Struggling To Keep Fit? Here Are Some Easy Workouts

Did you know that you don’t need a gym membership to stay fit and healthy this winter? There are many at-home exercises to ensure we stick to our fitness journey all year round. Here’s a few to try out:

Jump Rope

You can buy a skipping rope or use any rope at home for this one. The key is to start small; you can skip for 2 minutes when you start out. After 2 weeks you can push to 5 minutes or more. All you need to do is put a timer on and count how many jumps you make in that time.

Stair Stepping

Stair stepping is a great exercise to do in your home, even if you don’t have a set of stairs available. Find the biggest book you own (or a sturdy chair), put it in front of the TV, and step up and down while watching your favorite show. You may not work up a sweat like you would with a jump rope, but you will be keeping your body active and healthy.

The Plank

If you don’t have much time but want to build up your core muscles, this is the exercise for you. Get into a push-up position, but instead of bending your arms and moving down towards the floor, hold the position with your arms extended. Start off by holding the position for 30 seconds and add an additional 10 seconds every week.

Dancing

Dancing is an excellent way to burn calories and get your heart rate going while having fun. If you are in the privacy of your own home, there is no need to look like a pro. You can watch dancing exercises here.

Cleaning

Do not underestimate the power of the physical strength needed when cleaning. All the sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping is a lot of work and it’s enough to keep your heart rate up and sweating.

Water Bottle Weights

If you are looking to do some arm, shoulder, and back strength training, you can make your own weights by filling up water bottles. If using water bottles becomes too easy, use milk jugs. You can modify the exercise to your level by filling the jugs with water to the exact weight that you need. For a greater challenge, increase the water amount just a little bit each time you work out.

High Knee

This is a good replacement for running. To do this exercise, march in place or down a hall, and bring your knees as high as they can go.

YouTube Workouts

There’s a lot of workout routines on YouTube. You can find any kind of workout you want, and it’s a good chance to learn other forms of fun workouts such as yogapilatesstretch bend workoutcardio, and more.

When it comes to workouts, trying out a variety of workouts can help you understand more about your body, and what you like and don’t like. The most important thing is staying consistent Choma. Best of luck!

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

How To Stick To Your Health Routine This Winter

Winter and seasonal changes may affect your well-being. Sticking to a health routine, especially during winter is important for everyone, including people living with HIV. Here are some tips to help you maintain your health routine during the winter months:

1. Maintain your HIV screening and testing routine.

Plan ahead and set a reminder of the day you need to go for your HIV screening. Find a nearby clinic that offers HIV screening services and check for any changes in clinic hours due to weather conditions. Be prepared for the weather by dressing warm and planning your travel to the clinic. If you need to, arrange transport to make it easier to travel in the cold. Don’t forget to carry a healthy snack in case there is a bit of a wait at the clinic.

2. Adhering to your treatment.

Adhering to your treatment can be challenging during winter, however, it is crucial for your wellbeing. To stay on track with your treatment during this time, it may be helpful to establish a routine. Set a reminder or alarm on your phone to help you take your treatment on time. Make sure you have enough treatment and collect your treatment in advance to avoid running out during unfavourable weather conditions.

3. Exercise indoors

Winter weather can make it difficult for outdoor physical activities. Consider finding alternative indoor exercises that you enjoy. There are some exercise videos you can find online to help you create an indoor exercise regimen. You can also consider joining a local gym or fitness centre that has indoor facilities.

4. Eat a balanced diet.

Maintain a healthy, balanced diet during the winter. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet. Proper nutrition can help boost your immune system and improve your overall health.

5. Stay warm and practice good hygiene.

Winter is a common time for colds and flu. So, keeping warm and practising good hygiene can help you minimize the risk of infections. You can practice good hygiene by making sure you wash your hands regularly and keep warm by wearing layers of clothes, gloves, and a beanie when necessary.

