I often feel exhausted, sad and sleepy. My whole body becomes stiff and aches as if I’m in for the ‘flu. Occasionally I feel hungry all day. Is there any explanation for these symptoms? What can I do to prevent them? Though I’m 45, at times, I feel 60! Please help.

K. Krishnakumar

Hey, stop worrying, start relaxing! Next, decide: “I’ll live in fitness and health and feel 45 at 60!” Then act on this decision one wise step at a time:

Sun-bathe daily. Soak up the morning sunshine for half hour to ensure that the sleep hormone melatonin’s levels lower. After lunch, stroll in the sun for 10-15 minutes.

Drink 1.5 litres water to rehydrate stiff muscles. Additionally, in winter have hot soups and rasam; in summer, cucumber soups and fresh lime sherbet with a pinch of salt.

Eat a banana to raise the calming chemical serotonin’s level. A few nuts also help dispel sadness and hunger pangs. Eat whole fresh food, don’t overeat, and enjoy eating. Eating leisurely and peacefully promotes a sense of wellbeing. Please put wholesome food, not distasteful topics, in your mouth at meal-times.

Get your blood circulation pumping. Jog on the spot for 20 minutes. Play badminton every evening. ‘Dance with the stars’ instead of just watching TV. With oxygen freshening your every tissue, you can never get winter blues or summer blahs.

Dress warm in winter. That subtle nip in the air can get into muscle and bone, and make you sleepy. In summer, don light clothing and have cool baths. Heat can cause sleepiness too.

Sleep restfully for eight hours. Listen to soothing instrumental music while lying down. With your palm do slow circular motions over your heart to promote peace and harmony. Always sleep on soft feelings of contentment.

Read 10-20 positive and funny quotes each day. Ah yes, inner sunny-ness is as vital as external sunlight for a happy, healthy life. Smile-a-while: You’re not 45. You’re 18 with 27 years of experience.

I’m 38. My hair has become limp, dry and dull. My friend wants me to eat fish or have fish-oil capsules for it. Will that really help? I’m vegetarian. What should I do?

Rani S.

Your friend is right in that hair limpness and dullness is caused by deficiency of Omega-3, which oily fish is rich in. Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid. It heals and nourishes follicles in the scalp. Thus, the hair regains its bounce and lustre. You can source Omega-3 from walnut, flax seed, mustard seed, sesame seed.

For dry, limp hair, massaging the scalp with mustard oil thrice a week is also recommended. Stay off cold, dry, processed food like cookies, chips, bread, cold drinks. Stick to simple, warm, wholesome food such as dal-rice-sabzi or vegetable soup. Avoid anxiety, fear, stress. Cultivate a loving, stable, emotionally-nourishing lifestyle — good friends, good music, healing topics. Tip: Be as willing to receive love as you are willing to give it. Often, the hair and skin are the messengers saying, “Take good care of yourself.”

At night in my sleep if I stretch my legs, the calves cramp so badly that I instantly wake up in pain. Sometimes there’s a lingering tenderness next morning. What should I do? Please guide me.

Anita A.

Usually, such cramps are due to dehydration, overworked or underworked muscles and/or poor posture. I suggest:

Drink at least 2 litres of water daily. For 10 days, have one glass of Enerzal/ Electral. If there is any deficiency of trace minerals and salts, this ought to take care of it.

If you are a regular exerciser, do different leg exercises every alternate day. For example, walk on Monday, cycle on Tuesday… Walking exercises the calves; cycling, the thighs. On Saturday and Sunday, rest the legs completely.

If you don’t exercise at all, start walking half hour thrice a week to strength weak muscles and improve blood circulation.

Every night before bedtime, stretch your calf muscles. Sit on the bed, feet flat on floor. Raise toes and soles while keeping heels on the ground. Hold for a count of 10. Do this thrice.

If you have a habit of sleeping curled up in a foetal position, this could be aggravating your problem as this posture contracts almost all the muscles in the body. Sleep on your back, legs straight out.

How do I prevent warts from recurring on my foot?

Shalini T.

Warts are caused by the papilloma virus, which can be picked from the air. So, always wear footwear. Warts thrive in dampness. So, powder your feet to keep them dry. Have two garlic cloves to quell any recurrence and a Vitamin C tablet to enhance your immunity. Avoid stress. Viruses find it hard to gain entrance into stress-free bodies.

The writer is co-author of the book Fitness for Life. Queries may be sent to life@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 3, 2013)
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