Why am I blogging on health and diet?

For most healthy living is having a balance between eating and exercise. Well, it goes beyond that one will eventually comprehend the importance of spirituality and expand the dimension of health. Suffice it to say that, the most elementary blocks of health starts with Diet and Exercise and this blog is focused on diet and exercise.

Because it is core and critical to our efforts and initiatives in life.

Generalizing from decades of observations, understanding the molecular mechanism that cascades the physiologic pathways, and adding an angle of spiritual journey to our living, I too believe that the source is within us. We pamper ourselves with indulgence and defend it with reason. That in itself is a root cause for systemic illnesses such as overweight/obesity, insomnia, hypertension and diabetes (well in exceptional cases, we do have hereditary, genetic and developmental factors that contribute).

However, once these systemic maladies sets in, it takes long time to revert to the original baseline. Here again, we try indulging in radical results with resultant generalized impact. Liposuction, extreme diets, such as keto diets etc. cause untoward effect on the body. Dependence on drugs such as antidiabetic or antihypertensives keep increasing, partly because of tolerance and mostly because the root cause is not addressed.

Restoring health is a discipline, not a snapshot event in time. It needs comprehensive multidimensional change. I know if I haven’t slept adequately how that affects my work. Some maladies have evident outcome, others have long lasting impact. Let’s have that balanced perspective to dart towards achievements.

I am often reluctant towards opting for radical options such surgery (with exception), so also I am against drugs/medicines.

Every life journey is unique, complicated by a confluence of conscious and subconscious flows, that we alone can decipher and discern. Those moments of reflections should ideally help in putting up a roadmap towards restoration of health. While that is the permanent way, we can and should rely on drugs or other means, while transiting towards that phase.

However, jumping directly to radical options is ill founded and deficient. A gradual incremental reversal, though difficult, can be achieved through consistent behavior with discipline. Well, it is easy to say but difficult to implement. However, that’s the test of your grit and determination, that we all are born with.

Celibate Life for Serving the Lord?

Celibacy and renounciation is not a prerequisite to service of Lord or to mankind. Yes, it is a distraction from devotion but it is not absolutely required. Many religions consider it is a must, possibly because life and normal living itself is a beyond distraction from the path of spiritual service. How best can we confluence these divergent tracks?

Not that atrocities towards at places of believes are uncommon amongst Hindu and Muslim temples and Madrassas. The key question is –

Do we have to renounce normal living and be celibate for the service of our Lord to run the religious institutions. Celibacy is bot an absolute criteria but a matter of choice, and inter decision and personal philosophy. This ensures, less abuse – fair gender and others within their ecosystem.

Some religious practices have institutional stipulations that enforce celibacy and human nature (naturally) fights back. We see such abuses that later get institutionalized. Only if Pope opens the door for the clergy to be married and stat normal life, that we will see a true decrease in such incidences.

Changing topic to Hinduism and its evolutionary traits and practices. Reflecting upon how Hinduism has evolved after adopting such practices, itself provides a credence that this is a philosophy in evolution and has a longer life than predicted by most western historians.

The day we freeze evolution, we stop growing though and the only way to keep vibrant and dynamic is to keep listening, debating and evolving with a sense of accommodation and assimilation.

Sometimes back, during medieval period, that happened. We froze varna and subdued our women. We wiped out meritocracy by institutionalizing nepotism and feudalism. We created a majority subservient to those who captured the institutions – religious, social, family, political etc. thus weakening our institutions.

It takes time to dismantle but the time we unfreeze and evolve, we will see spurt in our spiritual and ideological growth. To those who says Hinduism is under attack, I agree. But it is bot external but our own internal shackles.

Pope admits clerical abuse of nuns including sexual slavery
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47134033

Sabarimal Temple is about Choice

sabarimala

It is unworthy to dive and wade through a controversy which is already ravaging religious and political divide. Despite, it is never too late to share a perspective.

Since medieval times until recently, guardians of religion, especially those influencing the religious pulpit and dictating at the sanctum sanctorum, have treated women with lesser regards, often times humiliatingly. Though male chauvinism has perpetuated over the years, often I feel, women too contribute to their malady. I was talking with an IIT graduated with strong liberal views and I was surprised to hear her recantation of the age old dogmas. This IIT alumnus is not an isolated example, and not all highly educated women submit to the old dogmas. However, submission to these dogmas makes me think that women too contribute to this state.