6. Above all, be mindful of your mental wellbeing

Taking care of your mental well-being is as important as taking care of your physical health. You can be mindful of your mental well-being by paying attention to how you feel, your thoughts and your general mental state. Reach out for support if you need it to help keep your mental well-being in check.

Remember, self-care and consistency are key to sticking to your health routine as a person living with HIV. Stay positive, be kind to yourself and reach out for help when needed.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

At-home exercises to keep you fit this winter

Did you know that you don’t need a gym membership to stay fit and healthy this winter? There are many at- home exercises to ensure we stick to our fitness journey all year round. Here’s a few to try out,

Jump Rope

You can buy a skipping rope or use any rope at home for this one. The key is to start small; you can skip for 2 minutes when you start out. After 2 weeks you can push to 5 minutes or more. All you need to do is put a timer on and count how many jumps you make in that time.

Stair Stepping

Stair stepping is a great exercise to do in your home, even if you don’t have a set of stairs available. Find the biggest book you own (or a sturdy chair), put it in front of the TV, and step up and down while watching your favourite show. You may not work up a sweat like you would with a jump rope, but you will be keeping your body active and healthy.

The Plank

If you don’t have a lot of time, but you want to build up your core muscles, this is the exercise for you. Get into a push-up position, but instead of bending your arms and moving down towards the floor, hold the position with your arms extended. Start off by holding the position for 30 seconds and add an additional 10 seconds every week.

Dancing

Dancing is an excellent way to burn calories and get your heart rate going while having fun. If you are in the privacy of your own home, there is no need to look like a pro. You can watch dancing exercises here.

Cleaning

Do not underestimate the power of the physical strength needed when cleaning. All the sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping is a lot of work and it’s enough to keep your heart rate up and sweating.

Water Bottle Weights

If you are looking to do some arm, shoulder, and back strength training, you can make your own weights by filling up water bottles. If using water bottles becomes too easy, use milk jugs. You can modify the exercise to your level by filling the jugs with water to the exact weight that you need. For a greater challenge, increase the water amount just a little bit each time you work out.

High Knee

This is a good replacement for running. To do this exercise, march in place or down a hall, and bring your knees as high as they can go.

YouTube Workouts

There’s a lot of workout routines on YouTube. You can find any kind of workout you want, and it’s a good chance to learn other forms of fun workouts such as yoga, pilates, stretch bend workout, cardio, and more.

When it comes to workouts, trying out a variety of workouts can help you understand more about your body, and what you like and don’t like. The most important thing is staying consistent Choma. Best of luck!

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

5 wellness tips for winter

Winter is here and the drop in temperature can take a toll on our hair, skin, health, and weight. This season you will most likely change your wardrobe, but it’s a good idea to do the same for your body and health. Here’s more,

Hair

You can do protective hairstyles that will prevent having your hands in your hair all the time. You can do short-term styles such as buns, twists and braids and keep them in for a week or two. This season, make use of the LOC method to lock in that moisture.

Skin

It’s best to make use of a cream which is typically more moisturising during winter. Look for a cream that specifically targets dry and sensitive areas on your skin, such as Vaseline Dry skin repair body cream or use any cream of your choice and double up the protection by adding a body oil such as magnolia tissue for that extra kick. Although creams feel heavier on the skin, they do a much better job at protecting our skin.

Mental Health

Maintaining your mental health during winter is important in supporting your overall health, safety, and wellness. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to your support system and talk with those you trust when you feel like you’re struggling. Be open and discuss your concerns and how you’re managing them. These interactions can be virtual by reaching out to organisations such as SADAG, which can help build up your emotional and mental resilience.

Weight

In winter we are most likely to eat more because of the cold and the need for comfort. It’s important to balance this by drinking lots of water and keeping nutrients high by eating vegetables and healthy fats. It’s a bonus if you’re a lover of green tea as the antioxidants are an added boost for your skin and weight.

