International Youth Day: A holistic approach to health, fitness and evolution of a robust food system

  • The past year has altered nearly every aspect of our life and brought this fast-moving world to a standstill. The pandemic inflicted a lockdown, which restricted outdoor activities/movements and social gatherings. The imposed restrictions invariably led to the closure of gymnasiums, pools, stadiums, public places thereby hampering the routine fitness activities of many.
  • Apart from following strict hygienic rules, these measures were aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus including social distancing, home isolation and quarantine. While the benefits of these measures coupled with the steady vaccination drives have resulted in lesser number of covid cases across the country, the aftermath of the pandemic has also triggered a wave of physical and mental health issues. Regardless of whether it’s managing depression, social isolation or just the general stress that’s resulted from COVID-19.

As a 20 something year old millenial who took his genetics and metabolism for granted and led a lifestyle devoid of any fitness activities or with negligible focus on my dietary patterns, the lockdown resulted in me gaining a staggering 7 kilos. Well! Not for too long.

Last year unfortunately, I was one of the many, who was infected with covid and had to be hospitalized where my struggle to breathe was an eye opener. Having developed bilateral pneumonia, it made me realise how imperative it was for me and everyone else to be very mindful of taking care of ourselves both from outside as well as inside and get my act together before it’s too late. I would also have to mention the support I received from my parents and my organisation who held my hand tightly; both virtually and in spirit, and armed me with the support of our in-house Medical officer and counsellor who would regularly talk to me to help alleviate the anxiety that came along with the other side effects of Covid. As I started to recover, I worked on creating a diet chart with assistance from a nutritionist that took note of my day to day schedule and charted a diet plan with the right amount of nutrition and calorie intake in mind. This was also supplemented with 30 minutes of regular exercise to begin with to maintain my cardiovascular health and help my lungs recover from the covid jolt. This along with breathing techniques and yoga relieved the anxiety issues developed post the health concern.

As India’s food system has been evolving rapidly with the infusion of new technologies, innovative institutional engineering and incentives to mark a transformation; the country has come a long way in becoming a success story and establishing itself as self-reliant when it comes to its robust food system. It has also led to the genesis of new dietary patterns ranging from a wide spectrum of vegan to organic and to a whole lot of new diets catching up slowly.

While many are aware of the effect of the pandemic and lack of exercise on your aesthetics and health, very few understand that regular exercise has its own share of benefits that extend beyond what meets the eye. The profound and positive impact it has on your mind is generally underestimated, it helps relieve stress, boosts memory, helps you sleep better and skyrockets ‘Serotonin and Dopamine’ – the hormones responsible for making you feel good which also plays a key role in staving off anxiety and depression.

Working for an organisation that understands its work force and is always evolving to cater to the present times, our People and Culture team have rolled out a host of initiatives that dabble with fitness, meditation and various fun activities. We truly have the privilege and support of an outstanding team that believes and encourages a healthy ‘Work-Life balance’ and keeps its employees at the core of its business in line with the core value ‘People First’.

As much as it is important to take care of yourselves, it’s also imperative that one must focus on living a life very firmly placed on the foundation of sustainability. One must understand that even an individualistic effort to stop the use of plastic and being mindful and minimising your carbon footprint can collectively reap many benefits to the planet. Over the years, I have started taking baby steps on my road to the sustainability journey, by switching over to steel straws and water bottles. Also being very mindful of switching off the lights, fans and taps when not in use, understanding the need to conserve resources in all my capacity.

As I conclude, I would definitely like to emphasize on investing in yourself; and by that I mean taking a holistic approach towards improving your mental and physical health. A firm believer of ‘It’s never too late to start NOW’; 30 minutes exercise regularly and healthy eating will take you a long way and help you dodge a visit to the doctors clinic.

To all those who remember that I had put on 7 kilos as mentioned above, let me tell you, I weigh 14 kilos less than what I weighed and have been a lot happier and healthier after embracing a new lifestyle. Jumping on a nutrition dense diet based on transparency and environmental impact has more than its share of benefits, with the Indian Food System now more robust than ever, we are privileged to have many options at our disposal, but the one that has the most impact and will continue to touch the lives of many is the ‘Food with Purpose’- one that serves the society and protects the environment and our health.

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