The Cornerstones of Wellness

Dr V.K. Chopra, a renowned cardiologist from Medanta –
the medicity, talks about general health issues which
working people go through. Here by, he shares tips on how
to have a healthy heart

You wake up every morning to the rough and tumble of corporate life, ignoring the pain in your neck and back. You want to hit the gym, eat healthy and get enough sleep but you just can’t seem to afford the time for it. You simply bargain with yourself instead, saying you’ll take the stairs so as to compensate for your missed exercise regimen. Or worse, you promise to hit the gym regularly, starting the next Monday that never comes. Life is, after all, about the ‘golden handcuffs’ of a salary, pension, benefits and “perks” isn’t it?
An ever increasing number of professionals are beginning to be diagnosed with a range of lifestyle diseases including hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, coronary artery disease and diabetes. A large number of the world’s heart disease patients are Indians. In addition, depression and eye related issues have achieved epidemic proportions. So what is the solution?

The Three cornerstones of wellness are:
• Nutrition
• Physical Activity
• Emotional well-being

The choices we make with our food greatly determine our health. Our diet is increasingly loaded with saturated fats, trans-fats, salts and sugar. It makes biological and indeed financial sense to invest in your body through dietary discipline. Stick to foods with complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds), high dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids (like flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, kidney beans and fish) and low in saturated fats and trans-fats. Needless to say, drink eight to ten glasses of water through the day.
The rule of thumb is to have 40-45 minutes of vigorous physical activity on at least five days a week. Our bodies were constructed to hunt in the jungle and to live in the trees. We would do well if we at least plucked ourselves from our comfortable chairs and stretched occasionally, held ‘walking’ meetings, took the stairs and parked at a distance. Quitting smoking is a big investment, monetarily and health-wise. It’s no secret that smoking leads to sickness, being the cause of several ailments from constricted blood vessels and heart disease to cancer. The earlier it is stopped, the better.
Working with computers can punish the eyes a great deal. To avoid digital eye strain, it makes sense to use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds and blink often. This is said to relieve the strain upon the eyes to a great extent.
An often neglected aspect of a healthy lifestyle is our emotional well-being. Our office cubicles provide very few opportunities for interpersonal interactions to keep our spirits up. Stress builds on stress in the workplace compounding life’s miseries. Several studies have underscored the role of stress in causing and aggravating a broad spectrum of physical ailments and even reducing immunity, leaving the body more susceptible to infections and disease. Listen to music, take a vacation, practice yoga, tap into your talents and spend more time with family and friends to ease life’s burdens. It helps to greatly increase workplace productivity too!
Our life has become essentially a relay race from one screen to another. It’s always, either, the computer, the phone, the tablet or the TV that has gripped our attention. But putting those away for a while can be a source of immense joy and pleasure in life, if we devise new ways to dealing with its stresses more effectively. It’s time we stopped ignoring that pain in the neck after all!

Dr-Chopraabout author
With a work experience of over 30 years, Dr. V.K. Chopra has been one of the most experienced doctors in preventive cardiology & in the management of patients with advanced heart diseases. Also, he has been an active participant and principle investigator of a large number of international clinical trials as a principal investigator, national lead investigator in Member Steering Committee.

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