Friday, July 21, 2017

WHY WE NEED TO BE AFRAID OF OBESITY?

                                                              - MILAN K SINHA, Motivational Speaker...
Diabetes

Obesity is becoming a big health issue for countries like India despite the fact that millions of people are sleeping hungry at night; millions of infants are grossly under-nourished and under-weight. According to a recent health report, third highest number of obese and overweight people lives in India. 11% adolescent and 20% adults are suffering from obesity. Women are double in number than men in our country on this count.

Obesity among children has equally been a serious cause of concern. Kirsten Gillibrand puts it in these words, “Obesity puts our children at risk of developing serious diseases - such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression. It keeps our children from performing their best at school.”
The probability of obese children becoming an obese adult is undoubtedly high as the childhood eating and living habits do continue in later years in most of the cases. More than one medical study vindicates this fact.
Interestingly, it is all knowing that obesity is directly related to presence of excess fat in the body and it often results from consumption of carbohydrate and fat in excess of what is required for keeping the body healthy and going. In other words, taking more calories than normally required and also failing to burn excess calories by exercise and other daily physical activities gradually make us over-weight.
Before moving forward to discuss this issue which is spreading like an epidemic in Indian society, it is pertinent to know at the outset what the obesity is all about.

Simply speaking, if a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) is 25% or more, the person is termed as obese. To explain it further, people are generally considered obese when their Body Mass Index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight in kilogram by the square of the person's height in meter, is more than 25 kg/ m2. In other words, if a person is 1.83 meter (6 feet) in height and less than 84 kg in weight, he is not over-weight or the person is within the standard BMI range.
Needless to emphasise that an overweight person is more prone to falling prey to many health problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, joint pain, respiratory ailments, sleep and stress related problems - to name a few. Besides these avoidable diseases, the obese persons are generally found to have low self-esteem, feeling of social isolation, emotional weakness etc. It is also found that obese persons are finding it difficult to enjoy their sex life as well as conjugal life well for more than one reason. It affects their domestic harmony significantly. Finally, this leads to separation and divorce in a number of cases.
Conversely, remaining physically active, slim and strong has several health benefits - the blood circulates more efficiently, the fluid level in the body is easily managed, chances of developing any major health problem including the ones enumerated here-in-above is comparatively lesser. The person is able to enjoy life more and is also better placed to enhance his productivity at work place.
Interestingly, the problem of obesity is growing at a rapid pace mainly among the people who are not poor but are inadequately health conscious.
Some of the major causes of being obese or overweight are as under:
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Physical inactivity
  • Bad dietary habit. Regularly eating fast food/junk food
  • Regular consumption of more oily/salty/sugary items even at home
  • Regular unregulated consumption of alcohol and soft drink
  • Stressful life in home and/or at workplace
  • Hormone imbalance, particularly in case of women
  • Genetic reasons in some cases
The question now is how to address this growing health problem on a sustainable basis (without formal medical intervention including surgery) in countries like India?
Yes, we can take care of this issue by adopting two separate prescriptions – first for those who are already obese and second for those who are very likely to be obese. Undeniably, for both the group of people, “Awareness is half the solution” principle must be followed in all possible manners.

To say, awareness campaigns to be undertaken in a focused manner in schools, colleges, corporate entities, training institutes, coaching centres etc. The deliberation and discussion should be centred on advantages of healthy eating, regular exercise, stress management, natural ways for maintaining/controlling weight.
Notwithstanding the fact that for some years now the concept of imposing “Fat Tax” on junk food has been a reality in countries like Hungary and Denmark, it is quite interesting to know that Japan was the first country to levy “Fat Tax” to highlight the campaign against obesity. In India, the state of Kerala recently introduced 14.5% “Fat Tax” on Pizza, Burger and other junk food to be served in restaurants. It is not without reason as Kerala comes second in having the highest percentage of obese people after Punjab.
For over-weight persons, it is absolutely necessary to review their current lifestyle to know exactly well, where to effect correction and how to do it in a sustainable basis so that weight loss takes place gradually without any major setback in their energy level and professional productivity. For this to happen reasonably well, it is better to follow these recommendations:
  • Start eating fewer calories by increasing green vegetables and fruits intake. Avoid non-vegetarian spicy food items, particularly at night.
  • Stop taking junk, processed and preserved food. Eating home-made food is always better.
  • Drastically cut down on sugary drinks and beverages.
  • Increase level of burn out significantly by physical exercises/activities.
  • Take your breakfast well. Lunch should be lighter and dinner the lightest.
  • Sleep early in the night and get up early in the morning.
  • Drink water adequately and properly. Drinking lukewarm water is better.
  • Minimise, if you can’t stop, consumption of alcohol.
  • Practice yoga and meditation sincerely on regular basis.
Eat more vegetables to keep weight in check.
For those, who are very likely to be obese or those who want to remain slim and strong for longer time, it is necessary to adopt a lifestyle where you can eat healthy, sleep well and also engage yourself in certain physical exercise/activities for minimum 30-40 minutes at least five days a week. Avoiding junk food, sugary drinks and consumption of alcohol can’t be overstressed. Remaining calm, cool and happy by managing your stress can make you avoid being obese. Yes, shunning excessive dependence on modern gadgets like smart phone, laptop etc. helps in many ways.

