I have seen people suffer from heart problems when they least expected it. I
would say I was 'lucky' that I had a lot of health problems like
tendonitis, knee pain, etc at a relatively young age i.e. a couple of years
ago. I did some research at sites likes health.yahoo.com and realised that
being overweight is one of the primary causes of most diseases.You may
not necessarily *look* overweight, but consult a height/weight scale to be
sure. Also, these habits would be preventive too.
This is a compilation of information from various sources, its quite likely that
you already know many of the things that are here, but there's a good chance
that you might pick up atleast one new habit thats useful.
There are countless ways to reduce one's weight... including
exercise/aerobics/yoga/diet, etc. I am neither a doctor nor a
physiotherapist... and definitely not any "icon of good health"
! I am writing this article solely on the basis of what my health is
now *compared* to what it was around a year ago.
Many of us lack the time or discipline to consistently follow any of the
conventional ways of maintaining health. No doubt we should nevertheless give
it our best shot.However, I am not writing about those methods... I am
listing three simple value-adding *habits* which can easily be
incorporated into one's routine.
drink atleast a litre of water as soon as you
wake up in the morning
avoid eating any fattening/oily food after
around 6 PM (not being superstitious :-) ...just defining
walk whenever you get the opportunity
Water helps burn fat
Water is necessary for your body to burnfat. Without water, your kidneys canít
dotheir job properly and your liver has topitch in to help them. While itís
helpingthe kidneys, your liver canít burn as muchfat, so some of the fat that
would normallybe used as fuel gets stored in your body instead. Drinking more
water lets the liver get back to its own job, turning fat into fuel. Dieting
people need more water because they want to burn more fat, and because they
have to get rid of more waste, like all the fat that has been used up. Water
also helps keep muscles toned and skin soft.
You will also get rid of extra salt.
(I came to know recently that drinking warm water with honey and lemon in the
mornings is highly recommended though I havent tried it out)
Avoid eating anything within three hours of bedtime. Your metabolism slows down
at night, so if you go to bed with a full stomach, your body wonít deal with
the calories as efficiently as it would during the day. If youíre used to
munching on chips or sweets during prime time, youíre putting weight on
yourself. Ideal habit is to have a good breakfast and a very light dinner, and
eat nothing else after dinner. Hence always give preference to arranging any
lavish get-togethers with family/friends over lunch instead of dinner.
This is an idea I picked up from a speed reading book: for a few days, walk
much faster than you normally do... not just by rapid paces, also by taking
long strides and breathing deeply. It may be tiring at first. After a few days,
relax and walk casually from then on. Your new casual speed will be much faster
than your original casual speed. Take care of your posture: keep your back
erect, allow your arms to swing freely, and regulate your breathing by
taking deep breaths, and try to keep your mind in the present instead of
letting it wander around... esp important while crossing busy roads in
Bangalore!! Advantages of walking fast: its good exercise, and it saves time
since you get wherever you want to go faster.
Walking is ideally done in the morning, but if you're like me... you're never
awake to see the light of dawn... so itís a good idea to always create
opportunities for walking at any time - for eg choosing the staircase instead
of the elevator, alighting at the third bus stop instead of the first one next
to home, etc.
Brushing teeth at night
I find many of my friends lack this habit - it seems to be more a part of
western culture. Believe me... I know its importance because I got so many
silver fillings in my teeth (plus a root canal... ouch) that a
customs official might suspect I carry some kind of weapon in my mouth
every time I pass through a metal detector! I used to hate brushing
teeth at night since it would spoil my lovely drowsiness and I wouldn't
get sleep till late in the night. However once it became a habit, I can't
sleep very easily if I havent brushed my teeth!!
Its also important to mouthwash after eating anything, atleast with plain
water... its just a simple 10 second activity!
4 Rules of Eating
Here are the four rules of eating:
1. Be relaxed and happy while you eat. If you have tension in any part of your
body including the inside of the abdomen, relax.
2. Always sit down while you eat, don't stand, lie down, or move around. (its
an excellent idea though may not be an easy one, to squat on the
floor instead of sitting at a table. - my Yoga instructor)
3. When you eat, do only that. Do not engage in any second activity, no matter
how simple it may seem.
4. When you eat, "put your mind where your mouth is." Concentrate on the
process of eating itself, chew every bite 20 times, especially the first bite.
Chewing your food 20 Times Satisfies your body psychologically.Do not take
another morsel or piece of food in your mouth unless you have swallowed the one
you are already chewing. Keep that spoon, fork, or straw down at the table
until you have actually swallowed the morsel in your mouth. Bringing your
unPided attention to the process of eating. Follow the entire sequence of
tasting, chewing, swallowing, and mentally follow it all the way as food
descends into the stomach.
