By Pooja Mahesh:
In today’s world, there is no dearth of concerns for an average human being. One of the primary concerns would be that of our health. With our workload, I would say, who has the time? This I believe is the general attitude towards our health, but then, if we don’t look after our own health, who else will? As the general saying goes, “We can only take the water to the horse’s mouth.”
What do we mean by health? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In general this means that the body is free of any injuries that is inflicted physically, mentally and which affects the social well-being thereby maintaining a metabolic efficiency. When all the three components mentioned by the WHO are well-maintained, one can be said to be healthy or in perfect health.
When we come to India, one can see various inflictions that affect the general Indian population. Some of the common health threatening diseases that seem to be plaguing the general population are obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. What is the general cause behind these? It can be attributed to lack of exercise, lack of control on the food that one should eat (for example, too much of fried food which is high in cholesterol, an excess of sugar etc) and ignoring the basic rules that could have prevented such diseases from occurring.
Usually, when many of us start looking after our health we tend to look for physical signs, such as an increase in weight to provide us with an incentive to work on the same. However, to maintain a perfect health, we cannot ignore our mental health because both are intricately connected. For example, one can be putting on weight because something is affecting them mentally, which thereby causes them to ignore their physical health (such as stress or depression, which is on the rise amongst the professionals and even students). We tend to look down upon those who have mental health issues; this should be avoided as they are often sensitive and vulnerable and should therefore be treated with utmost care. Mental health should not be ignored and problems associated with the same should be treated immediately with help from an established psychologist or counsellor or even a psychiatrist.
We, as individuals, should start curing ourselves; we should be the ones taking the first step. We should step up to a healthy lifestyle and stop being couch potatoes. After all, we all know that we get lazy when it comes to exercise and it is difficult to hold oneself from eating all those delectable food items, which would probably be filled to the brim with oil and calories. Sadly however, in order to maintain a healthy version of ourselves, certain joys have to be put on hold until we have achieved what we badly want.
So, how can we become that healthy individual? By doing proper, regular exercises, which would look after our physical health and opting for meditation and ‘brain exercises’ like Crossword or Sudoku to cater to our mental health. Even better would be yoga, which takes care of the spiritual, mental and physical health (with Surya Namaskar being the best Asana for one to do on a daily basis). We should supplement this by eating a balanced diet which should and mandatorily ought to have all the daily recommended nutrients in it. Before one starts to exercise, one can have fruits and/or nuts to energize oneself while doing the exercises. One should never skip breakfast, as this can lead to weight-gain and it is one of the most important meals of the day. To maintain a good balance between the mental and physical aspects of ourselves, one should take regular breaks from our daily work routine. For example, we can a short break of 10-15 minutes every two to three hours. During this break, we can meditate to acquire positive thoughts and can even solve crossword or Sudoku to ease the stress of the job that we are doing.
Only by looking after ourselves, can we have a healthy future when we are older, otherwise we may have to suffer from unwanted health problems such as osteoporosis, arthritis or even diabetes. To achieve a life sans problems as we progress into old age, we have to start early and should maintain it regularly. We cannot, after being inflicted with a problem, suddenly declare “I want to start working on my health”, as maintaining our health is a continual process and we must look after it with utmost care. In religious terms, if I may be allowed to use, it is the vessel for our soul and we must not contaminate it with unwanted stuff. It is a gift given to our body, so unless we cleanse our vessel, we unfortunately cannot move on or even progress into a better, wonderful life.
My vision for a fitter India would be that of an India which is not plagued by any diseases. To become a Fitter India, we must start acting from this moment onward — we should promise ourselves that we will maintain a better self, prioritize our health and not work all the time. After all, we work for ourselves, to make our living a little better and have all the comforts that we can possibly have. Should we then not have the same outlook with our health? To achieve the perfectly healthy body, one should maintain a routine and stick to it. Avoid anything that does not suit you and treat yourself occasionally when you achieved what you wanted. And if you take the step and maintain it, many others would soon follow what you would be doing. Remember, a healthy you would result in a healthier India.