Park your car away from your work place and walk 10 minutes to your worksite

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Walking is the best exercise that requires no investment or extra time

New Delhi, 15th December 2018: Statistics indicate that about 34% of Indians – 24.7% male and 43.9% females – are not active enough to stay healthy. Globally, more than 1.4 billion adults are at risk of diseases from not doing enough physical activity. The data also shows that if the current trends continue, the 2025 global activity target of a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be met.

Insufficient activity puts people at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers, according to the first study to estimate global physical activity trends over time.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Lack of exercise affects the human body right up to the cellular level. Modern and advanced technology has certainly made life easy and convenient for us – online shopping, online payments, accessing information, etc., all of which can be done from the comfort of our homes. But, has technology really made our life better? What it has also done is change our lifestyle pattern at the cost of health; we are less physically active now – sitting at a desk for a long time working on the computer, using social media on smartphones, watching TV or sitting in a meeting, all these activities promote sedentary behavior.”

‘Exercise’ is not synonymous with ‘physical activity’. The former is planned, structured and repetitive while any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, also has a health benefit (WHO Fact Sheet, February 2017).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Walking is the best form of exercise, which requires no investment, no special training. Walking in natural environments such as parks also reduces mental stress and fatigue and improve mood via the release of the ‘feel good’ endorphins. This proximity to nature also helps in the inward spiritual journey and shifts one from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode manifested by lowering of blood pressure and pulse rate.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • To start the day, park your car further away from your place of work and walk 10 minutes to your worksite. At lunchtime, walk 5 minutes away from work and 5 minutes back before eating your lunch. At the end of the day, take that same 10-minute route to walk back to your car. You will now have completed your recommended daily exercise.
  • If you simply cannot exercise during the week, do it on the weekends. Perhaps start with 30-minute walks and each successive weekend add five minutes to each walk until you reach 75 minutes.

  • You get the same benefit in half the time by performing vigorous as opposed to moderate intensity exercise. As an example, if you jog for 25 minutes three days each week, you reap the same benefits as walking for 30 minutes five days each week.
  • Find someone to exercise with or join a group exercise program. This makes exercising more social and fun and increases the likelihood that you will continue. Joining a group of like-minded exercisers (such as a walking group or tennis circle) or a gym can provide necessary encouragement and support.

Better gut health can help manage the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder- SAD: Winter Depression

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The condition is more prevalent in women in the age group of 18 to 30

New Delhi, 14th December 2018: Studies indicate that the estimated lifetime prevalence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the general population is about 0.5% to 3%. The point prevalence in primary care outpatients is approximately 5% to 10%, and in depressed outpatients, it is 15%. SAD is defined as recurring depression with seasonal onset and remission. Fall-onset (winter) SAD is more common than spring-onset SAD. The former is characterized primarily by atypical symptoms of depression, while spring-onset SAD is associated with the more typical features.

The milder version of SAD usually resolves itself within months. It is also estimated that 4 out of 5 sufferers of this condition are women. The age of onset is estimated to be between 18 and 30 years but it can affect anyone irrespective of this.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “SAD occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. It can be mistaken as a ‘lighter’ version of depression, but this is not the case. It is a different version of the same illness and people with SAD are just as ill as people with major depression. The human body, its metabolism, and hormones react to changing seasons. This further leads to changes in mood and behavior. Just as certain people become irritable and aggressive in summer, others feel low and lethargic during the monsoon and winter. For women, especially those who are housewives, can fare worse than men since they do not have much access to the world outside in a colder weather.”

Some symptoms of fall-onset SAD include inability to wake up in the morning, craving for carbohydrate-rich food, marked increase in weight, irritability, interpersonal difficulties (especially rejection sensitivity), and leaden paralysis (heavy, leaden feelings in arms or legs).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Light therapy has been proven to be effective in people with SAD. It may take 4 to 6 weeks to see a response, although some patients improve within days. Therapy is continued until sufficient daily light exposure is available through other sources, typically from springtime sun. Other ways to prevent the onset of this condition include eating a healthy and balanced diet; staying hydrated; getting enough sunlight; and engaging in regular outdoor activities.”

Some tips from HCFI.

Including certain food items in your diet can help in managing the symptoms of SAD.

  • Mix turmeric with milk and drink at night before sleeping. It also helps get rid of cough and cold, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, keeps you warm.
  • Sweet potatoes are a very good source of fibre, vitamin A, and potassium. Apart from relieving constipation, they also boost immunity.
  • Dates are rich in nutrients; keep you warm; and prevent cold-related illnesses.
  • Consume ginger juice with honey every day. It can provide relief from cough and cold and aid digestion.
  • Instead of processed snacks, you can opt for dry fruits in between meals or add it to food items. They generate heat in your body and are rich in nutrients.

Healthy housing is also a harm reduction strategy

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Social well-being is also a determinant of good health

New Delhi, 13th December 2018: The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released the first-ever guidelines to guide governments, builders and developers on framing healthier policies and to ensure better housing standards in the community.

Housing quality is becoming a major social factor determining health in view of climate change such as global warming, the rise in the elderly population and the spurt in urban growth and population.

Apart from physical and mental well-being, a state of good health includes social well-being as well. This is influenced by factors such as housing, occupation, income and education. Healthy housing offers protection not only from physical harm but also privacy, emotional security and a sense of belonging.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The WHO guidelines are of particular significance given the increasing incidence of air pollution – both outdoor and indoor – in India. Poor quality of housing can lead to deterioration of health and early death in the similar manner as other physical and mental illnesses. Unhealthy housing conditions including poor ventilation, etc. are associated with the risk of diseases such as heart attacks, respiratory issues and premature death. Some points one should consider as echoed in the guidelines also include adequate living space; proper temperature; safety of occupants including the elderly and those with disabilities; good ventilation and safe water; clean toilets; minimum noise levels; and safe indoor air quality.”

Statistics indicate that currently, about one billion people worldwide live in crowded housing conditions putting them at an increased risk of health issues.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The need of the hour is to educate citizens on healthy living. They should be encouraged to follow clean and hygienic practices to avoid the spread of diseases. All these encompass healthy housing conditions as well. Existing houses can be made more livable to combat indoor air pollution. Regulations should also be enforced strictly to curb noise pollution in residential areas.”

WHO has defined health has as “not just the absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. This clearly indicates that the conditions we live in and work also affect our health. Thus, it is not enough to address just the immediate presenting complaint, it is also important to treat the person as a whole in context of his/her social circumstances. Treatment must be tailored to each individual patient taking into consideration their individual characteristics, culture, personal preferences, expectations etc. Harm reduction forms the basis of a healthy body and mind.

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