Before signing off, here is one point of caution for over-enthusiasts, particularly students and young professionals. Never ever jump to any conclusion and switch over to a new routine without giving a serious thought to the whole issue, more so if you are undergoing some medical treatment. Have thorough consultation with your doctor on the subject.
To say the least, if we become genuinely health conscious and start living our life accordingly, we need not be afraid of obesity.

I'm keen to know what you think on this important subject. Hence, I request you to share your views/feedback on the matter.          
# Click here to enjoy my Blog in Hindi, "Chalte, Chalte" (चलते, चलते)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA – A GREAT SPIRITUAL LEADER AND SOCIAL REFORMER

                                                      - MILAN K SINHA, Motivational Speaker...


Swami Vivekanand.


“All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that” – said Swami Vivekananda, the great spiritual leader and social reformer. It is interesting to know what Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose wrote about Swami ji, “He harmonized the East and the West, Religion and Science, Past and Present. And that is why he is great. Our countrymen have gained unprecedented Self-respect, Self-reliance and Self-assertion from his teachings.” 

Narendra Nath Datta or Naren, as Swami Vivekananda was known before finally resolving to live like a true monk in the year 1886, was born in erstwhile Calcutta on 12th January, 1863 in a well-to-do family. His life was very eventful. He was intelligent, meritorious, strong, sensitive and curious. Besides studies, Naren was very good in sports and music.  He graduated from Calcutta University and was successful in acquiring good understanding of various subjects including History and Philosophy. He lost his father at the age of 21.

From his early childhood, he had spiritual inclination. As such, he started practising yoga and meditation since his school days. Later on, he associated himself with Brahmo Samaj Movement for a brief period. In November, 1881 he came in contact with his spiritual Guru, Sri Ramkrishna in Dakshineswar near Calcutta. Naren became his true disciple and finally become a monk. Sri Ramkrishna passed away in August, 1886.

Ramkrishna ParamhansSwami Vivekananda started his journey to see and know the real Bharat as a wandering monk in 1988 and travelled extensively for almost five years in different parts of the country thereby having first-hand experience of the ground realities prevailing in British ruled India. He reached Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) and sat in deep meditation on Rock Island at Kanyakumari from 25th to 27th December, 1892. This place is now well-known as Vivekananda Rock Memorial.  

In 1893, he went to America and addressed the delegates in the “Word’s Parliament of Religions” in Chicago. His address was historic and was widely acclaimed.

Swami Vivekananda founded “Ramkrishna Mission” in May, 1897 and also got a big plot afterwards in Belur on the banks of Ganga near Calcutta, now famous as “Belur Math”.

His thoughts were based primarily on his first hand experiences of life and hence extremely inspiring for all strata of people across the world. Let us take this opportunity to enjoy his views on certain important subjects:

Motherland:

Our sacred motherland is a land of religion and philosophy- the birthplace of spiritual giants- the land of renunciation, where and where alone, from the most ancient to the most modern times, there has been the highest ideal of life open to man. This is the motherland of philosophy, of spirituality, and of ethics, of sweetness, gentleness, and love. These still exist, and my experience of the world leads me to stand on firm ground, and make the bold statement that India is still the first and foremost of all the nations of the world in these respects. …. …. Study the history of the whole world, and you will see that every high ideal you meet with anywhere had its origin in India. … …

Education:

Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making, assimilation of ideas. ... … The real education is that which enables one to stand on his legs. …. …. The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion - is it worth the name?... …

Youth:

My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions. ….  …. The great thing is to have faith in oneself, even before faith in God. The whole world has been made by the energy of man, by the power of enthusiasm, by the power of faith. … … Arise, awake and stop not till the desired end is reached. …. … Our duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle to live up to his own highest ideal, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the truth.…


Swami Vivekananda left this world on 4th July, 1902 at the age of just 39 years. Notwithstanding, he left the most indelible mark on the hearts and minds of millions of people both in India and abroad both by his thoughts and deeds. 
(hellomilansinha@gmail.com)
                Will meet again with Open MindAll The Best. 

