It’s that time of the year again. Time to throw away the old calendars from our desks and walls, discard the old diaries (yes, people still use diaries), look for discount deals on sweets and chocolates that can be given away as gifts, and, for those at school, to continue writing 2018 in the date column before you scratch it off and correct it to 2019.
It’s time for one more thing: New Year resolutions.
I have never kept a new year resolution. It doesn’t make sense. If I want to do something new, I’d do it at once. If I don’t want to do it, I won’t. New Year, Diwali, my birthday, my neighbour’s dog’s birthday play no role in this. But many people keep new year resolutions. They also take pictures of their food before eating it. Wear what their stars wore at the airport. They are free to do what they like.
There’s nothing wrong in a new year resolution, especially when it comes to something like joining a gym, taking up music lessons, learning a sport, etc. But taking the resolution is just the beginning. And in this case, the proverb ‘well begun is half done’ doesn’t hold true. If you take a resolution, you better take it to its conclusion.
In fact, joining the gym, or a dance class, or a sport activity is the most important new year resolution one can take — anything that keeps us moving, sweating, and shedding weight.
These days, I rarely see friends discussing playing sports. They discuss apps and smartphones.
Obesity has reached alarming levels. Childhood obesity is a grave concern. The fact that we remain glued to our TVs, smartphones and video games, and keep devouring fast food makes matters only worse. Both parents and children are guilty.
When I was a child, I remember my friends calling my name from the ground below. I used to live on the fourth floor, but I would hear my name at once, and rush down with my cricket bat. On other days, we’d all wake up early on a Sunday and go to a nearby field for football practice. These days, I rarely see friends discussing playing sports. They discuss apps and smartphones. Their parents, busy with their own smartphones, rarely have the time to take their children for some outdoor activities.
I must add that all parents are not like that. I have a neighbour who goes cycling with his son every evening. A friend of mine takes her daughters to the beach on weekends and plays volleyball. The evening ends with the girls barbecuing their own meal.
Generally, if the parents put in the effort, they can help arrest the expanding waistlines of both themselves as well as their children. Not only that, they can teach their children new skills. Barbecuing, setting up a tent, changing a car tyre — these are just some of the skills parents should impart to their children.
We are ourselves paying for this obesity, through our health as well as our pockets.
I recently came across a report in The Wall Street Journal which said the global tuna industry was in trouble because millennials didn’t own can openers, and our friend Jimmy Kimmel challenged millennials to try it on camera. Using a can opener is just a skill, like knowing how to hammer a nail into a wall – a skill that doesn’t really have to be taught. It has to be demonstrated to the children, provided parents have the time.
But that doesn’t seem to be happening. According to a Reuters report, as of 2016, 40 per cent of adults and 18 per cent of school-age children were overweight or obese, for a total of almost 2 billion adults and 340 million kids worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
We are ourselves paying for this obesity, through our health as well as our pockets. Fast food, the major cause of obesity, is usually cheap and readily available, so we gorge on. We bleed from our pockets without realising. Once we become obese, the health problems start to surface. Obesity takes its toll on everything – heart, liver, lungs, knees. Our organs are forced to work harder to support the excess body weight. This puts extra strain on them, and increases their chances of failure. Medicines and therapy follow, and guzzle away whatever money was untouched by the fast food bills.
Add to that the sheer physical and mental strain one has to live with.
Isn’t the alternative simple? Cook at home more often. If you cannot cook, order healthy food. Go out and play. Join a gym. Go for a swim. Do anything that keeps you moving and makes you sweat.
Diet, exercise and sleep play a crucial role in overall fitness, and most important among the three is diet. So while you do join a gym this new year, do understand that this doesn’t give you the licence to eat anything you want. At the end of the day, you need to have a calorie deficit diet to lose weight. If you reward yourself with a sugar-loaded smoothie after a workout, you’ll only end up consuming more calories than you burnt.
If the gym doesn’t look like a good option for you, go for a brisk walk, or buy a skipping rope.
Happy New Year!
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He is a journalist who loves reading, number-crunching and driving for miles and miles in his free time. A big fan of psychedelic rock. Loves to eat and is open to experimenting with cuisines. Aspires to be like one of his short-story heroes: Anton Chekhov, O. Henry and Mark Twain.