Health Bytes

Going the distance!

Mr Vijay Krishnan shares with the Diabetes Health team how running changed his life and his perspective on fitness

A little bit of me

I'm a native of Kochi, Kerala and work as a user experience designer with an MNC. During my growing years, I was never interested in sports. I realised the importance of fitness a couple of years after I started working. Working schedules, irresponsible eating habits and the sedentary nature of my work made me neglect my health. As a result I gained weight. Interestingly however, I started running as part of the 'Fit4Life' programme – a unique initiative combining ideas of fitness and philanthropy (The logged hours/kilometres spent on fitness activities is calculated and a sum proportionate to the total value is donated by my company to charity).

My diet

Time of the dayDietBreakfast (7.45 am on weekdays, 9 am on weekends)South Indian veg cuisine – Dosa, idli, etc.Lunch (between 1 and 2 pm)Vegetarian meals on weekends, mostly non- vegetarian meals on weekdaysDinner (between 8 and 9 pm)Mostly chapatti with vegetarian curry varietiesAny other snack time (11 am)A cup of coffee and biscuits

If I had to make one change in my lifestyle it would be the way I eat. Due to my hectic work environment, I tend to eat a lot of outside food. Sometimes I skip running for weeks. That's when I end up binge eating, only to feel guilty afterwards. I make conscious efforts to stick to homemade foods on the weekends. I also maintain a diet diary, which helps me keep a tab on what I eat. 'Responsible eating' is something I'd like to practice along with reducing my intake of non-vegetarian food.

My experience with running

  • It's easier than what most people think – We often stop running because we are out of breath and not because our body aches. I personally feel that as long as we are able to find a comfortable breathing rhythm, we can run any distance that we set our minds to.

  • Befriend your smartphone – there are many apps available for your smartphone, which can make running a lot more engaging, organised and fun. Sharing your achievements on social media can be a powerful motivator.

  • Sign up for a race – Most runners don't compete to win the race, but to beat their personal goals (finishing a distance or completing the run within a time limit). The moment you sign up for a race, you're working towards a date. Your 'daily running' routine slowly transforms into a 'training' routine. Attempting to finish a full marathon may be a tough ask for a beginner, but there are shorter distances that one could train for. I have logged in over 600 km since 2014.

Takeaway message

For me, fitness is about feeling great about yourself and realising that your body is a gift, and it deserves to be treated well. I think physical and mental fitness share a close relationship. Your fitness level can surely boost your confidence. The fitter you are the better you feel about yourself. I think it's important to enjoy your fitness routine, irrespective of the activity you perform.

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