# Published in PatnaDaily.com on the occasion of Swamiji's Birth Anniversary

Monday, August 1, 2016

MOTIVATION : IMPACT OF REGULAR EXERCISE ON OUR HEALTH

                                                         - Milan K Sinha

Various studies have shown conclusively that physical inactivity leads to many health problems. The sedentary lifestyle of growing number of people of all strata of society including large number of white collar employees across industries and businesses is a serious cause of concern. The so-called modern lifestyle actually makes the life of several million Indians devoid of even minimum amount of physical activity absolutely necessary to keep this unique machine called human body going. The growing dependence on technology in some way or the other has also been contributing its share to make a crippling effect on the lives of large population of our youth.

A recent medical study has revealed that sitting for longer hours in office or home before the Computer or TV or with laptop or engaged with your smart phone or such electronic gadgets can definitely raise the chances of all types of major diseases and then even 30 minutes of exercise every day may not be sufficient. As such, longer duration of daily exercise would be necessary to keep you fit. 

To be more precise, physical inactivity or lack of physical exercise is known to affect badly our muscles, heart, lungs, kidney, bones, joints, brain and digestive system which lead finally to indisposition of some kind or the other in quicker intervals. Besides weakening the immune system of our body significantly, it impacts our monthly budget to a reasonable extent as we are forced to incur avoidable expenses towards doctor’s fee, medicine and at times hospitalisation as well.

It is interesting to know that moderate to intense exercise including simple brisk walking for some time also acts as a mood booster and also a de-stressing tool.

So, what should one do to keep the body healthy and going?

Starting the day with a few minutes of warm up session is widely recommended by health experts. It is necessary for loosening your muscles as they become stiff while resting for couple of hours in the night. This is needed to be rightly ready for intense exercise or work-out. If for any reason, you are not going out for a walk, you may very well do spot running and other free hand exercises for a few minutes, may be ten to fifteen  minutes. This should be done on an empty stomach preferably during morning hours.

It is needless to emphasise that even this kind of simple routine exercise confers many benefits like better exercise tolerance, lower body weight, lower blood pressure, better control of blood sugar, lowered cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. It also contributes significantly towards reduced stroke risk, reduced risk of cancer of all types, lesser incidence of viral infections and lowered risk of depression. Not only this, regular dose of physical work out and exercise in many ways keeps our physique in right shape and also ensures a better sleep in the night.


Hence, the standard medical advice has been to recommend exercise duration ranging from 20-40 minutes a day, if not possible for all the days of the week, for at least four to five days in a week. Undoubtedly, if done daily, it is still better. Studies have shown that benefits of lowered blood pressure due to exercise disappears if one stops the activity for more than two weeks. It is because exercise helps decrease the level of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein, commonly known as bad cholesterol) and enhance the level of HDL (High Density Lipoprotein, also known as good cholesterol) in our blood.
                Will meet again with Open MindAll The Best. 

# Published in Patna Daily.com

Thursday, June 23, 2016

MOTIVATION : YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, STRESS AND YOGA

                                                              - MILAN K SINHA

Generally speaking, the young professionals, whether they are in jobs or managing their own business or industry, are experiencing lots of stress day in and day out in varying degrees across the globe. Undoubtedly, the competition is huge and cut–throat.  Consequently, they often get tired and indisposed too rather more frequently, which badly affect their self–confidence, general health/well-being and productivity at their work place. It also impacts their family life adversely.

In fact, medical experts have been noticing an abnormal increase in the number of young professionals falling prey to psychosomatic ailments which involve both our body and mind. In majority of cases, it is the fall out of perpetual stress and tension. Ultimately, the person starts suffering from medical disorders such as headache, migraine, ulcer, hypertension, diabetes etc. This is not a happy situation for any individual and his or her family. The question is how to cope up with this situation on an on-going basis without visiting a doctor and without taking medicine on every such occasion?

The simple and very effective solution is practicing ‘Yoga’ sincerely and regularly.

In an address given at Gandhi memorial College, Bhopal on 28th February, 1979 Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the founder of world famous “Bihar School of Yoga” said, ‘…Today, the thinking people, who have eyes to see and who are able to understand the secrets of yoga with an open mind, have come to the conclusion that the science of yoga has a definite, clear and indisputable solution for the difficulties of man. The science of yoga covers a great range of human problems. It not only solves the problems of spiritual life, but it can also help to ease the problems of our day to day illnesses. The science of Yogasanas, Pranayama, Mudras and Bandhas, including Hatha Yoga - the science of physiological balance and physical purification- has brought to us the knowledge that diseases can be relieved by the practice of yoga.’
  