However, times have changed and Women have become more aware of their rights. They have realized that it is time to stop this second class maltreatment. Women entering Shani Shingnapur’s inner sanctum after 400-year, broke the tradition. I am a strong proponent of equality between gender and women rights. I believe, though late, the global #Me Too, Women taking the wheels in Saudi Arabia are all signs of that awareness and assertiveness.

However, the story at Sabarimal Temple is different. It is in fact a desecration of the choice of Lord Ayappa. Lord Ayappa had chosen celibacy as his way of life and he wanted to stay away from the carnal world. Even if we are not to believe in his existence, it is about a choice and Sabarimal Temple represents that choice. Are we not to respect that, especially when we respect and accept prochoice (for abortions), or gender identity and preference (Guys and Lesbian)?

Sabarimal Temple represents a different ideology and we have to respect the views of that deity if we consider this as live and valid, if we consider it as a folklore, the reason to pay respect itself annuls.

It is interesting to read Suhrith Parthsarthy’s article on Sabarimala Singularity (Link provided in reference) as the authors wades through multiple facets of faith, equality and choice.

Also, criticism from other religious groups are most welcome, however, they should also abide and be receptive to receive reciprocal outsider perspective. This last statement is in reference to a IUML rally in support of the court verdict (reference below).

sabarimala-1

References:

Sabarimala: India’s Kerala paralysed amid protests over temple entry

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-46744142

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/shani-shingnapur-temple-trust-finally-accepts-hc-order-lets-women-in/

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-sabarimala-singularity/article24514458.ece

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/sabarimala-temple-row-not-only-hindu-outfits-iuml-too-supports-devotees/videoshow/66150798.cms?from=mdr

Sedentary habit and decline in memory

This research from PLOS establishes clear evidence between sedentary lifestyle and decline in memory. This is especially insightful since so far, the guidance on health asks us to be active 5 hours a week. However, this research indicates that 5 hours of activity per week is not enough.

Recent research from PLOS (Public Library of Science) has focused our attention on sedentary habits and thinning of the Medial Temporal Lobe, responsible for (recent) memory. This blog captures the importance of activity and memory. Also, you may visit the primary research link from the provided reference.

Atrophy of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) occurs with aging, resulting in impaired episodic memory. Aerobic fitness is positively correlated with total hippocampal volume, a heavily studied memory-critical region within the MTL. More sedentary non-demented individuals have less MTL thickness, spending all day in your desk chair — were linked to changes in a part of the adult brain that’s critical for memory.

Specifically, the new study linked sedentary behavior to thinning of the medial temporal lobe, a brain region involved in the formation of new memories. Sitting for extended periods of time was closely associated with thinning in the medial temporal lobe, regardless of one’s physical activity level. In other words, the study suggests that “sedentary behavior is a significant predictor of thinning of the [medial temporal lobe] and that physical activity, even at high levels, is insufficient to offset the harmful effects of sitting for extended periods,” the researchers said in the statement.

Action Item:  “reducing sedentary behavior may be a possible target for interventions designed to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Sedentary behavior associated with reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults.

PLOS (Public Library of Science) was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit Open Access publisher, innovator and advocacy organization with a mission to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. PLOS represents the best scientific values. One that focuses on bringing scientists together, to share work as rapidly and as widely as possible, to advance science faster and to benefit society as a whole.

Sudden Cardiac Standstill

Recently, I heard a lot of cases due to sudden cardiac arrest. Almost all are young adults, one was 21 year old, the other 29 year old, the third one 39 year old and now Sridevi, who was just 54.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is getting common by the day. Often we think it is unlikely to happen to us. We are so remotely concerned, that we never realize it may happen within our close circle – family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances. It is not remote possibility, it can happen anytime within our network.

Too often, we are under a wrong notion that the EMR (911) will be there and fix it. However, their response time varies according to the circumstances and often, it is late. Can we think of avoiding such grievous situations before they happen? Right from the causes, the identification while we are developing that vulnerability and finally, to manage while it actually happens until the EMR (911) is there to manage further?

What do you say might be the causes?
What can be done to protect?If that does happen (right now in front of your eyes), are we adequately prepared to handle it?

