Ageing and Grace remind me of two women. One, my maternal grandmother Sattiraju Ratnamba. Well, it would be appropriate to put up her picture here but I am very possessive of her portraits most of the times. Another, Maharani Gayathri Devi. Her images always screamed graceful ageing.
Having observed my grand mother for many years now, I am dumb struck at the dignity with which she embraces ageing and the associated responsibilities.
Dignity needs dedication, devotion and discipline towards human spirit and body
When I meet people as a therapist and they talk about health problems, I am astonished by listening to health facts(most of the times, assuming myths) that ‘educated’ people come up with during the counselling sessions.Educated include people close to the cadres of post graduates from various fields including medicine.The sad thing about being a part of the ‘transition’ generation, the ‘we are born’ in 80s people, are often the ones at the losing end with reference to health and fitness.
Till a couple of years ago, my grandmother never changed her schedule which she followed for at least, 65 years or even above.(I don’t know her real age). And it is difficult to guess because she has real few white hair strands in her hair. Her schedule typically was that of a middle class Indian housewife.As a therapist when I analyze what she did, there is so much clarity on why people of her generation age gracefully and never have visited doctors till they reached 65 years and beyond.
When she woke up each morning and went to bed each night at a very specific time, she was biologically ‘respecting’ her circadian rhythm
When she walked for 4 kilometers each morning, she did her every day endurance training
When she reached out to pluck flowers from trees and plants for her daily prayers, she maintained her shoulder ranges( she never complained of Peri-arthritis. It is one of the most painful conditions that can functionally disable a person to a great extent. Most commonly reported condition for many women these days).
When she cooked, meals always had very little oil, right proportion of spices, fresh ground ‘chutneys’ with very little oil, and soup styled rasam(good for digestion).The snacks she made for us never made any of our more than 2 dozen cousins obese.
She bathes twice a day even today. Prays two times a day. She still does it. Being non-religious, I see it as a systematic way of maintaining personal hygiene and focusing on one’s own self twice a day. May be her reason is similar too. We never talked on it. I never asked. She never spoke about it.
The list is endless.
She spent more than half of her life living in harmony with nature and she literally co-existed with nature.
She always had a kitchen garden. She absolutely loves flowers and plants.
Today when I listen to patient’s history as a part of assessment, I rarely find ‘nature’ around them. They lack respect towards their bodies and abuse their bodies and minds to the point of no return.
I know Indians who ‘cut’ down so much on regular Indian food in the quest to follow, researched, published diet patterns that they can rarely even relish real high quality cooking. They live ‘sedentary’ lives in self built, expensive urban jungles.And in turn pay a fortune to go to air conditioned gymnasiums to hire expensive trainers who teach us common sense at exploited costs.
Getting closer to the field of fitness and rehabilitation as my career progresses, I understand few things and here are they.
Health problems are well understood and can be managed if you don’t fail to use your common sense.
Don’t rush to a nearest professional for every health concern.
Avail the most powerful available to us right now. Internet.
Google every word you have a question about.
Be well informed when you visit a health care professional.
Don’t be lazy.
Sedentary entertainment is USELESS and HARMFUL too. Get up and get going.
Dieting is the worst form of losing excess weight.
Losing weight is NOT an INDEX of getting healthier.
If you aren’t old enough to be already having a lot of ‘acquired’ lifestyle diseases and are reading this article, do two things right now.
Share this with the elders in your family.
Get up and get going.
PS: If you have a family member or friend who needs advice of a physical therapist, write to me at my e mail. I shall answer the questions if I can or shall get back with ‘first to be done’ advice from the senior professionals around me. Stop following unscientific short cuts for health problems.