If you want to be as healthy as possible, there are no treadmills or weight machines required. Don’t just take my word for it—look to the longest-lived people in the world for proof.
People in the world’s Blue Zones—the places around the world with the highest life expectancy—don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms.
Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without even thinking about it. This means that they grow gardens, walk throughout the day, and minimize mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
In fact, Blue Zones researchers determined that routine natural movement is one of the most impactful ways to increase your life span, and a common habit among the world’s longest-lived populations.
Of course this might not seem realistic in our current knowledge economy, where we’re often tied to a desk and in front of a computer screen all day.
Moving naturally throughout the day might sound pleasant and romantic, but the reality is that 100 years ago only 10% of us had sedentary jobs, whereas today it’s 90%.
However, there are still easy ways to add more movement into your busy lifestyle.
One of the best ways to do this is to use an active mode of transportation. This could mean walking your kids to school, walking or biking to the grocery store, to a friend’s house, or out to dinner. Ideally you could walk or bike to work as well (or walk/bike to the bus or train station, if that’s more feasible).
Research shows that the best work commute you can have is a 15-minute walk each way, but any physical activity built in along your commute is a plus. On the flip side, the daily car commute is the number two thing Americans hate the most on a daily basis, behind only housework (but maybe housework would be more enjoyable if you reminded yourself of the life-extending natural movement involved!).
If active transportation isn’t possible in your community, you can still find time to go out for a walk.
A recent study from the American Cancer Society revealed that walking for six hours per week resulted in a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer than not being active at all. But the research also showed that walking even as little as two hours per week could reduce the risk of disease and help you live longer.
Walking is also great medicine for your mind. A daily walk could reduce the risk of dementia by 40%, according to Anders Hansen, a physician and psychiatry specialist from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
If long walks aren’t your thing, break it up by taking several smaller walks per day instead (five minutes per hour). Make it a point to stand at your desk, or at least get up and move around regularly throughout the day. Get outside at lunch for some fresh air.
The bottom line is that our bodies were designed to move. And that doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. You don’t need to lift heavy weights or grind through high intensity interval workouts to live a long and healthy life.
Simple, natural movement can be even more impactful. Do as the world’s centenarians do—move naturally.
Often called mayanagari (city of dreams), Mumbai is synonymous with Bollywood, India’s largest film industry and one of the biggest movie machines on earth. As the entertainment hub of the country, it's no surprise that the city is home to hundreds of Bollywood actors, directors, film-makers and wannabes, and the city also appears in the storylines of dozens of critically-acclaimed movies, from local hits such as the Academy-Award nominated Salaam Bombay!, 2013 romance The Lunchbox and crime drama Chandni Bar to international releases such as The Hundred Foot Journey, Slumdog Millionaire and Million Dollar Arm.
If you’re interested in the art of film-making and understanding how, over the last century, Bollywood has influenced and shaped Indian popular culture, take time to explore the many movie links in this cinematic city, from Bollywood studios and shooting locations to vintage cinema halls and striking wall art inspired by the stars. Here’s a quick guide on how to turn your trip to Mumbai into a blockbuster.
Get behind the scenes in Bollywood
After opening its exclusive doors only to actors for decades, Film City Studio in Mumbai has now partnered with the state tourism department to offer visitors a chance to step into their favourite Bollywood movies, or at least the sets where they were filmed.
One of India’s largest film studios, Film City offers weekend bus tours to both indoor and outdoor shooting sets for such hit movies such as Shah Rukh Khan’s Happy New Year and Josh, to name just a few. Visitors can get lucky with snapping photographs of celebrities too, as stars regularly visit the canteen on the premises.
For a more detailed look at the industry, tour companies such as Viator, Mumbai Film City Tours and Thrillophilia offer group tours giving insight into different aspects of Indian film-making, including its history and growth, the technical processes of editing and dubbing, and iconic movie locations. As in Los Angeles, you can also take a tour of the lavish, or sometimes humble, homes where some of India’s top cinema stars live or were born. Khaki Tours and the Mumbai Darshan Tour (run by Maharashtra Tourism) are reliable options.
Hit the Mumbai theatre trail
Mumbai historians take pride in the fact that the very first Indian movie, Raja Harishchandra, filmed in 1913 by Dadasaheb Phalke using cameras, lights and projectors shipped over from Europe and America, has its origins in the city. In the heyday of Indian cinema that followed the end of WWII, Sandhurst Road – today occupied by the railway lines of the Harbour local line – stretched from Girgaum Chowpatty to Dongri, lined with the grandest movie theatres of its time: the Olympia, the Coronation, the New Alhambra, the Majestic.
Most of these have vanished, or now stand as forlorn shells, lost in time, owing to the onslaught of multiplex culture. However, a handful can still be visited, screening mostly obscure regional movies, in a setting of decaying art-deco grandeur. Cinephiles should seek out the Alfred Theatre near Kamathipura, or the nostalgically dilapidated Nishant Talkies, New Roshan Talkies and Moti Talkies, dating from the transition away from silent films, dotted between Grant Road and Sandhurst Road.
