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Old 13th December 2018, 15:33   #61
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

It's funny how we are stereotyping an entire country based on limited observances.
1) Looking at some people with belly fat & templating the whole country as being "unfit" is unfair. Just go to any rural area & you'll find a majority of the people being lean. That's because they indulge in more physical labours than their urban counterparts (in general). Point to note- 70% of the population in India is in rural areas; ergo, it's safe to assume that a majority of our population is indulging in some form of physical activity everyday & keeping adequately fit.
2) I think we are being highly judgmental when we stereotype a protruding belly & stooping shoulders as being "unfit". Fitness is not what is seen by the others, but what is "felt" by an individual. Unless one is grossly & obviously obese, one needn't worry. And unless you are a professional athlete to whom BMI & body fat percentages matter, for the average joe these things are immaterial. In fact, it is better to be a couple of kgs overweight (only a couple, mind you), than to be under weight or have 0% body fat which is harmful for your body in the long run.
3) We should stop comparing ourselves to people from other countries simply because our genes differ. It is a fact that an average Indian is physically less well off than his African or Western counterparts. So just because our biceps are smaller & we don't have natural six packs doesn't mean we are any less fit than them.

4) With regards to India's ranking in diseases :-
(a) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List...ody_mass_index
Obesity - India ranks 178th

(b) https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/ind...AB.ZS/rankings
Diabetes - India ranks 48th

(c) https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.eco...ound-the-world
Blood pressure - we rank somewhere in the middle.

For a billion plus population, I would say we are doing pretty good.

In conclusion:-
1) We are not as unfit as is made out to be, we are no worse than the world average, in fact slightly better.
2) Our genes do not dictate a muscular/toned body structure.
3) We have greater than average immunity to diseases & endure tougher conditions in terms of weather & other geographical factors. Just ask an American to stay in any of our moderately hot places without turning pink & passing out. Don't forget that our people work in those conditions day in & day out.
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Old 13th December 2018, 16:44   #62
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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In conclusion:-
...
2) Our genes do not dictate a muscular/toned body structure.
....
How did you conclude this? Genes definitely effect muscularity/tone of body structure.
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Old 13th December 2018, 17:03   #63
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by superbad View Post
In conclusion:-
1) We are not as unfit as is made out to be, we are no worse than the world average, in fact slightly better.
2) Our genes do not dictate a muscular/toned body structure.
3) We have greater than average immunity to diseases & endure tougher conditions in terms of weather & other geographical factors. Just ask an American to stay in any of our moderately hot places without turning pink & passing out. Don't forget that our people work in those conditions day in & day out.
Thanks for your quotes. With a high population, we rank among the top in everything from middle class, diseases, etc. in numbers. And that's what the drug makers, consumer companies and all will look at. It does mention rich western countries and others like Korea, Japan, etc. fare well. We need them as goals.

But we sure are predisposed to some diseases due to genetics. To that if you add the altered food habits and lifestyle habits, we will be in soup. Even looking at rice, use of polished white rice is only increasing now. In our villages we always used yellow millet (called Navane) and jowar overwhelmingly. Even Idly/Dosa used unpolished bigger grains of rice.

In my home we are using biscuits, cakes, chips, etc. a lot when as kids we never used these this regularly. Processed foods have increased many fold. Add that to lifestyle, and we have a problem.

But one good thing we are seeing is the increase in height of people .

Last edited by aah78 : 13th December 2018 at 18:32. Reason: Spacing.
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Old 13th December 2018, 17:08   #64
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Yes most of Indians tend to put fat around the waist owing to genes.

I have noticed is that in cities, barring Mumbai, we walk way to less in our day to day life.
Europeans in general walk a lot instead of hitting the gym and also play lot of sport.

Our foods are generally fried esp snacks. And with the level of control on quality, our food vendors use the worst possible quality. Recycled oil, high sugar, maida etc.

My brother is in USA and he says the regular joints serve good healthy food and that's what he misses in India.

