Importance of maintaining optimal body temperature!
Dr. Ashish Kumar Shrivastav
- Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon associated with Dharamshila Narayana Super speciality Hospital, Delhi as Head of the department Neurosurgery.
- Nearly 26 years of neurosurgical experience, trained and experienced in a wide spectrum of neurosurgical management.
- MBBS from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1985,
MS (General Surgery) from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1990 and M.Ch. (Neuro Surgery) from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1994.
- Apart from India, he has trained and worked on both sides of the Atlantic, viz. U.S.A and U.K. He has also acquired advanced skills in neurosurgery at Singapore and Germany
India has a long summer and rainy season in most parts of the country. The temperatures can go very high and although rains bring relief, the humidity increases the problems.
Heat in itself is good for the human body, despite the discomfort which can be debilitating.
Most of us use various methods to alleviate the discomforts; especially the use of water coolers and air conditioners is widespread.
The extensive and prolonged use of these cooling methods is associated with certain problems too. A sudden and frequent change of ambient temperature and humidity is a major cause for muscle spasm and cramps. These are compounded by a general reduction of physical activity and an exercise, and an overall lethargy, both physical and mental.
Summer and rains are associated with an increase in infections. The food consumed during these seasons is reduced in quantity with a predilection for carbohydrates for quick energy and the preference is for cold items and more liquids.
To an extent these are necessary, but excessive consumption of cold food, sweetened liquids (mainly commercial carbonated drinks with extremely high sugar content), can be detrimental to health.
So, what are the things one can do to maintain good health in general and optimal health and function of the muscles, spine in particular?
The ambient temperature should be moderate – the difference in the temperatures outside and that on your cooling devices should not be more than 5~7 degrees.
Fluid intake should be high but the liquid taken should be natural like plain water, coconut water, lemonades but moderately sweetened, the classical Indian drinks like aam pana/ nimbu paani/chukowalam of south (a lukewarm drink of ajwain or caraway/carom seeds boiled with water) or jaljeera (cumin powder in water with other herbs), are proven to be healthy.
Do light to moderate, non-strenuous exercises to keep muscles active and improve blood circulation. Doing these at home, during evenings and early mornings when temperatures are lower naturally is better than doing them in artificially cooled environment.