Who doesn’t like to be physically fit, be healthy, energetic and active, look slim and remain so? But what does it really take to have a sound body?
Internet is filled with articles and tips for physical fitness. Tonnes of pages with Top 10 best dietary food to burn your fat. So what has this article to offer that is different and effective?
What I offer is my practical experience in staying physically fit. Coming from the background of an IT profession which requires hours of mentally active, but physically inactive job role, I have managed to remain fit without going to gym or doing any physical fitness exercises, and without reducing my diet. So it is this practical experience I offer in this article. Nothing magical or out of the box.
Human Body is designed to be physically active
Like any machine, human body is designed to be physically active, not sit still. But unlike other machines or animals, human brain has also evolved to be mentally active, think and be creative.
The art of remaining fit is striking a natural balance between your physical and mental tasks. A sound body also means a sound mind as well. Mental health also requires physical fitness. Physical work pumps more blood to your brain and keeps you more active mentally as well. People who tend to be physically active can think, read, do research more easily even after a heavy meal, while those who are physically not much active tend to doze off after a good meal.
So while you can spend a good amount of your time reading books, painting, listening to music, working in front of your computer, etc at the same time you need to have a daily routine which also keeps you physically active almost throughout the day.
Please note the last part, throughout the day.
The issue with going to gym, or doing regular exercises is, in my humble opinion, an utter waste if you rely ONLY on being physically active for that part of the day to remain physically fit. Say for instance, going for a morning walk or spending an hour everyday in the fitness center. Such activities are definitely better than not doing any other physical activity throughout the day. But again, they are definitely not the best.
So what is THE BEST? Spread out your physical activities throughout the day. You have tonnes of opportunities to do so, only if you go for it. There is no shortcut to remain physically fit than being physically active.
Never take escalators, use the stairs. Never take your two-wheeler to go and buy something from a nearby shop, instead take a walk. Make your morning walk productive by also getting milk and newspaper when you go for a walk, instead of having them delivered home.
And most importantly, never miss a chance To BEND your back or knees.
Never miss a chance to BEND your back or knees
Instead of pressing that dustbin opener by your feet to open the dustbin, lean down and bend your back to put the waste in the dustbin. If you haven’t bent much earlier, then do so slowly. But also do it regularly.
In Hinduism, it is always advised to wash your feet with your hands as that is said to be more auspicious than rubbing your feet against each other while washing them. Devout Hindus wash their feet every time they return home from outside. But what is more important is how you do it. Try washing your feet with your hands. Do you find it difficult? Do it everyday, its another easy tip to stay fit. The idea is, the more number of times you bend your back everyday to do things, the more are your chances of staying fit, the less are your chances of getting back pain or similar age related issues as you get older.
Don’t have house maids, if you can afford not to
My advise to women to stay fit – avoid house maids and do all the house work yourself. And my advise to men to stay fit – help the women of the house in their daily household activities.
Having maids and servants is like paying somebody so that they remain physically fit and healthy, while we lose our health in a bid to earn that money needed to pay them. How wise does it sound?
Sons, husbands and brothers should share household activities and help their mother, wife and sisters at home. Women in the house should not be over burdened with work that they would require maids to share it.
Just think how useless it is for men to spend huge amount of money at the gym, while at home they also pay the house maids to do an equally active physical work. How many house maids have you seen going to fitness centers? They don’t, because you pay them to remain fit by being physically active.
Instead if a husband or a son can spend the same time helping his wife or mother at home, not only will they be saving the money spent both at the gym as well as the salary paid to the maid, but also will remove the dependency on the maid as well. Think how many times have you anxiously waited when your maid didn’t turn up.
Not only will you be doing away with an external dependency, but also the family bondage will increase when you share the work at home. And this work is more natural and hence more effective than a non-stop one hour sweat out at a gym.
So what work can men share at home? Sweeping the house, washing the floor, washing the clothes, cleaning utensils – there are plenty of them. Don’t use machines or devices like floor cleaning sticks or vacuum cleaners. They can never match manual cleaning. I have experienced it.
Instead clean the floors in the traditional way, sit on your knees bending your back and clean the floors with a hand cloth. There is no effective physical exercise then this. Go for herbal floor cleaners if you can, they are more natural and healthy than the chemical based ones.
Use brooms, bend your back and sweep every corner of every room. Wash the clothes with hands instead of using a washing machine, if not always at least once in a while. Never use a dish washer, always wash utensils by hand. Dish washers can never clean like the way you do it manually by hand.
By doing so, you save the money on gym, on the maid, on the electricity consumed by vacuum cleaners, on the water wasted by dish washers, and what more? You stay physically fit and healthy.
Food – don’t diet, but don’t eat junk either
When you sweat out every day in a natural way, the food tastes even better. Have the same food on a day when you have done absolutely no physical activity, and on a day when you have sweated it out. See the difference, the food tastes better, gets digested more easily, and you feel like eating more!
Yes, dieting is not the solution. The solution is to stay more active and eat well, sleep well, and stay fit. I make no restrictions on the amount of food I eat. Eat whenever you are hungry, till you are not hungry anymore. Don’t measure the amount, your body knows better.
BUT, don’t eat junk, packaged food. Avoid restaurant food, street food as much as you can. Once in a while is fine, but not regularly. Soft drinks, pizzas, fatty burgers are all a strict no no.
Pizza, Burger and Chips…
A moment on your lips, forever on your hips
I consume a good amount of home made butter, ghee, oily stuff made of coconut oil etc. But I am not overweight. Pure Butter, Ghee, Coconut oil are all good for health, unlike the other oily stuff, pizzas, etc that you get outside. All fat is not bad.
Consume only home made food on a regular basis. Don’t stick to just one type of food. I have seen some people whose daily menu never changes.
There is no one single food which contains everything that your body needs. Have different daily menus, but the caveat is it should be home made and healthy.
Avoid micro-oven or for that matter anything that makes cooking quick. Fast food is waste food.
Even in case of home made foods, in India, the recipes from the South are very healthy. The Idlies, Chapaties, Ragi balls are very very healthy compared to Roti, Paratha and Nans.
Maida is bad, avoid it. Rice is good. Wheat is better. Ragi (Finger Millet) is the best.
Avoid all that has too much sugar. I like sweets too, but I prefer Jaggery (Gur), it is healthy unlike sugar. For every sweet with sugar, see if you can find a jaggery alternative. There are plenty.
Having junk food once in a while (meaning rarely, not once in a week) is fine, so is not doing any physical work once in a while – your body can get away with it easily. But on a regular basis, a strict no. So be active physically, eat healthy, and you will be blessed with a sound body and mind.
Drink good amount of water. If possible, drink a glass of warm water at least once or twice a day. Especially if you can consume a glass of warm water (warm, not hot) with a tea spoon of natural honey and some lemon juice, early in the morning at least an hour before breakfast. This will immensely help the day’s digestive activities, gives a glow to your skin, increases youthfulness and also helps burn fat.
Warning: Don’t start overdoing things all in a single day after reading this article. If you have remained physically inactive for a long period of time, then start slowly, do regularly, and steadily increase your physical activities everyday. Else you might end up doing more harm to your body than good. You don’t take out a race car which has been lying unused in the backyard for a long time to directly contest in a motor-car race!
Standard Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice.