By: Dhirendra Newar
‘Survival of the Fittest’ has always been the buzzword and it acquires all the more relevance in the modern era where people are in the rat race. In the age of technology and smart phones, the need for physical exercises cannot be undermined. Much time is spent in front of the electronic gadgets less in physical activity, one of the prime reasons, why people over the world and particularly in India are suffering from obesity related diseases.
Being an agrarian society by and large, earlier people engaged in physical labour most of their times, in the paddy fields or in the homes, which were loaded with work and there was little need for counselling about the benefits of bodily exercises. But today the society is moving fast from being agrarian to a tertiary one. It brings with it the focus towards health conditions among others, owing to the nature of the job and terms of service.
The topic has been more important to the younger generations who prefer white collared jobs to menial ones. Earlier generations had no means of access to electronic gadgets, mobile phones, internet facilities or other means of recreations. Therefore their only option was to go out with friends and engage in different kinds of sports and games like cricket, football, badminton, kabaddi etc, which required good amount of physical drill. Not realizing the importance of the physical benefits, parents often used to discourage their children from going out. Even the proverbs like ‘Padhoge Likhoge Banoge Nawab, Kheloge Kudoge Honge Khabar’ went hand in hand. Parents assumed that their children would lose interest in studies due to too much of outdoor recreation. This may be true to some extent, however the added benefit to the health, growth and mental developments were seldom realised in those days.
Today when we have realised the need and benefits of physical exercises, the time has already changed. Today even if the parents want their children to go outside for physical exercises or sports, children are reluctant. Instead they stay glued to playing internet games, video games, browsing, social media and TV.
The adverse effects are manifold. Children are already showing signs of eyesight problem, sleeping disorder, aggressive behaviour, and disrespect for elders, obesity etc. Should this continue time we are looking at a lethargic young generation ahead.
This is coupled with the fact that there are very less number of open spaces like playgrounds, lawns, verandas, open fields where children can engage. Due to heavy urbanization and population rise, the living space of the family is shrinking down. In the metropolis, it is even hard to get one bed room house, forget about open space. The decrease in recreational space will have severe consequences upon the health, well being and development of children who are today confined within the four corners of their houses.
We are also looking at the behavioural changes in the children. Due to prolonged confinement within the house, children find no place to express their emotions, feelings and thoughts, which they would have otherwise expressed and drained it out playing and sporting. Due to this the socialization process in the child, the grouping mentality, cooperation, leadership mentality etc. are highly compromised. The piled up emotions explode in the families by way of anger, non-cooperation mentality, aggressiveness and frustration. It is a psychological fact that physical activity has a bearing not only on the health and mind, but also on the behaviour and character development of a child.
Even adults are severely affected by lack of physical activity, due to the nature of their job. Today not many want to be farmer or to work in a field. Rather they would prefer some corporate jobs, no matter how meagre the salary is. They are exploited with piled up files, computer and laptop works and email messages and replies. Today a service holder gets no time for rest from the computer monitor or the phone screen. Being overweight, developing several health issues and getting hair loss due to stress are common symptoms among adults. They can’t even step in to the gym or to the indoor stadiums after their 12 hours desk jobs. Health compromise is natural here. Moreover, many studies suggest that today more adults are becoming less productive sexually and the sperm counts among males are lessening due to over stress, overwork, no proper sleep, irregular dining timings, alcoholism etc. The Economist has also revealed that over the past four decades, the average man’s sperm count has fallen by more than 50% due to these reasons.
Nevertheless, people are getting health conscious and many manage time for morning walk, jogging, running or rushing to the gym. Children are admitted to various indoor game activities, which is a very good sign. Even if these can’t be managed, we are being conscious about our food habits. However other than these, the mental health aspect should also be kept in the mind. A healthy body is of no use without a healthy mind. This is more applicable to the younger ones given the fact that they are in the age of physical and mental growth. Therefore all should be encouraged to spend some time towards mental wellbeing also through yoga, meditation, or some healthy discussions, participating in seminars, academic activities, debates etc.
Regular exercise is vital for physical and mental wellbeing. This is equally applicable to both younger and adults. Infact elders will also be benefitted from some mild exercises like walking, yoga, meditation etc. Also there is no due date to start a physical exercise. It can be started from very tender age or can be started after retirement from services. But the only requirement is that one has to start it from today only. Regular exercise over a period of longer time will give one not only a longer life, but also healthier, active, happier and joyful life.
In an ever developing world we are becoming more and more dependent on the technology, our working schedules are changing, lifestyle is also changing. Keeping oneself fit and healthy should be the utmost priority here. Without good health and healthy mind, today’s income will only be a saving account for the investment in future health issues and complications.