Well who doesn’t like sweets – honestly?!! All of us do. Well I do. I have a sweet tooth. While a curry lunch is our first love, the love for the colorful sweets made at home or the more complicated ones from the sweet meat shop is a close second.
Many Indian sweets are fried foods made with sugar, clarified butter, milk or condensed milk. Although the combination of ingredients may vary by region, I’m sure most of us remember our mothers using these products quite often at home. Even tea and coffee, in our country is served with liberal doses of sugar.
Given this love of sweets, which we liberally indulge in during our numerous festivals, it should come as no surprise that India is rated as the world diabetes capital. The rise in the prevalence of diabetes in India is alarming. Various studies have shown that the high incidence of diabetes in India is mainly because of a sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress and consumption of diets rich in fat, sugar and calories.
Epigenetics and lifestyle are conspiring to inflict a considerable increase in the incidence of diabetes across the subcontinent. What with roadside shops selling traditional fried sweets, samosas, chaat and dosas; alongside fast-food joints selling burgers and fries; and shopping malls selling labour-saving appliances, we seem to be on a fast track to becoming a sick nation.
The three cornerstones in the treatment of diabetes are food, medications, and activity. Of these three, “activity” is often a first choice for the person who has diabetes. And that’s what I am going to talk about while reserving the first two points for our dieticians and the clinicians.
Moving toward a more physically active life is generally inexpensive, convenient, and relatively easy and usually produces great rewards in terms of blood glucose control and a comforting feeling of well-being. So our mantra here should be ‘exercise regularly’. If you are diabetic, check with your doctor for specialized advice for your specific situation. If you’re not diabetic, there is no better time than today for a great start, in order to avoid becoming another medical statistic.
Regular exercise can help prevent diabetes, and it can help those who already have diabetes to maintain better blood sugar control. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, five to six days a week is recommended. A recent study found that a combination of aerobic exercises, such as walking or dancing, most days combined with resistance training, such as weight lifting or yoga, twice a week helps control blood sugar more effectively than either type of exercise alone.
Whatever you choose, make sure the activities are enjoyable for you and take into account your abilities and condition. The activities don’t even have to be “exercises” in the traditional sense, as long as they get you moving. Dancing, taking your dog on long walks, cycling, gardening, and even walking the golf course, all count.
Vary them so you don’t get bored and fall prey to easy excuses. Choose some that can be done with others and some that can be done alone; some that can be done indoors, some that can be done outdoors; some that can be done when your schedule is light and some that can fit in when you’re strapped for time. Variety is definitely the spice of life and sometimes a little spice can save us from a potentially harmful overdose of sweetness.
Here’s to a sweet and healthy life.
About the Author:
Naresh is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running, rowing and a multitude of outdoor sports. He also works in the healthcare industry and, at close to sixty years, is trying to create awareness of the concept of health through fitness.
Photo Credit: Image 1
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