Exercise, nutrition and sleep: how to get your body and soul fit for summer

Do you know that moment when you first mow the lawn? When green, fresh and lush spring grass suddenly lurks under the winter grass? Do you know the moment when the sun wakes you up in its power and turns the booth upside down?

In 2022 – in my opinion – the spring cleaning was especially important. Two years of Corona and the war that started in the winter left a lot of dirt – figuratively speaking. Physically, some things remained the same. From a purely psychological point of view, there was a great deal of negative energy that affected all of us to a greater or lesser degree. Regardless of all this, I am accustomed to an important ritual: every April I thoroughly cleanse my body and soul.

The first rounds are slow and intense

And this is how it works: In order to develop a new awareness of running, I first switched to recovery mode in the spring. It’s no more than 6 steps for a few weeks. It is these paths where the path leads only to myself. These runs are meditative.

Slowly I enjoy the air, the buds everywhere, the special power of the sun. Breathing consciously and deeply, as soon as I speed up, my watch stops me with an alarm. I don’t want to be fast, I don’t want to perform well, I want to be healthy. I want calm. And I want my body to improve in recovery. I intentionally call them detoxes.

For the experienced runner, they can be a real pain. Because everything seems so slow. At the latest, when other runners outrun you, you need one thing above all: Discipline doesn’t get faster. The challenge is: to get home without any sweat.

water! Water only!

I love energy drinks. I love cider, and coffee is good for me. Non-alcoholic beer is really a pleasure for me, but: to cleanse the body in the spring, only water can be. Pleasantly mixed with fresh mint or a little lemon, but only with water, from four to five liters per day.

It is the feeling of cleanliness. No unnecessary sugar, no redundant carbohydrates. Pure is the magic word. And if you want to regulate your body, if you want to wipe it with a damp cloth, the only thing left is water. Mint and lemon are cleaning agents.

Food that cleans from the inside!

When it comes to nutrition, I focus on unprocessed foods during my spring cleaning for body and soul. It is freshly cooked exclusively with ingredients from the region. Meat and vegetables are the absolute foundation. Both come from an organic farmer around the corner and are eaten in moderation.

If it is bread, then it is baked by hand, without additives. Most of the time I leave it entirely. There is always some “grandmother’s bread” in my freezer for this time. In my grandmother’s village, only one type of bread was baked in a small bakery for several generations, sourdough bread. Once thawed, it keeps for a full two weeks without rotting, without becoming hard.

There are also many legumes and nuts, sugar is taboo and alcohol is also forbidden. Fruit can be in all variations. But nothing matures on a plane. So apples and pears play the leading role. After a few days, my body seemed to be more regular.

Good sleep as a window cleaner

For me, there is nothing more important in life than clarity. A clear view of everyday things. This requires well-cleaned windows. I create this effect above all by getting enough sleep. So I go to bed much earlier than normal. The mobile is not in the bedroom, all electronic devices are not in this room.

If I don’t feel tired yet, the book usually helps. After ten pages I’m tired after all. We eat until 6 pm, after which I only drink. If I notice that I’m still very active in the evening, I usually run a second three to four kilometers. After bathing with warm water after that the bed is announced immediately. Successfully capped 100 percent of sleep.

To have a good view, I need nine hours of good sleep. After that, however, I definitely have the perspective and clarity I want. For me, sleep is also the key to a healthy soul. Here I tackle whatever weighs me down during the day, over the course of weeks.

According to the motto: Every morning a new sky opens.

This is how it works.

Read all of Mike Claes’ columns here.

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