Breathing correctly helps regulate your entire psychophysical structure. Calm
breath calms the mind, and heavy, rapid breathing accelerates the tempo of your
thoughts and leads to tension of the body. The function of the breath is to
supply oxygen to the body and to cleanse and purify the dark impure blood into
vitalizing red blood. The breath indirectly supplies energy to the body by the
explosion of oxygen into atoms of life force. Through habit, our bodies have
become accustomed to food and air, but if we de-condition ourselves and train
ourselves to life more by the life force, the less will we need to depend on
secondary sources of sustenance, such as, food, oxygen, water, and sunshine.
To breathe properly, it is important that you also maintain a proper posture.
Look carefully around you and you will observe the apathy with regard to this
vital statistic of life. Right now, stop and check on how you are sitting or
standing. Slouched, are you?!? If you exist all-folded-up, youíll restrict your
breathing, squash your internal organ functioning, and generally limit the
effectiveness of your clarity, awareness levels, and overall perspectives in
life. When you breathe, remember to keep your spine straight and upright. The
head should be held relaxed but looking straight ahead with the chin only
slightly upraised. If the whole vertebral column is taut and rigid, moving
upward from the coccyx (the tailbone at the base of the spine), seek to loosen
and relax each of the many vertebrae turn by turn, all the way to the crown of
your head. Simultaneously, lengthen up the front of your body from the pubic
bone to the upper portion of the breastbone. Never sit with a crooked spine and
squeezed lungs. As you breathe, deep and slow, remember that your diaphragm
should (the area just below your ribs; the muscular partition between your
chest and your stomach) expand with every inflow, and should contract with
every outflow of breath. Throughout the day, cultivate the habit of doing spot
checks on your breathing process. Speak with your diaphragm, and encourage it
to expand a little bit more than it normally does. When you breathe in, the
region of the abdomen must expand, and when we breathe out, it must contract;
so many of us do just the reverse. Make a conscious and then unconscious habit
of this and see the effects it quickly weaves into your life.
(dont have the exact URL... one of the Speaking Tree articles in
Different kinds of food
According to the Bhagavad Gita, energy (Gunas) has three qualities that exist
together in equilibrium: Sattvic (pure),
Rajasic (over stimulating) and Taamasic (dull)
Sattvic Foods: These render the mind pure and calm and generate
equanimity, enabling it to function at its maximum potential. Some food
products which come under this category are milk, cereals
(corn, wheat, unpolished rice, oatmeal...), fruits, vegetables, etc.
Eating slowly with awareness is also sattvic.
Rajasic Foods: These feed the body at the expense of the mind. Too much
rajasic food will overstimulate the body, making the mind restless and
uncontrollable. Meat, fish, eggs, coffee, cocoa, chilies, prepared
mustard, spices, highly spicy or salty or seasoned foods are all rajasic
foods. Eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic.
Tamasic Foods: These cause a sense of inertia and laziness to set in.
The body's resistance to disease is reduced and the mind filled with dark
emotions, such as anger and greed. All intoxicants, stimulants, stale or
half-cooked/overcooked food are some examples of tamasic foods.
Overeating is also regarded as tamasic.
Different people have different opinions of which food falls under which
category... but you get the general idea!
I think one observation if you've been to both North and South India, is
that in North India people are much more rough and aggressive whereas in South
India people (on an average) are relatively much more mild. I suspect this
could be because of the spices used in North Indian food, compared to the
relatively more bland food in South India. Also if you compare the temperament
of people in North Karnataka (who eat chillies for lunch!) and those in South
Karnataka... this difference is visible too.
Overeating to avoid wastage of food
Most of us Indians know the value of food and don't like to waste it. I have
seen many situations where people, including me, have overeaten just to
avoid the food already on their plate going to waste.
My friend gave me an excellent suggestion... before putting anything on your
plate, make an estimate of exactly how much you're going to eat. Do not be
absent minded at the time of putting something on your plate, whether you are
helping yourself or when somebody is serving you. Be assertive enough to
say a polite no, no matter how much the host may try to persuade you.
Eye improvement techniques
"Fundamental rule: Listen to your eyes. Whether they are sore, tearing, itchy or
tired, they are sending you a message. Listen to them. If your eyes hurt when
you have been working at the computer for too long, stop and take a break. Be
receptive to your
eyes." ~ excerpt
from the below site.
The technique of Palming described there (or here http://www.seeing.org )
is very relaxing. Another relaxing technique is to splash cold water on
the eyes (with the eyes closed) every now and then. This was from a book Eye
Care by Dr. Gala (not 100% sure of the name... its a very thin book with a
yellow cover costing Rs 15) which has many useful techniques and
excercises. Another tip from the same book: hot water on the head weakens
eyesight and should be avoided as far as possible.
Laughter is the best medicine
No explanation needed for this one. Don't laugh just during comedy
movies, but try to see humor in day to day situations around you, and
especially dont hesitate to laugh at yourself!