The last ten years have seen a boon in technology. Transportation is faster, phones are smarter and tools are handier. Not just machines, but even food items have been touched by the influence of evolution. Fruits are shinier, meals are tastier and snacks look prettier. But unfortunately, everything that glitters cannot be mistaken as gold. The consumption of ‘fast’ and ‘convenient’ food is on the rise and fruits and vegetables have been injected and domesticated. This raises serious questions on the effects of such items on our body. Also, technological advancements have a significant role to play in making life sedentary.
Allah says in the Quran: “What comes to you of good is from Allah, but what comes to you of evil, is from yourself” [Quran, 4:79]
We definitely cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the number of people being troubled with diseases is also on the rise. Diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, heart diseases, depression and cancer afflict the old and the young alike.
So, what do we do now? Change our diet and physical activity completely? That would be too drastic but we could make gradual and measured changes.
- Stick to what is lawful
The items stated as prohibited and those stated as lawful in the Quran have been done so by Allah for the benefit of mankind.
It is mentioned in the Quran: “O mankind, eat of what is lawful and good on Earth” [Quran, 2:168]
Also mentioned in another verse: “Forbidden to us are dead meat, blood and flesh of swine and intoxicants” [Quran, 5:3]
There is great wisdom behind these rules. Some of them scientifically proven and some, yet to be. By sticking to what is lawful and staying away from the prohibited, we are not just keeping ourselves healthy, but also making sure we win the pleasure of Allah.
- Do not commit excess
Obesity is undoubtedly a growing problem in the world. Causes of obesity may include decrease in physical activity, overeating, and consumption of unhealthy food. Obesity can lead to a myriad of other diseases. Depression is also one of the things that follow obesity. So, by staying away from excess, we are also taking care of our mental health.
Miqdam ibn Ma’d reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said, “The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink and a third of his breath.” [Sunan al Tirmidhi 2380]
‘Eating to your heart’s content’ need not mean filling up the stomach to the brim. In fact, filling up with just a little keeps us active to do deeds that actually bring contentment to the heart. On the other hand, people who have eaten too much will feel lethargic and will be unable to carry out even daily activities.
- Exercise is important
Instances from the Prophet’s (PBUH) life can be used as inspiration to improve our lifestyle. Following the Sunnah is crucial for the good of both body and mind. Early education and helping children be habituated with good is important. The Prophet recommended all children to learn swimming, archery and horse riding. He would often race with his wife, Aisha. Prophet (PBUH) never failed to lend a hand for doing household work. Staying in shape also in a way contributes to building up confidence.
- Get good sleep
‘Good sleep’ doesn’t mean sleeping a lot. It actually means getting a moderate amount of sleep. A healthy adult should get about 7 hours of sleep. The example of the Prophet (PBUH) is the ideal one to be followed. The Prophet would go to bed early and he got up a little after midnight for praying Tahajjud. He would take a nap again in the afternoon. Good sleep not just guarantees activeness the following morning but also facilitates good digestion.
Incorporating the above in our life will ensure good fitness. Along with that, it will also have a positive impact on our mental health. As mentioned above, a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise reduces depression and anxiety. It relieves stress, improves the mood and helps us sleep better. It sounds like a complete package for the price of one. Let us strive to grab every opportunity we get to take care of ourselves in the best way and to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet(PBUH).