Sunday, January 25, 2015

Physical Health FAQs : The first step towards fitness

Q : Do I need a healthy body in order to be happy?
A : Definitely yes, if you want lasting happiness! Just as a smoothly running machine is a pleasure to work with, similarly a healthy body will help you stay happy in the long run.

Q : How do I know whether I am physically healthy or not?
A : There are some measures like Body-Mass Index (BMI) but the best measure is your own judgment. If you are generally lazy or get tired too easily, then your physical health surely needs attention.

Q : What can I do to stay fit?
A : Being fit requires a combination of healthy eating habits and regular exercise. How much weightage you give to each of these two is a personal decision that you need to take with due diligence.

Q : What are healthy eating habits?
A : Healthy eating habits basically refer to having a balanced mix of all the essential things that our body needs : carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibres, vitamins and minerals. And always remember that healthy foods can be equally tasty!  

Q : Are there any simple ways to make my diet balanced?
A : Our need for carbohydrates and fats is usually taken care of in our daily meals. However, you need to get an adequate amount of proteins, vitamins and minerals from other sources. Milk, milk products and legumes are good sources of proteins. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibres. Make sure to eat at least one fruit every day (banana has plenty of phosphorous required for proper nerve function, apple is rich in iron which aids in blood formation, orange is rich in vitamin C required to boost our immunity and pomegranate is rich in anti-oxidants which helps in repair of damaged cells).

Q : I do try to maintain healthy eating habits, but unhealthy food also allures me a lot. What do I do?
A : Its quite natural to crave for a samosa or jalebi once in a while! The important thing is to have them in moderation and preferably, during day-time. Avoid fried stuff during evenings and after sunset. Our digestive power is influenced by the sun and therefore it is recommended to have a light dinner unless you are involved in physically strenuous activities. In a nutritionist’s words, “Food exists in all kinds of shapes, sizes and forms. Some you need to be acquaintances with, some you can be good friends with and some you can be best friends with!”
Q : Are there any healthier fast-food options?
A : If we become mindful of our eating habits, we will be surprised to find many healthy alternatives around us. For example, one can opt for roasted peanuts/chana/ popcorns instead of fried chips. Also, masala murmure (puffed rice) or roasted chivda (flattened rice) can be one of the best healthy fast-foods to have! And if you are looking for a refreshing drink, flavoured milk/ juice/coconut water can be great options. And the good news is, all of these are easily available on campus in plenty!

Q : I am bored by the mere thought of going to the gym and am too lazy to play any sport. What do I do?
A : You don’t necessarily have to do very extensive exercises in order to stay fit. Just a little bit of brisk walking and skipping done regularly can be a good start. Another good option is yoga and pranayams, which you can do in your own hostel.

Q : Is doing yoga and pranayams better than other forms of exercising?
A : Yoga and pranayams not only address various issues related to the body, but also the breath and mind! They also benefit several internal organs of our body. After doing yoga, even if you sweat, you will feel relaxed. There are no hunger pangs after a rigorous yoga/pranayam session unlike in many other forms of exercises, thereby preventing binge eating. And the way your mind will calm down after a pranayam session will surprise you. However, what finally matters is what works for you. Exercise your own wisdom!

Q : Can I do yoga and pranayams on my own or do I always need a teacher?
A : You may initially need guidance, but after understanding its principles you can very well do it on your own or with a group of friends in your own hostel. Yoga and pranayams can also be customized to address individual needs.

Q : If I exercise regularly, can I eat unhealthy food to my heart's content?
A : Unhealthy food contains many unwanted ingredients that get deposited in various organs of our body. And these unwanted things are very difficult to remove systematically even for those who exercise regularly. Hence, it is very important to have healthy eating habits!

Q : Is it enough to be physically fit?
A : A lot of our physical fitness depends on mental fitness, especially our emotions. Good emotions render the body healthy and glowing. Bad emotions trigger disease. Thus, taking care of mental health is as important as physical fitness!


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