World’s healthiest people teach us how to stay fit without going to gym

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New Delhi | May 21, 2019 4:01 PM

Remember, 'health is wealth' and if you are fit, you can achieve more from life and savor every moment, feeling good about your healthy lifestyle.

walking, fast walking, fast walkers, long life, weight, life expectancy, health study, body mass index, increased life expectancy, health research, financial express health newsRemember, ‘health is wealth’ and if you are fit, you can achieve more from life and savor every moment, feeling good about your healthy lifestyle. (Provided by Getty Images)

Do you really need to work out at a gym to lose weight? A World Economic Forum report points out that people who live in Blue Zones – those places across the world with highest life expectancy – do not go to gyms. Then, it is logical to ask: How do they stay fit and live long in a healthy way?

‘Routine movement’ is the answer, not gyms.

People living in Blue Zones find ways to keep moving all the time. Throughout the day, they keep themselves physically active, without even thinking about it. According to researchers, routine natural movement is the best way to increase your life span and a common habit among people who live in the Blue Zones.

In a first of its kind study on the health benefits of Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise format that originated from ancient China, the American Journal of Epidemiology (Volume 178, September 2013) provided the first evidence that walking and jogging and practicing Tai Chi is linked with reduced mortality.

Another interesting reference pertains to Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk study, which concluded that walking and participation in sports are associated with a whopping 20 percent to 50 percent reduction in mortality from heart disease, stroke, and CVD.

Observe how countries like the United States, rolling out wellness programs for employees is deemed to be one of the key responsibilities of a good employer. A study conducted by Towers Watson and National Business Group on Health reveals that organizations with effective wellness initiatives show less voluntary attrition than those with low-impact wellness programs.

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Some US companies have already come out with online wellness centers for their employees. Few organizations have come forward with innovative ideas such as inviting each employee to share one healthy snack with others. The benefits of such wellness initiatives are commendable.

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Creating such wellness opportunities reaps dividends for teams of professionals working together. This eases their stress levels and boosts their cross team engagements. This is where a holistic approach to employee wellness begins to take shape, followed up by round-the-clock HR wellness communication initiatives. In India, however, we are yet to see such inspiring initiatives.

The need of the hour is to stay fit and get enough movement into your routine. To get started, incorporate ‘walking’ sessions into your daily schedule. Every half an hour, stand up at your desk, walk to the coffee machine or to get water or just walk around to say hello to your colleagues. Let your feet move all the time. Better still, dance on your feet for a fifteen-minute break daily!

Recall that the American Cancer Society reveals the health benefits of walking for five to six hours per week. This results in a lower risk of dying from a respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The research also points to how walking even for two hours every week can do wonders to reduce the risk of disease. Maintaining 50 to 75 minutes of moderate intensity activity, which makes your breathing and heart beat faster, besides making you sweat it out, is good for you.

You can team up with friends in your neighborhood or society and schedule daily morning or evening walks for half an hour. Another option is to walk to the nearby park and schedule walks with friends around the park.

Remember, ‘health is wealth’ and if you are fit, you can achieve more from life and savor every moment, feeling good about your healthy lifestyle.

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