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Old 4th December 2018, 12:51   #1
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Default Why are Indians so unfit?

Felt the need to mention something I noticed and left me distressed.

As I was sitting in the lounge of Hyderabad airport last weekend, I started noticing just how fit male adults are. A cursory observation over the next half an hour was simply heart breaking. Not more than 1 in 20 males was what one would consider 'fit'. Protruding bellies, stooping shoulders, and lack of any spring in their step sadly defined almost everyone around in their 30s or older. Makes me wonder: where are the fit and dandy gentlemen supposed to be chiseled by all these Gyms and Fitness Centers in each nook and corner?

We are well and truly looking at a health related catastrophe in our country, the true extent of which is yet to be manifested once this population ages. We see to have failed in our transition from a food deficit society to one with options aplenty, and its a terrifying thought :(
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Old 5th December 2018, 12:01   #2
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Default Re: The Weight Loss Thread

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Originally Posted by avisidhu View Post
Felt the need to mention something I noticed and left me distressed.


We see to have failed in our transition from a food deficit society to one with options aplenty, and its a terrifying thought :(

I had the same realization when vacationing in Gokarna. All the foreigners irrespective of the age looked fit while majority of Indians walked around with a pot belly. One can argue that only the fit foreigners travel but the contrast was overwhelming. It is indeed a scary thought. The hospitals are already overcrowded and I wonder what will be the state a couple of decades down the line.
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Old 5th December 2018, 12:13   #3
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Default Re: The Weight Loss Thread

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Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
I had the same realization when vacationing in Gokarna. All the foreigners irrespective of the age looked fit while majority of Indians walked around with a pot belly. One can argue that only the fit foreigners travel but the contrast was overwhelming. It is indeed a scary thought. The hospitals are already overcrowded and I wonder what will be the state a couple of decades down the line.
When I first arrived in Australia, I was amazed to see people always running on the streets in their active wear - rain or hot sun.. they still ran. Wasn't surprising to see how many remain fit even as they age, as much as the elements catch up with their other features, such as skin etc. An Australian friend of mine who is in his 50s runs daily, even when travelling on work - such is their commitment.

However, all it took was for me to visit the local Costco outlet to see what we are accustomed to seeing all around us in Indian cities - overweight families, abundance of people with protruding bellies, and lack of fitness in general. Reason I concluded was the tendency to gorge on appealing food with no concern for tomorrow, easily available to purchase in bulk in a place like Costco. To me, this is similar to what we see in India. It wasn't just me who noticed this, my wife did too, and at some point we realized how glaringly obvious it was.
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Old 5th December 2018, 13:20   #4
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Default Re: The Weight Loss Thread

I think comparing life expectancy/quality of life would be a good measure. But appearance wise, Indians are really loaded with fat everywhere. There are very few people who are muscular. Atleast among younger people its changing with more hitting the gym, running etc.
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Old 5th December 2018, 22:27   #5
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Default Re: The Weight Loss Thread

The "health gap" is a direct manifestation of the "wealth gap" if you observe closely.
Eating healthy, joining a gym, having enough time between jobs to cook at home etc cost a lot more when compared to driving through a McDonalds and getting a "happy meal"
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Old 11th December 2018, 08:16   #6
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Thanks for sharing, Avisidhu! This topic surely warrants a new thread, so moving it out.

Not for nothing is India the diabetes capital of the world. We eat too much & exercise too little. Most people I know just work & sleep.

I almost fell into the trap due to the commitments required in building 2 businesses from scratch at the same time. Happy to report that I'm fitter at 41 than I was 5 - 8 years back. I have the sleep + exercise + food discipline of an athlete now. It's really not difficult - I have an extremely enjoyable lifestyle that's full of fun, outings, holidays, family time, friends, cars, music etc. But it's about finding that balance & dedication in life. This was important to me as both my parents have suffered diabetes + blood pressure + cholesterol + other things.

@ everyone: please work out in anyway possible, even if it's just a walk a day. Your body is the most important tool / asset you'll ever have in life. We never appreciate good health until we lose it. Sleep well, work out & eat well (it's okay to cheat once in a while, but not as an everyday habit). And yes, don't take stress. Whatever you are worrying about today, you won't even remember it on the same date in 2019. Stress just isn't worth it. All of us go through challenging situations in life - you have to find a way to manage that.