It’s important to start adapting your physical and mental regimen to the season, that way when the temperatures drop and rise your body will be ready for it. Share your wellness tips down below.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Sticking to your health routine this winter

Our health should be our number one priority at all times, not only when we feel sick. A visit to your healthcare provider and adhering to treatment/medication can help maintain your health. Here’s why it’s important to stick to routine healthcare, even in the winter.

Benefits of sticking to a health routine.

Health screenings are critical to an overall healthy wellbeing. Benefits of health screenings include,

  • Early detection of health conditions
  • Early detection of these conditions can and does save lives.
  • Early detection of a disease enables better management and treatment for the condition which in turn decreases the risk of complications.

Treatment adherence

Sometimes adherence can be difficult. At first you may need some support to get used to the changes treatment makes in your life. A routine or daily schedule can help. Pick a time to start treatment and adhere to it. An example could be setting an alarm to go off at a specific time daily.

If you can’t collect medication due to flu or other illnesses, call your pharmacy/clinic to find out about home-delivery options. Waiting until you feel better could lead to defaulting on treatment, which could lead to other health complications such as drug resistance. For the elderly and disabled, home care workers can assist with dropping off their treatment. Speak to a clinician about this option.

It is also recommended that you stock up on at least 2/3 months supply of treatment.

If you have immunisation or vaccination scheduled during this time, do not wait for summer to screen, or test.

As the temperature starts to drop, we have more viruses in the environment, so we must be more careful in the winter to prevent catching illnesses

Eating healthy

Making sure you eat a wide variety of foods from the five food groups is the best way to ensure that you keep healthy. Get enough vitamin C (Mostly fruit and vegetables), zinc (poultry, peas, beans, and nuts) as well as iron (meat, beans, green leafy vegetables and lentils). These vitamins and nutrients help boost your immune system.

Stay active indoors

During the winter months, you may not want to exercise outside, but there are many ways to stay active indoors. You can take a fitness class at the gym, join a community dance/aerobics session, workout to a video at home, or simply find something you enjoy and fit this into your health routine, such as dancing.

It’s imperative that we take care of our health throughout the year, even during the winter season. Regular screening, testing, treatment adherence, eating healthy as well as staying active are all optimal for good health. Do you have any tips? Share them in the comments below.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

4 wellness accounts to follow on Instagram

Health and wellness influencers can help inspire and guide us to boost our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Here are 4 wellness accounts I love!

Sugarfree Sundays

Image via Facebook

Sugarfree Sundays is a page ran by Max, a graduate BSc and entrepreneur. She’s the founder and CEO of Macro Mixes, a company providing high protein, sugar free and calorie-controlled baking premixes, and porridges. Sugarfree Sundays is a great page to follow if you want to quit sugar, but still want to enjoy baked goodies and treats.

Queen Finxa 

Image via Food24

Zandile, also known as Queen Finxa, is a consumer and food sciences graduate who shares easy and unique recipes using indigenous fresh ingredients. She’s on a mission to change the belief that Sorghum is only good for making beer and porridge. She shares her recipes on her page and encourages her followers to share their attempts at her recipes, so be sure to join her community if you’re looking for a fun and interactive way to cook healthier.

Obakeng Makapane

Image via Glamour

Obakeng is a plant-based fitness entrepreneur who started a ‘working out from home’ series during lockdown. All you need to exercise with her is yourself and common household items! She shares her workouts on her page, so you can do them at any time that you want. Trust me, her posts will get you moving!

Ophela Mhlauli

Image via Opera News

Ophela is the perfect example of how perseverance, consistency and hard work is the winning recipe to getting your dream body. By sharing her body transformation pictures, Ophela keeps you motivated to begin your own transformation journey and shows you how it’s possible. Follow her for lots of fun workouts and meal ideas.

2022 can be the year you re-discover your relationship with wellness, physical and emotional wellbeing. With uncertainty still in the air, it’s good to take some time out and get to know yourself again. These influencers are passionate about wellness, and they use social media to share helpful resources and guided practices to kick start your wellness journey. Enjoy!

