Monday, September 19, 2011

Fit for Life

No fitness or weight loss goals can do full good unless they enhance your total enjoyment of life. Loss of fitness implies a loss of many enjoyments which are denied us when we are not at proper fitness levels. We cannot wear just any dress most of the time for few possess panache with extra pounds. As levels of movement decrease, we become slower, our reflexes are slower and we are no longer those who used to climb trees, have endless energy and want to play all day.
To work within the framework of making life fun again will make all your fitness and weight loss goals easy to reach and maintain.
All human beings need balance. As we age we tend to totter more often and slowly retreat into a comfortable hunch to avoid having to do vigorous things as we feel we have learned that they bring us grief.
They bring us grief because we jump in like fools without caution-we are no longer young and elastic and have slid into that state little by little. To come back to the youthful state we need to take it slowly as well. Besides for cardio, adjust the pace of your life by re-evaluating what you do-no body needs to be in the Rat Race! We are not hamsters but we need to stretch our hamstrings!
It is wiser to begin with a certified Yoga class, free or paid, at home or in a gym. In no time you will be able to make decisions on behalf of your body like an expert. Yoga, while gentler on the aging or otherwise novice body can provide safe challenges while and because of focussing more on being aware of the body and breath throughout the workout.
Other ways to be mindful which is what we want to effortlessly be so that we may enjoy our food rather than shovelling it in are to indulge the inner child and do drawing or colouring activities or dance/sing, to go on simple outings in the neighbourhood -all these will make activity so appealing that the right things will be done painlessly.
If you increase the daily ambit you cover on foot in time and variety of location you will burn calories and be alert and see the world around you -you will cease to pedal the cycle of empty calories and empty lives

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Simple exercises maintain knee health

Please consult your doctor before taking up any exercise if you have not been trained to pay attention to body signals and even otherwise. I would also stress that, should you be having any health condition which requires specific care, please learn all about it. Today we have the Internet where, if we can allow ourselves some time for research, we can find a lot of information. Remember that in today’s world where money plays too big a role, medical care may not be guided solely by the desire to cure. Many procedures are expensive and not necessarily the best solution. You have to be the one to decide what needs to be done.
I had quite a lot of pain in my right knee last winter and, luckily, almost everyday, I had to pass a clinic which offered physiotherapy. Dr. Sheenu Jha   (Consultant physiotherapist at Kingdom of Dreams) worked on my knee and taught me simple exercises which have made it so much more easy for me to carry on a normal life.
The exercises are basically leg raises, performed both standing and lying. 
Here are some of the moves I do to strengthen other muscles of my leg so that my knee is not compromised.
I. Standing Straight Leg Raises
1. Straight Leg Raises, Standing 
Repeat 10 times.Support yourself, if necessary, and slowly lift your leg forward keeping your knee straight. Return to the starting position.

2. Same thing but with the leg going backwards  
This exercise strengthens balance, buttocks, lower back and hips. Keeping back straight, slowly lift one leg to the back, hold for about a second and then lower. Keep the standing leg slightly bent at all times to protect the back, and do not raise the working leg higher than you are comfortable with. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg, working toward two sets. You may choose to do eight reps in the beginning.
3. The same thing but with the leg going sideways 

II. Lying Straight Leg Raises
1. Do 10 reps/3 sets 
2. Still lying down, move your leg sideways and bring it back. Repeat 10 times with each leg. Perform 3 sets.
3. Cycling movements while lying down. Lie flat on your back and cycle. Ordinarily we do it upwards but here we are doing it so that the legs go forwards and backwards –not upwards and downwards. For this and the below exercise, 15 reps, 3 sets.
4. Reverse cycling. Perform the above movements in the reverse.

There was one more exercise with a rolled up towel or small ball: dandasana. Yoga for Healthy Knees: What You Need to Know for Pain Prevention and Rehabilitation (Rodmell Press Yoga Shorts)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sketch for a nascent Graphic Novel

Anandamine is pouring down for the past few days. It is a fierce Energy. If you do not keep your Inner Shrine scrupulously pure in the days to come you will not be ready for the coming Storm. Horrific though the external manifestations might be, wars and other acts of physical violence will be nothing to the Inner Kurukshetra-fools will fight for their petty Truths while Truth will laugh naked on corpses. What does Titan Kala care for your maggoty beliefs?!
Inner purity is never difficult -keep your inner puppies and kittens and children alive and be not as Kamsa, stiffling Joy at every turn to build fearsome Temples of Illusions.