I personally have cut down sugar, as is I don't like sweets. Now I have only 1 and max 2 cups of tea a day and no added sugar in any food.

We also lack basic facilities. For eg, before I got married I used to stay at a economical place close to lake and used to go running at least 4 days a week. I was fit and could do 5Km is about 20 minutes.

After marriage I moved a place called bellandur in bangalore and believe me it is risky to walk in daylight on these roads.

How many cities in India can you just go for a run on the road. Its just too congested, polluted, with bad roads and unsafe.

Having said that I have incorporated workout in my daily routine. I walk to anything that is 3Km. No lift only steps, office is at 7th floor and house at 3rd. Have been able to regain some fitness i lost in the last couple of years.

One thing I follow strictly is food and sleep timings.

Last edited by aah78 : 13th December 2018 at 18:32. Reason: i->I
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Old 13th December 2018, 17:10   #65
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

The most worrying trend is that healthy food, think organic is now being sold at a premium in India and abroad. The corporations and multinational companies have bombarded us with cheaper refined alternatives.That along with the stress associated with corporate life is taking a toll on the urban population.
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Old 13th December 2018, 17:25   #66
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Ok, this is not something that may not be well received but here goes. The first and fundamental issue is that we use too many private vehicles. In most western cities, people have to walk to and from the station / bus stop on a daily basis with office bags, shopping etc simply because they have no other way to travel. In London, senior employees of large companies take the tube to work every day as congestion charge plus parking charge adds up to a very large component of ones salary. Walking becomes a habit. Here, a senior executive will call his driver for a 5 minute drive rather than walk 10 minutes. With the traffic it may be faster to walk in the first place.

Agree that in many Indian cities, there is a lack of public transport and last mile connectivity, bad footpaths, bad weather, pollution, dimly lit and unsafe roads etc which all discourage walking, but it is very common in several cities around the world to walk at least 10 minutes from your home to the nearest station/ subway/ bus stop. In central business districts of several cities, the fastest and cheapest way to go from one meeting to another is walk. Long queues for expensive taxis otherwise. It is unheard of to have more than one vehicle for most houses.

This daily walk is inculcated in everyone's life so much that diet sometimes does not matter. I know several friends who stop by the pub from work everyday, walk to the station, take the train and walk home. The two walks take care of the pub visit.

Last edited by aah78 : 13th December 2018 at 18:33. Reason: Spelling mistake. EDIT: Web browser spacing fixed.
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Old 13th December 2018, 17:26   #67
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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Originally Posted by JediKnight View Post
How did you conclude this? Genes definitely effect muscularity/tone of body structure.
I think you misunderstood. Of course genes do affect muscularity. I have said that our genes are such that our bodies are not naturally muscular.
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Old 13th December 2018, 18:37   #68
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Having a muscular body is not a sign of fitness- real fitness is the ability to do a task for a prolonged time, a test of endurance. I have a little belly fat(blame grad school ,) but I'm sure I can bike over 50 miles, play tennis (singles) for a few hours straight. I can point out 5 Indians who have 'well-sculpted bodies' who can't do that same with the same intensity as me.
Being healthy and being fit are two different aspects. Being healthy is a combination of sound body (absence of disease) and mind (peaceful and positive). Fitness is more in terms of ability of perform a task. Different tasks demand different levels and types of fitness.

Having a muscular body is more of a sign of fitness to do heavy activity that requires a lot of power (energy spent in a given amount of time). Endurance also requires a different kind of fitness though not a muscular type. E.g. ability to sustain higher heart rate over longer duration requires strong lungs, diaphragm and other core muscles besides having some muscles in the parts that is involved in the type of activity, e.g. quads for climbing steep hill.

But to be healthy, we don't need to be strong. Though a basic level of fitness enabling the basic level of daily routine is desirable, if one can just live in peace and harmony without doing anything at all, and unaffected by the external factors, that will still be sufficient.

