Fitness ain’t vain

Tags: Good Living
Fitness ain’t vain
A lot of people are approaching me to help them get fit once they turn 35 or when they become parents. Sometimes both mothers and fathers come to me as they feel it is a struggle for them to keep up with their growing children. This got me thinking and it is a fact that being fit for your loved ones is not vanity but a necessity. As we balance the growing pressures of family and work, it is becoming more and more important for all of us to be able to cope physically with the growing demands of the ones surrounding us. There is also enough empirical evidence available to show that if we are physically fit, we are able to cope with pressures better.

In India, we are sitting on an urban health time bomb. Given the disparity in our nutrition and activity, the priority given to work and family issues over fitness, we are staring at a major problem. This is the time for most young Indian professionals to realise that if they compromise on their health, their overall goals of achieving better lives for their families can be seriously compromised.

Today, with an astounding number of reports about increasing obesity rates, diseases and conditions related to being overweight and out-of-shape, it is impossible to ignore the importance of fitness and well-being in our lives. Health professionals attribute cancer, diabetes and mental issues such as depression to deficiencies in fitness and well-being.

While concentrating on exercise and diet can help people suffering from these diseases, you shouldn’t wait until you develop an illness to begin a health and fitness routine. Recent studies have identified as many as 75 per cent of adults as overweight or obese. Only about 12 per cent of Indian urban living adults participate in vigorous physical and/or leisure activities three or more times a week.

Obese people have a 10-50 per cent increase in premature deaths from all causes compared with individuals with a healthy body weight. The majority of these premature deaths are attributed to cardiovascular causes.

However, diabetes rates are climbing in parallel with these obesity statistics. The five years between 1997 and 2002 saw a 27 per cent increase in the number of diabetes cases. In addition, while diabetes is affecting more and more individuals, it is also affecting individuals at a younger age as well.

There are a few simple steps and decisions everyone has to make. Improve the nutrition at home, a few steps and collective decisions about reducing processed foods, adding salads to meal times; making a conscious effort to do more physical activity collectively will help the entire family get fitter as a unit. If you were physically active and have started sacrificing that for work and family — don’t! A relaxed and healthy individual is far more useful for the family than one who may end up with a lifestyle disease. Having set aside ‘me time’ that enables you to get fitter and healthier and available for your family at the time of a crisis is not vanity but a necessity!

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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