?Health is the greatest gift,
contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness
the best relationship? ? Buddha
Most people living and working in metros and large towns are faced
with the conundrum of balancing the desire to succeed in the fast
paced work environment and the need to lead a healthy life. Stress
levels are on the rise. Tolerance and compassion as virtues in society
are getting shallower. People?s lifestyles are steadily, negatively
impacting their quality of health.
Some glaring facts
Today, India is home to over 61 million diabetic patients, and it is increasing at the
rate of 20 per cent every year. The International Diabetes Federation has projected that
by 2030, India?s diabetes burden will cross the 100 million mark. It is also the largest
contributor to regional mortality with one million deaths
directly or indirectly caused due to diabetes, annually.
A study paper released by the WHO in 2011, confirms
that more than 20 per cent of the Indian population smokes
daily. About 2.5 per cent of men report that they drink heavily
(five or more standard drinks on at least two days in the
previous week). Men in urban areas are twice as likely to
have low physical activity compared than those in rural
areas; 12.4 per cent of the population does not engage in
sufficient physical activity and the proportion increases with
age. 7.3 per cent of the population is overweight and 1.2
per cent suffers from obesity. Physical inactivity and obesity
are most common among individuals in the upper-income
quintiles, urban residents, and elderly people. Hypertension is even more prevalent
(20-40 per cent among urban adults). Consequently, the incidence of cardio vascular
disease is on the rise.
The health statistics
and data are well known
to most of us. However,
we continue to remain
in denial, and are
dismissive, indifferent, or
fatalistic in our attitude
Is it a death wish?
It is quite possible that the health statistics and data detailed above are well
known to most of us. However, we continue to remain in denial, and are dismissive,
indifferent, or fatalistic in our attitude. ?I am young, hale, and hearty, nothing can go
wrong with me at this age.? ?Whatever is destined for me, will definitely happen.?
These are some of the more common refrains that we hear. Yet, we know of enough
examples around us of friends and family who were unexpectedly impacted by a
health condition, at times fatally.
Choose healthy cooking methods;
grill, bake, steam, or microwave instead
of frying. Trim fat off meat and remove
skin from chicken. Eating more fish may
help to reduce your intake of saturated
So what needs to be done? The answer is
simple, put Your Health First! Given our
social and economic realities, we owe it
to our own selves to have a healthier,
happier, and consequently, more
successful life. The world around us
will not change or get less complex.
However, it is not too difficult to
dedicate to ourselves 30-60 minutes each
day to exclusively focus on some easy,
yet effective health improvement
measures. Some suggestions on this
- Physical activity - Regular exercise is one of the best things
you can do. Engaging in 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity,
on five or more days of the week, will halve your chances of
developing a heart disease. Being physically active also helps
you to maintain a healthy weight. This is because exercise burns
calories and increases your resting metabolic rate, or the rate at
which energy is expended when you are at rest. You can benefit
from physical activity at any age, so choose an activity that you
enjoy doing, safely and conveniently. There are many options to
choose from, such as, brisk walking, cycling, dancing, swimming,
or going to the gym. Your activity does not have to be a
sport ? gardening, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and walking
instead of driving can all count towards your 30-minute goal.
- Stop smoking - Giving up smoking not only reduces the risk of developing a heart
disease, but also reduces the risk of many other serious illnesses, like cancer.
No matter what your age is, it is never too late to stop smoking. As soon as
you do, your health will improve. Within one year of giving up, your risk of a
heart attack is halved.
- Eat healthy - A healthy diet can help you prevent heart disease. Aim for a balanced
diet, basing your meals on starchy foods with some dairy and non-dairy
sources of protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Limit the amount of
salt, sugar, and fat in your diet. Choose healthy cooking methods (grill, bake,
steam, or microwave instead of frying), trim fat off meat and remove skin from chicken. Eating more fish may help to reduce your intake
of saturated fat.
- Maintain a healthy weight - Being overweight increases
your chances of developing heart disease. To
lose excess weight you will probably need to follow an
exercise programme, as well as eating healthy.
- Reduce your cholesterol levels - Reducing cholesterol
levels in your blood can help you prevent heart
disease. For this, eat a healthy, low-fat diet.
- Create and sustain healthy heart habits in your children
at a young age. Spend less time indoors and more
on the move. Use weekends for outdoor activities, walk
the dog, do some gardening, explore a nearby park on
foot, or a bicycle. Make it fun for yourself and your kids
by incorporating activities that will keep you on the move.
- Get your stress levels under control. Long-term
stress can increase the heart rate and blood pressure
that can damage your heart. Learn to manage your stress levels with deep breathing
exercises, meditation, yoga and / or by doing something that you enjoy.
In addition to focusing on preventive health measures, you may purchase adequate
amounts of health insurance to ensure that you are sufficiently protected to fund unforeseen
healthcare expenses. Take care that you choose a comprehensive health insurance
product and cover your entire family. Health insurance is to do with putting your health first.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi, ?It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold
and silver.? The ability to create and enjoy wealth is intimately dependent on sustaining
Also, purchase adequate
amounts of health insurance
to ensure that you are
to fund unforeseen
healthcare expenses. Take
care that you choose a
insurance product and cover
your entire family