According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person is said to lead a sedentary lifestyle if most of their time is spent doing only basic activities like sitting, standing, reading, working on the laptop, housework, and maybe a 30-minute walk. The latest report states that nearly 65 per cent of Indians (especially the urban population) follow a sedentary lifestyle, as per Dr Meghana Pasi, nutrition consultant, Arogya World’s MyThali program.
A woman’s health, especially, is influenced by several social determinants like income, education, employment, social connections, community and safety. In addition, they also have to care for their family and children.
“If you’re not used to eating right and working out, you might gain weight more easily; burn fewer calories; lose muscle strength, experience weak bones; decreased immunity, and effect on blood circulation and hormonal balance. All this increases the risk of chronic degenerative disorders like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases, cancer, respiratory disorders, depression and anxiety,” mentioned Dr Pasi.
So what can women do to stay healthy?
Eat right by balancing your meals
A balanced meal is one which has all the required nutrients in optimal amounts as per the body’s nutritional needs. Try to balance each meal of the day by ensuring it contains proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals and fibre. You can get these nutrients from the five food groups: cereals/grains/millets, pulses/dals/legumes, egg/meat/fish, milk/milk products, fruits and vegetables.
Have idli/dosa, poha, veg parathas, eggs, salad, milk, cereals. These will provide complex carbs, proteins, and fibre.
Choose salads, sprouts, curd, veggies, dal and chapattis and avoid pickles, papad, fried foods and sweets. Try making a paneer wrap with chickpea salad, soup and pulao, rajma rice with curd, or sambar rice. You can have these for dinner as well.
Munch on a bowl of fruits, roasted chana, and peanuts with tea. Ditch cookies, chips and samosas.
Coconut water, lassi, buttermilk, green tea, lime juice are a good way to beat dehydration. Do not forget to have two-three litres of water every day.
*Eat locally available seasonal fruits and vegetables. Include at least three fruits and three to four katoris of veggies in your meals through the day.
*Avoid processed foods. Keep a check on your salt intake: Limit it to one teaspoon per day.
*Avoid red meat. Replace it with lean meat, poultry and fish.
*Include more millets and whole grains. Avoid refined flour like maida.
Keep a watch
Balancing your meals does not just mean including all these foods in your plate. It also means consuming them in optimal quantities. Use a simple katori (bowl) to measure the amount of food you consume.
After a woman hits her 30s, bone loss sets in gradually. She starts losing muscle mass after her 40s. Observational studies reveal that enhanced musculoskeletal fitness is positively associated with functional independence, mobility, bone health, psychological well-being and reduced risk of non-communicable diseases.
*Take stairs instead of elevators.
*Join a yoga class, dance or zumba or play with your kids.
*Get up from your desk every half an hour, stretch and walk down to refill your water bottle.
*Take a brisk walk for 30 min every day
Consuming nutritious food and physical activity can make the difference. Do not miss out on the key moments of your life due to poor health, when all you need is a little bit of a daily commitment to yourself.
So, are you ready?