In a working environment, health is closely linked to productivity. This is because a healthy individual usually exhibits enhanced physical energy and mental acuity. As sustainable development is important to us, so is ensuring healthy lifestyles and promoting wellbeing. On this day, we commemorate World Health Day this week; we will be sharing the experiences of our staff, Godwin Amefia (Director of Software Engineering) and Pauline Owino (Systems Analyst), on living a healthy lifestyle.
Living a healthy lifestyle goes beyond keeping fit or strict dietary options. According to Pauline, living a healthy lifestyle means having a balance between your mental, physical, and social being while maintaining a social life that helps you navigate physically and mentally. “A healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with productivity. It helps with deep work and critical thinking.”
For Godwin, a healthy lifestyle means one does not fall ill often or probably not at all, and you can live long.
Godwin believes that his health is his wealth. Hence he made a conscious decision to gradually shift to living a healthy lifestyle. “For as far as I can remember, I was not paying much attention to my health at university. I did not want to wait for something bad to happen before focusing on my health. After university, I had put on some weight, but I want to live long enough to do what I need to do. So I read about how to go about living healthy and gained a dedication to it.” Godwin shared that the journey was not easy, but he was willing to take it a step at a time. He gradually pushed his limits and was willing to make time for it.
“Now, I make sure I work out often; I have a target of working out three times a week, minimum. I am also particular about what I take in. I take less sugar and salt and little to no junk food; take in many vegetables. I also consider the general outlook about what it entails to live a healthy lifestyle.”
In contrast, Pauline shared that she had always been living a healthy lifestyle. “At home, we used to do a lot of active manual work, so that’s part of me. I have also been active in sports since I was a child. Recently I have become more aware that what I am doing is termed as living healthy. Now I have been more conscious and actively living it and setting targets. But I have found it more tasking when I do it more consciously.”
“I work out three times a week, with dumbbells, gym stuff, and yoga. I love greens. From home, my mom made me understand that it was good for me. I love to eat salad in the morning with a drink. For my mental health, I try to get off social media. I delete it during the week and get it back on the weekend. I like going out once in a while with my friends. Like hiking, swimming (active outing). Things that make me relax. I also talk to my friends and family on Fridays for 3 hours.”
Though Pauline seems to have a structure and dedication to living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, she admits that it was more challenging before the peak of the pandemic and lockdown periods. “Before the lockdown, I was less consistent and ate just anything I could get because I had to get something in before work. I had to wake up earlier to work out before I could get ready for work. It was hard to make time for it. But walking to work helped, as I counted that as exercise.”
Godwin shared similar sentiments. “I had tried working out in the evening but i realised that was not working. So I woke up very early; that was the only way to get time to work out. I carried my clothes with me to the office, as I went to the gym before work, then I showered at work before beginning my day at work.” “Remote work has made it a little bit easier.”
Pauline also shared that with remote work, she gets to increase her output through living healthier. “The time I used in commuting to work is now used to work out. Whenever I feel sleepy and unproductive, I will take a nap, which helps me boost my output. Remote work has provided more time to put into living a healthy lifestyle.”
When asked what motivates them to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Godwin stated, “The main motivation is that I am healthy, I do not fall sick, and I think I’m going to be around for a very long time. Now, I have switched to working out in the evening, with remote work. Going for a run in the morning could cut me off with sleep, and the sun was up and hot, so I shifted to the evening. I did not like the evening run too because there were too many cars so I had to find another route to do it in the evening and that was fine. You have to adapt sometimes.”
For Pauline, she finds it relaxing as it distracts her from boredom. “I would say it’s entertaining, though it’s hard. Also, working out is something I don’t stress doing. With the pandemic, I don’t find enough outdoor activities; I compensate for it with working out.”
Godwin and Pauline shared the tips they strongly abide by. Godwin shared, “I use workout apps, like Nike training. There may be days I do not want to run, but there are short workouts you can do. I take fruits a lot. As for taking in vegetables, I am still working on it. I also try to get enough sleep; I don’t need an alarm to wake up. With the quantity of food I eat, I practice intermittent fasting. Between 12-16 hours. Ideally, I eat at 6/7 pm. I try to take 14 glasses of water each day; occasionally, I take green tea. Also, I do not like processed foods. I prefer local food and natural spices; sometimes visiting Chinese restaurants. When I get the time, I try to meditate, which is for my mental health. I also avoid taking medication as much as possible.”
Pauline shared that she lays her bed every morning as it helps clear her mind and notify her clearly that the day has begun. Also, she believes that doing something small every day will eventually help you achieve what you want.
This fruitful discussion was concluded with some advice for people that are struggling with living a healthy lifestyle.
“Make a list of where you want to get to. I assume most people want to lose weight. I have been there. With time I found out what worked for me. Intense running worked for me: 8-10km. Now I aim to be able to run 10km for an hour. Don’t just focus on what you are eating, but also add a workout. Try a 30-minute walk, and then gradually push your limits.”- Godwin.
“As Nike says, Just do it. Take it one day at a time and be conscious about it.”- Pauline.