To catch newly launched Bollywood movies in a classic theatre setting, head to the graceful, art deco Regal Cinema on Colaba Causeway, the rocketship-shaped Eros at Churchgate, or the Metro INOX Cinema (originally built and run by MGM, the Hollywood Studio), still sitting pretty at Marine Lines.
Having completed the movie theatre trail, tourists can head to the recently reopened Royal Opera House near Girgaum Chowpatty, an architectural marvel from 1912. As well as hosting the opera talent of its day, the place is also credited with being the making of the Kapoor Khandaan family, the first proper Bollywood dynasty, who grew up watching stage shows and musicals at the opera house in the dying days of the Raj.
Locations, locations, locations
Unless you have an encyclopedic knowledge of Bollywood films, it may help to hire a guide, or at least a taxi and driver, to explore the most prominent landmarks in the city that have doubled up as movie locations. Start with the Gateway of India and the iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel – settings for many a Bollywood dance routine – or head to the Colaba and Bora Bazaar markets that featured prominently in Aamir Khan’s Talaash and Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol respectively.
Film-makers have long been drawn to the scenic promenade of Marine Drive, where parts of the motorcycle action thriller Dhoom, 2003 comedy-drama Munnabhai MBBS, and coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid were filmed. There’s something undeniably cinematic about the crowds of young Mumbaikers gathering on the edge of the urban sprawl to soak up the fresh breezes and calming sunrises and sunsets. Come in the wee hours of morning, when the city wakes up.
Next, head on to Bandra, the swanky northern suburb whose boutiques, bars and restaurants cater to many movie stars and icons of the industry. Stroll around Bandstand, Carter Road, Chapel Road, Pali-Hill and the Worli Sea Link and you may spot a star or two in the flesh.
Alternatively, wander through the surrounding backroads and narrow by-lanes, where you’ll stumble across larger-than-life murals depicting classic Bollywood movies, such as the 1960 historical drama masterpiece Mughal-E-Azam and superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, and Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema.
Off-Beat Bollywood Locations
Not all movie locations are glamorous. A number of agencies run trips to the vast slum area of Dharavi, where parts of Slumdog Millionaire were shot. This doesn’t have to be an intrusive experience. however. On the best trips, guides from the community will introduce you to local people and explain not just the area’s significance to Bollywood, but also how its fame has helped residents transform their lives. In the process, you'll be providing work and income for Dharavi residents.
Another interesting spot is the Mahalakshmi Dhobi Ghat, where thousands of washermen make their daily living pummelling the laundry of city residents in concrete washtubs in the open air. Bollywood paid tribute to their energetic trade in the namesake movie Dhobi Ghat.
Any list of popular movie locations in Mumbai would be incomplete without a mention of its beaches: Juhu, Girgaum Chowpatty, and Aksa beaches. An untold number of films have set their stars on the sand, with Juhu the beach of choice for cast-of-hundreds song-and-dance numbers. See it in its prime in the 1971 Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan flick Anand.
There's one more cinematic experience we shouldn't overlook. Film-makers periodically drop by Apollo Bunder and the cheap backpacker guesthouses of Colaba when they need extras for crowd scenes, offering a modest daily payment in exchange for a fascinating glimpse at how Bollywood works from in front of the camera.
Maharashtra is a culture that beautifully strikes a balance between modernity with tradition. It is not uncommon to eat the choicest non-vegetarian food on one day, and then completely abstain from all forms of meat on the next. Bhavesh’s family is no different. Traditionally, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are vegetarian days at his residence. And that’s why his hunt began.
Despite searching all across Mumbai, he was unable to find a single restaurant serving the kind of food he enjoys at home, especially on days when he was forced to not eat meat. And when it came to his favorite seafood, he found that it was always cooked in either Malwani, Mangalorean or Goan styles, in most restaurants.
Discussing his dilemma with his wife Manisha, helped. She promptly joined him and they both started off on an intense research project, visiting many a fine-dining restaurant to study the hotelier industry. And once they were both confident, they started Mi Hi Koli. Bhavesh today, enjoys the success of a unique restaurant that serves food close to his heart. And the best part – he can indulge himself on any day of the week.
It wouldn’t be surprising if you haven’t heard of Koli Cuisine. It is one of those rare cuisines integral to the culturally-rich Koli community that has been passed down through generations, over centuries. And as such, has stayed within the community.
It was in that year that Bhavesh Koli, and his wife Manisha Koli, decided to take the authentic Koli fare and spread it to the world. And what better place to make a start, than in Amchi Mumbai. It is here that Mi Hi Koli was born – the first restaurant to serve authentic Koli cuisine.
Prepared with the strictest adherence to traditional Koli cooking styles, each delicacy boasts the taste of the homemade signature Koli masala. The menu though, has been tempered to appeal to a wide variety of tastes, typical of Mumbai’s cosmopolitan culture. This has been done quite carefully though, toning down oil and spice levels, without losing out on the authentic Koli flavors.
At Mi Hi Koli, you are sure to discover a vibrant mix of genuine coastal Koli cuisine. For a special treat, you will also find a host of Maharashtrian delicacies imbued with tastes like you have never experienced before. Do come.