It’s World Health Day today and staying healthy is one of the most important yet the most neglected aspects of our lives. While on one hand we have all those crazy fitness bands and gadgets that are sold like hotcakes to help people monitor their health, on the the other hand you have diseases related to obesity on the rise. India is home to one of the most obese people in the world and while we absolutely love our heavy, spiced and delicious Indian food, there are times we need to step back, evaluate and understand that this food coupled with our sedentary lives are taking a toll on our bodies. And while we often have our own conceptions of health, there are many that are incorrect or absolute rubbish. So what are some of the most common beliefs about healthy living that are wrong?
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1. You are healthy if you are thin
Wrong. You can be thin due to a lot of reasons – fast metabolism, gene pool, body structure, etc, etc. There are loads of people who eat a lot and are yet thin as a stick. Being healthy has nothing to do with it. You are truly healthy when along with being thin, you are also taking care of your diet, free of medical disorders and mentally fit. If you’re thin and prone to falling too sick, have low immunity then you are not healthy. You’re just thin. Period.
2. Exercise is only for fat people
Restating point one above, it is not that only fat people or people who are “healthy” need to exercise. Everyone needs some amount of exercise to stay fit. You need to keep all the muscles in your body moving and active. Also, you need to burn all that fat you gain through the daily junk you eat. Exercise is for everyone irrespective of your body type. Period.
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3. Diets are boring
No! Diets are not boring! Also, you needn’t be rigidly on a diet all the time or go on crash diets if you are planning to get fit. You need to eat a balanced diet throughout and be careful about what you eat. That does not mean you cannot eat all the “fun stuff” or junk food. You can indulge yourself once a while as long as you do not over-do it. Know your limits and know when to stop.
4. Fried food, salty food, sweet food is bad for health
Your body needs all kinds of food – yes, even oil and salt and sugar. All these kinds of food are not bad for the body. They become bad when you eat them from outside, or straight out of cans/packets.tins where they are laced with preservatives. Your body does need sugar, salt and fats to stay fit and eating these foods when you know which environment they’ve been cooked in and in the right amounts is not bad.
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5. You don’t need to bother about your diet if you exercise
Dieting and exercise goes hand in hand. You cannot just do one and ignore the other. While dieting will ensure that those bad fats do not get accumulated in your body, exercising will make sure all your muscles and your joints stay fit. Eating the right amount also makes sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to burn off later when you exercise.
6. Children don’t really need to bother about things like diet and exercise
Do you even know the obesity count in children? How high it has gone up and how it has started affecting kids? Children today are battling disorders and diseases that were known only to the adults and the elderly once. It is common to see a child with diabetes or children getting heart attacks! A fat child is not a cute child, he/she is an unhealthy child!
7. You do not need regular medical check-up till you reach your late 30s or your 40s
This is one of the worst myths people believe in. Just because you’re young does not mean you are automatically fit and healthy. You need to go for regular medical check-ups to make sure that you actually are fit. There are many disorders and illnesses that do not manifest themselves in physical form till it is too late. Better safe than sorry, right?
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8. Only fat people need to avoid junk food
You need to avoid junk food. Period.
9. Focusing only on physical health is important, mental health doesn’t matter
This is unfortunately one of the biggest misconceptions people have. Health is always associated with being physically fit. But you can never be truly fit unless you’re both, physically and mentally fit. If you’re feeling emotionally low, are not mentally healthy, suffering from any mental disorder, it is bound to take a toll on your physical health as well. Did you know that mental illnesses can often lead to physical ailments like gastroenteritis?
10. You cannot be fit if you are fat
Pshaw! Being fat is not because you have a lot of unhealthy things in your body. There are people who are naturally big-boned and so they are fat. Or there are people who work-out a lot, have too many muscles and so they are muscular-fat. As long as you are healthy and are taking care of your body, you can be fat and you will still outlive that thin neighbour of yours who lives on coke and fries!
11. You can get all the necessary nutrients you need through pills, even if you eat junk all day
This is one of the worst habits of our generation. They pop pills for everything and anything – even for nutrients! But your body needs food. You cannot survive only on pills and be healthy. They are an option for a limited period of time.