2nd October, the Birthday Anniversary of Gandhi Ji is marked as International Non-Violence Day. 2nd October is celebrated globally as the While the name Mahatma Gandhi, resonates with Truth and Non-Violence, few of us know that Gandhi Ji was a firm believer in a nutritious lifestyle, fitness, and walking his way to good health. In his book “Key to Health by M K Gandhi” Gandhi Ji shares his timeless ideas to maintaining a healthy well-being. Though decades have passed since the book was written, it still continues to be relevant and applicable in today’s uncertain Covid-19 times.
Gandhi Ji believed that walking and engaging in an active lifestyle, consuming fresh vegetables and fruits, avoiding sugar, tobacco, and alcohol besides maintaining the highest degree of environmental cleanliness forms the backbone of healthy living.
Many nutritionists and public health experts believe that many of the Gandhian principles of good health can help fight varied health problems ranging from heart diseases to malnutrition. Gandhiji stressed on maintaining the highest levels of hygiene and sanitation, which are directly related to eradicating diseases like TB, leprosy, cholera, malaria. Living a disciplined life, inculcating meditation and fitness reduces the chances of lifestyle diseases and mental health concerns. Besides, the importance of a balanced diet cannot be ignored, it is vital to a nutritious lifestyle.
Though in the later stages of his life, Gandhi Ji suffered from a range of illness, He contracted malaria thrice between 1925 and 1944, underwent an operation for appendicitis and piles in 1919 and 1924, and had lung disease and high blood pressure (220/110) which troubled him. However, Gandhi Ji was healthy soon, credit to his nutritious food, focus on physical health, sleeping habits, mediation, and a balanced diet.
Fitness Lessons from Gandhi Ji’s Lifestyle
Gandhi Ji always advocated for farm-fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. He believed that food that was cooked in excessive oil and salt led to an overindulgence of concentrated starches that triggered a range of lifestyle diseases.
He believed in vegetarianism, eating controlled food portions, leafy vegetables, and limiting the intake of condiments. Gandhi Ji favored the diverse health benefits derived from vegetarianism, which is directly linked to lowering the mortality rates as well as the risk of cancers and heart diseases.
Gandhi Ji was against polished rice and refined wheat flour. He was vocal to include coarse cereals and staples in one’s diet that included a healthy mix of jawar, bajra, and locally-grown millets.
From Gandhi Ji’s food habits, we can learn to-
- Eat a balanced diet in portions suited to our age.
- Consuming fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid sweets as much as possible and substitute refined sugar for gur (jaggery) in small quantities.
- Restricting the intake of fried and spicy junk food, and processed sweets.
Daily Routine of Walking
Gandhiji was a vigorous walker and used to walk a lot and took walking as a very good exercise for all ages, vital for the upkeep of a healthy soul along with a balanced diet. Gandhi Ji was a fitness freak and had a daily routine of walking around 18 km that he followed for nearly 40 years. During his political campaigns, he walked a total of 79,000 km in 35 years from 1913 to 1948, which is equivalent to encircling the earth twice.
From Gandhi Ji’s walking habits, we can learn to –
- Walking is a moderate-intensity exercise. To improve heart health, the American Heart Association recommends walking for 30 minutes at least five times a week.
- Consider walking as the simplest form of a low range of cardio exercises. Regular walking helps to lose weight and also reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and high BP.
- Walking with your friends or family members following practices of social distancing and face masks can be very relaxing. Regular walking can help you to fight the anxiety associated with Covid-19, improve your sleep, and add to your energy levels.
- Walking, especially among the elderly adds to the benefits of improving their bone health as well as balance and coordination. Besides, a physician-guided walking schedule can help to avoid falls amongst the elderly.
Mediation and Exercises
Gandhiji was an early riser, he woke up at 4 am every day and had a daily practice of meditation and prayer. Gandhi Ji meditated both in the mornings and evenings and believed that mediation increases the focus and clams the mind.
From Gandhi Ji’s meditation habits, we can learn-
- Add mediation as a regular habit, to our lifestyle. Meditation is relatively easy to practice for fitness, stress management. It helps to calm our minds against Covid-19 related anxiety disorders.
- Meditation if practiced regularly can control rising blood pressure levels.
Alcohol and Tobacco Abstinence
Gandhi Ji set aside tea, coffee, and cocoa and instead preferred honey, hot water, and lemon as nourishing drinks. He preached complete abstinence from tobacco and alcohol, which are a root for many life-threatening diseases.
Lessons to learn:
- Tobacco consumption increases the risk of contracting cancer instances that range from lung cancer, stomach, pancreas, kidney, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary, bladder, uterus, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), etc.
- Smoking causes peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive lung disease, heart disease, and stroke.
- Heavy alcohol intake can increase the risk of depression, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, and pancreatitis.
Following a Sleeping Pattern
Mahatma Gandhi had a fixed sleeping regime, and slept for 4-5 hours and woke up at sunrise. Experts suggest that following a strict schedule for rest can improve our immunity, reduce anxiety, and boost productivity. According to the changes in age our daily sleeping requirements differ, while kids need the maximum time to sleep for adults, it varies between 6-8 hours/ day.
Fasting for Good Health
Fasting or willful refrainment from eating over a while has its known benefits. It establishes a disciplined routine in our daily life, flushes out the toxins, cleanses the body system, helping it to detox.
Regular fasting helps the body to utilize the unused fats, thereby keeping infections at bay and regularizing the bowel movements. It can decrease the levels of “bad,” cholesterol, and curb the risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes, the potential heart disease risk factors.
Gandhi Ji believed in training the mind to think positively. A calm mind helps to approach every situation and life challenges in a positive way. A calm mind shuns away mental illness and helps develop a solution-based approach. Positive thinking improves productivity, overall social skills, and mental health, a must to fight off Covid-19.
Following Digital Consultation from Gigadocs for a Healthy Living
Following Gandhi Ji’s principles and adopting a positive mindset, consider consulting a digital doctor for any chronic and non-chronic disease symptoms in your family or amongst your friends. Reaching out for a face to face appointment can be tough, and increase the chances of the coronavirus infectivity. Instead, book a digital doctor on the Gigadocs app. Speak with your expert physician from the comfort and privacy of your home.
Gigadocs is an intelligent practice management E-Healthcare app that lets you keep a tab on your entire family’s healthcare through digital prescriptions, vitals tracking, and health record maintenance system. For parents, Gigadocs has bought its Vaccination Schedule Chart that helps parents to generate the complete vaccination chart of their child from their date of birth.
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