Living a healthy lifestyle
This is the first of the series of Health Blog posts I begin from January 1, 2012 to raise awareness amongst South Asians on different Health issues of importance to them.
What comes to your mind by hearing of Healthy lifestyle ?
Exactly, it is these four essentials along with some other things which together make up the components of a Healthy Lifestyle.
There is nothing in it which any ordinary person cannot achieve. Healthy Lifestyle is no rocket science , and it needs no huge investments.
Just tiny conscious steps which will build up with time into habits and reap as a reward a Healthy YOU .
Why need a Healthy Lifestyle?
I ask why not?
A healthy lifestyle :
• Shall reduce chances of illness and injuries, and hence improve quality of life.
• Will reduce visits to doctors, save time and misery.
• Will reduce cost of health care, less medical bills.
• Enable us to pursue our passions and work better and uninterrupted.
• Keep us employed, and with less of sick leaves or leave without pays.
• A sound mind in a sound body will enable better relationships at home, at work and in society at large.
• A healthy individual will be a healthy citizen of a healthy nation.
What constitutes a Healthy Lifestyle?
They are all simple steps, and as you go through them check which all you already follow, which ones you need to follow more. It just requires a constant conscious effort.
STEP ONE: Make Healthy eating habits:
I know our foods are delicious, but some are pretty unhealthy too. However, there is still a way we can manage to strike a balance between satisfying our taste buds and eating healthy.
A healthy balanced diet which has all the nutrients and vitamins we need is essential to make us stay healthy and avoid diseases.
The next very blog shall be in detail on healthy eating while we enjoy our desi food at the same time.
STEP TWO: Have an Optimal Weight:
Do you know what is your weight and height?
Do you know what is BMI (Body Mass Index), its significance is and how to calculate it?
Please check your BMI by plotting the weight and height on the chart below.
See where does your BMI lie.
If it is in the green zone, congratulations, your BMI is normal, but you need to maintain it in the same color.
If it is in the red or yellow zone, you need to check it and think of bringing it down to green.
Benefits of weight control: Maintaining an optimal weight saves us from a number of serious diseases like Heart disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Blood Pressure, Joint problems like arthritis, and Cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, and sudden death.
(A blog shall be dedicated to weight management too.)
In the meantime you can check the link for more information:
AUDIO IN URDU/HINDI FOR PART-1:
STEP THREE: Be physically active and exercise:
Do you know how much is the minimal exercise you need to do to stay healthy?
For adults it is a minimum of 30 min per day for 5 days or 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (which is enough to increase your heart rate upto safe limits) is needed to keep an optimal heart health. It could be a brisk walk or jogging.
What exactly is moderate exercise?
A study suggests that a moderate-intensity walk should have 100 steps per minute, or 3,000 steps in 30 minutes.
And some studies have suggested that moderate-intensity exercise –like walking — may be just as beneficial as more vigorous exercise.
It does not need to be continuous…you can split it into three session of 10 min each through the day.
It could be swimming, walking, skipping rope, or playing sports like tennis.
– Benefit of Exercise: A daily routine of exercise will help control weight, increase the body metabolism, gives sound sleep, reduces stress and makes you feel good.
Caution: And if you have any health problems or have never exercise, I suggest you to first get a check up from your doctor before you begin.
For children the minimum exercise should be 90 min each day of active play, every day.
Do you also know that it is unhealthy for the children to be watching TV more that 2-3 hours a day?
It leads to obesity, hyperactivity and low attention span in the children-hence not only poor school grades but also many problems in later life.
Instead of watching TV or sitting on Computers all day, encourage them to play physical games . If space is a concern, after the minimal play, even indoor board games like ludo, chess, scrabble are great which encourage interaction, active thinking, learning frustration tolerance and competition.
Encourage them to read books. Studies prove if you expose children to books from early age, they do not get aggression later.
And for children below 2 years, no TV viewing at all, is the recommendation.
DO NOT KEEP A TV IN KID’S ROOM.
For more on exercise check :http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/exercise-fitness/exercise-basics/the-exercise-habit.html
STEP FOUR: Avoiding unhealthy habits:
• Excess of caffeine, tea, fizzy drinks and alcohol.
• Avoid smoking as well as second-hand smoke. (A couple of blogs on smoking shall follow too).
• Avoiding drugs of abuse… it all begins with poor parent child relationship and smoking. If the parents-kids have a positive relationship and the parents counsel their child against the harmful effects of drugs and smoking since early, the kids can most likely not tread that path.
I strongly recommend you check this link for preventing drugs abuse in children: http://www.ncpc.org/topics/drug-abuse/alcohol-tobacco-and-other-drugs
STEP FIVE: Have adequate sleep
–a healthy mind needs at least 8-9 hours of sleep to rejuvenate.
