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Old 14th December 2018, 20:08   #91
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Some wonderful contributions above from different walks and stages of life and from different parts of the globe. Since there is no thanks button, my thanks to all the wonderful and informative posts.

Adding some more observation to the list of possible reasons our health and fitness hurts -

1) Using microwave non-safe containers to heat food in the microwave! I see lot of people using melamine and poor quality plastics to heat their food in the microwave. Big NO and red flag.

2) Drinking water from plastics that have horrible scaling and at times some mold (?) like stuff growing in them. Was appalled when I had to point it out to a colleague!

3) Fat wallets in the back pocket - Not only is it risky, over time it affects the lower back.

4) Smartphone in the front pocket - The data on this is still a work-in-progress, there is no damning evidence yet, but there's some early indications of negative effect on male fertility (and possible genetic effects on progeny).
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Old 15th December 2018, 02:56   #92
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1. His lunch starts at 1200 Hrs and finishes exactly after 7 mins. He then jogs for next 53mins and start his daily office work at 1300 Hrs. He is aged 53.
2. He was very sad. Not because he had to undergo a minor knee surgery but because Doctor advised him not to run for next 12 months. He decided to cycle till he got a green signal to run. He is aged 48.
Person 1 is Japanese and 2 is German. I have worked closely with both. And this is not only about these two. The dedication people from these two countries have towards fitness is unbelievable. I will talk only about these two since I have seen their work and life culture closely. For them a jog or a workout is as natural as having food. We Indians don't have that mindset.
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Old 15th December 2018, 09:00   #93
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1. His lunch starts at 1200 Hrs and finishes exactly after 7 mins. He then jogs for next 53mins and start his daily office work at 1300 Hrs. He is aged 53.
What kind of a routine is that? I am not an expert on nutrition and fitness but jogging after lunch appeared a bit odd to me. Anyways, to each his own.
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Old 15th December 2018, 09:55   #94
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Been reading this thread with interest. I have two observations:

1. The discussion seems to have veered off onto what we as individuals do rather than 'why are Indians [or middle & upper economic class Indians] unfit'. I think we are getting a tad preachy.

2. The definition of fit here seems to hover around visible physical fitness aka Salman Khan style or 'I do 30 minutes pumping in the gym' style.

3. The concept of fitness as a function of holistic body health and resistance to disease seems to be getting missed out altogether.

4. Also fitness regimen seems to be focused on the thread only on Western methods of gym, run, weights, etc. What about Yoga? Meditation? Yoga is, at least in my opinion, the most holistic exercise for body rehabilitation, de-toxing, hormone tuning, muscle toning and protecting your joints. And meditation is needed for the mind. The mind and its agitation, as far as I know, is the starting point and the sustaining point of a lot of our bodily ills from eating mindlessly, or working up our tension, aggravation within the family, burning ambition - all starts and lives in the mind but the effect is seen in the body.

Just my observations folks. I might be wrong. Maybe I am just a greying eagle rambling on muttering to himself.
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Old 15th December 2018, 10:08   #95
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.... What about Yoga? Meditation? Yoga is, at least in my opinion, the most holistic exercise for body rehabilitation, de-toxing, hormone tuning, muscle toning and protecting your joints. .


....And meditation is needed for the mind..
You can say that again!

My mother got me and my sister signed up to Yoga classes as kids, probably as much to keep us distracted with a good thing as to keep us fit. Either way, it's something that's stuck with me for life, and I can't imagine starting my day without my set of Surya Namaskars and a few minutes of deep breathing, even if I don't have time for a longer session and elaborate asanas. Takes 15 minutes, can be done literally anywhere without equipment, and leaves one feeling like a million bucks. Extra points for being a great warm-up routine before sport.

I studied at a school where meditation was part of the curriculum, and while most of us didn't take it very seriously as kids then, I've grown to realise the benefits of even a few minutes of meditation. It's difficult to describe but very tangible to experience.

