Beyond Fitbit, There Is More To Health Management

Health management found an altogether new meaning in 2007 when Fitbit Inc set its foundation in San Francisco. A decade down the line, the world has caught up with the ‘healthy living’ trend and how! What started more as a fad has now become an integral part of people’s lives. There are people who just cannot function without their Fitbit tugging at their wrists! No, we are not exaggerating.

Fitbit came in as a revolutionary product that helped people keep track of their physical activity. It gave birth to a horde of other fitness trackers that let you track your physical/health activities ranging from calorie intake, calories burnt, steps walked, kilometres ran, water intake, sleep et al. You name it and you have a tracker for it today – be it in the form of a wearable gadget or a mobile phone application. These are all great ways to ensure that you are leading a healthy life but have you ever wondered that this is not all that health management is about?

Health management is an umbrella term and tracking physical activities and sleep is just two of the many other aspects that one needs to cater to for a having a healthy mind and body. The fad of fitness trackers and app has made people overlook the bigger picture. Managing health is not only about tracking your steps, calories, or food but also about monitoring your health at regular intervals. Monitoring health is what these apps and trackers don’t provide for. A holistic approach to health management will be tracking as well as monitoring other aspects. Let’s take a look –

Managing Personal Health Record (PHR) History:

Personal Health Record (PHR) is a tool that helps an individual to keep a track of their past and current health and medical history. Unlike the fitness apps and trackers where you live by the day, the PHR is a consolidated data about your entire health history. It helps doctors in tracking your past health record thereby felicitating better and accurate medical care. It keeps track of your diagnosis and treatments which, in turn, helps the doctors in precise analysis and treatment. There are several mobile apps available today which can help you keep track of your personal health record right from the mobile.

Healthcare Advice

Have a stomach ache? Google the symptoms and voila you have stomach cancer! Hasn’t this happened with most of us? Today, Googling about a disease has created more anxiety than the disease itself. With so much of information at our disposal, it becomes difficult to measure the accuracy of it. Reading a couple of articles on the internet cannot provide you with the healthcare advice you need. You need qualified professionals to guide you through. You need access to quality health advice from expert professionals – delivered right on your mobile phone.

Keeping in Touch with Doctors

How many times have you texted your doctor regarding some ailment or post-op follow-up? Innumerable, isn’t it? Ever wondered about how unsystematic you are being regarding such vital information? It becomes difficult not only for you but also for the doctor to keep track of your medical history. You should be able to communicate with the doctor while making your medical information available systematically. You don’t need to visit the doctor nor do you need to worry about losing track of your vital medical information. Everything should be placed systematically under your health profile.

Locating Doctors, Labs & Other Medical Facilities

Just like apps wherein you review restaurants, how about an app where you can review doctors, labs, X-ray and MRI centres etc? We seek reviews from acquaintances and friends before finalizing a doctor or accessing any other medical facility. But, what if you are stuck in a new city with no reliable acquaintance? In such situations, it helps to have an app more like an online directory that recommends and reviews doctors, hospitals, labs and other medical centres.

Good Diet & Exercise

Completing 10k steps every day on your fitness tracker doesn’t mean that you have met your exercise quota nor does consuming food with limited calorie ensures you are having a good and healthy diet. Exercise and a good diet are well beyond that. One needs to exercise for at least 30 minutes at a stretch. Walking 10k steps over the entire day doesn’t count for exercise. A good diet is imperative in maintaining health and keeping a check on calorie count doesn’t imply good diet. You need to ensure that your diet is meeting your nutrition quota for the day. A good diet should be based on the intake of nutrients more than the calorie count.

The fad of healthy life has skewed the meaning of health management. Losing weight or building muscle doesn’t mean you are fit or healthy. Being healthy is far more than just your outer body. Though it is not bad to keep a track of your day to day physical activities and eating habits, one needs to focus on the rest of the above-mentioned aspects as well in order to achieve a perfectly healthy mind and body.

 

How to Stay Healthy – Even in A Demanding Job

The changing lifestyles with increased work pressure and long working hours are many times considered to be the most used excuses by the general working class for overlooking their health. We do understand that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not easy, but it certainly isn’t an impossible task to accomplish.

