Physical Fitness Is Important To Stay Healthy Get Out of Sedentary Life Style

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( — November 30, 2013)  — 

Changes in our Life Styles in past 200 years: Over the past two centuries the mankind has been blessed with many new technological innovations. These have made our lives very comfortable and easy.  Industrial revolution and available energy has brought us a lot of automation, electricity, fast road and air travel etc. Many other amenities like longer shelf life foods, kitchen utilities, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning, radio and television are other added advantages. However these have changed our eating habits and life styles slowly and gradually. 


We hare generally become sedentary, a lot of us eat fast food on regular basis, our sugar consumption has increased many folds and we consume a lot of processed food instead of whole grain with fiber, which has its own down side.


Our health providers: Our doctors, nurses and other providers are generally well trained to investigate the diseases, heal it and mange the diseases. However, they are not generally as nicely trained for prevention of diseases and to advise us on how to stay fit and avoid diseases. Hence the way we eat three times a day and sleep enough number of hours, it is our individual responsibility to try and stay fit also.


Fitness is our responsibility: This makes it necessary for us to understand what are the indicators of our good physical fitness? There are a many simple parameters and tests. We will mention some of the important and easy ones here, with a recommendation that we should watch these ourselves and if we did, we should be able to avoid many diseases. We may request our doctors to help us with some simple tests to help us further to remain fit against illnesses.


Our fitness to withstand any likely disease needs a continuous and hawkish eye on some of our fitness parameters. And since our doctors are trained to advise us AFTER the diseases attacks us, we need to do avoid these diseases ourselves.

Simple tips for physical fitness: There are four main simple principles for healthy living and physical fitness:

  • Stay active as much as you can, preferably in fresh air and sunlight
  • Maintain an ideal body weight
  • Eat good nutritious food; this should be preferably more of plant based starchy vegetables and unprocessed grains
  • Pursue some proactive relaxation exercises

I have come to believe that if we can follow the above four principles, most of the diseases that are brought upon by our modern life style will be avoided. All four are closely interrelated and absolutely necessary to prevent diseases.

Let us elaborate on the first of these above four tips:


Activities, open air and sunlight: In the past 200 years the Industrial revolution has caused a lot of automation reducing our physical activities. Added to that is the energy abundance from oil and hydrocarbons that has provided us with many facilities and amenities, causing our lives to be very sedentary. Such sedentary life style gives birth to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and many related diseases.


Open and Fresh Air: Advantages of open, fresh and unpolluted air is easily understandable. We breathe oxygen from air. Recent industrialization has polluted the air in some cities very badly. You can almost smell the chemicals in them. So, a walk in open fresh air is invaluable.

Vitamin D: While I open air, you can also benefit from the sunlight if available. Ultra violet rays B (UVB) in sunshine have a special benefit for us. When UVB falls on skin, it converts cholesterol within our skin into vitamin D. According to new research, we require vitamin D in many bodily functions. Some authorities have started calling it hormone, because our body with the help of sunlight makes it and some even say that deficiency of this vitamin predisposes us to cancer. Further studies are being done as we write this.


Is it necessary to join gym? Gyms are born in past few decades after WWII. Before that all our ancestors were active enough, so as not to need gyms; their daily activities were strenuous enough to satisfy the need of the physical activities. If you can have enough activity, either at work or by regular walk and exercises at home, then gym membership is not needed. Those who can not create a discipline to keep themselves active may need to join gym to get motivated by others who are strenuously working out. Exercise can be done at home with stretch rubber bands, dumbbells, weights, pushups and similar exercises. Bottom line is that we all must get out of sedentary inactive life style imposed upon us by the modern life style. However, you must consult your doctor before starting such exercises that will advise about the physical stress that you are allowed to take.

Objectives of work out and fitness activities:

  • To keep body active
  • To lose weight
  • To increase heart rate to a maximal level
  • To replace fat in muscles with more and larger muscle fibers containing protein
  • To reduce insulin resistance in muscle for better utilization of glucose
  • To meet above objectives usually two different types of workouts are suggested; Let us try and understand the details of such exercises.

Cardio exercises and work out: Those living sedentary life should include some physical exercise in their daily routine. It may be simple walk for about half an hour a day. This is called Cardio exercises.

Keep walking

Cardio exercises: Objective of cardio exercise is twofold,

  • To burn calories: You need to have some goal of burning calories every day. I burn about 150 calories in about 20 to 30 minutes on a trade mill.
  • To increase heart rate within a safe range: This is important to understand thoroughly, because otherwise, you may do more harm than good. You must have a heart rate monitor either on the machine or separately and check heart rate almost continuously. Some people use counting of pulse in neck artery during exercise for ten seconds and multiply by six to get heart rate per minute.

There is a generic formula that can be used by almost all. However, those with heart conditions must check with their doctors for their ideal maximum heart rate.


The formula is simple, yet it is important to understand, otherwise, you may harm yourselves:

220 – (minus) your age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) that you should ever reach. If you have heart conditions you must get advice of your doctor. To start with you may reach up to 80% of MHR and gradually over few weeks reach 90% of the MHR. For example, say I am 60, so 220 minus 60 = 160 may be my MHR. I should stay between 128 and 144 heart rate, i.e. 80% to 90 % of 160, which is my MHR. Everyone must calculate his or hers.

In my personal case, while doing cardio exercise, after a little warm up, I start on the tread mill with an of 15 at a slow speed of 2.5 to 3 miles per hour. This raises my heart rate to my calculated rate and I do not have to run fast on the treadmill because at my age of 73, my joints do not like me running.


I see many persons running at 5 or even 6 miles an hour with zero incline. They may be training for marathon run or championships. Everyone has their own objective of doing the workouts. In my case if 2.5 miles speed raises my heart rate to my MHR range with proper incline, I do not see any reason to run faster.


Resistance exercises or weight training exercises: Purpose of such exercises is to build muscle by replacing fat


with muscle that contains protein. It is claimed that protein keeps on burning calories even when at rest. Whether that is true or not, good muscles surely make you look good and make you feel nice. More important though is the fact that the muscle fibers subjected to resistance exercises somehow become more sensitive to insulin and hence help you control your blood sugar and diabetes.



  • Build and Develop Muscles, Push weights, Pull weights, Lift weights; any activity that you normally do for a little while, if it is prolonged over a period of time is generally the resistance or muscle building exercise. This is perhaps simpler way of explaining the resistance exercise, but I believe in simplistic definition and it is generally true.
  • Look good with developed muscles
  • Decrease the insulin resistance and hence help control diabetes


1. You must ensure that you do the activity only long enough to make your muscle ache or burn and no more. If it is prolonged it may cause tear of muscle fiber and hurt you.

2. You must also not to exercise while weight lifting, the same group of muscles for about 48 hours, so that they have enough time to repair and regenerate the injury of stress from exercises. To achieve this you need to use maximum weight and do 10 to 15 repetitions in each set and do 3 to 6 sets depending on your fitness.