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Old 15th December 2018, 10:44   #96
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What kind of a routine is that? I am not an expert on nutrition and fitness but jogging after lunch appeared a bit odd to me. Anyways, to each his own.
I was just as surprised as you are. What I understood from most Japanese is that they don't care when to do some exercise, doing it is more important for them.
Also I don't preach this kind of routine, but gave this example to show how seriously he was about his health and routine. Nor am I saying all Japanese have similar routine.
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Old 15th December 2018, 11:02   #97
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Please do not get me wrong, but rural India is not very healthy as well [not body type]. Go to any hospital and you would see quite a lot of them suffering from some chronic ailment or the other. There is a limit to how much can a body absorb. Not everyone is farming in rural India.

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Physical activity is NOT taking stairs to your home, office or getting groceries weighing 5 to 10 kgs home.
This won't do any harm either, will it?
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Old 15th December 2018, 11:13   #98
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Been reading this thread with interest. I have two observations:

1. The discussion seems to have veered off onto what we as individuals do rather than 'why are Indians [or middle & upper economic class Indians] unfit'. I think we are getting a tad preachy.

2. The definition of fit here seems to hover around visible physical fitness aka Salman Khan style or 'I do 30 minutes pumping in the gym' style.

3. The concept of fitness as a function of holistic body health and resistance to disease seems to be getting missed out altogether.

4. Also fitness regimen seems to be focused on the thread only on Western methods of gym, run, weights, etc. What about Yoga? Meditation? Yoga is, at least in my opinion, the most holistic exercise for body rehabilitation, de-toxing, hormone tuning, muscle toning and protecting your joints. And meditation is needed for the mind. The mind and its agitation, as far as I know, is the starting point and the sustaining point of a lot of our bodily ills from eating mindlessly, or working up our tension, aggravation within the family, burning ambition - all starts and lives in the mind but the effect is seen in the body.

Just my observations folks. I might be wrong. Maybe I am just a greying eagle rambling on muttering to himself.
For all corrective measures there's starting point, when one touches 100kgs Yog and Meditation will not work. The way I understand it is like this: Cut down portions drastically, resist the temptation to snack, Alcohol, Smoking is a strict no no, do exercise for say 10-15mins, I do floor exercises on waking: 100 push ups and 120 ab crunches: my trainer in the gym told me once that push ups is equal to manual labour. I weigh 60 kgs and am 59 yrs and it works well for me. But for someone weighing in at 100 kgs it may be an up hill task; may have to seek professional help. Regards my rant: I have seen many school kids weighing 100 kgs and there abouts and going about their life like its natural that's where they are going wrong because they are our future. Am a medical professional and get to see many problems in my way of work and my rant is an extension what i see in my practice.

Last edited by Durango Dude : 15th December 2018 at 11:14.
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Old 15th December 2018, 12:10   #99
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This is a very relevant thread, for someone who was once really unfit and is now fitter than before, I for one believe the main reason is lack of self awareness.

I was really fat, used to weigh 42 kgs in class 3 (or4? dont remember exactly) and the moment I would ask my mom about me being fat as I got teased a couple of times, I would get the reply as "you are not fat you are just more healthy" . So much so that I weighed more than 100 kgs around graduation with no awareness about the troubles that would come with all this weight.

Some people would say that I was fit because I could play district level table tennis and badminton and would never huff and puff but its just that the body hasnt been abused enough (yet) for it so show symptoms.

Lack of self awareness is just mind boggling, my brother in law, mother in law, father in law have all been detected with diabetes (Hba1c > 8) and yet the restraint to not eat oily food, spicy and sweets is simply not there. Most people are not even aware that for diabetes control you do not only have to control sweet / sugar, carbs and fats intake also needs to be monitored rigorously. One of my cousins was detected with diabetes 6 months ago but the physical bare minimum absolutely essential daily walk has still not started.

Its really important to make the kids aware from a young age about the benefits of healthy eating and controlled eating. What our grand parents were able to eat, we cant afford because of our sedentary lifestyle.
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Old 15th December 2018, 14:36   #100
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What I observed that every home has a scooter now a days and so many times I have seen that even, just to go 100m to 200m folks from our apartment go on Activa. I remember from childhood that my mother use to go every day to the market walking and get Milk and vegetables in the evening only for the day and not for the week as we all do now a days.