A 2016 report by Optum inferred that 46% of the corporate workforce in India suffers from some form of mental or physical health issue. The report further suggested that 30% of the workforce was at high risk of diabetes or hypertension. 43% of the employees who took the survey had a skewed BMI (Body Mass Index), and out of this 43%, 30% were at high risk of hypertension and 46% were burdened with excessive stress.

Heavy pay cheques come at a heavier price – health. Stress has been touted as one of the primary culprits behind 78% human health issues across the globe. In another survey by Optum, they found out the following significant stressors of corporate India:

  • Higher salaries, higher expectations. This burdens the employee to give more than hundred percent of their ability to their employers and organisations
  • The unpredictability of professional environment. Office politics induces fear of job retention
  • Lifestyle issues like sleep disorder, poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity
  • Pressure to maintain a certain standard of living 

What Can Organisations Do?

Declining health is a pressing issue both for employers and employees. And to bring in a change in the working environment, both need to work together towards achieving this goal. Organisations can facilitate employee health by adopting these simple measures:

  1. Workout Area or Access to Exercise

Exercise is one of the best stress relievers. An able adult should workout for at least 30 minutes every day to maintain a healthy body and mind. By providing a workout area or a well-equipped gym, organisations can help in promoting healthy living. Studies have shown that easy access to the gym or a running circuit acts as an encouraging element for people to take up physical activity. 

  1. Company / Team Outings

Company outings are the best ways for the employees to unwind and rejuvenate.  Such outings not only let the employees put their hair down and enjoy but also allow them to open up on various interpersonal issues thereby creating a friendly bond amongst the colleagues.

  1. Recreational or Quiet Space

Most jobs demand some space, especially creative ones. Organisations can help employees by creating a designated quiet chamber for them to unwind and think clearly. Recreational spaces are more about engaging employees with the availability of games like chess, carom, etc. As per the demand of the nature of the work, employers can provide for such spaces inside the office campuses.

What Can Employees do?

Employers can only encourage healthy living by providing means for achieving a healthy lifestyle, but it is ultimately the employee who needs to avail and utilise the available resources. Besides that, inculcating some simple healthy habits can help you in leading a good and healthy lifestyle. Adopt these simple changes in your routine and see your health improve.

  1. Healthy Eating Habits

As clichéd as it may sound, but your body is what you feed it. Long working hours can be tiresome but it does not provide you with an excuse to overlook what you are feeding to your body. Follow these simple changes to see a difference:

  • Supplement your snack time with nuts and protein bars instead of eating junk food during break hours.
  • Cut down on your soda and processed juices. If you need refreshment, opt for fresh juices or lemon juice.
  • Drink, drink, and drink as much water as you can throughout the day.
  • Start your day with a glass of water.
  1. Sleep Cycle

Cut down on your recreational activities if they demand to compromise on your sleeping hours. There’s no medicine as good as a sound 8 hours sleep. The body organs and mind undergoes reparation when the body is at rest during night hours. You need to provide it ample time for this process. Lack of sleep and sleep disorders have become a household name in today’s time. Learn to cut out from the world and invest in sleep.

  1. Increase Movement

Long sitting hours have played a major role in deteriorating health of the employees. Sitting is considered as dangerous as smoking these days. You are putting your body at more than one health risk if you are sitting continuously for long hours. Doing so increases belly fat which in return puts you at high risk of diabetes and various heart-related issues. Take breaks at regular intervals of 30-40 mins. Just walk to the water cooler to refill your bottle. Make sure to maintain correct posture by keeping your spine and shoulders straight. Dropping shoulders and slouching spine results in back pains, cold shoulders, and stiff neck.

The adage ‘Health is wealth’ makes more sense than ever. In a quest to achieve your career goals, don’t neglect your health. A man is what he is only until he has a fit and able body. An unhealthy mind and body will be of no service either to you or your family. Maintaining good health is as important as earning your bread and butter. Don’t ignore the former for the latter. With these simple and easy steps, you can lead a healthy life.