Sleep debt occurs if the hours slept are less than the hours one needs.
Studies show that such short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy or confused brain, worsened vision, impaired driving, and troubled memory.
Long-term effects include obesity, insulin resistance (Diabetes), and heart disease.
A Fact: Do you know that the Chernobyl Disaster and Challenger Explosion have been attributed to lack of sleep.
For further on this check: http://www.quantadynamics.com/research/performancesnooze.htm
STEP SIX: Prevent Infections by good hygiene:
Our South Asia is a region where infections of all sorts are so common.
Personal Hygiene: Some common practices can help us minimise these infections like:
1. Wash hands frequently and properly–It is the single most act that prevents major infections
2. Do not share razors, combs, nail cutters, tooth brushes, towels and needles.
3. Practice safe sex habits.
4. Get the required vaccines on time.
There are more steps which need detail discussion in a separate blog. Till then check the 10 tips to prevent infections: http://infectiousdiseases.about.com/od/prevention/a/prevention_tips.htm
It is very important to know that in our countries Hepatitis C and HIV infections have high prevalence. Many of the people are not even aware that they are infected.
It is very important to not share your razors, combs, scissors, nail cutters and needles, to avoid infection.
Also know that handshakes, hugging, kissing, sharing utensils or eating together will not cause spread of Hepatitis C or HIV infections.
It also very important that if you happen to get injections or blood transfusion in a Hospital, make sure the seal of the disposable needles, syringes or the equipment are opened in front of you.
And you also have the right to inquire from the health personnel about adequate sterilization of instruments and blood products.
(A separate blog shall be dedicated to Hepatitis C and HIV infections and their prevention).
Do not forget the cleanliness of your surroundings.
DON’T LITTER AND DON’T LET ANY ONE ELSE LITTER.
Further links on avoiding littering : http://extra.mdc.mo.gov/nomoretrash/facts/
AUDIO IN URDU/HINDI FOR PART-2
The following steps are more to do with mental health and we all know
‘a sound body needs a sound mind’.
STEP SEVEN: Healthy personal relationships:
• Along with taking care of ourselves, ne need to give the due attention to the people around us. Sharing and caring with the loved ones makes one feel good.
• Take time off to just sit with your loved ones. Have a family time, with no laptops, smart phones, television coming in the way.
• Talk to the kids at an eye level as friends, not as their commanders.
• Eating together as a family at least one meal a day. Talking on dinner table is a proven way to strengthen closed family ties.
• Hug your ageing parents for no rhyme or reason, no matter how old you or they are.
• Add humour to your life. “Good humour is one of the preservative of peace and tranquility.”Jefferson.
• Take time to say ‘How’re you’ to people who work for you like your driver, maid, your gardener. Then see a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eyes.
STEP EIGHT: Healthy connection with the surroundings;
- It is so important to look beyond one’s personal and family life and see what s going on in the outside world-both living and non living.
- Make sure to watch the news on TV or read Newspapers to know what is going on in your country or in the world at large. The news may be depressing, but it makes us conscious of the various problems in the world.
- Understand your sociopolitical responsibility: Form healthy opinions on the events occurring in your society.
- When its election time, make sure you vote (with your conscience).Remember that each vote counts.
- Give charity. Charity is not just through money, we can give our time and a few words of empathy to those who are in need. Research proves that charity or public service helps the individual develop self-esteem and mental well-being.
STEP NINE: Stress management
Yes stress is a reality. But we need to manage the stress of our lives. Half that work is done if we eat well, exercise, sleep well, and have less illness.
However there are many scientific tools available on the net to manage stress. A blog shall be dedicated to stress management.
In the meantime for more on stress management check: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/MY00435
I know this blog was long and loaded with lots of information. I would suggest go slow, read the three different parts over different times, and if needed come back again. It’s going to stay here
You may begin the New Year with great resolutions, with great enthusiasm, but will forget in the middle. That’s all so normal. I do the same. So long as you keep getting back on track and not give up, it’s all very human. Keep trying! I am trying too
He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. (Arabian Proverb)
With a hope that 2012 shall be a healthy year for all of you…
AUDIO IN URDU/HINDI FOR PART-3:
A VERY HAPPY & HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!!
P.S. 1: This and the other forthcoming Health Blogs do not substitute a Doctor and they are only aimed at increasing Health awareness and to develop interest in the readers to read further about health issues. For any serious health problems, do not delay a doctor’s advice.
P.S. 2 This is the first of the series of Health Blogsposts that shall be posted every fortnight with a new Health topic relevant to the South Asians. Please share and do play the Audio to those family members who do not ‘indulge’ in the social media.
P.S.3: Many thanks to DrBabarKhan and FarhanMasood for their generous ReTweets. 🙂
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