Agreed that it is practically not possible now a days but then we can tweak some of it to make some walks or even just climb stairs once a day to our apartment no matter what floor we live on. If its too much then we can always walk up stairs that we can and then take an elevator.(This for folks residing on high rise in towers).

I guess we all can alter our lifestyles a little bit and take some time for ourselves.
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Old 15th December 2018, 15:32   #101
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Very interesting article!
I have started putting on the weight and realized this is going out of my control.
And then I started coming to office (one way ~5 kms) by bicycle everyday and play shuttle rigorously for 1 hour. This has become my routine for last 7-8 months.
Having the lunch or dinner at odd times, skipping breakfast, irregular sleep timings can also be added to reasons.
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Old 15th December 2018, 18:03   #102
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Folks got to realise is that fitness should be a way of life. I don't advocate everyone running over to the gym, but at least dedicate an hour each day/ 3 days a week to your physical fitness!! And the exercise you do needs to be serious, slow jogging on the treadmill for an hour, or walking for 2 hours and then hogging on Chaat and juices will not do. Any moderate form of exercise which gets your heart pumping to about 70% of it's maximum capacity, thrice a week should keep you relatively healthy.
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Old 16th December 2018, 09:15   #103
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Just my observations folks. I might be wrong.
Not at all. Many studies have been suggesting that meditation and yoga can help with Alzheimer's as well - a disease (symptom) that appears to be getting very common these days. A quick google search will give enough reliable and scientific hits.

I used to practice yoga in the past - learned it as part of a 3-month course that was offered by someone at my alma mater. Practiced it for almost 7-yrs with no interruptions. Meditation is something I've never tried. But so far I think it's more than enough to be mindful and self-aware/introspect; Will give meditation a try when I feel a need for it!
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Old 16th December 2018, 11:32   #104
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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Been reading this thread with interest. I have two observations:

2. The definition of fit here seems to hover around visible physical fitness aka Salman Khan style or 'I do 30 minutes pumping in the gym' style.

3. The concept of fitness as a function of holistic body health and resistance to disease seems to be getting missed out altogether.

4. Also fitness regimen seems to be focused on the thread only on Western methods of gym, run, weights, etc. What about Yoga? Meditation?

I might be wrong...
You're not wrong, you're very correct. Fitness is not about having a chiseled body. It is about health as a whole- yoga and meditation are very important.

I'd like to disagree with you on one point though. Since our lifestyle has become very sedentary and we don't do as much as mechanical work as the previous generations, I think the younger and middle-aged people need to play a sport/exercise on regular basis. Doesn't need to be 7 days a week, but a few times a week.

Don't get me started on how the younger generations eat a lot of unhealthy food.


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For all corrective measures there's starting point, when one touches 100kgs Yog and Meditation will not work. The way I understand it is like this: Cut down portions drastically...
I reduced from 90 to 70 kg a few years back. I didn't cut portions drastically, you eat more fibers and reduce dairy along with an hour of tennis every day.

Do remember, everybody's body is different- but reducing carbs will go a long way.
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Old 16th December 2018, 20:28   #105
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I was 32 and working as senior resident at AIIMS New Delhi. One day I had to run a small distance and I was completely out of breath. It came as a shocker as I used to consider fit. So I took up running, I was fortunate to find good initial adviser / coach / mentor in one of Army SF doctor on deputation at AIIMS.
This was in 2009 , to keep up the motivation levels I enrolled in Half Marathon (21.09 km ). I am witness to the change in Delhi running circles and fitness groups. When I ran my first Half Marathon people thought I was crazy, thinking of running this distance. Good number of runners were expats. Most of females running were expats. Fast forward to 2018, there is a huge explosion in number of running clubs, huge number of Indian female runners are on road.
In Delhi running and cycling are becoming huge. As they say running is the new golf. You really meet interesting people on the run, pilots, army men , doctors , CEOs.
I would say fitnesses scenario is grim in India but it is changing fast and awareness is spreading fast.
As a doctor I can say with confidence that if one thing you can change in life, that will be aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise singularly can really cut down risk of at lot of diseases and help you live longer and healthier.
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