Able Body, Stable Mind, Noble Soul
Most of us fall under one of two distinct categories. There are those of us who believe that if we workout every day for 1 hour, we need do nothing more to be fit. And then there are those of us who believe that if we spend most of our day at work and household chores, standing in the kitchen for long hours, we have no need to exercise to be fit. Which of these two is the right picture? Unfortunately neither!
Many recent research studies find that those who exercise regularly, (at least 45 minutes every day), spend the rest of their day in a sedentary way, obviously applauding their own efforts at being fit. This is actually more detrimental than those who are active right through the day. The fact that you pump a little weights or walk a few miles or even run for half an hour, does not give your body the advantage of being lazy for the balance 23 hours! One of the primary roles of muscles is movement and keeping them active right through the day is what keeps them healthy. A one hour a day workout doesn’t give you the license to 23 hours of rest!
On the contrary, those who believe they don’t need exercise ought to consider the following. Standing for long hours in the kitchen is not an exercise. Household chores that involve pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, carrying heavy objects etc can be considered as effective ways to stay fit. This includes gardening, painting, heavy cleaning, shifting, climbing stairs etc. On the other hand, washing dishes don’t count as fitness activities – sorry! If you believe ‘I live an active lifestyle, I am on my feet the whole day’ – please consider this. Standing and walking are primary qualities of a healthy body. So is lifting, pushing, bending, pulling, squatting, lunging and twisting. Ageing is nothing but the process by which you begin to lose these operational faculty. Just because you can do it now does not guarantee you can do it forever. There is enough evidence to show that people who engage in moderate exercises everyday do benefit from leading healthier lives!
It is a fact that as a race, the longevity of humans has increased. But you ought to know that it also automatically has drastically increased the number of years spent with disease. So in reality we have increased the lifespan by adding more number of years in pain rather than more number of healthy years! It becomes imperative to counter this and ensure that longevity added in to the healthy individual and not when he is sick. Exercise alone has the capacity to do that.
Dr.I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical school in a recent study concluded that more leisure time physical activity was associated with longer life expectancy across a range of activity levels and BMI groups. The magic lies in a balance between household chores and exercise. As I say so often, and probably repeatedly in this very column – ‘You don’t play a sport or dance to exercise. You exercise to play better, dance better’. In the same way a structured half hour workout, followed by an active lifestyle right through the day is what will keep you fit. So don’t let them excuse themselves from household chores on the pretext of a workout.
Everybody doesn’t have to become an athlete. But every body must get off the couch!
Maverick recommends an active lifestyle:
Wake up early to take a 20 minute walk or cycling. Breathe in the fresh air and let your body absorb the sun light.
Participate in the morning chores. Never give up an opportunity to walk across the house, climb up the stairs or carry stuff about.
Ensure you are never in the ‘couch’ position. Not only is it too tempting to remain that way, it is also very very stressful on your body’s posture.
Every hour even at your work place – move! Flex those muscles, stretch, walk up to your colleague, take the stairs – every hour you need to be active
Don’t let your helper carry your stuff for you. Do it yourself.
Never eat when you watch the TV – it distracts you and you forget to chew!
Bend down to pick up that piece of paper. It will help relax your spine.
Take a walk after dinner. Sleep only after 2 hours of dinner.
Ensure you workout at least for half an hour everyday
In general all exercises give the following benefits,
1. All exercises helps in releasing ENDORPHINS which is good for the body.
2. Weight bearing exercises helps in improving lean muscle mass.
3. Exercises reduce stress.
4. Helps to sleep better.
5. It has been proved that new brain cells are created and more oxygen is pumped to the brain when you are doing some aerobic activity.
6. Improvement in cardio vascular fitness.
According to a recent study, 81% of Britishers have been successful in losing weight by using smart phone apps that helps them monitor their diet and activity. As always, Maverick leads the fitness industry in India by being the first to launch a comprehensive app for smart phones available free for download in both Google play and iStore. The app not only has Indian foods to help you track and workouts with 200 exercise demonstrations, it also has a list of activities to keep you healthy right through the day. So download right away!
By Gita Krishna Raj printed in Food & Health magazine in November 2013.