Last edited by GTO : 11th December 2018 at 08:20.
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Old 11th December 2018, 08:24   #7
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Yes we are one of the most unfit nations in the world and there is no denying that and food habits and lifestyle to blame.

However, what I am immensely happy about is the fact that today there are lot and a lot more people from every generation active and serious about fitness that we see them indulge in whatever activity that keeps them fit - Be that Yoga, Jogging, Trekking, Swimming, Gym etc.

I am glad that I need to blame the rise of social media, both for spreading the awareness in whatever sense and at the same time, creating a platform where more often than not many started to leverage this to show that they too are serious about fitness. Thus, spread the word.

As for me, It became serious after a conversation with a neighbor and a friend that I now without a miss wake up at 0500 for that early morning jog including the weekend and I am happy that it has continued for more than 6 months now. Prior to this it was other physical activities that still burnt some calories but not on regular and consistent basis.

This is the addiction that I am keen to embrace. It has also changed my diet and eating habits greatly and that helps keep most of the crucial numbers in check apart from weight.

The biggest gain - Very sound sleep each night and the biggest fear - Missing it on a particular day for whatever reason and thinking if I will have the same sound sleep that night.

Last edited by paragsachania : 11th December 2018 at 08:25.
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Old 11th December 2018, 08:49   #8
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Thanks for the thread. And yes I agree with the subject. We Indians are indeed an unfit lot. Average Indian male speciman will be one with huge protuding bellies and fat deposits all over incapable of walking any more than his parked car/bike or the nearest taxi/auto place. Our interest in sports is generally limited to watching it on TV. And majority of us who play, will be playing box cricket/gully cricket types only once we pass out from college.

In our office we have formed a WhatsApp group for fitness which i have joined in order to get the much needed motivation to keep myself fit.
One direct result of this was that Two weeks back I participated in Pune international marathon and ran (jogged) 10 kms in 69 minutes. A causal discussion with my neighbor who is an Italian revealed that he does 10kms in 40 minutes. I can see him frequently walking to the nearest market place to get his groceries (more than a couple of KMS away), whereas my preferred mode is to drive down or order in big basket.

I think as a society we have developed this tendency to get things done the easy way out whether we need it that way or not. And as things stand now this seems to not be changing.
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Old 11th December 2018, 08:50   #9
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

One simple reason: Habits. Not many children were (are) encouraged to play sports. (Although this is changing in Urban India) Once you develop a habit of playing sport, you try to do some activity to remain fit.

I moved to Minneapolis in August 2017. I observe that my many (a majority unfortunately) of my fellow Indian students don't have a habit of playing a sport. I get frustrated if I can't play every few days. Compared to us, these American students play a lot of sports. The dedication Americans have towards sport and exercise is amazing. I rode 300 miles over 3 months in Minneapolis, which seemed a lot to Indians. But I know at least 10 Americans who bike over 50 miles a week in Summer.

America(North and South,) Europe, heck even South Africa have a sporting culture in their schools. Maybe it's a South Asian trend to neglect fitness- our ancestors never needed to play a sport/hit the gym to be fit- their work and life in general kept them fit. (My grandpa and his brothers used to ride 16 km every day to work)

BTW, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are controllable by eating the right food from what I've read in different whitepapers. While there are countless studies on treating the conditions and controlling their effects, it is imperative that we establish the causes first. Many leading researchers have done the same, but their work has been overshadowed by the drug companies who profit from disease treatment rather than disease prevention.

Here's a video that I make everyone watch:

Quote:
Originally Posted by avisidhu View Post
Protruding bellies, stooping shoulders, and lack of any spring in their step sadly defined almost everyone around in their 30s or older. Makes me wonder: where are the fit and dandy gentlemen supposed to be chiseled by all these Gyms and Fitness Centers in each nook and corner?
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.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 11th December 2018 at 08:56.
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Old 11th December 2018, 09:02   #10
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Agree that we Indians are less fit than we were a generation ago. The number or proportion of fat people is alarmingly high compared to when I was a 12 year old. I don't agree that Westerners universally are fitter. They are more polarized into the disciplined fitness ones and the 110 kgs waddlers. I am referring here to USA more than Europe. We didn't inherit a family culture of sports from our parents in the most part and many today eat a lot of processed foods and Twiggy's order out. The over weight 30 somethings have a challenge ahead. You only have to look at the photos of T-BHP meets to see it.
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Old 11th December 2018, 09:18   #11
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Once we enter middle age, the metabolism and active lifestyle takes a back seat, but the eating habits don't. So, while we would have been fit in our student life, we don't remain the same anymore. (The balance gets skewed). But since we do not notice anything drastically change in our eating habits, we attribute this growing weight to the new phase of life we are in (Middle age, family work etc).

