Yoga can help in the union of the body, mind, and the surroundings

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The practice is beneficial for heart health and helps lower blood pressure, apart from offering other health benefits

New Delhi, 21 June 2019: Studies examining the benefits of yoga have suggested that the practice provides significant benefits for cardiovascular health, including LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. Those who practiced asana-based yoga reduced their LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels by 12.1 mg/dL and systolic blood pressure by 5.2 mm Hg and increased their HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels by 3.2 mg/dL.

On International Yoga Day, there is a need to create awareness on the benefits of yoga for overall health and well-being.

Yoga is a science, which shifts one from sympathetic to parasympathetic state of mind. It is a combination of Hatha Yoga (asanas or postures), breathing and meditation. Meditation means concentrating on an object and giving preference to that over thoughts. Mindfulness meditation and breathing awareness can shift one from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “At the outset, I would like to wish all the readers on International Yoga Day. We must understand the difference between ‘yog’ and ‘yoga’. The word ‘yoga’ comes from a Sanskrit term that means union. It refers to combining the body, mind, and day-to-day challenges of life into a single experience rather than keeping them separate. The word ‘yog’ on the other hand refers to a state of mind that is in the present. It is about being in the ‘now’ and losing oneself in the moment. For instance, when we are with a childhood friend, we are not aware of how time has lapsed. This state can be referred to as the yogic state.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The essence of Bhagavad Gita can be summarized in one Shloka (Chapter 2.48) where Krishna says to Arjuna ‘Yogastha Kuru Karmani’, which means ‘concentrate on actions’ (do all actions while remaining in yoga). He further says that one should take success and failure in the same stride (Yogastha= steadfast in yoga, Kuru = perform, karmaani = duties or action).

Concentrating on action means concentrating on the present. While doing the latter, one cannot be in the past or in the future, and the past regrets and future anxieties cannot make one suffer. Once a person is in the present moment, they can only take consciousness-based decisions.

Some tips on doing yoga from HCFI for those with certain health conditions

  • Yoga is not included as an aerobic exercise. Fast breathing exercises stimulate the sympathetic system. Slow breathing stimulates the parasympathetic system. Therefore, cardiac clearance needs to be taken for all breathing exercises.
  • In three situations in Hatha Yoga (headstand, handstand, shoulder stand), the total body weight is put on head, wrist and shoulder. This requires medical clearance, especially for heart patients.
  • When you get up from a sitting position, nine times weight is put on the knees. Hence, patients of osteoarthritis should avoid sitting down, low height beds or chair or Indian toilets. Yoga may prevent osteoarthritis, but once developed, Hatha Yoga practices need to be modified.
  • The Lotus position, forward and backward bends need orthopedic clearance in selected patients.
  • Forward spine exercises may require orthopedic clearance in selected cases as they may precipitate sciatica, if done incorrectly. Painful and/or difficult yoga postures should be avoided. Patients with cervical disc disease, glaucoma should avoid doing inversion postures (head stand, shoulder stand).
  • If pain or paresthesia worsen, stop and consult a doctor.

Exercising for at least half an hour every day imperative to prevent Type 2 diabetes complications

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Doctors should motivate patients to undertake a regular exercise routine

New Delhi, 6 February 2019: Patients with Type 2 diabetes should be prescribed physical activity to control their blood sugar and improve heart health, recommends a position paper from the European Association of Preventive Cardiology. The paper provides practical recommendations for doctors on how to motivate patients to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, set achievable and measurable goals, and design customized exercise-training programmes to meet these goals.

Increasing cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) and glycemic control are key clinical targets of exercise training programmes in patients with type 2 diabetes with cardiac co-morbidities, the paper recommends. It adds that patients should be evaluated for CRF to classify them according to their risk and optimal exercise prescription.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “A high-calorie diet rich in processed and junk food, obesity, and inactivity are some of the reasons for the increased number of younger people with diabetes in the country. Not getting checked in a timely manner and not following the doctor’s protocol further complicates matters for them, putting them at a risk of acquiring comorbid conditions at a relatively younger age. About 30 minutes of physical activity in any form every day can not only prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes but also a host of other health conditions and associated complications. There is also a belief that because young people with Type 2 diabetes do not need insulin, it is not as sinister as it seems. However, this is a false notion. This condition requires immediate treatment and management.”

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing of infections and wounds, and skin darkening in certain areas.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Small and gradual changes can be made in the family will also be encouraging for youngsters for a healthy lifestyle. These can help youngsters lose weight (if that is the issue) or help them make better eating choices, thereby lowering the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is truer for those with a genetic susceptibility to the condition. Operating as a team, a family, is much more likely to be successful.”

Some tips from HCFI

·     A diet rich in whole grain, fruits, and vegetables is very good for the body. Fibrous food will ensure that you feel fuller for a longer period and prevent any cravings. Avoid processed and refined food as much as possible.

·     Limit your alcohol intake and quit smoking. Too much alcohol leads to weight gain and can increase your blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Men should limit drinks to two per day and women to one per day. Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers and therefore, it is a good idea to quit this habit.

·     Understand your risk factors as it can help you in taking preventive measures at the earliest and avoid complications.