Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

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:



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.


For more on exercise check :

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:

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:

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:

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.


Further links on avoiding littering :



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:

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…



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. 🙂

Comments on: "Living a healthy lifestyle" (20)

  1. I need to eat way better and sleeping would be nice – or doing one of the main 4 regularly – am not even going to mention a habit of mine i have that is horrible – keep these going, they need to be in a health mag or something. My BMI is normal though. Stress management is easy: stop talking to people and go live in a hut *smile* Actually I do meditate and deep relaxation breathing a must – I know it may not seem so haha but I do. This is a good one: Understand your sociopolitical responsibility and this: Talk to the kids at an eye level as friends, not as their commanders. 8-9 hours of sleep? No wonder I feel sick all the time. Ok beside the main four, I am good to go.

  2. Thank you for the honest self analysis Sue:). Live in health in 2012 …

  3. A Must See Blog – Resolution for Year 2012:
    Living a healthy lifestyle: By Dr. Ilmana Fasih, Director (Health), ZMQ Global
    Please share with others and spread the message to your near and dear ones.

  4. ok there r a lot of things which r totally brand new for me 😀 this is informative, thanx ma’am, keep updating!

  5. Read ur blog, checked my weight after quite some time…my BMI is on uper threshold…I need to reduce few Kgs in 2012 ….so what a challenging year it would be !!!

  6. Superb Ilmana well organized blog with good audio backup.Keep it up,a small advise…try to make next Blog short so that it will be easy to digest by the common man.
    Dr Syed Fasihuddin

    • Agree, but this is the minimal one can say in a general topic like Healthy Living. Hence the audio, for those who do not want to read long or for elderly etc who are not well versed in English.

      Beware, the next one of Healthy Desi eating is going to be long too, but with an Audio, and that too divided in parts, it will be fine, I hope. 🙂

  7. Isn’t this just awesome!! The first thing I jumped at is weight management. Everybody speaks of reducing fat, I need the reverse! And unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do, they blame the goddamn genes! Hope you have some invaluable tips on underweightedness too 😛 Good post!

  8. Looking forward to your posts. Fantastic initiative.

  9. Fabulous resource for the community. How can I link your blog to Aurat Health Services website? Also, I would like to use the audio segments for my radio program – may I?

    Amazing effort Ilmana – God bless.

  10. Very well written in an easy to comprehend and follow terms. Great effort for the benefit of community.

  11. Health issues needs no management, rather vision and leadership. Things are good on this site.

  12. Great post. Very informative. Going to bookmark this blog and share it with friends and family. I am doing most of the things suggested in this post so I guess I live a healthy lifestyle! 😀 I eat well; exercise regularly and sleep well too. The only concern, not surprisingly since I am Bipolar Type I, is stress management. I keep forgetting to do meditation and (as Sue mentioned) breathing exercises for relaxation both of which should be good for stress management I presume.
    I have done Yoga and meditation off and on last for the last couple of years… This year I will try to do both more regularly. I am also interested in (and recommend) practicing a martial art form like Tai Chi which addresses both physical and spiritual aspects of life. Tai Chi is not only a good self defense technique and a form physical exercise but is called ‘moving meditation’ because of the spiritual/mental aspects of it.
    When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, I think that prayers (no matter what creed you follow) and having a positive attitude also help a lot.

    • Thank you, and please check the links given and other links for ‘stress management’. The whole idea here is to give a bit of information and incite them to search further. And am glad that just 2nd day into this post, there are many who have already started doing it. Please also check for the other blog-posts on specific topics, which will come every fortnight.

      A friend from FB remarked and I paste for record here:

      “Rumana Husain: Thank you so much doctor! Very useful. I must print it out and put it up in the kitchen so I can keep referring to it.”

  13. Thank u for sharing your knowledge, research and expertise with us..i figured out my problem 🙂 and section-wise analysis made it interesting .. I have made a checklist .. (resolution sort of:)) for things I HAVE GOTTO DO this year.. I truly believe in being smart by living smart 🙂

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