaged, canned, frozen, refined and processed”, states the nutritionist, Melissa Pancini.

Besides obesity, bad nutrition really affects the whole body. “A person whose nourishment is poor in nutrients can suffer from fatigue, irritation, depression, headaches, muscle pains, lack of motivation and forgetfulness”, comments Melissa.

Even though we live in a time where people do a thousand things at the same time and end up choosing fast food for a meal, Melissa warns: “This new generation can have various degenerative and metabolical diseases. These people’s immune systems are not strong enough to fight and avoid any type of sickness. I also think that it affects mental health, seeing that our nervous system needs many nutrients that are not easily found in processed foods”, she concludes.

According to Melissa, we shouldn’t make mealtimes complicated. We have to remember that we need a whole carbohydrate, a protein, a vegetable and/or salad. The simpler the form of cooking, the better. The nutritionist would also like to remind us that to stay in shape, we should avoid sweets, because these stimulate the exagerated production of insulin, associated with the accumulation of fat cells. So, start exercising today and change your eating habits. Make your body and mind a healthy one.