I’m 57. Since 2006, I started developing psoriatic arthritis in my fingers and wrists. I took treatment from a rheumatologist. But due to stiffness in my fingers I’m unable to bend them. I teach, where I stand for nearly four hours. What exercises can I do without damaging my bones?

— Sivakameswar

You must be pretty fit to be able to stand for four hours. Good for you! Two exercises you can do are walking, and the squeegee.

Walk daily in the mellow morning or evening sun. Walk for 10–15 minutes initially. As your stamina improves, increase to 30–45 minutes. Walking stimulates synovial fluid circulation in the joints for flexibility.

Get two soft squeegee balls and keep squeezing them. This makes your finger joints more mobile, less stiff.

Further, emotional stress triggers flare-up of rash and/ or joint inflammation. If possible, improve any external conditions that irk you. Or realise how important your health is and dismiss them as ‘not important’. Let go of any long-held anger or tension.

I also suggest a renewing process to employ every morning — drawing the healing nectar of the Universe into yourself, and being washed clean, renewed and healthier than before. Sit comfortably, eyes closed, and say to yourself: “Every moment the Universe’s healing nectar is filling every nerve, every cell, every fibre of my being”. Begin with the head: “The Universe’s healing nectar is renewing and revitalising my brain and the entire cerebro-spinal system. I think only harmonious thoughts.” Visualise it for sections of the body. “The Universe’s healing nectar is renewing and revitalising my glandular system… my eyes see beauty more clearly, my ears hear kind words. The Universe’s nectar is revitalising my nose… my throat… my mouth through which emerge sweet songs in praise of all.” Continue with, “my chest, heart, where emotions balance with serene patience… arms and hands that do only good work… joints that welcome all kinds of beautiful beliefs and thought-patterns and grow warm and flexible… stomach and other organs that hold only sweet feelings… legs, knees, feet that walk in tandem towards loving, giving and accepting…”

I’m 42. I feel weak in the evenings after returning from office. It seems my body is facing a shortage of protein/ vitamins. Why do proteins like lentils have no effect?

— Vishnu Chowdhary

The reason pulses may not provide sufficient strength is because they aren’t a complete protein according to nutrition science. For better results, combine a pulse with any whole cereal in the ratio 1:5 as these have a mutually supplementary effect. Have an egg a day - it is the most complete protein known today. Vitamin C is specifically recommended for weakness - one tablet in the morning and one in the evening.

Often, intense emotions like anger, fear, and jealousy can create a powerless feeling. Socialise with calm, wise people and avoid hyper, ambitious ones. Cultivate calmness and strength. Finally, have a winding down session after office and before you go home. Walk in the nearest park for 15-30 minutes. Inhale and exhale deliberately 5 times, and relax consciously.

I’m 32, 5 ft 11 inches tall and weigh 84 kg. I want to lose 8 kg and reduce abdominal fat. I work out thrice a week for 45 minutes (mostly cardio exercises). How do I control my craving for rice, white bread and fried stuff?

— Onal Dcunha

To ease your craving, use simple logic - brown rice and whole wheat bread give you energy; white bread and fries suck your energy. Once you understand this deeply, your craving will vanish.

To lose 8 kg more, do cardio activity six days a week. This also helps boost your stamina. Add on abdominal crunches and hyperextensions to flatten your stomach.

Hyperextensions: Lie on your back, hands holding 5-pound dumbbells. Raise your arms to point fists to ceiling - that’s your starting position. Extend arms back, above your head. Return to starting position. Repeat 50 times.

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