There are several causes, but knowing your understanding and readiness to handle is important. Please read what you need to do, just in case you meet with this eventuality.

Do we know the cause and are we adequately prepared to handle that? Of course, this is not a replacement for professional advice or management. An immediate action is to get professional doctors to help.

Earlier, we lost one of the most talented and venerated actress due to sudden cardiac arrest. What can we learn from such an unanticipated loss? Someone responded saying,

SriDevi

Despite all efforts sometimes we are helpless. However, efforts are the only thing we have in our control, having said that, as I was talking about this earlier, we all need CPR training. However, I avoided directly prescribing before knowing the awareness.

During the initial phase itself, several amongst us live in that risk zone. How do we identify if we fall in that zone? How deeply are we exposed and impacted to that risk? What is it that drives us into and out of that risk zone?

Second, what do we do once we have identified our own risk? How best to reduce? Will it happen overnight? Is overnight fixing possible? How do we plan and implement a roadmap towards better health?

The last and the most important, for several months now, I have been evangelizing the cause of CPR, which I talked before posting the generic concern this morning. Often CPR given at the right moment is helpful. If late (around 7-10 minutes), becomes ineffective, not that heart cannot be revived but irrevocable damage has already occurred by then. If someone continues the pumping until medical help arrives, that becomes a god send opportunity.

Spirituality and good practices play a significant role is establishing or rebalancing. However, that what goes through those seven openings is only one aspect. We definitely need a comprehensive approach and plan.

While I have no knowledge if she was indulging in any of that, I am sure she had access to expert guidance on how best to do that. Though rumor mills are ripe with speculations, botox, plastic surgery and liposuctions are unlikely to do that. Metabolic drug, especially anabolic steroids  have severe damning effect though. It is wise to presume, that she had access to professional advice. Sridevi is just an example of sudden cardiac standstill. Last night, I lost an extended family member who was 39. Earlier around new year, we lost a 21 and 29 year old in Irving.

Whether it is Sridevi, a 39, 21 or 29 yr old, do we know the precipitating factors? How can we stop walking that path? And if that happens in your presence, what would you do to stop it?

Its time to audit and fix.

Islamic Veil

Placeholder – radicals are not true believers, they can desecrate the very values for which they stand for primarily because they submit to the outcome and not the means. Whereas, religion is about means and not about end.

It is not true to construe that they haven’t understood their religious tenets. Religious tenets are sublime and are simple for a common man to understand. They have decidedly made a choice to override those tenets.

Islam is not the only religion dispersed with radical profanity. Hinduism is showing a significant rise in radical dominance and polarization.

Radicalization is not just related to religion. Even political ideology is getting fenestrated and infested with radical and aggressive thoughts gradually establishing as mainstream philosophy.

Can these man respect the sacred religious belief of their own religion?

At least three men disguised in burkas arrived in a rickshaw and entered the Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute on Friday morning.

Pakistan attack: Gunmen storm Peshawar training college
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42191487

Why Stairs?

Walking Stairs – One of the most potent, no cost, no frill, ubiquitous, climate tolerant, readily available exercise that provides potential benefits. Though seemingly innocuous, walking stairs helps tone the core muscles plus enhance your stamina and build your endurance, in addition it also provides an easy means of burning three times extra calories as compared to walking or taking a stroll.

This blog provides an understanding about the benefits of walking stairs, calorie consumption, options while walking stairs and the tips for engaging in correct mechanism while doing so. It provides illustrations and reputed citations at the end of the blog.

Someone said it right, ‘The elevator to health is out of order, you need to take stairs’.

Disclaimer:

Before you embark on ‘Climbing Stairs’ as a form or exercise, I presume you have consulted your physician or cardiologists and you have their authorization to do these. If not, I strongly advise you to consult your doctor and get his approval before you initiate this.

Benefits of Stair Climbing

Where can I find Stairs?

Obviously an absurd question, you can almost find stairs anywhere – at home, work, recreation, shopping mall, schools, public places, or even walking up/down the knoll. Despite being ubiquitous, there is no money involved in enjoying climbing stairs. Running up and down a flight of stairs can raise your heart rate quickly.

Climbing Stairs – What does it offers?