To say in plain words, through regular practice of yoga, preferably in the early morning hours in a relatively open space, we gradually learn to look inside, explore our latent potential, achieve higher level of mindfulness in our every action and thereby gain control over our body and mind. In reality, besides achieving a better physical fitness level, we do improve our power of concentration and the capacity to remain calm and quiet even in moments of distress and indisposition. As a result, we become far more capable to handle and manage any hardship we normally confront in the journey of our life and become more productive and satisfied most of the time.

So, the simple prescription is to spare minimum 30 minutes out of 1440 minutes in a day to practice yoga every morning to manage your stress significantly and hence keep yourself healthier and happier now and always.

Finally before signing off, let us enjoy the motivating lines of Swami Vivekananda, ‘All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that.’  

                                           
                                                                            
            Will meet again with Open MindAll The Best.

Published in Patna Daily.com dated 22.06.2016 

Monday, February 29, 2016

HOW TO STAY FIT AND FINE DURING EXAMINATION SEASON

          -        Milan K Sinha
 Students in Patna appearing in their exam (file photo).

Examination season is very much on in our country and so is the final preparation by several million students. In this age of cut-throat competition for securing better grades or marks even in final school examinations due to various factors including high expectation of parents from their children, the students in general pass through higher stress level during this period. 

Besides impacting their normal study routine, it has negative impact even on their daily routine of eating and sleeping. Surveys show that some students do fall sick at this crucial time and all their preparations of entire year fail to fetch desired result.
                                                                                                                       
Truly speaking, during the examination period, it is all the more necessary to stay fit and fine both mentally and physically in order to perform better by withstanding any negative pressure. To be precise, eating and sleeping well are equally important as studying well during this period.

Well, but the question is how to address these issues?  Yes, it goes like this :

It’s said that well begun is half done. So, start your day early with heavy and healthy breakfast. Your lunch and dinner should also be protein, mineral and vitamin rich but should be relatively lighter than your breakfast. It needs little emphasis that your daily diet has adequate quantity of seasonal fruits and green vegetables. Avoid eating or drinking junk and processed food items or aerated drinks as it normally contain higher level of sugar, fat and salt than actually required besides certain unhealthy chemicals or preservatives. It is always better not to be in a hurry while eating as chewing well is very necessary for better digestion. Keeping your body all the time adequately hydrated is also desirable.


In any case, sleep for 7-8 hours in the night as it calms the brain and facilitates the normal hormone secretion. Actually, sleep deprivation can put the body into a state of high alert as production of stress hormones goes up which may lead to many health complications. Following the age old prescription of ‘early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ is definitely worth practicing. Yes, the sleeping dress should not be tight or uncomfortable; your room should be adequately airy and your bed reasonably comfortable. It is equally vital that your room is devoid of light and sound, the sleep distractors. Meditation of  5-10 minute duration before going to bed ensures quality sleep which adds to your level of freshness and energy in the morning and thereafter as well. 

As always, I'm keen to know what do you think on this subject. Hence, request you to post comments to share your views and experiences.


                Will meet again with Open MindAll The Best.

Published in Patna Daily.com dated 28.02.2016 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

INVESTMENT IN HEALTH THROUGH BALANCED DIET

                                                                              - MILAN K SINHA

Balanced Diet
Undeniably, every living being including the human being needs food to eat and survive. We also know that except human beings all other living creatures on this earth are in need of limited variety of eatables. We, in fact, can’t live without a large variety of food items, more for satisfying our tongue than for survival and for maintaining a better health. Now the question arises: do we live to eat or eat to live? Undoubtedly, the simple and most logical answer is, we must eat to live. If it is so, the next question must be asked and that is, what should be our diet in order to live well and healthy.



