Legends dating back to Roman and Greek civilisations, spanning 8th century BC to 5th century AD, which we get to read with scanty details of life that people of that distant past led reveal a feature that the large-sized statues and figurines that are to be found in abundance this day in those geographical regions, namely the importance bestowed on manliness with macho physique. The epics of our land are also replete with references to heroic deeds of characters including both divines and demons vying for honours by show of physical strength in the wrestling ring. The rishis of ancient times too have left a legacy of bestowing focussed attention to overall health, of which physical fitness seems to be an integral part of all the diktats that constitute the guidelines prescribed by them. Yoga has stolen limelight, side-lining the other important wellness-oriented components, namely diet based on clean, fresh food, air, free from pollution, living in sanitary environment, monitored breathing, prayers and so on. Barring practice of yoga with frenzy, the rest of these dos and don’ts seem to have been forsaken by people at large.
To be born without any abnormalities, both physical and mental, being a bliss, to be nurtured under good parentage is also a bliss. These advantages, available to only a fortunate fraction of the land’s population, merit utmost attention as the child progresses to adulthood.
The proportion of the land’s population taking residence in urban environs is on the cusp of 40 percent of the total head count. Majority of this mass, forced to live in choking conditions, lack many of the facilities favourable to healthy living, including adequate space for exercises even far less than mandatory extent, such as walking. The other chores of daily life, namely drawing water from the well, grinding the ingredients of tasty traditional dishes using the time-honoured grinding stone, washing clothes in the backyard of dwellings in the now-gone-traditional way, walking to the market place and so on, the integral part of life of most people, are things of the past. Strenuous work-out in the gym is only a passing phase of life and not pursued for long except by a small fraction among the fitness-buffs.
Achieving a macho physique by whatever regimen of exercises and stay actively engaged on daily chores are different kettles of fish, as the now-fading flock of good-old grannies will testify. Now comes a report in a section of the press that 34 percent of Indians—24.7 male and 43.9 female—are not active enough to stay healthy, according to the latest study released by WHO, further noting that globally more than 1.4 billion adults are at risk of diseases from not doing enough physical activity. To be alive and kicking as age advances, shall be the bottom line in one’s life.