Also, we will all die of failure of some or other critical organ, be it caused by an external factor or caused by its natural wear off. A healthy body is the body which wear off gradually and gracefully, instead of a sudden break down due to a failure of one critical organ while the rest are still in excellent condition. I always compare a healthy aging body with an old car which is slow and inefficient, but still in running condition, while an unhealthy body as the sparingly used car that is mostly in excellent condition, but has some parts becoming very unreliable.
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Old 13th December 2018, 18:42   #69
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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Originally Posted by vanam View Post

This daily walk is inculcated in everyone's life so much that diet sometimes does not matter. I know several friends who stop by the pub from work everyday, walk to the station, take the train and walk home. The two walks take care of the pub visit.
I am not a frequent visitor to foreign countries, maybe once in two years. Last two weeks I was in London, and on one of the weekends I went to Central London to see the usual tourist spots. My smartwatch showed that I walked a tad over 20 kms that day. Didn't feel tired at all when I was back in the hotel. What I feel is that the pedestrian infrastructure and weather plays a very important role. Imagine walking 20 kms a day visiting various tourist spots in India. Just to add, I am moderately fit, weight training thrice a week, only home food, no fried foods and sweet, that sort of a diet.
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Old 13th December 2018, 18:57   #70
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

NCC/SCC mandatory in schools. Then, we need at least 1 month every year mandatory military service. We'll end up having citizens that are relatively fit to fight should the need arise. There are obvious health benefits too. And we'll end up appreciating the soldiers for all the hardship they go through.

It's may not practical. Given our population, it may end up costing more necessary.

We can give tax breaks to corporations for having a healthy workforce. that should see the no. of gyms grow in and around offices. And incentivize health and life insurance plans based on the fitness levels of the individual in the test. By test, I mean, real physical test; cardio, strength, flexibility, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCEite View Post
Indians consume Chicken by making heavily oiled, buttered (and sometimes creamed) butter chicken or chicken curry.

Similar is the case with Mutton and Fish.

We mostly eat Eggs in the form of fatty omelets fried in dollops of oil and eat it with refined flour (white/brown bread).
Fat does not make you fat. Carbs make you fat.


Last edited by MaheshY1 : 13th December 2018 at 19:00.
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Old 13th December 2018, 19:05   #71
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

My pet theory is that the culprits being the lack of employee protection making long hours with lower than minimum wages being common. These are leading to dependence on street food which spikes the intake of refined sugar, refined flour and refined oil. This factor combines with no time to exercise or rest spawning a sulky depressed mindset. These end up making the lifestyle diseases common among us.

Another important thing being the unnecessarily high cost of protein which results in poor recovery from any workout and poor sense of satiety leading to cramming more than necessary count of calories.

In all other countries, all those who are receiving minimum wages will be able to afford high protein foods easily.

Last edited by COMMUTER : 13th December 2018 at 19:12.
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Old 13th December 2018, 19:18   #72
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

While itís certainly a very valid observation & equally unnerving as Iím sure each one of us observe this day in day out, but I too agree that this is certainly a more urban phenomenon & hence, extrapolating such a small sample size to billion numbers is not correct in my view.

I think there is also a tendency of being averse to risk planning when it comes to health upkeep, classic example is when we see the resistance to preventive medical check ups in many Indian households (atleast who have access to & are also in risk category).

I am more worried about the future as I see more & more kids nowadays living inactive lifestyle but itís the parents who are to be blamed, as kids more often than not, role model parents. Cellphone is chief pacifier for kids nowadays & since parents are also glued to screens they are more than happy to keep their kids busy on screens.

Human brain prefers to take the path of least effort (Iím an NLP student & hence commenting confidently on this) which is leading to hardwiring of instant gratification in our heads & (un)fortunately everything we crave for is easily available on few clicks in this context.

Hence, it will take lot of effort, discipline & consistency to fight of this evil of instant gratification & rewire our brains that it needs to earn few things hard way; pristine health (read not just chiseled, well - toned body but overall) is one of them.