Monday, July 25, 2011

City Walks for Fitness

Due to the challenge posed by a diagnosis of the beginnings of osteoarthritis of the right knee, my fitness journey had to change focus. 
Initially, I felt frustrated as, most of the time, satisfactory speed in weight loss efforts is most fruitful when high impact, high intensity workouts are done.   
Bollywood Dance WorkoutInterestingly, it is around the time that I feel that I have finally grappled my way to a solution to the above problem that I met an old friend after ages. One could consider that this friend required to lose weight. There is a willingness in the person to lose weight. Yet the only activity consistently done in this direction seems to be a daily 40 minute walk.
CardioTrainerWhat is interesting is that, on that very day, I embarked on longer distance walking. I did not tell my friend that I was planning on a 3-4 hour walk. I did not, at the time, know this would be the time frame-I was merely challenging myself to walk to the nearest mall I knew that sells most items much cheaper. I did tell my friend that the speed of walking should occasionally be sharply increased during a walk, say: one minute normal-walk to 15 seconds of "getting breathless" walk.
Stretching for SeniorsFor about a month or more I had already done several one hour forty minute walks. I was a bit sore-lasting roughly a couple of hours-after the first one but have never looked back since. This just stresses the need to do relaxed stretching and limbering up before a walk, especially a long one. One might, like I did, think that just walking is enough of a warm up. Avoid the risks of cramps and catches by studying and practising pre-workout routines.
Once upon a time I thought that walking was a boring way to lose weight and I would certainly go insane if I had to walk round and round the same perimeter day after day.
My "city walks" are anything but boring: you chance upon all kinds of challenges and innumerable surprise delights for the senses all the time: birds of all kinds, people going about their daily life stories, rapturous interludes in sylvan havens and so much more.
At first I took a relatively long time to get out there on my walk. Now it's a breeze. If it looks like rain I carry my umbrella and it serves as a walking stick, is elegant and most of all fun to twirl! 
I do try and carry drinking water. 
Wallet is most optional. After you get used to the joy of the walks, it's a self set challenge to not carry money. 
Fitness is not only abut the body: it builds moral and mental muscle.
A typical city walk demands mindfulness for safety: it's not for the namby pamby.You can fall into manholes, pits, get hit by vehicles, cut on barbed wire, get mugged, etc., etc. 
Let me wind down with a word about post walk cool-downs.
1. Do stretch and loosen muscles as soon as possible after the long walk.
2. Do continue to keep yourself hydrated in you live in a warm/hot climate.
3. Do have your post-walk snack/meal as soon as possible: include a fistful of each important thing-protein, carbs, fruit/veg.
4. Don't have a cold shower right after your walk if you live in a hot /warm climate. A hot shower later will relax any remaining muscle tiredness.
5. Do be amazed at how quickly the body recovers and you can do your mundane household chores with a spring in your step and a song on your lip.
One last word of caution: do not use ear phones to listen to music, etc. This workout requires extreme mindfulness.
Happy walking!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Edwin Thoo