Taking healthy food does mean eating a variety of foods that contain nutrients we need to maintain our health and keep us going. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. In other words, the crucial part of healthy eating is nothing but having a balanced diet. And a balanced diet - or a good diet - means consuming eatables from different food groups in the right quantities, because one single food group cannot provide everything average healthy human needs. Nutritionists opine that there are five main food groups - whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products, fat and sugar. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables in reasonable quantity regularly has added advantage.
That’s why Bettenny Frankel says, “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” To put it differently, it can be said that we don’t have to eat less, we have to eat right instead.
Truly speaking, healthy eating is a way of life, which everyone should follow and practice in order to remain fit and fine. Enjoy what Brooke Griffin has to say in this regard, “The healthier you are, the better you will perform. Value your health and fitness. There is always time to make time.”
Ok, fine. But is that all? No, besides the quality and quantity of what we eat throughout the day, it is equally important to keep in mind when to eat our food and how much. And more importantly, what is the sequence of taking various food items. Putting it briefly, our day should start with highly nutritious items in good quantity. There is an age old saying which goes like this: take the breakfast like a king or a queen, take the lunch like a prince or a princess and take the dinner like a pauper or a beggar. The message is quite loud and clear and needs no elaboration.
It has been discovered that even factors such as how you eat your food can influence how many calories get into your system. The longer you chew your food, the more calories the body retains.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has these recommendations:
  • We should aim for an energy balance and a healthy bodyweight.
  • We should limit our energy consumption from total fats. We should also aim for more unsaturated fats and less saturated fats.
  • We should up our consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
  • We should consume as little simple sugars are possible. 
  • As well as making sure our salt is iodized, we should also limit our consumption of salt/sodium.
The number of calories we need from the food we eat daily can depend on several factors like our age, size, height, sex etc. For example, a physically active 6feet man of 25 years will require more calories than a 5feet man aged 50 years. To say, an active older man will require fewer calories than an active young man.
One more thing is to be kept in mind. We should avoid junk and processed food as it contains less nutrition, yet more quantity of fat, sugar and salt. In today’s fast life, however, a large section of city dwellers fall prey to eating highly spicy, oily and sugary items often and that too in a hurried manner and in a state of stress which is bound to make them indisposed frequently. Actually, “one pill for every ill” – as is becoming the habit, we notice among many of our friends and relatives these days, is an undesirable condition. On the contrary, it’s far better, if our daily food compensates the requirement of medicine, if at all we’re about to fall sick.
Before signing off tonight, it is interesting to find what Thomas Alva Edison said in this regard long back, “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest the patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
As always, I'm keen to know what do you think on this subject. Hence, request you to post comments to share your views and experiences.

                Will meet again with Open MindAll The Best.

# Published in Patna Daily.com dated 30.12.2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

URGENT NEED TO KEEP THE WORKFORCE HEALTHY TO KEEP THE BUSINESS GROWING !

                                                                                   - MILAN K SINHA


India, the second most populous and the largest democratic country of the world does have the huge pool of unemployed youths, adequately educated and inadequately educated; skilled, semi-skilled and un-skilled. This has been a major concern area for decades. But, leaving this issue aside for now,  we shall be focusing in next few lines basically on the condition of that section of population who are fortunate to have been employed in the ever expanding corporate sector, but their work life balance has been in jeopardy, notwithstanding the pay and perks they receive. 

To put it in plain words,  for more than anything else now, it has been a growing concern for quite sometime among the working youths in corporate entities in India (and also in many other countries) that the working environment is becoming more and more taxing and stressful which naturally results in growing health problems including depression, hypertension, diabetes etc. It’s needless to reiterate that this has also directly-indirectly been impacting the health of the family and society at large. 

It is noteworthy  at this point what Dr. Dean Michael Ornish, the renowned Physician & Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California has to convey in these lines, " Think about it : Heart Disease and Diabetes, which account for more deaths in the U.S. and worldwide than everything else combined, are completely preventable by making comprehensive lifestyle changes, without drugs or surgery."

The progressive and employee-friendly companies do feel and appreciate this problem and hence embark on Wellness Management Programs as a major HR activity on a regular basis for all its employees to help and facilitate them strike a balance between the job requirements and health issues. 

This does include addressing issues related to Serious Lifestyle Aberrations mostly due to lack of  awareness and mindfulness.  That's why Rob Wittman stresses the point this way : "Individuals will achieve healthier lifestyles when prevention and wellness programs are accessible and available in their workplace, through their health provider, and in their communities."

The good corporations all over the world that treat their human resources as the most vital resource for sustaining quality growth of the company's business and revenue year after year do discover to their satisfaction that by engaging the employees in wellness management activities periodically, the company is able to reduce the overall medical expenses besides keeping the motivation level and degree of loyalty of the employees quite high. 

Not only this, the surveys and studies have also shown conclusively that wellness management initiatives result in creating a healthy working environment as feeling of camaraderie, togetherness, and empathy have been found to be profound among the work force in such companies. Undeniably, all this have also been translated into perceptible improvement in both top line and bottom line growth of the company. 

Finally, before signing off I wish to share with you this excellent quote of Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." 

As always, I'm keen to know what do you think on this subject. Hence, request you to post comments to share your views and experiences.

                Will meet again with Open MindAll The Best.