• Your Body

    To say that human body is a complex machine would be an understatement.

    The way we look, move, think, and feel are the incredible properties of giant machinery - built out of a complicated mechanism of organic chemistry, molecular biology, and quantum physics. Our cells, tissues, organs, and body systems are composed of busy, active, and highly efficient worlds of their own.

    Though it is difficult to understand the nuances of every aspect of the human body and grasp the tiny details of their workings, interactions, and functioning, comprehending the basics of body functions will help us to establish a balance in our physical, mental, and emotional lives.

    Knowledge of our body functions also plays an important role in shaping our choices and making informed decisions. Understanding the metabolic processes helps us to manage our diet and body weight better. Being able to identify the role and relationship of different muscle groups allows for better sports skills and fitness training. Evaluating the causes and risk factors for different diseases guides us towards preventable therapies and actions.

    Daily Body Functions

    The body functions undertaken by different body systems work in tandem to allow us to carry out our daily activities. The main physiological functions include growth, movement, metabolism, respiration, and excretion. Even when we are resting, our body is working ceaselessly.

    The calories from foods consumed are continuously getting used to generate energy for various body functions. The number of calories burnt by our body to carry out the involuntary (automatic) functions of heart beat, blood circulation, body heat maintenance, and breathing is referred to as the basal metabolic rate or BMR.

    According to Amin Elsersawi's Biochemistry of Aging, about 70% of a human’s total energy expenditure is due to basal life processes within the organs of the body, 20% comes from physical activity, and 10% from digestion of food.” Calculating BMR helps to give us an estimate of how many calories we are consuming and burning each day without exercises.

    People with higher percentage of muscle mass use more calories for basic body functions than people with a higher percentage of body fat, says Mayo Clinic. Age, gender, and physical activity levels also impact the amount of calories burnt to perform daily body functions.
    Steps Towards Improving Physical and Emotional Wellbeing

    When it concerns health, it's not enough to build a strong, fit, and healthy body. Maintaining a robust mental and emotional health is equally crucial. Having an ability to handle life’s disappointments and bouncing back after failed relationships and setbacks is as important to how we function as a whole. According to Helpguide.org authors, Smith, Segal, & Segal, “Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional wellbeing.”

    Haven’t you experienced a sense of contentment and increased energy after a morning jog or felt your bad moods suddenly disappear after a brisk walk? Exercising is good for your heart, lungs, and overall fitness, but it also releases certain wonderful chemicals called endorphins which boost our moods and relieve stress. Trying to strike a balance between our feelings and responsibilities, getting enough sleep, keeping stress under control, and engaging in activities that complement our body and mind alike is the key.

    CAUTION: Do not to rely on stimulants like caffeine, tobacco or alcohol as an antidote to depression and negative thoughts.  

    People with higher percentage of muscle mass use more calories for basic body functions than people with a higher percentage of body fat

    Impact of ‘Modern Society’ on our Health

    With the advent of technology, gadgets have crept into every facet of our lives. Whether it is web surfing on laptops, texting on smart phones, listening to MP3s, or watching movies on TV and tablets, this tech obsession of modern society is subtly taking a toll on our physical and mental health. Having buttons at close range for everything from entertainment and communication to cooking and travelling has made us increasingly sedentary.

    "Modern conveniences such as elevators, cars, and television cut activity out of our lives," says WebMD. Not surprisingly, this shift in the way we live and work today has negatively impacted the way we use our bodies.

    Obesity, vision problems, sleep deprivation, neck and back pains, stiff joints, and mental fatigue are just a few detrimental consequences of being tech slaves. Get away from the computer or TV screens and indulge in real world associations.

    Growing Obesity Epidemic

    "Obesity is common, serious and costly," says a report on the topic by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The report adds that more than one-third of US adults (35.7%) are obese. Even graver are the American Heart Association's staggering statistics on the obesity epidemic among children:  about 1 in 3 children (2-19yrs) is overweight or obese.

    Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight adults, and this may increase to 80% if one or both parents are overweight. If the current trends in the growth of obesity continue, total healthcare costs attributable to obesity could reach 16-18% of US health expenditures.

    Obesity doesn’t travel alone. It brings along an increased risk for many chronic diseases such as coronary heart diseases, diabetes type II, cancers, liver disorders, osteoarthritis, hypertension, and sleep apnea. We must wake up to the massive threat of obesity and its health implications and stop taking our bodies and health for granted.

    The Bottom Line

    Choosing a healthy lifestyle can be challenging in an environment laden with fast foods, sedentary schedules, and modern gadgets, but we need to take small and consistent steps towards better nutrition choices and regular exercises. Paying attention to our health needs can indeed prove to be a rewarding experience - adding happiness, health, and longevity to our years.

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