When we were in Malaysia, we had joined Celebrity Fitness in Midvalley. The gym offered all kinds of free classes and we had taken up Beginner's Yoga. However, the instructors for this course at that time were not very pleasant at all: they used to come up to us and try and force our bodies into the asanas.
The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga: The Authoritative Presentation-Based on 30 Years of Direct Study Under the Legendary Yoga Teacher KrishnamachaOne Chinese New Year, they were on leave and the substitute, Edwin Thoo, made a great impression on us although he was very unassuming. And so we shifted to his Vinyasa class. 
Though he had warned us that this was not for beginners, we could cope as, somehow, his voice, for one thing, though not loud or shrill, was audible and comprehensible to us. Due to his calmness of nature, even though he mainly sat on the podium and instructed, it was easy to try the instructions.
His classes were always full, a tribute to his qualities as a Guru. He had some simple rules: we had to be there much before time. He would also enter earlier though after the class had more or less filled. This time was spent stretching or practising moves.
The class began with either seated or standing meditation, followed by some Suryanamaskaram moves. Like many other Hindu Indians, we had some exposure to Yoga when we were youngsters. The middle part of the class would be slightly challenging and then he would swiftly make us move into easier poses until we wound down with Savasana. This was followed by a seated meditation to end the session.
We also joined his Partner Yoga classes. These were excellent for a couple although we were the only couple: most of the class was young girls! Doing the Yoga Poses together can act as a wonderful stretching and massage session. There is laughter together as we fumble. It is excellent therapy for couples. Partner Yoga - Making Contact for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Growth
So, if you are in Malaysia and want to do some Yoga, you must look for this wonderful instructor.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Post Work-Out Binges

1. You're a work-out newbie. When you move from an almost zero level of physical activity to any higher level, you're bound to feel hungrier. Your body is burning its fuel and is calling for more fuel. It is, quite rightly, asking to be fed. It needs to be fed. 
“Your cells are literally hungry for fuel after a hard workout because you’ve used up a lot of your carbohydrate stores,” Wein says. Carbohydrates are stored in muscle as glycogen, and the harder you work out the more you burn, she explains.
2. You have not had a proper work-out. 
There is no question that when an indivdiual can do 1 hour of signficant aerobic exercise on a regular basis, he or she will want to eat less food.
If you're eating fairly right, you might not be pushing yourself out of your workout comfort zone. If you work out properly and regularly, you'll find your cravings reducing dramatically. 
Who says sports make bigger appetite? Results conducted by researchers found regular exercise can actually reduce the appetite. With regular exercise your body will issue a satiety signal that can defeat hunger.
The body produces in a healthy way the stuff that makes you reach for the wrong foods-too much sugar or too much carb. 
Exercising helps to normalize fluctuations in your blood sugar levels
and in doing so you won't get that starving feeling as often.

Even so, you have to eat post-workout.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF EATING AFTER EXERCISE? It’s all about two things: recovery and storage. You need to recover the losses you undertook during the exercise, and your body is simply better at storing that recovery fuel right after your workout. Sure, you can eat later—but the benefits won’t be as good. The sports medicine pros at ESPN explain it: “athletes need carbohydrate and fluid to replace glycogen and water losses during the exercise. The muscles store more glycogen immediately after exercise than they do later.” Simple, no?

3. You have not researched the dos and don'ts of working out. You should eat something in roughly the 90 minute window on both sides of a workout.   Your homework for today is to find out more abut all this :D

TIP: Ask about L-Glutamine. If your doctor does not contra-indicate its use, you might find that, combined with a good workout, it reduces your bottomless pit syndrome.
Vitamin Shoppe - L-Glutamine Powder, 4500 mg, 4 oz powder
So what should you eat?
Something light yet sustaining roughly 90 minutes before working out. You don't want to feel too full. Being uncomfortably full will interfere with your workout and might even be quite unpleasant. It will all depend on your individual digestive system. For one kind of person it can range from nothing to a boiled egg or small glass of milk. For another it may range from an egg with a toast or even that plus a piece of fruit and a small glass of milk.
If you need to lose a lot of weight and can go without food without discomfort, workout on an empty stomach . 
Though many athletes eat before training, some scientists say that if you really want to get rid of more fat, you should skip the pre-workout snack.
Have your post-workout snack though. 
Within 90 minutes of a good workout, eat something. 

Create supplements The body needs a high-protein diet for muscle building. However, relying on supplements is not the answer. The best option for a post workout DIY supplement is to take the watery part of curd (that is very rich in proteins), chop a banana and apple into it and put it in the blender. It's a perfect combination of proteins and carbohydrates. Not to forget, the apple is rich in fibre.

