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  • Raghav Sand

Exercise: Fact and Fiction

A discretionary planned physical activity is an appropriate definition for exercise. Agricultural and industrial revolution has transformed the way in which humans procure and preserve energy. Not so long ago, when our ancestors were hunter gatherers, there was no specific need for exercise. Everyday life was challenging enough to burn calories. Evolution has taught us to conserve energy. There are a few of facts and multiple fictional beliefs around exercising.


The simple answer to all the apprehensions about the utility of exercise can be summarized in two words – its healthy and rewarding. The sedentary lifestyle in modern times leaves little room to walk miles or lift weights. Piped water and fuel availability for household chores and heating, respectively reduced the need for going into the wilderness for supplies. For a vast majority of people, the emergence of convenience was never compensated by an equally demanding yet essential workout.


One Step at a Time


Anyone who has not been living under a rock, must have come across the fad of walking 10,000 steps in a day. It became a part of pop culture and an essential activity for those who quantify fitness. Numbers are good to keep a track of the intake of calories and how much of it gets burned. Notable research has pointed out that walking as little as 5000 steps in a day is sufficient. Whether you choose pop culture or are content with essential steps for the day is a personal choice, but doing other complementary activities like Yoga, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or playing a sport will extinguish the monotony and show better overall results.


Working and Working Out


Let us address some misconceptions: working at home and working out are not the same thing. Doing everyday household chores is a nice way of saying you are a good spouse or a responsible member of the family. Washing dishes or cleaning the home are time and energy consuming, but sadly it is no where close to what qualifies as workout. By no stretch of imagination is this article a suggestion for you to stop doing the good work you began during the COVID-19 lockdown. It was high time that everyone shared the workload at home and in the hindsight, it is one of the few positives of the pandemic.


Is Sitting the New Smoking?


Smoking tobacco is a major health and wellness issue around the world. Sitting for long hours is a recent phenomenon. It is problematic if sitting is the only thing one does. Sitting for 8-10 hours is also seen in the indigenous people and they seem to be immune from lifestyle diseases. It is important what one does during the time left after sleeping and sitting for two-thirds of the day.


Setting aside 60-90 minutes from the 6-8 hours left after work and sleep is not too much of an ask after all. Lower back pain and slouching are part of a vicious cycle – one leads to another; it is one of the classic examples of confusing the cause and effect. Muscles are the largest organs in human body and prolonged physical inactivity leads to weight gain and chronic inflammation. The quality of lumbar support in some premium chairs may delay the inevitable and it is highly recommended to get up and walk once in a while.

Currently, around 19 percent of adults around the world smoke tobacco. The percentage of adults worldwide who smoke tobacco has decreased in recent years and is expected to continue doing so. By 2030, it is estimated that 17 percent of the global population will smoke tobacco, compared to 21 percent in 2015. Awareness of the dangers of smoking, costs, and targeted policies and campaigns have all contributed to this decrease.


Does Running Damage Knees?


Some wear and tear are natural when we exert pressure on joints. The general belief that running damages knees is not substantiated by credible research. The primary cause of acute knee / and ankle pain is the lack of training. Posture and landing position of foot makes all the difference between different runners’ experience. Trial and error are the preferred approach for running enthusiasts, but landing inappropriately with all your body weight on the soft cartilage – that has the consistency of plastic, enabling it to bear weight while retaining greater flexibility than bone – is bound to create trouble sooner than later.

Picture Courtesy: Under Armour

Living Longer and Healthier


Advancements in medical science, enhanced per capita income and awareness regarding well-being have contributed in higher life expectancy. The degree of improvement in life expectancy since the end of World War II is significant. Though, some of the gains have been erased by lifestyle ailments and pollution from industrialization and unabated use of fossil fuels. So, if you are going to live longer than your ancestors, wouldn’t it be better to live those extra years healthier. Ballooning medical expenses are positively correlated with wealth creation and life expectancy; it is prudent to inculcate basic and easily repeatable health lifestyle habits.

Sleep: Quality and Quantity


Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play a musical instrument, how to perfect technique in sport, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps to pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.


If you routinely lose sleep or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up. The total sleep lost is called your sleep debt. For example, if you lose 2 hours of sleep each night, you’ll have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week.


You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. Sleep often is the first thing that busy people squeeze out of their schedules. Making time to sleep will help you protect your health and well-being now and in the future. Sleeping and waking up at the same time every day is a good starting point. In order to maintain the body clock’s sleep-wake rhythm, same sleep schedule should be followed on weeknights and weekends. Avoid nicotine and caffeine in the later part of the day as both these substances can interfere with sleep.


Wellness on the Web


There is no shortage of exercise videos and articles on the internet. If you are reading this article, please take out the time to search and bookmark few helpful pages on the web and start implementing the instructions and routines prescribed in them. The return of investment on a healthier lifestyle will bear fruit in years to come.


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