The latest trend these days is to be ‘fit’. While the concept of being healthy and fit is admirable, I wonder if one fully understands the meaning of this concept. How does one judge their health and fitness levels? Is it dependant merely on one’s weight or on an internationally recognized clothing size? Or is it reflective of one’s bulging biceps and 6 pack abs?
There are many who hit the gym, take up different forms of cardio exercises like spinning and zumba and go for a run regularly. Some even enrol in yoga classes of all kinds. I too have experimented with some of the above. And, it is addictive. Since any form of cardio-vascular exercise releases the hormone adrenaline – what is commonly referred to as an adrenaline rush – which makes one feel charged up. However, from my own personal experience I have realised that in most cases, one tends to get into the rut of gymming, suffering aches & pains because of bad posture or incorrect/continuous exercise and nutritional deficiency. And this becomes a vicious cycle. Because the moment you stop exercising, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) starts lowering and with continued unhealthy eating/lifestyle habits, you start gaining weight. So, to lose weight you once again resort to forms of exercise, though you are aware that your body is physically deteriorating.
They say ‘health is wealth’. But one’s health should not be limited to defined muscles and a certain body size. Only working on your body externally but being weak internally is futile. This is a misguided approach to fitness. Many gym goers have toned muscles, but a bent spine and bad body posture. Most runners are lean, but have knee problems. All this is the result of wear and tear of the muscles due to prolonged strenuous activities, which also results in early ageing of the body. One must realise that the mind and the body are not separate and exclusive entities. And therefore, in order to be healthy, which essentially means being disease-free, one must be in a state of balance.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a weak lower back and had suffered injuries in my shoulder blade while gymming. In spite of these injuries, I would still frequent the gym and run every day. Though building muscle is considered a sign of gaining strength, I knew that I was weak. Health and strength had eluded me all these years. It is only when I started doing the Sanatan Kriya that I realised what it means to be balanced and stable. Ever since I started the kriya, I have stopped gymming; I just felt that I no longer needed to ‘workout’. And with this, I automatically stopped having the various self-prescribed multi-vitamins and protein supplements that had become a part of my daily diet.
My personal experiences have made me redefine health and fitness. The outlook needs to change. Rather than just external looks, focus on your inner strength. Stability, balance and strength are the key to overall well-being.