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

6 ways to stay positive during exams

Exams are a stressful time for many, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this time. Did you know when you feel stressed, your brain isn’t in its best state to gather information? Here are my 6 ways to keep a positive mindset during exams.

Give your brain short breaks

While it’s important to revise your work, you should also have short rests in-between study sessions. Taking short breaks when you’re studying improves your concentration and increases productivity. For example, you could take a 10-minute break for every hour of studying. Try going for a short walk, having a healthy snack or just stretching every 10 minutes.

Calm your anxious mind

For those of us who suffer from anxiety, exams can increase feelings of panic and stress. Take a moment to relax when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Meditation can act as a starting point for you to practise mindfulness, by focusing on the present and concentrating on your surroundings.

Rest

Did you know that rest can help boost memory and enhance creativity? It can be exhausting moving from book to book during revision time. Instead of drinking lots of caffeine to stay awake, keep your mindset healthy by having 7-8 hours of sleep every night. This will help you perform better during your exam. Rest also helps keep you alert and it improves your decision-making skills.

Think positively despite the challenges

After an extremely tough paper, it’s normal to feel demotivated for the upcoming papers that lie ahead. Remember to take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you’ll do better in the next one.

Revise properly

Having a revision timetable is all about planning your time well, which can help you feel calmer and more prepared. When you plan ahead, you’re in control of your study time and can break down large or overwhelming topics into smaller, manageable pieces. Ticking off each section as you complete it will also boost your positivity.

Keep your eye on the prize

Look at the bigger picture- whether this is passing your exams with flying colours or getting accepted into a tertiary institution. You can also start thinking of how you’ll relieve your post-exam stress once your exams are over. Think of it as a major reward for yourself after going through a challenging time.

Some stress can be good for you as it helps you perform faster and more effectively. However, excessive stress can get in the way of your success, so be kind to yourself and allow a bit of positivity into your life. If you feel stressed out during exams, reach out to me or SADAG for help on 0800567567. A positive mind is a healthy mind.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

What is pandemic fatigue?

Living through a pandemic can take its toll on our physical and mental well-being. As the weeks go by under lockdown, many of us have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings, from sadness to anger to tiredness. This is known as ‘pandemic fatigue’. Here’s all you need to know about it.

What is pandemic fatigue?

Pandemic fatigue is the exhaustion you may be feeling after spending over a year dealing with our new life and all the struggles that come with it. You may have lost loved ones, jobs, missed out on experiences and life milestones, like graduations, weddings, and funerals.

You may feel cooped up or cut off from your usual hobbies. You may even be tired of the safety protocols that take extra time. You may also be missing family and friends that you haven’t been able to visit due to the lockdown. All these feelings contribute to pandemic fatigue.

How to overcome pandemic fatigue:

Reflect and accept

Take time to check in with yourself and reflect on how you’re doing. If you feel irritated, impatient, angry, or are suffering from fatigue, accept that all these responses are normal and understandable during such a difficult time.

Monitor your social media

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media can help reduce feelings of tiredness. Purposely tuning in to negative stories on TV or on social media fuels fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and fatigue.

Be compassionate with yourself

Don’t expect perfection and don’t get stuck in mistakes or missed chances. Nobody prepared us for the pandemic. We’re all taking it one day at a time, and it’s completely fine if you don’t have all the answers or always know what to do.

Prioritise self care

Since we’re spending most of our days at home due to the lockdown, it’s important to make sure we take care of our physical and mental health. You can do this through exercise and active self-care, as well as staying connected with friends virtually and online. As a wise person said, we isolate now so that no one is missing when we get together.

You can read more about exercise and mental health here.

We’re living through a period of increased anxiety over our health, vulnerable loved ones, finances and job security. With the future looking uncertain and the public instructed to stay at home, many of us are feeling isolated and stressed. If you’re finding it difficult to cope with anxiety, you can call the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837 or 0800 456 789 for assistance or reach out to me.

