By Sreekumar Raghavan
Zika, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Rabies … .it is most often the viruses that create a scare among people because there is so much news about them from different parts of the world killing people and putting lives of several million in danger.
Such communicable diseases are often given top priority by health departments, World Health Organisation (WHO) and voluntary organisations but equally distressing is the worldwide growth in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer. The reasons have to do with changing food habits, sedentary life style and increased stressful living.
NCDs could claim an alarming 52 million lives by 2030 according to WHO. In India about 60% of deaths in 2014 were due to NCD’s. -Cardiovascular diseases- 26%, chronic respiratory diseases -13%, Cancer – 7%, Diabeters-2%. Apart from this depression, schizophrenia also add to the NCD burden.
Some of the causes of NCDs are sedentary life style- sitting in front of computer, TV, lack of exercise – increasing travel by cars, use of elevators instead of climbing steps. Apart from increased mortality, sedentary life style also adds to decreased quality of life- joint pain, muscle pain, back pain, obesity, increased cholesterol and associated risks. Alarming rise in use of fried, processed food, oily food, increased fat, sodium intake, cheese, butter, pizzas, burgers, animal fat all add to the misery.
Increase in knowledge workers have given rise to people who are glued to their desks in front of a lap top or computer display. Sedentary life style leads to increase blood pressure, obesity, muscular stiffness. Lack of adequate sleep due to over-caffeine use, tv and computer display exposure also leads to health issues for the young.
Other factors leading to mortality are smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.
Five steps to attain health and longevity
1. Increase activity to prevent lethargy: In a high rise building, if possible climb the steps instead of using the elevator or escalator. It is good for burning calories, prevents stiffness of bones and joints, apart from improving heart rate.
2. Get adequate sleep: Human body requires adequate exercise and adequate sleep as well. Lack of sleep is said to induce restlessness, lack of attention, increased appetite, lack of concentration and decreased productivity in studies and work. An adult may require up to 5-6 hours while children may require upto 8 hours of rest.
3.Yoga/Dance Fitness and Gym: With Yoga getting global attention due to the recognition it received from United Nations- more training centres for Yoga have come up. Take care to choose a qualified instructor and perform asanas and pranayayamas according to your health condition. Dance
Fitness programs provide fun, entertainment as well as help burn calories faster- Zumba, Aerobics are the two most popular ones in this category. Gyms provide machine based workouts but there again the services of a personal trainer is required to attain best results with regard to weight management, toning and feeling of wellness.
4.Have adequate exercise: Those who have no time to go the gym or dance fitness schools can try simple stretching exercises and breathing excercises can improve their metabolic rate and decrease incidence of diseases.
- Balanced Diet: Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, the best way to complement your fitness efforts is to ensure that you have an ideal mix of vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals in your diet. Avoid oily, fat, processed high cholesterol foods. Begin your day with a glass of water (100 ml to 200 ml) and before retiring to bed have a glass of water. Avoid heavy food after 7 pm to prevent fat build up and obesity in the mid region. Avail the services of a dietician or nutritionist if you are on intensive workout.
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