Climbing stairs is one of the most potent aerobic exercises that I see after running, swimming, jogging and high intensity sports. Our lifestyle or other constraints often forbid us from participating in these high intensity sports, however, it is possible to engage in climbing stairs in our day to day life. Often, I see folks reside in two storied homes or live in apartments or work in office or offices with multiple floors. If you don’t have one, find one.

While I walk down the Valley Ranch trail, the entire hillock rolling down to the flat terrain, amounts to 13 floors. If you are working or live on the higher floor, may be walk couple of those. Stairs help you increase the heart rate faster than walking, providing 3 times increase in workload in a similar period of time.

Why Stairs?

Stairs exercises the core and antigravity muscles; it helps keep them healthy plus the bigger antigravity muscles such as the thigh and abdominals burn significant calories. Remember, antigravity muscles are the cornerstone of all our daily activities. Weakness in these causes us to slouch, get tired or even change our body contour. Walking stairs enhances and reinforces your core muscles such as abdominals, hamstrings, quadriceps, and soleus (calf muscles). Remember, it is utmost important to keep these muscles healthy for sustaining energy and long periods of work. Mere bulky muscles are not a strength of healthy muscles. Gyms and resistance training keeps your muscles ‘BIG’, whereas climbing Stairs keeps those healthy.

Calories burned – Walking and Stair Climbing compared

For 150 lbs. person, 30 minutes of walk on an even surface burns 90 calories. It is 30 calories extra for the one weighing 200 lbs.

For those amongst us who are 150-160 lbs., can use below approximation to count calories burned while climbing stairs

  • 3 flights of Stairs = 15 calories
  • 60 minutes, four days a week – could burn roughly 532 calories per session
  • 532 x 4 = 2218 calories/week
  • You lose about one pound in a week and a half

Stair options

Nanoworkouts Stair Options

  1. Climbing two stairs at a time increases not alone calorie consumption but also provides an additional exercise to the core muscles and the antigravity muscle.
  2. Increments of 10 minutes will offer sudden bursts in metabolism and help with possible weight loss.
  3. Walking down the stairs requires you to control your body from sliding down. This effort initiates your quadriceps and hip flexors to control the downward movement. They have to stabilize the torso from rolling down.
  4. You can almost blend other exercises such as raising your arms, carrying dumbbells, or twisting your body while walking down. Blending increases the calories burned. However, blending is to be avoided while walking downstairs
  5. Try to tuck your tummy in while climbing up and down the stairs, these will increase the tone of your abdominals (which help you sustain an erect posture) and also burn more calories

Remember these six tips while climbing stairs

  1. Put your entire foot on the step, leaning slightly forward, engage your core and tuck your tummy.
  2. Keep your toes straight rather than splaying them right or left.
  3. Though it sounds easy, give enough time while you are climbing down
  4. Always be well hydrated and adequate on calories, too much loading is bad, as is walking too many stairs while fasting.
  5. If you feel tired, skip a day but take an easy walk on an even surface.
  6. Fatigue sets in quickly and it’s important to maintain good form. Completing steps using bad form will stress/overload your body and potentially injure you. Always start small and increase gradually.

Summary:

One of the most potent, no cost, no frill, readily available exercise available that provides great benefits. It helps provide tone to the core muscles plus enhance your stamina or endurance in addition to providing an easy means of burning three times extra calories as compared to walking or strolling.

This and other health blogs are written for increasing an awareness within the community. There are no direct or indirect material benefits from this blog/s.

Illustrations are taken from StepJockey and Nanoworkouts.com.

Citations:

8 Way climbing Stairs

Exercise Tips for Harvard Stadium Stair Workout

Interesting Articles

Fitness for less: Low-cost ways to shape up

Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challenges

Exercise Activity Calculator (American Cancer Society)

How Many Calories do I need? Calorie Counter (from American Cancer Society)

Calorie counting made easy

Walking: Your steps to health (Harvard Health Publishing)

How to Burn About 150 Calories (Harvard Health Publishing)

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights

List of skeletal muscles of the human body

Build Anti-Gravity Muscle

Abdominal fat and what to do about it: Are you Pear Shaped or Apple Shaped?

Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night’s rest

Stretching: 35 exercises to improve flexibility and reduce pain (Harvard Health)

Marching orders: How to start a walking program