Staying fit and healthy as a bush resident
“It’s possible, but often a challenge to maintain good health and fitness in the bush, but with some persistence it’s very manageable” says Laura Sinnema, our newest staff member.
Laura is a professional health practitioner with a love for the bush. She has spent the last 14 years studying all kinds of natural health concepts and implemented her own knowledge of staying fit whilst travelling throughout Africa, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her to Mukambi.
Laura makes the following recommendations to maintain a healthy mind and body whilst working in remote and often basic conditions with limited resources;
- Try to keep away from the sedentary life style by exercising hourly for 1 min; This is a simple and easy thing for anyone to do. If you work or travel, just stand up from behind your desk or stop the car and get out. Try a few jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups, or a short 20m dash back and forth for just one minute, then continue with whatever you were doing.
- Four times a week, start the day with a 30 minute session such as CrossFit, boot camp, Tabata, Pilates, yoga etc; For these activities you only need a tiny metre square area and possibly a floor mat. There are plenty of You-tube channels that offer half-hour workouts to follow as well as phone apps that you can take with you everywhere. Try to do this before breakfast as this will help your insulin balance and give your immune system a boost.
- Try to implement intermittent fasting; Changing your pattern of eating. This means eating 3 meals a day, but twice a week trying only 2 meals. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them and the best way to keep your immune system strong and alert.
- Have a good balance of protein, fats and carbs; We all know sugar is not the best way to feed your body and Laura likens it to putting diesel in your petrol engine. So try to enjoy more vegetables instead. Be aware of saturated fat content; eating more olive oil, coconut, different seed oil, ghee and plain avocado whenever you can. Not always easy to find in the bush admits Laura, who sources some items from Europe or South Africa, but avocados can be found everywhere in Africa.
- Try to match your activity with the daylight, and maintain a day and night rhythm; Aiming for 8 hours sleep per night. This is the most difficult to achieve if you work in the bush, but much easier if you are a traveller through the bush.
- Take a cold shower every morning; this will be a challenge in the colder months, but again very beneficial to keep a strong immune system.
“As lodge employees in the bush these things are a challenge – Late night guest hosting, early morning game drives and dietary provisions often coming from far afield means that you need to be a planner with perseverance, dedication and a good motivation to keep it up. But if you manage it, you will feel fitter, stronger, leaner and your ability to fight germs and parasites will increase impressively.”
Laura is excited to be moving to our Fig Tree Bush Camp in the coming days to manage operations for the busy 2018 high season.