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Give your body a break

Our body works hard all day, every day. It deserves a little R&R now and then to leave it refreshed, renewed, and fighting fit. But can you really give your organs time out from the daily grind?


It's not just your mind that needs a time out but your organs could benefit from it as well.


Your liver


"The liver is known as the busiest organ in the body, filtering out and regulating the right amount of glucose in the bloodstream and excreting bile into the small intestines to help with digestion," said UK-based Marina Abdalla, a registered nutritionist.


You can help give it a break by giving up or significantly reducing alcohol consumption - a maximum of two drinks per day for men and one for women. Avoid processed meats and fried foods that are high in saturated fats. This can put a strain on your liver.



Your gut


Digestion is a demanding task for your gut and some foods put more pressure on it than others.


"Ultra-processed foods aren't kind on the gut. We often have a hard time digesting it, resulting in side effects like bloating, excess gas, pain, constipation or diarrhea," said Abdalla. Probiotic foods like yogurt and fermented foods that are rich in good bacteria such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and cultured mild will enhance gut health.


Chewing food well is important too. "Poorly chewed food can aggravate your gut and cause things like bloating and acid reflux.



Your kidneys


"The kidneys are filters that help to cleanse the body of toxins and waste," said Abdalla. Your kidneys use water to create urine, which transports the toxins out of the body, so drinking enough fluids helps support them in their work.


Drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid per day, roughly 1.2 litres. And take a break from salt. Too much can increase blood pressure, which puts strain on the kidneys.



Your heart


Research has found that the higher your resting heart rate, the greater your cardiovascular death. A normal resting heart rate is considered to be between 60 and 100 beats per minute.


Try practicing controlled breathing. Breathe in for a count of five and out for seven (or whatever count feels comfortable for you). This naturally lowers your blood pressure, relaxes your muscles, and consequently, slows your heart rate, too.



Your joints


Our joints do a lot of work, allowing us to sit, stand, bend, and do countless other everyday movements.


Keeping joints moving regularly is good for them as it helps to push and distribute the lubricating fluid held in joint capsules all around the surface of the joint, said Lyndsay Hirst, a physiotherapist. Low-impact exercises that can help are walking, swimming, and using an exercise bike, or rowing machine.



Your muscles


Our muscles love to be relaxed, but most of us hold tension in them without even realizing it. "Holding stress in muscles can cause postural dysfunctions and muscle imbalances," said Hirst.


Pause regularly to take two or three deep breaths to tune into where you may be holding yourself tight, she advises. "Try some mindful breathing when you can, too. Either sitting or lying down with your knees bent, close your eyes and become aware of the ground beneath you and how your body is supported.


Take a deep breath towards the area of tension, then use the out-breath to blow tension away and allow that part of you to feel relaxed."


Or try progressive muscle relaxation - where you tense each muscle group, then relax it.



Your eyes


Our eyes are continuously bombarded by visual stimulation from the minute we wake up to the moment we close them at bedtime. Sleep is key to relaxing and recharging our eyes so make sure you're getting eight hours as recommended by doctors.


Our eyes are most relaxed when looking at objects in the distance rather than close up. So, to prevent tired eyes at work, take regular breaks from staring at your screen to let your eyes rest and refocus.



Your brain


Our brain processes thousands of thoughts solve hundreds of problems and makes multiple decision on a daily basis. It's also bombarded with incoming information from our phones. So how can we give our brain a break?


Again, cutting back on phone scrolling and hopping between websites in our free time is a good start. Practicing mindfulness - being in the present moment, taking notice of what you see, hear and feel can help too.







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