Healthy mind is key to a healthy body, observe panelists at SIBF 2019
SHARJAH - An often overlooked aspect in the definition of what constitutes a healthy body is the state of the mind, as diet and exercise are thought of as the only tools of good health, opined a panel of experts at a discussion held at the 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair on Monday.
Award-winning football coach Omar Al-Duri led the discussion titled ‘Your body is a reflection of your lifestyle’ with UK-based husband-wife duo Chloe Madeley, a health and fitness guru, and James Haskell, a former rugby union player. Joining the panel was Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghandour, an expert dietician.
“Your food, diet, the nutritious value of what you are eating and being physically fit and active constitutes a healthy body,” said Chloe, author of three fitness books. “It is not about looking a ‘certain’ way.”
James Haskell, now a professional mixed martial artist, said that one of the few things a person could control in life, “is the way you treat your body. Constant neglect and abuse will cause us to pay a lot of ‘debt’ later in life in the form of hip replacements and knee surgeries.”
Dr. Al-Ghandour brought out the link between physical and mental health saying the absence of disease in the physical body does not always constitute perfect health. “When people think of health, they think of what you eat but pay no attention to the state of your mind,” he said.
“Your mind plays a key role in your decision to switch to a healthy diet, adopt new lifestyle habits, and take up physical activity,” he added. “When the mind wavers, it upsets the balance in the physical body, and impacts health.”
Educating the mind and brain to facilitate the needs of the body is critical for good health, concurred Haskell. “In sports, we spend huge amounts on equipment, training, and technology to stay physically fit but pay no attention to what the mind needs.”
“The mind is the most powerful tool we have,” he added, describing his visits to a sports psychologist at age 18 to build up confidence and work on performance goals. “Men often bottle up and refuse to share what they feel, but opening up to the psychologist was the best thing I ever did.”
To strengthen your will to stay fit and healthy, it is important to set realistic goals, advised Dr. Al-Ghandour. “Aim to lose 5 kilos instead of 20. Just as no one turns obese overnight, don’t expect miracles with fad diets in two weeks. Exercise portion control with a balanced intake of water, fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein.”
He also had a word of caution: “Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach as your mind is more likely to make you choose ‘unhealthy or junk’ purchases.”
SIBF is one of the three most significant book fairs in the world. The 11-day literary and cultural extravaganza organized by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) is being held at the Sharjah Expo Centre, from October 30 to November 9, under the theme ‘Open Books… Open Minds’.
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