Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change – A wonderful quote by Jim Rohn. So what is a lifestyle? Lifestyle in simple words means –the way of life. Sociology defines lifestyle as a pattern and manner of living that an individual or a group of people uses to meet their biological, economical, emotional or social needs. The way of life includes our eating habits, our sleeping patterns, how we spend our time, how we think, our goals in life and everything that gives a purpose to our life. Over a period of the past few decades research has shown rise in many diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, osteoporosis, depression, obesity, PCOD and many more due to unhealthy lifestyle. The role of a physiotherapist is not only to alleviate pain and make patients mobile and independent but also to prevent disorders. Hence, your physiotherapist is also your guide to healthy lifestyle choices. To understand our unhealthy choices of lifestyle, let’s talk about healthy lifestyle behavior that we all need to incorporate into our daily lives.
Digital Detox or Control our screen time:This is the first and foremost action that needs to be incorporated in our lifestyle. We need to control our screen time and spend that time on some other physical activity. The excessive time (which could also be avoided) spent on mobile phones, computers have led to many musculoskeletal disorders. If your work demands you to sit in front of a computer for long hours. You need to make sure to learn some exercises that you could do after every hour to let your muscles relax.
Proper Nutrition: Eat Healthy and balanced food with proper intake of water. Avoid Junk food or eating outside most of the time. Eat home cooked food with less oil, salt and minimal sugar. It’s good to take out your family for lunch or dinner once in a while or go out and eat with friends sometimes but don’t rely on eating outside frequently. You should have a variety of healthy foods e.g. Fish, chicken, lean meat, fresh green vegetables, salads, eggs, juices etc. Your diet should provide you with all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Proper Sleep: Do you know research has shown that sleep deprivation can have many detrimental effects and in rare cases can also lead to death. For a Normal adult 6-7 hours of sleep every night is mandatory. The exhaustion due to lack of sleep can not only affect our thinking but also lead to injuries to our musculoskeletal system.
Weight management: Healthy eating, proper physical activity and age specific proper work out is the key to manage your body weight. Not everyone needs to lose or gain weight. You need to consult your doctor and dietitian if losing or gaining weight is on your mind. It’s very important to know that your body is not deprived of necessary vitamins and minerals. Hence, to lose or gain weight go through a proper medical checkup and dietary plan.
Proper physical activity/Exercise: Sedentary lifestyle is the root cause of many diseases as it affects various systems in the body and leads to many diseases. Being physically active has proved to improve the patient's health in many cases. Physical activity and being regular in exercises (Physical fitness) are two different things. The best example to differentiate physical activity from exercises (Physical fitness) is taking stairs instead of elevators or washing clothes manually instead of washing machines. Your physical fitness or exercise program on the other hand should be a daily routine where you will be encouraged to work on your strength, endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, agility coordination etc.
Behavior Management: To improve our health condition we also need to check our behavior. Often being too angry, too sad, wanting not to socialize, not showing interest in work or any recreational activities can also affect our health. In this case we need to consult a counselor who can help us to come out of such a situation.
Purpose or goal in life: Try to find a goal in your life and work to attain that. It’s not always necessary that one’s goal in life is only to make money. Different people find happiness in different types of work they do e.g. some people like to volunteer to help people in need and distress. This gives their life a purpose, because they not only get blessings from them but also happiness from serving others. Introspect and find out what gives purpose to your life. This will keep you mentally and physically sound.
Medical Screening: You should see your Physician at least once a year and get basic screening done. This helps in early diagnoses of the diseases, if any. This also gives you a chance to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
Time Management: To sum up today’s topic I would like to emphasize time management. Managing your time efficiently is the key to getting into the habit of practicing a healthy lifestyle. We need to divide our 24rs efficiently so as to achieve all the goals leading to a healthy life.
(Author is Certified Women's Health Physiotherapist. She has done PGDMS (London) MBA(USA), MIAP(Member Indian Association of Physiotherapists and Fellowship in Geriatric and Pediatric Rehabilitation)