The 5 New Popular Diets You Need to be Aware of

The moment we hear the word ‘diet’ we associate it with weight loss. This phenomenon has become so prevalent that there are times when people use weight loss and diet as synonyms!

Over the years, nutritionists and physicians have insisted on following a diet in order to lose weight. Well, that’s not all a good diet does. Besides keeping a check on your weight, it promotes overall good health and well-being.

Following a fancy diet has become a fad and everybody wants to jump on the diet bandwagon without understanding the importance and implication of these diets. Each body is different, and so are its requirements. No two people can gain from the same diet. Apart from losing weight, people follow a rigorous or strict diet to gain weight, build muscle, increase stamina, improve immunity, and to stay fit.

Popular Diets

 It’s always wise to understand what you are feeding to your body. Your body becomes what you eat. Here is a peek into some of the popular diets doing the rounds at present:

  1. Blood Type Diet

Did you know that your blood type can play a pivotal role in deciding what you are eating? This particular diet focuses on the person’s blood type. This type was formulated on the basis of various researches that have shown the importance of a person’s blood type on their health. You might know people who lose weight quickly and some who try every possible trick under the sun and, yet, their weighing scale doesn’t move an inch. The blood type has a significant role to play in this as well. Studies by researchers have ascertained that people of different blood type react differently to factors like stress, physical strain, certain food items, viruses, etc. Some blood types are more prone to diseases as compared to others. So, if you are suffering from chronic ailments or clueless about why your current diet is not making you healthier, you might try this particular diet.

  1. DASH Diet

Dash diet has been in the news recently in the US for being the best diet to combat depression. The researchers believe that people following DASH diet had shown improvement in their mental health. This diet is based upon natural food products like fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats. This diet lets you keep a check on your blood pressure as well. If you are suffering from depression or blood pressure issues, then you can give this diet a shot.

  1. Primal Blueprint Diet

Also called as Caveman diet, it was introduced around mid-70s. The primary motive of this diet is to eliminate grains from your gastronomic routine. This diet emphasises on eating like the cavemen that include consumption of meat, fish, nuts, and raw vegetables. There are neither specific portions to adhere to nor any intervals to keep a check on. Eat when you feel hungry and eat to your heart’s content.

  1. Flexitarian Diet

As the name suggests, it is a flexible diet that allows you to shift between vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. It is aimed at reducing the meat intake without completely excluding it from the diet. This diet encourages you to eat more veggies. As the name suggests, this diet is all about flexibility – it not only helps in weight loss but also helps in lowering the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

  1. Intermittent Fasting

Contrary to the belief of eating at often regular intervals, this diet promotes eating in long gaps. Indians have been following fasting as a ritual since times immemorial. This diet is just that – fasting. You can opt from various fasting intervals depending upon the need of your body and physical activity. The variations that you can choose from include:

  • 20 hours fasting called as the Warrior Diet
  • 16 hours fasting meant for lean gains
  • 36 hours fasting which is Alternate day fasting
  • 24 hours fasting once or twice a week

Those following this diet have experienced better productivity, improvement in mental and physical health, muscle gain, and fat loss. Of course, intermittent fasting has to be properly combined with regular exercise and right eating.

Every diet plan is meant to cater to a specific body. You need to first understand your body and know what you need and require from your diet before starting on any diet plan. It is advisable to check with your nutritionist or physician before starting any particular diet.

Diet Myths You Always Believed

It is the universal truth that is seldom acknowledged that everyone secretly aspires to have an amazingly toned and healthy body. While it has been proved beyond a shred of doubt that achieving that takes time, patience, discipline, combined with exercising and a healthy diet – sometimes we tend to take desperate measures to get to the results quicker. However, not everything you read about dieting is true. Some of them are just tales to make you think you’re helping yourself whereas; you might really be putting yourself in terrible danger.

Here are some diet myths that you always believed to be true but sadly are not –

Crash diets help in weight loss

It has never been a good idea to suddenly stop your regular diet and start eating as little as possible. We have written in the past about how fad diet is the worst solution for weight loss. Crashing dieting only makes you lose the water weight and sometimes you would gain more weight than lose it. It also leads to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. A healthy diet is often misconstrued as eating less but your doctor and your nutritionist will tell you otherwise.

