So we just had ‘world heart day’. The pathology labs and pharma firms went on an overdrive; so did front-page news articles. Everyone talking about how we are a boiling pot of heart diseases and metabolic disorders.
Honestly, having a digital BP monitor at home or checking lipid profiles routinely is hardly a healthy routine—it’s a fear routine cultivated by the pharma industry. What we need instead is strong advocacy for both activity and exercise. If you just think about it, ours must be the world’s laziest nation. Barring our farmers (not the ones who are farmers for tax benefits) and labourers, none of us move; forget about walking to work, school or colleges.
Not doctors but governments can keep hearts healthy and it starts with better roads. By that I mean more room for footpaths and less for cars. That way you create an environment conducive to walking, and walking is an activity (not an exercise). A much-needed one for every involuntary system of the body—the digestive and circulatory being the most critical ones.
The recent car-free Gurgaon initiative does much more for the heart than buying heart-healthy oils. Health cannot be bought with prescription, money and influence. It is earned through daily small tasks—walking around, picking up stuff after you, opening the door when the bell rings.... Common sense stuff that’s not marketed. Along with that, it takes 150 mins per week of exercise. Exercise is what challenges the body to go beyond its limitations of strength, flexibility and stamina. You need both—daily activity and weekly exercise. Without these two not just your heart but nothing is going to be healthy.