If you have a good metabolism or if you know you will be regular with your proper workouts, and you don't have huge amounts of weight to lose, you can get away with almost anything ( a reasonable amount!). If not, have about a handful of something healthy. I used to carry a banana as my post workout snack and then hit the road for my 30 minute walk home. fitbook: fitness + nutrition journalOnce home I had my meal. When in doubt stick with a low fat liquid snack, ideally, a small helping of low fat chocolate milk. 

New study finds lowfat chocolate milk is effective post-exercise recovery aid for soccer players Chocolate milk's 'natural' muscle recovery benefits match or may even surpass a specially designed carbohydrate sports drink It is better not to avoid the post-workout snack. 

Disclaimer: I am not a health or fitness expert. I am merely sharing what I do and what suits me. 

Friday, April 29, 2011


There are quite a few out there who would like to get fit. Who wouldn’t? 
Here’s the catch though: some of us start out of the blue, all by ourselves. We get a painful catch or pull a muscle or break a bone before even breaking out into a sweat. And that’s that. As we grow older, it’s scarier to think of jumping in or any kind of jumping for that matter.
 Forget about old (For a lot of folks, thirty is old!). We have young ladies who want a good figure. And everyone’s heard of dieting. Unfortunately, for most, dieting equals fasting. So the young lass begins to starve herself. Her family throws a fit and her fitness goals are out the door before even she began. The simple reason: she’s been taught to think of herself as an “object of someone’s lust” rather than as an “objet d’art”. She wants some egotistical narcissistic male to admire her. What she should want is to look at her own image in the mirror and be able to say: “Damn! I’m hot!”
You cannot get fit unless you know what you want and why. There are a million whys: to lose weight, to get healthy, to feel good, etc.
If you have to choose a single motivating factor let it be: “To Feel Good”.
A good workout leaves you feeling on top of the world. If you keep at it, the day comes when you look good.
A beautiful face may carry off a sloppy figure but only so far. An average face or one that is not traditionally considered beautiful or pretty even, will be hotter by far than the beauty without figure –if the person has focused on fitness. The body wins hands down in the real life beauty contest. Fitness improves posture and stride, puts the glow in your skin and the luster in your hair and makes heads turn faster than any sickly, skinny, anorexic figure can.
Fitness is about loving yourself. When you love yourself enough to care about toning your arms or tackling your abs, you empower yourself. Your walk says: I’m strong! Once you see all the second and third glances coming your way, it’s an addiction! You can ride on it or just bask contently in your new found self confidence.
So, now, how do you go about getting fit without injuring yourself and without being a wimp? That’s right! Walking round and round in circles at the same speed every day will only take you so far. Challenging yourself is what makes all the difference.
Scared? You better be! Fitness is not for the faint of heart although it can make your heart stronger.
So, if you’re still here, reading this, let’s jump in!
1. Consult a doctor and ask what you can or must not do.
2. Be prepared for lifestyle changes and a gorgeous new you. I don’t really like this link but it will have to do-I was thinking more in terms of how you dress. If you have fitness attire that already makes you feel good, you’ll be propelled into a fit lifestyle.
3. Spend some time becoming aware of your body: your aches and pains and all your systems-your breathing, digestion, etc.
4. Spend some time every day searching for good links or exploring fitness websites. These days I swear by
5. Take a good hard look at what you eat and how you eat. And drink.
6. Weigh yourself or measure your waist and check your BMI online.
7. Buy a notebook and learn how to bookmark sites.
8. Buy or borrow Fitness magazines or books.
9. Join a gym or yoga or dance class. Many countries have gym locators. Here, in India, you can find a gym/yoga or dance class advertised every few yards. Visit the nearest ones and choose one which fits your budget and other requirements. If it’s too far you’re never going to be regular.
10. Move it right now-get up and march in place for a count of 100-don’t do it so fast or so carelessly that you injure yourself. Fitness is the enemy of ignorance-it’s all about awareness: what are the different parts of your body doing or telling you. 

Watch this blog for another installment of how to get fit on your own.
Caution: Please don’t be reckless when you embark on a fitness programme. Do consult a doctor before you start and at any time that you feel pain when working out. Do the moves with awareness of your body-try and understand good form and try to read up before you begin.