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Refreshed and energized by the yoga class held on Sunday on the eve of International Yoga Day, I was heading back to my home, thinking about the noble cause that our nation, along with others countries, has taken up to propagate this concept of spiritual fitness across the globe, when my cell phone suddenly beeped. As hundreds of messages of “Happy Yoga Day!” flashed on the screen from all social media like Whatsapp and Facebook, an ironic thought dawned on my mind: Publicity is fine. But then: how many of us who are actively typing the message of “Happy Yoga Day!” actually implement it in our life?

Zeroing in on broader issues, we all read articles on health issues, talk a lot about it and even hear some inspiring sermons on fitness stuff. We are so enthusiastic about it! Isn’t it? But do we show the same enthusiasm by actually doing the “health work”? - A question to wonder.

Okay, I agree to the fact that most of us are making a beeline for fitness: hitting the gyms, yoga centers, doing aerobics and so on. (Keep it up!) But still, you cannot deny that the “Health Hazard” line have been on a steep rise on the Health Graph for a decade or so. Of course, the advancement and breakthroughs in medical science have helped keeping many diseases at bay like polio and malaria, and even wiped off monsters like Small Pox and Rinderpest. Nevertheless, the rise of health problems seem endless.

In fact, it has become an everyday topic as we hear from our friends, colleagues or relatives contracting some kind of disease or ailment. Oh yes, for instance, let’s talk about the ‘commoners’: diabetes, obesity, high or low-blood pressure, chronic cough, depression, hypertension, ulcers, Alzheimer and so many countless names have become our common foes. It wouldn’t be a surprise if I say that at least one member in every family is the owner of one of these common diseases! And speaking about the ‘fatal foes’, the heart attacks, cancers, asthma attacks, AIDS obviously boast themselves on the top list of “Health Terrorists” ready to strike not only the aged ones but the youngsters too! Recently, the newcomers have also joined the team of the fatal foes: Ebola, Swine flu and other deadly viruses have proved more dangerous than any human terrorist group.              

Now, what does being healthy mean? Before answering, please pose this question to a modern, sophisticated, western-influenced youth and, believe me, he or she would probably (and even confidently) coin the definition of being healthy by inserting terms like: rippling muscles, throbbing biceps, toned skin, picture perfect looks, ‘Greek-God’ like bodies, not to mention the uber-famous cult status of the sexy six packs and the sensual zero figure! Wow! What a healthy body!

Oh, you may be frowning at me with the question that what’s wrong in it? Well, there’s nothing wrong in building a Hollywood hero type physique. What I am trying to tell is: “What you see may not be so”. Merely being strong and muscular from outside does not make you fit. Physical fitness must befriend mental and spiritual fitness as well. A person may be physically strong but mentally weak and vice versa. Yoga – a gift to the world – is a medium for all round fitness. Also, a recent study said that reading positive thinking and motivational books boosts mental fitness! (A food for thought).        

Fitness is a broad term with a wide concept. There are numerous ways to maintain fitness and can be categorized as follows -  

Natural Fitness: As the term explains, natural methods that can be resorted to are: Morning Walk, jogging, exercising, yoga and so on. The bottom line is that those resorting to these methods must take their own initiatives to wake up early in morning, and will themselves to act.

Equipment Fitness: This has become a popular trend among the youths. Hitting the gym is on high demand. Fitness equipments like treadmills, swing-machines, exercise bikes, weights, dumbbells, twisters, et. al. are in vogue. They give the body a controlled environment. It's certainly okay to resort to this method. However, care should be taken to avoid taking chemicals like steroids, tablets, artificial muscle boosters.

Creative Fitness: This is also an innovative method. It involves aerobics, dance, swimming, sports, et. al. It not keeps you fit but is also a good source of creative refreshment and entertainment.

Tablet Fitness: Oh, I know you are scratching your head. Well, this is what I call a negative fitness and unfortunately this method is on a high rise. Most of the people are depending on medicines, tablets, artificial products as if these are the life savers! Believe me, this method is the best buddy of diseases! People adopting these always think of getting early in morning - Just keep on thinking. Amusingly, the action part never comes!

In fact the last category of tablet fitness occurs due to the following reasons:

The Machine Effect: All work and no play makes jack a dull boy! Sitting long-hours in front of computers, watching TV after coming from office (couch potatoes) or playing video games instead of outdoor ones are the reasons. The machines have made our work easy and also made us lazy!

The Junky Effect: Today’s junksters (oh sorry, youngsters!), are attracted to the irresistible aroma of pizzas, pastas, patties and so on. No doubt, they become the magnet for health ailments!

The Ad’s Effect: Who doesn’t get magnetized by the glitz and glamour of the advertisements? The picture perfect models boast of their bodies by taking high sounding creams, potions, and chemicals. And what is more - we seriously believe them. What a sheer folly!             

Seriously speaking, doctors, physicians, and others comprise of the most important part of our society given their social and humane obligations. If blood is the lifeline, they are the life saviors. Many charitable hospitals and institutes have opened to cater to the care of poor and needy. However, unfortunately, some of these elite life saviors have become life takers! The cases of misdiagnosis, wrong dosage of medicines, careless and impersonal attitude, dead for bribes occur every other day or so. Pragmatic steps must be taken by the government to check such malpractices and spread awareness. Human life is, of course, the first priority and should not be treated with casualness. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative taken by our Prime Minister is a praiseworthy step of the government for a hygienic India and consequent reduction in health related problems.

Before I say you goodbye, let us all vow to make health our topmost and foremost priority. And not only vow but act too! Because we all very well know: Great Health is indeed the Greatest Wealth!   

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