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Stay bright, not burdened

BHARAT SAVUR | Updated on April 14, 2011 Published on April 14, 2011

Work out: Make time to attend exercise class at least thrice a week. - K. R. DEEPAK   -  K. R. DEEPAK

I'm 40, overweight by 12 kg which I want to lose. I look after an elderly relative, an invalid, who recently moved in with us. I've hired day and night nurses. However, I don't find the time to attend an exercise class where I used to go regularly. Sometimes I feel burdened. What should I do? Please advise.

Premlata S.

It's commendable that you're looking after an elderly relative. As I say to people in similar situations: “To be available for another, you have to be able first.” If you are healthy, full of peace and strength, you can create a loving environment for everybody. So, tweak your time for these two mix-and-match plans:

Class Plan A: Attend exercise class three days a week. It is essential to be with fit, motivated people. Living, speaking, thinking fitness freshens, energises, brightens your perspective and lightens stress and frustration levels. Thus, you smilingly manage your life-situation where once you listlessly coped.

Home Plan B: On the other four days, fit exercise into your schedule. Pedal on your stationary bike 30 minutes while watching TV. Or, walk/run to a pharmacy that's about 2 km from your residence so you get a 4 km cardio workout. Or work out to a DVD.

For weight-loss: Ensure that you sleep 7-8 hours so that your metabolic rate purrs on when you're awake. Drink water frequently to keep your metabolism working. Up your salad intake and reduce fats. Quit sugar, eat fruits. Switch from rice to steamed, coarsely ground jowar. It is rich in fibre. Snack only on fruit wedges, vegetable coins, roasted channa.

Finally, resist the casual nibbles and sips that tempt when guests come to visit your relative. Keep moving… moving… moving… Some call it ‘fidgeting', but let us cheerfully call it ‘staying fit'.

I'm 52 and have been on a diuretic for 10 years to lower my high blood pressure. I'm careful about my meals and walk one hour regularly. Of late, I've been feeling weak, sometimes tired. My doctor says it's because my potassium levels are low. Are there any foods that I can have? Bananas, for example?

Sadanand N.

If you're fit, not prone to weight-gain and don't have diabetes, then you can eat a banana a day. Better and safer sources of potassium are tender coconut water (1 in the morning, 1 in the evening) and apples (1-2 per day).

Meanwhile, avoid packaged foods (biscuits, fries, pickles, papads) and frozen foods (peas, meats) as they contain high levels of salt. Drink 1.5 litres of water to flush out salt… and fatigue.

I'm 26, 5 ft 3 inch tall and weigh 53 kg. I want to exercise every day, but have two problems. One is that I'm paranoid about perspiring. I really hate it! It makes me feel sick. And second, I go off exercising because I don't see any difference in the mirror. I feel, ‘Oh, what's the point?' Is there any way around this? Please advise.

Eenu M.

No sweat — literally as well! First, workout indoors with the fan on full blast and windows open. Second, spot-jog on a cushion for 20 minutes at 80-100 steps/minute. You don't need to raise your toes more than an inch from the cushion. This gives you a great cardio workout. Tip: Have a bath before your workout to feel fresh; and post-workout, a quick shower to feel cool.

For the toned look, do weight-training. Start with 2.5 pound dumbbells and graduate to 5 pounders after a month. Since you don't seem to have any excess fat to lose, you'll begin to see small shapely outlines in 2-3 months. Even if you don't see any difference in the mirror, your friends will. So, be prepared for showers of compliments — they're cool too!

After my father turned 70, he would fall down frequently — at least once every four months. The doctors would just say that it's due to old age. I don't want to go his way. I'll be 50 next year and want to take preventive steps. Please advise.

A. N. Rao

Such falls are normally due to poor blood circulation, lack of muscle co-ordination or weakening bones. However, rid yourself first of the fear that you may follow in his footsteps. Instead, think confidently, “I'll be fit and strong all my life.” Be assured, the body rises to and co-operates fully with your intention. Then, feed the intention with beautiful practices:

Take a brisk walk in the sun for half an hour to boost blood circulation and absorb the bone-strengthening vitamin D.

Weight-train under guidance to strengthen muscles and bones.

Do some yoga exercises (such as the tree pose) to maintain muscle co-ordination and balance. If your doctor agrees, play badminton/tennis.

Eat low-fat foods. Include more raw vegetable salads, fresh fruits in your diet. Knock off maida, polished rice, sugar.

Begin and end each day by concentrating on thoughts of deep gratitude, love and admiration for all those you know and all that you have.

Being fit and flexible are states of the body. Being ageless is a state of mind. Combine the two and live powerfully ever after.

The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life'.

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Published on April 14, 2011
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