World Health Day 2021: How to keep your health in check

By: Dr.Sarika Verma

India has completed one year of the Coronavirus pandemic this March. We have been through the longest lockdown, economic slump, loss of jobs, migrant crisis, gradual reopening of the economy, and repeated cycles of rising in covid numbers whenever there has been a festival season. COVID vaccination drive started in January and gave great hope to the community. We face another massive wave of Covid cases with partial lockdown in a few cities.

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It has been a difficult year for everyone with concepts like work from home, online classes, Zoom celebrations becoming the norm. One thing that struck me is that nothing is more important than health. Remember the adage “Health is wealth”? COVID pandemic has proven that humans need to look after their health more than anything else in the world. Being healthy and alive is more important than money, property, jewelry or the share market.

How much importance have you given to your health in the last year? Have you started a regime of exercise, meditation, and staying happy?

45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise six days a week is compulsory for every human being. One needs to eat, sleep, breathe and also exercise. Choose any form you like- a sport, brisk walking running, jogging, cycling, Yoga, pilates or dance.

It is especially important for women of all ages to take out time for their exercise routine. People over 45 also need to do some form of weight lifting so that their bones do not become weak. Women and elderly are at a higher risk of Osteoporosis where mild trauma can cause fractures.

Children need to get off their laptops, television sets, phones and spend at least 2 hours in outdoor play. In Covid times, this can be quite challenging to find safe places for children to play but having children indoors for more than a year is detrimental to their mental, social and physical health.

Mental health is a vital component of well being and it is important to remain connected, feel loved, wanted and remain cheerful. I find counting my blessings first thing in the morning a very nice way to remain in gratitude. Take time to be grateful for what you have- food on the table, a roof over your head and family members who are well. In today’s times all of these are most important. If you feel dull, low, anxious or unhappy please seek help early through family members or professionals.

There has been a lot of information circulating on WhatsApp about immunity boosters, taking steam and drinking hot water to stay healthy. A well balanced nutritious diet consisting of freshly cooked food, multiple helpings of seasonal fruits and vegetables is the perfect way to keep your immune system intact and well. One can have junk / packed/ processed foods/ carbonated drinks in very limited quantities.

Staying healthy also needs clean air and water. Please work towards a cleaner environment. Try to improve waste management in your house, start composting and Say No to Single-use plastic. Do not allow garbage or garden waste to be burnt. Plant a lot of trees in your neighborhood.

Wearing a mask properly covering the nose and mouth is a key feature. This pandemic could last a few years so it’s best that you take Covid vaccination whenever you are eligible. Avoid crowded places and nonessential travel.

Make peace with the new normal, keep smiling and keep moving forward. Wishing you a very happy World Health Day!

Dr.Sarika Verma

Dr. Sarika is an ENT surgeon in Gurgaon and an environmentalist.

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