Not eating at night helps

Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. Period. Blood sugar tends to dip due to not consuming food, and when you wake up the next morning, you would be craving food that is loaded with carbs and sugar. It is better to be following a controlled and balanced diet than trying these rather harmful to health ideas.

Bananas make you fat

A lot of people believe that bananas are fattening. But the truth is, bananas are low in fat and are packed with potassium. To be precise, there is only 0.5g fat and 95 calories in a banana! It’s an excellent pre-workout meal and, no, when eaten in moderation, it does not make you fat.

Protein bars and shakes help you lose weight

Unfortunately, the advertisements for protein bars and shakes are completely wrong. Not all of them follow all the health protocols and sometimes it is just better to invest your time and energy in a sit-down meal. Some of the popular protein bars might be using bloat-causing additives like carrageenan and be using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. It is best to do your research before you purchase any protein bars and make sure you are not allergic to any of their ingredients. As for protein shakes, it is better for you to make those at home with a selection of fruits and vegetables that are good for health. Besides, homemade beats store-bought every time!

Eating big portions of healthy food wouldn’t affect you

Ever heard the saying that too much of anything is bad? It continues to be true in the case of healthy food as well. The idea of a healthy diet is to make sure you eat right and eat the amount that is filling. If you stuff yourself up like a Christmas turkey, you will end up feeling that way!

Coffee can help you lose weight

The myth is that the caffeine in coffee would act as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. However, the truth is, too much coffee intake would only lead to sleeping disorders and anxiety. If you plan on getting your coffee from your favorite coffee shop, remember that the add-ons would only lead to more calories. Drinking a cup or two of coffee or tea a day without cream or sugar, however, would be perfectly fine for your health.

Drastically cutting down on calories helps

As discussed before, drastic measures never end well for anyone. If you cut down your calorie intake drastically, you might lose weight, but you will end up gaining it back again. Psychologically, you cannot change your diet overnight. In fact, you would end up feeling deprived and hungry if such were the case. The best thing to do is consult a nutritionist and figure out a weight loss plan that works best for you.

Skipping breakfast helps you lose weight

This is far from true. If you don’t eat breakfast, chances are you will be hungry throughout the day and try to compensate by eating rather unhealthy meals. Whereas; eating breakfast helps you manage your hunger better. Opt for healthy food items such as oatmeal with fresh berries for your morning breakfast.

You don’t need a controlled diet if you work out

There is an idea that if you hit the gym often enough, it doesn’t matter what you eat. However, people forget that exercise is not a punishment for what you just ate. It is more of a celebration about what your body can do. In the long run, if you continue with an unhealthy diet, it won’t matter how long or how fast you ran on the treadmill. Besides, sometimes the calorie counter on the machines are off and might give you misleading records of your health.

There are plenty of other myths floating around the internet too. If you are planning on changing your diet, then consult your doctor and nutritionist and figure the perfect diet for you. Doing crazy things to get faster results often backfire and you might end up doing permanent damage to your health.

Doctor – Heal Thyself. Here is How You Can Stay Fit (Easily)

Doctors may be called the saviours of society because they are the backbone of a healthy nation. Without proper health, all of the industries, services, and institutions would grind to a halt. Doctors are the reason that the average human being wakes up feeling ready to take on the day because, without health, nothing can be done. So it’s clear that we all owe our vigour and vitality to doctors, but what about the health of the doctor? We have a question for all the doctors – should serving others and making sure everyone else is fit and healthy come at the cost of your own health? Absolutely not! We believe that every single human being on this planet has a right to health, including the professionals who work around the clock to heal others. So why is it that doctors often find it hard to stay fit? The main obstacle that doctors face is their erratic work schedules. For a doctor, duty may call at any time so it is difficult to get into a proper fitness routine. That being said, there are ways where you can inculcate healthy habits and increase your fitness levels. If you really wish to be healthier but lack the time, MAKE time.

