Dr Ketki Marodkar

Department of Anaesthesiology,
NKPSIMS & RC and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital, Digdoh,

Why Fitness?

Modern world, with all its luxuries, comes with a baggage- ‘stress’, a word so habitual nowadays with children and adults alike! A child facing an exam, a mother manoeuvring her household chores and job, a father coping up with expenses from a tight pocket or a grandparent dealing with health issues, every person has some or the other stress!

          Doctors, moreso, the anaesthesiologists, face many unique stressors at workplace or visiting hospitals. Lengthy working hours, critical high risk surgeries, inadequate sleep, irregular eating times, emotionally challenging situations, inadequate resources, faulty equipments and lack of appreciation can make our lives miserable. Let alone the work stress, if we also think about tackling the family needs, the need to make social presence: get-togethers, yearly self-upgradation by conferences, CMEs, publications and finally “making the ends meet”- the ‘financials’, take all the happiness out of our lives!!

        Joyce Meyer has so rightly said, “Getting stress out of your life takes more than prayer alone. You must take action to make changes and stop doing whatever is causing the stress. You can learn to calm down in the way you handle things.”

How to begin?

Prevention is better than cure! So it’s better to begin before fitness is enforced on you by physician. Finding this “me-time” daily requires lot of self-discipline. Target should be doing 45 minutes of fitness activities for atleast five days a week.

What to do?

What form of exercise to choose is as per one’s liking and capacity. My mantra is to mix-n-match all the following types to attain fitness.

  1. Cardio (cardiovascular)- Various forms of ‘cardio’ exercises like running, skipping, jumping, climbing, elliptical training are intended to exercise our heart and increase heart rate and are good for losing  weight and improving cardiopulmonary reserve. Goal: 25-30 minutes of cardio every alternate day.
  • Strength Training – If you could do one thing to improve your health, strength training should be at the top of your list. Lifting a weight or squatting can improve muscle strength, lesser risk of injuries, lower body fat percentage, improve cardiac health & achieve better glycaemic control. Moreover it improves self esteem by making one look leaner and fitter.Goal: 40 minutes on 2 days a week.
  • Cycling/ Walking– are low intensity easy workouts. But these are good to improve stamina and are easy for those who cannot incorporate serious cardio due to injuries or arthritis. Goal: atleast 5000 steps walking per day.
  • Yogasanas: Yoga is derived from Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ meaning to unite the body, mind and emotions. Yoga is not a band-aid for the excess weight but it works on controlling the underlying causes. Its benefits extends beyond the calories-in-versus-calories-out equation. It can also reduce stress, lower cortisol levels, decrease anxiety and lowers need for medications for hypertension, diabetes and hypothyroidism. Moreover it increases flexibility and reduces the excess fat in the body. Goal: 15 minutes yoga daily
  • Pranayam or breathing exercises strengthen the connection between our body and mind, thereby promoting relaxation and improvement in lung function, blood pressure and brain function. Some beginner level exercises include deep breathing, anulom-vilom, bhastrika, kapaalbhati etc. Goal: 15 minutes pranayama atleast thrice a week.

How to maintain fitness?

Just doing exercises is not enough, consistency is of utmost importance. Moreover ‘eating clean’- i.e. consuminghealthy food and avoiding junk, maintaining hydration– i.e.drinking atleast three litres water per day, reducing screen time, bringing down the sedentary habits, getting atleast six hours of sound sleep and going easy on alcohol intake can work together towards achieving our fitness goals. So the bottomline: for staying ‘fit, active and happy’ eat clean, sweat it out, stay hydrated and sleep well.

            Lastly would like to conclude with a beautiful quote, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

So let’s all pledge to embark upon our fitness journey today!