Family health is the most crucial aspect of our lives in many ways.
Table of Contents
We did not take it so seriously in those days. We never cared about why health is important. I started my health routine with gymnastics when I was 14. I tried a somersault from above a vaulting horse. My physical education teacher was trying to help me do it. Initially, he was thrilled with my persistence and said, “See, everybody should be like Anil.
He cannot do it but has not said no even after 21 tries.” Everyone started counting then. After trying 56 times, my teacher said, “Other boys will lose interest,” so I left gymnastics for my active tribe at that time and let them do it now. My gymnastics dream ended then and there.
Next was running while I was in 10th grade. After school hours, all athletes used to practice. One day I, too, went there. I ran for about two hours. I never knew the Horlicks that Mom gave me every morning was so effective, or that I had that kind of stamina. The next day, my whole body was sore and aching. Dad said, “You better try all this after the 10th board exams.” As a result, the running fantasy came to an end.
Then came Kho-Kho, volleyball, basketball, football, badminton, table tennis, etc. I didn’t qualify for any game or any team outside my school. But something positive had already happened. I became a part of every team in every game within the school.
Family Health – Unhealthy Phase
Then I lost interest in all these kids’ games. I liked the bigger games now—smoking, drinking, drugs, and night outs. I started drinking like all kids, stealing from Dad’s XXX Rum. The problem of Family health was not in focus. I used to add Roohafza to my rum to sweeten it. When the seniors came to rag me, I sat outside the college, smoking a king-size cigarette costing 0.35p. They asked me if I had seen any juniors there and went back when I said no. My job was also fun, and I always walked hand in hand.
I smoked and drank enough for about 18 years, until 1998. Then I got bored with both and left them. To this day, my friends and colleagues wonder how I left both of them overnight. But seriously, I am not sure how I could leave both.
Then the fitness bug bit me in 2004. I used to try crazy tasks like drinking 2 litres of water every morning. It continued for about six months. But it was too frustrating. After drinking so much water, I had to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic to my office, which was 21 kilometres away. And my bladder felt like bursting every day. My dad used to ask me, “Do you have to drink so much of whatever you drink?” So I decreased it to one litre. To this day, I drink a litre of warm water every morning, immediately after I get up. That has become my first principle of Health Focus.
In July 2007, I listened to Baba Ramdev on TV and started doing Kapalbhati while sitting alone in a hotel room. I didn’t tell anyone at home. I felt they would laugh at me. But eventually, I started liking pranayama and added yoga to my routine. These pranayamas are more effective than any exercise, whether HIIT, Pilates, Tabata, or whatever. It does have some part in keeping a person calm and positive. I also started eating almonds and taking protein supplements. But I eventually stopped taking the supplements and started eating more healthy foods. Now I emphasize as much on a diet as on workouts.
Until now, I never considered what home or family health meant. Now, family health was also becoming a priority for me. I proudly announced at home one day that I had started yoga and pranayama and invited all to join me in the morning. Though others didn’t wake up, I continued my yoga. During my tours to Bihar, I visited the Bihar School of Yoga. That is the best yoga school in India. The atmosphere there is so calm and serene that it leaves you mesmerized.
In 2013, in Mumbai, I went to a garden to do my yoga with my father. I used to do yoga and pranayama there for about an hour. There, I met this group that was into running. They had called their main coach on a Sunday. I asked if I could join and was welcomed. This coach is so passionate about running that it is difficult to stop him once he starts talking about it. He told us so much about running that day. When, how, and where to run; what to wear; and what not to wear. He’s like a walking, or should I say running, encyclopedia.
I was influenced, started running, and realized how much I loved it. Within a month, I decided to run the main marathon that year. I felt as if I was born to run. Then one day, someone in the group asked him what we do during the rain. His simple reply was, “Run”. I loved running in the rain by myself. Guys, this is bliss, I realised for the first time in my life. Running in the rain is pure bliss. The ultimate pleasure.
When I was smoking, I read somewhere that Oscar Wilde said, “Smoking is the best kind of best pleasure.” Though I was unsure if he wrote it, I agreed with the sentence at that time. I disagree now. Yes, running in the rain can be the best kind of pleasure.
My running craze increased, and I started participating in various running events. Over the last seven years, I’ve completed several half marathons. Now I do workouts and run three days a week and do yoga the other three days. Sundays are for long runs. I go to the beach for my run on Sundays.
Family Health Care Network
But one point that always pinches me is that while I run my marathons and get fitter every day, what about my family’s health? Friends and lots of other runners keep saying that I am an inspiration. But whom do I inspire? Those friends and runners who are already doing some workout? A person who has already come out of his home for the run needs no more inspiration. He will eventually run.
What about those left at home? What is the benefit of getting fit if my better half has high blood pressure or my daughter is obese? How can I influence them to start doing some workouts with me or on their own? There are no family healthcare networks in our society. Whatever they want to do, they will have to form their network and maybe start on their own or with me.
Whatever they want to do can be their prerogative, but they should be doing some physical activity that improves their fitness levels. Also, the morning time a person spends with himself is indispensable. A little morning routine gives a person the best start for the day.
I asked my fellow runners about their families’ health; most households have the same situation. In fewer than 5% of families, husband & wife both regularly participate in some physical activity. In less than 1% of families, all members do some kind of workout. Parents, if staying with their grown-up children, are left alone to pursue their plans, which is seldom a workout. Some of them do go for a morning walk. So I have started encouraging and motivating my family, friends, and well-wishers’ families to start a morning routine of some physical activity.
Family Health and Wellness
I am now forming a society-wide opinion that your wife doing a workout is more important than getting your next marathon medal. Your fit family is more important than any marathon medal. The next target shouldn’t be my best timing in the coming marathon. It should rather be
- 50% cut in my family medicines in a year
- 50% cut in Doctor’s fees in a year(Health checks not included)
- 50% increase in fruit consumption in a year
- 50% increase in dry fruit consumption in a year
- All members have optimum body weight.
As a family of four, we lost 16 kg during the lockdown, of which my contribution was nil.
Evergreen Family Health – A Mission
Before the lockdown, most of the regular runners used to apply for at least one marathon a month on average. The cost of applying for any marathon is more than one kilogram of almonds the whole family can consume. I know people can afford both the marathon and the almonds. But can you afford your husband’s diabetes? Or your mother’s blood pressure?
So I have decided to make it my mission to promote family and elders’ health from now on instead of running alone.
I welcome all to come and help me achieve this. Do give me some of your input as to how to achieve this. To begin with, I only want whole family workouts, be it walks, runs, yoga, pilates, or any other form of exercise. I request you to share, how you are trying to achieve the same.
Healthy family, Happy family