Looking Back at 2006

So, how do you feel today?

Do you feel healthier today than you were a year ago?

It’s Boxing Day and you are taking it easy. You had your Christmas dinner. You had your Christmas presents. Even if you do not formally celebrate Christmas you cannot escape the spirit of it. Especially the turkey dinner, the yummy chocolates (my favourite), the variety of nuts (my second favourite) and Christmas songs and carols. I don’t care too much about alcohol but I like the holiday part.

I have to be careful with chocolates and nuts. They are supposed to be good for your health but they are loaded with calories. With my heart condition I have to indulge in these “vices” carefully. Of course, I convince myself that by exercising more I will burn off some of the calories from my system. But it is not always that easy. I have to exercise a lot to burn off few calories. Here are some examples:

I can burn 12 calories a minute by swimming. I can burn 10 to 11 calories per minute by jogging 9.6 km. (six miles) an hour or go cross-country skiing, play squash, play handball or basketball. I can burn eight calories a minute by playing tennis or shoveling snow, downhill skiing or water-skiing.

I can burn seven calories a minute indulging in sexual activity, shoveling dirt, skating or bicycling 16 km. (10 miles) an hour. I can burn six calories a minute raking leaves, five calories a minute by doing housework, four calories a minute by walking 3.2 km. (two miles) an hour. If I am too lazy then I can burn two calories a minute just standing or sitting at one place.

Wonderful thing about exercise and burning calories is we have so many options to choose from. Just like yummy food which we never seem to be able resist. There is so much of good food. Packed in so many attractive packages. Tastes so good. Resisting good food is like inflicting cruelty to our ever expanding girth. But resist we must. That would be kindness to our fragile body. And that fragile body needs exercise to stay beautiful.

Eating never gets boring. We need food to give us energy and hopefully good health. Similarly, exercise should never get boring. We need exercise to give us stamina and keep our body nice and trim. We have so many options that we can change the type of exercise we do and have fun and burn some calories. I can combine aerobic exercise with resistance training and stretching. A perfect combination. Don’t you think it sounds pretty good?

So, have I been a good boy this year? Am I happy to look back and say I am lucky to be here writing this column at the end of the year? It is definitely yes. I started the year badly with ill health. Thanks to my luck, my doctors and modern technology, I have been well since then. At the time of writing this column (one can never take life for granted) I can say I have had a wonderful year. I am thankful for that.

What about you? Have you had time to reflect about your health, about your family and about your work and say that you are happier today than you were 12 months ago? If not then do so. Sit down in a quiet room and spend few minutes to reflect and meditate. It will help you plan your next year better. So do it today. The more you postpone it the less chance of you finding time to do it.

In the meantime enjoy the rest of the holiday season and have a happy, safe and wonderful new year. Enjoy those left over turkey sandwiches and see you next year.

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