What we need to realize is the change in our metabolism and accordingly alter even the dietary lifestyle. Also since we have reduced metabolic rates in the new phase, we need to consciously put in that much more an effort to keep up that metabolism. Only way to do that is to make this effort a part of our daily schedule. Only then it can become a way of life. (Problem is we just don't do that. And hence the title of this thread)

And yes it does work if you get to it like clockwork!

Last edited by ampere : 11th December 2018 at 09:21.
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Old 11th December 2018, 09:39   #12
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Are we looking more at the urban bodies (humans ofcourse) to deduce these conclusions. More of rural population is lean but not necessarily healthy. We are in billion and a few millions are getting out of shape. Again mostly urban phenomenon.
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Old 11th December 2018, 09:45   #13
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Two very simple but obvious reasons, in my view:

1. Sedentary lifestyle. Yes, in this day and age, almost all white collar work the world over is confined to the desk/ laptop in various forms, and therefore, during this time, one has almost zero activity levels. However, what I have observed in countries other than India is that the people engage in a lot of walking, physical activity outside of their work hours- and this is not necessarily sports or gymming, it is normal every day stuff such as cleaning the house themselves, washing the car themselves and walking up and down to stores for groceries etc. In India, almost all of this is outsourced to help who come at a relatively affordable pay. It is next to unimaginable in Western countries to appoint a domestic help, driver etc, since most people cannot afford the amounts required to be paid. Hence, everything has to be done by themselves, which automatically introduces considerable activity into the daily life cycle.

2. Bad food habits. Lot of oil, masala and generally fattening ingredients in what we eat on a daily basis, and this is true of even home cooked food in many cases (leave alone restaurant or junk food that is consumed by the younger population). Coupled with the sedentary lifestyle habits mentioned above, it makes for a very potent combination to render a person sluggish, unfit and with severe lack of stamina or physical endurance/fitness.

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Old 11th December 2018, 09:56   #14
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

One of my niece [born & brought up in US] quipped, why everyone in India shows their love through food?
Beta, one more/a piece more...And she is just so right. And here lies the answer.

None of today's parents want the child to do good in sports or excel at other curricular activities, everyone wants an Einstein.

We have a 3 year old girl, we never force feed her, I take her out to play or my driver does, everyday in the evening. In metros/apartments, its easier for kids to mingle and play, but here, there is no such culture, so she goes to her aunt's house, there are around 7/8 kids there, she plays with them, gets all muddy/dirty and comes back.

I myself play badminton, my parents/wife do Yoga.

I am not the most fit person, but am working towards it. Someone I know, his family has a history of diabetes, this guy is completely off sugar and gluten [he himself is a Surgeon MS] and the way his face glows, we all really look forward to the 2 hours at the badminton court. As a rider as well, the fitness has been a boon.

Copied from healthieRx [on FB, you may follow].
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Old 11th December 2018, 10:53   #15
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Being fat/overweight has more to do with eating too many calories, rather than exercising or sports.
As folks have rightly pointed out, obesity among kids and youth is a direct result of a lazy lifestyle, no sports, and affordable junk food.

However, when one considers India as a whole, it is not just our lazy lifestyle that contributes to the unfitness, there's a very significant societal and psychological angle as well.

India has a very high very poor population, and being poor is considered a sign of failure. Eating well is a luxury and whoever is able to do it, esp. folks who are first generation out-of-poverty or even out-of-lower-middle-class, cross over to excess almost by default.
Eating well and having a well-fed body to show is a way to tell the society that I am not poor. And this is important.

I personally know family, friends, colleagues, who eat sweets after each and every meal, eat non-veg food everyday, drink packaged juices or carbonated drink every evening, because they feel this is the good life. Because "why not", they say "what am I earning for"?
Just 15 years ago, we would eat sweets rarely, eat non-veg food only on Sunday, or maybe once more during the week.

And not just food, but eating Paan and Gutka (some number name, higher the number the more expensive it is), are very typical signs to display affluence.
The new found love for fitness is a very metro and upper-class phenomenon, much in contrast with the rest of society.

cheers
lazy

Last edited by lazy : 11th December 2018 at 10:55.
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