Here are top ten health questions that you may want to ask yourself.
Most of us take health for granted. As long as we are not physically
challenged and can get through a day without some health condition
nagging us, we assume we are perfectly healthy. But most us also
secretly know that this assumption is not quite true.
Health is an investment. It comes from choices and effort, even in
youth. It also involves daily commitment. A sudden nasty blimp on the
health horizon never happens in isolation. It is always led by earlier
1. Can you touch your feet when you bend forward?
This seems simple task. However, it involves effort not just from the
spine, but also from supple legs, an elastic spine, superbly toned
back muscles and a firm band of core muscles, that include a toned
If you are not able to touch your toes when you bend forward, it could
mean several health risks: impaired blood circulation from poor muscle
tone and could indicate blood circulation problems.
It could mean stiff legs: interestingly even those who walk or run
have very stiff legs. They need to do more stretches to prevent future
knee injuries. Strong and supple back muscles prop the spine and take
the load off the entire body, including the knees.
A flat stomach is not just aesthetic but also implies a strong band of
core muscles that further support the entire body.
Stretches that cover the whole body are an ideal way to clear this
clog in your body.
2. Can you balance on one leg?
This simple task can surprise even children as they increasingly
choose sedentary mode of entertainment and games. An ability to
maintain balance is a physical skill that indicates a strong
proprioception. This is a sense of oneself in space and is an
important kinaesthetic experience for the body as it moves. Behind
this simple task the cerebellum and the balancing system in your inner
ear are involved.
Scientists are still discovering several tasks the cerebellum is
involved with: impulse control, cognitive skills, learning new things
amongst others. So, an inability to stay upright on one leg could
lead, in a few years, lead to impairment on all these fronts.
Balancing poses, training on the gym ball, using core board are some
exercise forms to reintroduce the body to this skill.
3. Can you reach your left arm behind to grasp your right hand from
below. And vice versa?
This is an interesting test which can indicate if you are well aligned
on both sides. Most people have a huge gap between the left and right
hands, and are often shocked to find this out. The gap may indicate a
slight postural misalignment that may not just affect gait, but also
blood flow according to yoga.
Also, it may later lead to spinal issues of the upper back and neck.
This is common in most of us as we enter our twenties, and occurs
because we are predominantly right handed. (The other side will affect
the left-handed). Also, the right side of our body affects our left
hemisphere and vice versa. In yoga, to balance both sides of the body
is to harmonise your brain too.
Shoulder circles, upper body stretches would help reverse this
misalignment in just a few weeks.
4. Can you take the stairs without becoming breathless?
Many fear they are heading for an attack when they become breathless
and avoid such exertions altogether. They may not be far off the mark
because it just shows that your heart and lungs are finding this
simple task tough and have started losing their tone. Instead of going
into a misguided protective mode that makes most people avoid such
simple tasks altogether, it may be taken as an alert to invite tone
back into these systems through phased exercise.
The heart services blood vessels that, if placed end to end, will
cover the entire earth in its circumference. Obviously it needs
exercise. And a sedentary lifestyle, it has been found, is more
dangerous than chain smoking. The breathlessness is merely an
indication that the heart is beginning to lose tone and you need to
get it into a repair mode.
Walking is a good start. Slowly increasing the pace, then including
other exercises would go a long way in reversing this condition.
5. Can you hum for long?
This is a test to check your lung capacity. Any sound is an
exhalation. The inhalation that follows is automatic and its depth is
actually affected by your exhalation. The deeper you exhale, creating
a vacuum effect, the more air you draw into the lungs. However, most
people do things topsy-turvy when they breathe, especially when doing
physical tasks that need effort. Most people focus on inhaling,
straining at it.
However, unless the exhalation is deep and relaxed, the inhalation
would be pretty much ineffective. Checking to see how long your hum
is, after one breath, will indicate to you how you breathe on a normal
Efficient breathing affects your mood and stress quotient.
Focusing on your breath is a simple way to relax your breathing and
deepen it. This is known to encourage respiratory efficiency.
Practising other breathing exercises would also up your lung volume
6. Is breakfast your heaviest meal?
This has been repeated umpteen times . However, we tend to neglect it,
making our breakfast light while we drool over a large and late
A large breakfast is important because the body's biological clock
ticks in such a way that maximum nutrient absorption is designed
around what you eat at that meal.
If you eat your heaviest meal for the day by 11 am, according to yoga,
your small intestine is ready for absorbing nutrients from that meal
by 2 pm. After that, the food intake should progressively get lighter,
since the digestive system is getting into a go-slow mode.
7. When did you learnt something new?
The keenness to learn something new comes from the neurochemical
dopamine, which is referred to as the explorer hormone because it
enhances the curiosity in you. Dopamine is part of the feel-good,
reward neurochemicals. Learning something new -- maybe to use a new
gadget, a dancing skill, some art form such as sculpting or pottery or
attending a hobby class to pick up a skill like beading could be all
it takes to make you feel alive and vital.
Tweaking the feel-good centres in our brain helps to keep us not just
alive but also feeling vital. Learning something could be the easiest
route towards this. Also, it has been found that aging -- whether it
refers to our brain or the body as a whole -- happens from long-term
neglect. One area that is often neglected is the brain -- mental
effort required to learn something new actually 'muscles' and tones
our mind, and keeps us youthful and energetic overall.
8. When did you visit your dentist last ?
Some visit dentists only when they have some dental problem. However
having a good set of teeth could be more than a sparkling smile. It
has been found that bad teeth could actually lead to circulatory and
It is because the mouth forms the perfect site for anaerobic bacteria
which then leads to other complications by moving into the body. If
you have a sensitive gums or gaps between gum and tooth you must see
your dentist very soon!
Soft toothbrush that does not damage the gums, salt water mouth
rinses, keep the gums healthy and may be a great way to strengthen
9. How often do you take stretch breaks in a working day?
Progressive companies are said to give out electronic alerts to their
workers, to indicate the time for stretch breaks. As we wrote earlier
in this copy, a sedentary lifestyle can be more dangerous than chain
smoking. Interestingly, it has been found that an impaired or sluggish
circulation can be the cause of many ailments, not just cardiac
problems but also dementia and brain damage.
Encouraging the blood to move over the body in a systematic way could
be the easiest route to health. This is true for even those who may
exercise daily. Having an hour of daily exercise may be healthy. But
is equally important to move or stretch several times during a day,
especially if you have a sedentary work-style.
Having several stretch breaks during the day could mean clearing the
lymphatic system (which, unlike other systems like the blood, does not
have a pumping mechanism and needs our movements to keep it
functioning efficiently), preventing water retention, keeping joints
supple and lubricated, and removing the state of chronic fatigue
10. When did you go out on a relaxing holiday?
It has been found that the stress over the week may be better handled
if you have planned a relaxing or fun filled weekend. Basically, it
means you should plan something which you are looking forward to. This
could mean just curling up with your favourite book, catching a film
you had meant to see, or anything that for you is fun, relaxing or
Looking forward towards something can blunt the edge off stress.
Stress, it has been found, is the silent killer in all our lives. The
sense of being in a rut can cause serious psycho-somatic ailments,
including high and low blood pressure, clinical depression, tension
headaches, neck/ shoulder problems and digestive disorders.
Edited by: Lawyer Asad