Health is wealth is not a cliché, get cracking please

World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 (Photo: X)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has picked My Health, My Right, as the theme for World Health Day 2024. As one who works with the RevSportz family, it is, indeed, heartening that the topic of health is being given the most importance by this platform.

It is wonderful to have heard elite athletes and Para athletes share thoughts on such an important subject. No, not just because they are legends and have a proven track record, but because budding athletes and the common person will listen to these stars. Their stories on health and fitness are real and thought provoking.

My Health, My Right is a topic which prompts a question in the first place. While it is good to demand good health and facilities as a right, is the common citizen, especially in India, doing the right things vis-a-vis his or her own health? The answer is a ‘no.’

Each time the common person and gym addict sees images of body builders, alpha males and females blazing the sporting arena and crowning themselves with glory at major sporting events, there is an urge to follow their footsteps. If it was so easy, India would be winning more medals and the young generation will not be facing serious health issues.

Virat Kohli, the epitome of fitness, PV Sindhu, two-time Olympic medal winner, Mirabai Chanu, and many more are ‘fighting’ daily to keep their body in peak shape. There are no short cuts, really, to get health ‘right’!

If you want to copy the Virat Kohli rocket six, please read what his diet is like. It may seem like a starvation regime to common folks who ingest needless calories in thousands each day. Worse, some of these are ‘junk or bad’ calories. As for Virat Kohli, he has followed a diet plan which comes close to what Martina Navratilova had followed decades back.

The need of this hour in India is manifold. It is easy to blame healthcare, or the lack of a good system. It’s serious that in India, healthcare is so expensive and minus a health insurance, treatment costs are prohibitively high.


Post the Novel Corona virus pandemic, more health issues have cropped up. Work from home is nice, you are in a comfort zone. And it does increase productivity in many ways. But then, so much spare time is available to worship your own body. Get cracking and follow the ‘My Health, My Right’ line by doing the right things, please.

What is worrying is the massive increase in diseases which need wholesale lifestyle changes more than medication. No, just as the boy or girl in a high-flying job will hit the kitchen shelf for instant noodles on return from a hectic day’s work, or even in work-from-home mode, press app button to order food, damage has begun. Disease sets in.

See the role models Indian sport has produced. Some like 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist Karnam Malleswari did not have a proper diet when she began weightlifting. She used to eat rice soaked in water with a salty taste as her food in Andhra Pradesh. Forget the modern-day food supplements and ‘protein shakes’ being consumed today, one can do with natural food, fruits and healthy dry fruits. No, the urge will be pop vitamin pills and more!

Thyroid malfunction, essential hypertension, onset of diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease — even minus alcohol ingestion – all this is on a high in India among youth. It is unfortunate that the young generation is being put on prescription pills for these. But then, so many of the diseases can be controlled, if not cured, by following a healthy lifestyle.

It is also easy to crib and say “I have no time to work out.” Every day has 24 hours and it’s all about discipline and focus. Hitting the gym is a fad which dies soon, why not attempt more achievable things like long walks, swimming, deep breathing exercises, meditation and, most important, eating a healthy diet?

Walk, swim, run, do anything you can to get cardio activity and push the target heart rate up. Do not worry about pumping iron, use your own body weight to perform isometric exercises using a yoga mat for the floor as well as doing exercises. Or use a ‘Theraband’ which is a simple elastic band to work on resistance exercises.

Each of us can aim to be an athlete in our own right. It may seem like a challenge to shake off laziness but once the resistance has been broken, we can be athletes ourselves.

I come from a generation which had posters in bedroom walls where Dhyan Chand, PT Usha and Imran Khan were idols. Each of these athletes slogged on being super fit, though the late Dhyan Chand may have been unaware of weight training! If ‘My Health, My Right,’ is a demand of every citizen of the world, it is also critical that each one works on health.

I am a student of medicine — not MBBS please – and have followed complex medical jargon for over four decades. When I was diagnoses with essential hypertension (high blood pressure) at the age of 37 in 2001, I was shattered. Yes, I am on medication for the last 23 years but exercising regularly has helped. Coming from a family which is “sweet,” diabetes kicked in at 48 years of age. Then, thyroid at 49.

Yes, I am a patient but I have been patient in focusing on lifestyle changes, eating healthy food, saying no to alcohol and tobacco. Perhaps, all this helped me battle life-threatening lymph node tuberculosis in 2012. The first reaction then was, I would die. No, I did not, nor was put on bed rest, I was covering the 2012 London Olympics just a month after a six-month course of ATT (anti tuberculosis treatment).

Lastly, many have told me I am dealing with several comorbidities. I smile, sometimes laugh, and move on. Thanks RevSportz, for allowing me to share my thoughts on ‘My Health, My Right.’ And you, dear reader, please do the right things for your health.

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