Of course, we are not the experts to guide the knowledgeable doctors about taking care of their health. Through this post, we just aim to put together a ready list of a few pointers on how doctors can stay fit.

Target your lifestyle, not just certain habits

We agree that being a doctor means that your lifestyle may be unpredictable but there are some things that will remain constant. For example, you will always be in control of what you choose to eat, even if you have a cook who prepares your meals, you have the power to shop for healthier ingredients, and that’s a great start. So instead of targeting certain, isolated vices such as quitting smoking or cutting out processed sugar, target a facet of your lifestyle, like your general, overall diet. Instead of making one healthy switch from sugar to jaggery, change your eating habits in general. Buy more vegetables, choose the oven over the frying pan and set alarms on your mobile which will remind you to eat on time. Change the way you eat in general, and you will find a marked improvement in your health, even on days that you miss going to the gym.

Carry healthy habits in your pocket

There are numerous apps that have been designed to cater to individuals who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. Such apps not only provide services such as calorie counters and BMI calculators, but they also send you push notifications to remind you to drink water and eat on time. Being a doctor means you must be a master at multi-tasking. Managing three to four tasks at a time almost always means that your own, personal needs take a back seat. This is when it’s handy to have an app that reminds you to drink enough water, and, eat on time.

Sneak in some stretches

One of the aspects of health that really takes a toll on doctors is incorrect posture. This is especially the case with surgeons and professionals who have to be on their feet for hours at a stretch. Most doctors suffer from stiffness all over the body and all this really takes a toll on you in the years to come. If they’re not on their feet, the doctor is at his/her desk conducting research and posture comes into play over here as well. The long-term solution to this problem is to join a yoga class since this form of exercise is targeted towards stiffness, increasing the elasticity of the muscles and creating space for your internal organs to breathe. A quick fix to stiffness is to do a couple of chair twisting exercises whenever you get the chance. Lift your arms up, interlock your fingers and stretch. Use your chair to help you twist to the sides and release any stiffness you may have in the neck. Stretching whenever you get the chance to will help keep your muscles and joints healthier.

Holidays should be holistic

Yes, after a long week you may want to take it easy and let loose but remember the advice you give your patients, health is the greatest wealth! It’s literally the best investment you can make in your life so make sure that you set aside some time for wellness and health on your holidays. This can be in the form of a guided meditation class to help you focus your energy on being present in each moment, or going for a hike or cycling. You can also set some time aside to plan the next weeks’ meals. It’s the one day of the week where you can focus on yourself and on your body and mind instead of worrying about the health of others.

Track your progress

Just like you track the progress of your patients, track your own personal progress so that you stay motivated and can actually experience and reap the benefits of your hard work. One of the most rewarding things about being a healthy doctor is that you get to lead by example. Can you imagine how motivated your patients will feel if they see you in the pink of health, despite your busy schedule?

Be a meticulous meal planner

When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, nutrition is the most important. How about taking out time on your holiday to make a timetable which contains meals for each day, these meals should include all the food groups so that each meal is a healthy mix of fibre, protein, carbs and healthy fats. Once this timetable is in place, meal planning will be effortless! There are also a number of mobile apps that can help you plan your meals so as to meet all of your daily nutritional requirements. Also carry a snack box to work, this can include snacks such as fruits, nuts, seeds and homemade granola bars. So if you have to head into emergency surgery but do not have the time to eat lunch, you can always snack on a banana and trail mix before heading into the OT. This will give you the energy you need to sustain the day.

Make healthy a habit

Your health regime does not have to be restricted to making time for the gym and eating right, there will be days where you will be too exhausted to work out because you were on call the entire night or you had an emergency procedure. On these days, small things like taking the stairs will make a big difference to your energy levels. So make healthy a habit, cut out processed foods, get into the habit of carrying healthy snacks and take the stairs because every choice we make can either nudge us towards good health or ill health.

If this all seems too overwhelming to you then start small and find solace in the fact that once healthy becomes a habit, the effort is effortless! Remember that as a caregiver, you must be in the position to care and treat others in the first place. Doctors must focus on their health the most because a fit doctor is the epitome of good health.