ďUse it or Lose itĒ, A phrase that is so true when it comes to mind & body.
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Old 13th December 2018, 19:59   #73
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Originally Posted by superbad View Post
It's funny how we are stereotyping an entire country based on limited observances.
You have made some excellent points. In our collective hubris we have been treating urban-Indian-office-going-middle-class as some sort of a representative sample. The story in rural India is quite different. I belong to one of the hill states of India. Though I haven't been there a long time, I remember how sturdy people were there and could walk/climb without breaking a sweat.
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Old 13th December 2018, 21:17   #74
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

I work for one of the Big 4 Accounting firms in London. Health Wellness and Wellbeing of employees is absolutely critical for the productivity and business performance of the entire firm. We are often encouraged to get away from our desk for 1 minute for every 6 minutes of work. Effectively 10 minutes every hour for a quick saunter and stretch your muscles.

Its been over 8 years since I worked in India and not sure if things have changed since. Although, if you work for a firm that thinks you should sit at your desk for 8 hours straight because they pay you to do it, then you're probably not working at the right place.

I also think that while our genetic disposition may make us prone to certain diseases and conditions, its totally in our hands to ensure we are healthy. Blaming our genes is too easy!

Ultimately, every little step matters. Get a fitbit (or any fitness tracker), build a community, encourage each other to be active and set weekly step challenges to make it fun for everyone. My mom walks 8k steps every day after I get her a tracker and she loves it!

I don't think we need to make drastic changes to the way we live. Just be sensible and learn to listen to your body when you don't feel right about something.
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Old 13th December 2018, 21:52   #75
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

There always seems to be a preachy/proselytizing element when it comes to discussing fitness. I seem to get that same vibes here as well.

What, in good intent I mean to say is that no two bodies are the same, there is no possible way that one can say that Indians all fall into the same genetics.. there are so many haplogroups in the Indian genome pool if we go into detail (like M2, M3, M4, M6 etc).. it has been proven by deep studies that "Indians" are perhaps the most mixed race possible on earth. Persian (Aryan, no it is NOT a myth), Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid genes (also known as R1a1)* are widely prevalent in most individuals in this country, some to a greater degree, some to a lesser. Even accounting for common weather conditions would be a fallacy as every 300 km or so the weather is different in India as are the food choices and crop feasibility. Combine that with the various factors that determine metabolism like height, pre-disposed genetics, weather, diet, age, activities, extent of thermogenesis per day based on these factors etc and we simply cannot tell if a person is so, purely because of genetic markers.

There is no one mantra for fitness, some like to use FitBits, Apple watches, time their jogs, go for runs, some gym and lift weights, some do cardio, some do yoga, some play sports, some are content with their daily activities doing chores, walking in and around office and homes, climbing stairs, washing cars.. yes anything is a great exercise. I've learnt not to fret too much about health such that it becomes an obsession, I still shop the old fashioned way and I lift upto 20-25 kgs of grocery and walk a km with them, I wash the car myself, I do gardening, heck I've even done basic electrical and plumbing repairs at home etc.. all cool activities which many Americans indulge in too.

I see that the fittest people are daily-wage laborers, people who stand among dust and dirt all day long, eat in open-air unhygenic conditions and primarity eat carbs (yes I know, their activities burn the carbs, so what is our excuse?). They lift 20 kg stones and fling them like they are nothing, their skin and body in general is immune to extreme temperatures and they digest just about anything. Its the modern day human beings with their head buried inside the cellphone screens, ordering UBER or OLA for transports, barely being conscious enough to ambulate until they sit inside before they get lost in the cyber-dimension, ordering great deals through food ordering sites and also going the online route for shopping, who are sick, diabetic, or barely having strength to lift a toothbrush. Not pointing to anyone in particular who may find offense at this, I use OLA and Swiggy as well at times.. but its a problem when its overused which I've seen many people do.

To end this post : if someone seems/looks/IS unhealthy, let them be.. the best one can do is give friendly suggestions if said person is a familiar individual.

Just posting an exception to what would otherwise be impossible in most people's eyes. Kindly keep dietary preferences off the debate here.. just listen to the other words of this man :


Last edited by dark.knight : 13th December 2018 at 22:12.
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