This new year, let us all resolve to live healthy. HT spoke to several health experts about certain changes that people can make to their daily routine to help them lead a disease-free life in the long run.
One thing that all health experts unanimously agreed upon that everyone, despite age and gender, must begin their day with exercise.
There is no running away from it, no matter how lazy you feel. Having said that, it does not mean you are expected to exhaust yourself completely. Six packs is by choice, not by compulsion. Doctors say a moderate amount of exercise three to five times in a week is sufficient for a regular person wanting to maintain normal body weight and to build stamina.
“If you lead a sedentary life or consume junk food regularly, it is necessary to devote at least an hour daily on the treadmill to sweat it out. Exercising reduces one’s chances of getting heart diseases or other lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, significantly,” said Dr AB Dey, professor, department of medicine and head of geriatrics department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“Higher levels of good cholesterol have also been found in those who exercise regularly,” added Dr Dey.
Smoking has to be deleted from your daily routine— not even one cigarette a day, which most smokers use as an excuse. Nicotine is the culprit. Recent studies have substantiated that light smoking is as injurious to health as heavy smoking.
Smoking is a leading cause of developing cardiovascular diseases as
it increases blood pressure and pulse rate, along with decreasing level of oxygen in blood, tendency to form blood clots and eroding blood vessels internally.
“One must know that smokers are twice at risk of getting a heart attack as compared to non-smokers, and passive smokers are no better,” said Dr Anil Bhan, senior cardiac surgeon at Gurgaon’s Medanta-The Medicity.
How about solving a few puzzles daily. Believe neurologists, who heavily recommend optimal use of the brain for it to remain active and healthy for a longer period.
Mental exercises could be of any form—trying to subtract quickly a particular digit from 100, writing your name on a piece of paper backwards, solving puzzles such as Sudoku or making use of brain games loaded in cell phones these days.
“Meditation, yoga and healthy reading habits are important for brain health,” said Dr Manjari Tripathi, additional professor, department of neurology, AIIMS.
For your liver’s sake, look back and see what you have been eating: has it mostly been junk because you didn’t find time to prepare tiffin? This new year, let us resolve to add fruits and vegetables to our daily diet and cut down on eatables high on salt and sugar, drink alcohol in moderation to make our liver happy.
“Also, get tested for fatty liver when you get your annual blood test done. Fat in liver is an early sign of liver disease and needs to be treated early. Healthy liver prevents BP, diabetes and even heart attacks,” said professor Shiv Kumar Sarin, director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.
Talking of preventive vaccines, gynaecologists advice HPV vaccine shot for women under 25 years of age. “Cancer of cervix is fast becoming common, so if can prevent it why not take early measure,” said Dr Debjyoti Karmakar, consultant, department of gynaecology, Medanta.
Eyes being the most neglected by us, eye specialists say it’s about time we paid attention to the pair.
Most of us forget to blink for hours when glued to the computer screen. “Promise yourself that after every 20 minutes, you will take a gap of 20 seconds to decrease strain on your eyes,” said Dr S Bharti, medical director, Bharti Group of Eye Hospitals. “Apart from that eating green-leafy vegetables does help.”
Healthy Life Faqs
How much does one need to exercise to remain fit?
There was a time doctors advised strenuous exercise thrice a week, but with the kind of lifestyle changes that people observe these days, an hour of strenuous exercise is recommended daily. Usually, an hour of brisk walk is good enough but only if one sweats is it effective.
Does one need to avoid junk food completely to remain fit?
No one advises complete abstinence. A pizza slice or a burger once in a month is not that bad if you exercise regularly. The idea is to not put on excess weight that can lead to various non-communicable diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid.
Apart from obesity, what are the other risk factors for developing lifestyle-related disorders?
Smoking, erratic sleep hours, stress or anxiety and lack of exercise, coupled with family history, put you under the high-risk bracket. Once every year, thorough medical check-up after 30 years of age is recommended by the health experts.
How much fruits and veggies should a person have in a day?
Four to five servings (one small bowl approximately) in a day is sufficient normally, but then it will also depend on a person’s individual requirement.
Take the following quiz to know how healthy you are: