Below is longer version of my Hindustan Times column Run&Bee week 38 / 16.2.2019: Stop preaching children to active, keep moving with them

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There is always this comparison of physical activity between the current youngsters, both school and college going, to the generation of their parents. It isn’t really a revelation to know that the kids today are stuck to their gadgets and lead a very sedentary lifestyle.

It is easy to blame the youth, but we need to understand our contribution in making this happen since they weren’t born with an iPhone. We made that happen for them.

 35 years and above has no excuse for letting physical activity and health slip by the way most of us have. Back then there used to be one TV channel and leave alone mobile phones, even landline was a luxury to have. The sole responsibility for the current situation lies with us, and we need to lead by example.

A couple of weeks back, a school friend of mine, Balraj Bidhuri, got in touch with me after more than quarter of a century. It was regarding his 13 year old son Darsh.

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By that age Balraj had played his first National Games. He also competed in body building and down the line he also became a certified yoga teacher. After his education, he worked in the corporate world for almost two decades, where career, family, traveling and living a so called good life took precedence.

Soon enough, he found himself to be overweight and diabetic. A story, that in some variation will resonate with all of us. A year and a half ago, Balraj started his own HR consulting business and was often bothered by feeling of dissatisfaction. He had a realisation that happiness can only be felt by a healthy person, all materialistic pursuits are important but secondary to a healthy body and peaceful mind. This made him to start going on long walks and slowly hit the treadmill and bid goodbye to unhealthy eating habits and late nights. He has managed to lose 15 kgs.

His son, Darsh, student of class 8th of Gyan Bharati School, Saket, has been attending football and basketball coaching classes at his school, where there is good sports infrastructure, but yet had been gaining weight and developed what seemed like knocked-knees, which bothered Balraj.

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It might surprise you, but knocked-knees are only a symptom and can be corrected by addressing muscle imbalances and excessively sedentary lifestyle.

The kids today are not as active or healthy as our generation when we were young possibly because the distractions and comforts are much more now and at the same time a lot more is expected of them. Hardly do we see kids behave like kids nowadays. We used to chase each other for hours just for fun, climbing trees and playing games popular in our times. There seems to be too much energy, money and time lost on structured sports coaching classes, tuition classes, hobby classes which doesn’t seem to ignite passion in kids. I also must admit that my years of unhealthy lifestyle must have rubbed on him.
— Balraj Bidhuri
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But of course. The change begins from yourself, sorting out your own life, the way Balraj has done.

Darsh, along with working out with his dad, now has early dinner and adequate sleep, i.e. 7-9 hours. They do simple exercises like heel raises, toe curls, squats, donkey-kicks, stretches, Suryanamaskar and jogging. Xbox has disappeared, T.V. moved out of bedroom and mobile phone is now just a communication device.

Balraj appreciates that his 13 year son is becoming more self-aware and calm. The time spent with his son in the morning gives him pleasure, satisfaction and sets him on a good day ahead. The biggest gift that he can give his son and his 8 year old daughter, Sia, is a realization that only healthy lifestyle can bring happiness and positivity.

Healthy lifestyle is a family effort. The whole family has to get into it. Parents are the biggest role models for a child and a child will naturally mimic their good and bad habits.
— Balraj Bidhuri

Week 3

This program is intended for people who have been struggling to get started with exercises and being more physically active. This will help you build a solid foundation.

1. Breathe: Throughout the day, every hour, for a minute take long deep breaths in and out. Once you get used to controlling your breathing while sitting or standing, you’ll be able to better with it while walking or running.

2. Time on feet: Three times a week, walk non-stop for 30-45 min at a comfortable pace. On alternate days, walk for 4 min followed by 2 min of slow jog. Repeat walk again followed by run for 4-5 times. Speed should be such that you are starting to feel the strain. While walking, focus on long deep breaths to recover for the next bout of running.

3. Heel Raises: Take your shoes off. Imagine you are a puppet being pulled up by a string. Slowly come off both your heels. And slowly come down. Do 20 repeats, 4-5 times a day.

4. Squats: Sit on your dining chair or any other stable chair. Now slowly get up. And then slowly sit down. As soon as you touch the chair, get up again. There you go. You just did a squat. Do 10-20 repeats, moving slowly. 3-4 times a day.

I’ll soon post week 1 & 2 plans along with the columns I have missed to blog.

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