Pandemic fatigue is real, and the way it affects you may not be the same for a friend or family member. Although it seems hard, we need to find a way to respect these new boundaries, but still live the version of life we’re used to.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Exercise for different body goals

A healthy diet and physical activity are essential for good health, especially if you’re working towards your ideal body goal. Whether you’re planning on gaining some muscle, losing, or gaining weight, here are my tips to help you reach your goal.

Exercise to gain muscle

Image via Unsplash

Muscle gain is a process where your body builds muscle by burning energy and fat. The physical act of building muscle is easier said than done because in order to build muscle, you need to be serious about exercising and changing your diet. An example of exercise to gain muscle would be weight training.

With muscle gain, it’s important to add lots of protein in your diet. Examples of protein food sources would be lean meat, grilled fish, chicken, beans, lentils, eggs, or drinking a natural protein shake.

Exercise to lose weight 

Image via Unsplash

Losing weight is something that can’t be achieved by only focusing on physical activity. While exercise is important for overall health, how much of what you eat has a much bigger impact on your goal of losing weight. This should be accompanied with weight loss workouts such as:

Aerobic/cardio exercises (running, jogging, walking)

Skipping or jumping rope

Yoga

Avoid foods that are highly processed, such as junk food as they’re loaded with sugar, refined wheat, and added fats. Consider substituting starch (pap, rice and samp) with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat foods.

Exercise for weight gain

Image via Unsplash

If your goal is to gain weight, you might feel frustrated that working out can instead lead to weight loss. However, there are many workout options available and a specific diet to follow to help you reach this goal.

Try eating foods that are high in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Just remember that there is no need to over-indulge if your goal is to gain weight. It’s all about being disciplined. Consider adding strength-building bodyweight exercises into your home workout routine, with specific workouts such as:

Squats

Abdominal exercises

Push-ups

Achieving your ideal body goal can seem hard at first, but with determination, discipline, and consistency, you can reach your goal, Choma. There’s no magic pill that can help you reach your goal. There are many products available that promise quick easy solutions, however many of these have ingredients that are harmful to your health. Restrictive diets also aren’t the way to go, as they can lead to health issues over time. Exercise and a healthy diet change is all it takes- just be patient with yourself.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

How to be more mindful of your health

Health awareness month should be a reminder to all of us on the importance of taking care of our health. Taking care of our health helps us to better cope with anxiety and stress and to become more productive at work or school. Its easy to neglect our health at times due to our busy lifestyles. So here are some helpful tips to help you improve your lifestyle.

Exercise and eat well

Physical activity and eating a balanced diet has immediate and long-term benefits on our health and improves our overall quality of life. It’s also a good way to destress after a long day of school or work. Try getting about 30 minutes of exercise every day such as brisk walking, dancing, or simply helping with chores around the house.

Spend time with loved ones

Surrounding yourself with friends and family can have a positive impact on our general well-being. It can uplift your mood, and stimulate your brain through meaningful interactions.

Prioritize self-care

It’s imperative to take a few minutes to relax and breathe after a long day. Dedicate some time during the day to do something you like, it could be resting, reading a book, listening to music, watching your favourite TV show, or meditating.

Set achievable goals

The biggest advantage of breaking down our goals into tasks is that it creates small, realistic and achievable steps for you to take. This will help give you the confidence to move swiftly toward achieving your big goal. For example, if your goal is to pass the year with better marks than the you did last year, start the first term by aiming for a 10% improvement.

Get enough rest

Resting and sleep quality is vital for our brain to function well. It enables the body to repair and be fit and ready to take on a new day. Try getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

Being healthy should be part of your overall lifestyle by doing what is right for your body. At times, due to our busy lifestyles we forget to be mindful of the little things that contribute to our overall health and well-being. If you feel that you are neglecting your health, I hope these tips will help you make better lifestyle choices.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657.