STRESSED OUT: They have businesses to run, deadlines to meet and power-packed meetings to attend. Four career women straddled the sometimes uneven balance between their hectic work and an equally busy home life that left them with little time for themselves. But the need to not just look but also feel good about themselves saw them carving out some me-time.
Each had their own special fitness mantra. Like 31-year-old Avisha Goswamy who hits the road in her running shoes every day or 34-year-old Neha Lidder Ganju who turns to Pilates.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Follow a portable diet when hard-pressed for time “Spending long hours at work and neglecting meals is a sign of trouble. I munch on fruits and drink a lot of juice at regular intervals when I am travelling. It’s important to keep the body fuelled at all times,” says Goswami.Pick an exercise that works for you
TIP: It’s very easy to have a rum and coke or smoke to ease the stress. But following a regular regime instead is beneficial.“I am used to being on my toes 24X7 and being hyperactive is second nature to me. An exercise that gives an instant adrenaline rush keeps me going, whereas forms like yoga, personally don’t work for me, as opposed to others,” adds Goswami, who believes that one shouldn’t forcefully take up a regime. Passion for wellness should be the key.
Following a regulated diet and regime became inherent,” adds Ganju, who does Pilates and strength-building exercises at a gym, four times a week for two hours. “I don’t depend on a trainer. I pick up moves from different forms of exercise and add it my routine to make things interesting,” she adds. She isn’t one to hit the treadmill only after putting on weight, “I think strength and stamina are built over the years,”
Know your stress points “Everyone has different stress points like the lower back and shoulders. Don’t strain them to the level that they give away,” says Ganju, who concentrates on exercises like stretches, shoulder rotations to release the pressure.
Go the Arnold way “My husband and I treat Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book on body building like the Bible. It explains everything one needs to know about fitness. I pick out exercises that I find suitable for my body type and create a regime for myself,” says Ganju, who doesn’t believe in following a trainer blindly. “It’s imperative to understand the importance and focus of each exercise, and change is good to kill the monotony,” she adds.
Dieting is emotionally starving “Constantly stopping yourself from eating or mentally debating the kilo and calorie ratio will leave you exhausted. Rather than punishing yourself, eat everything in moderation,” says Ganju.TIP: Can’t get yourself to eat green vegetables all the time? Just pick up a carton of juice instead. It’s healthy and refreshing during summer.With two businesses to run, clients to meet and battling Delhi's traffic, Bhavna Jasra’s day is tightly packed. But despite the demands of her work, she chalks out time, thrice a week, to stay in shape. “I’ve always been on the slim side, but after my pregnancy, I put on seven kilos. I thought I’d lose the weight, but I got comfortable with it,” says the mother of six-yearold Tia. But it was while flipping through old photographs that Jasra decided she wanted to get back in shape. This was also the time when her business was getting off the ground and pressures were high. Jasra started going to the gym, but the monotony saw her switching first to swimming and later, Pilates. When the business began to franchise out of Mumbai, her stress levels hit a high and she decided to try Tai Chi. “Its holistic approach to well-being helped put my mind and body in sync and did wonders for my concentration,” she says. And it’s helped her go beyond just getting the right muscle tone to feeling good. She shares her tips on staying fit.Tuck into a big breakfast “A healthy breakfast that’s high on the nutrition count keeps energy levels running high,” says Jasra, who keeps it interesting with an omelette made of egg white, sprouts, cereal or a whole grain sandwich.Don’t deny a hunger pang, just keep it healthy “A fruit goes a long way in tackling a hunger pang and is low on the calorie count,” says Jasra, who carries fruit to work. She also warns against exercising on an empty stomach, suggesting a glass of juice or milk.Don’t do anything you’re forced to but not comfortable with “A sure fire way to feel let-down is on a diet that has you craving for that square of chocolate,” she says. Jasra allows herself the occasional indulgence, but keeps a mental track of what she’s eating without being obsessive.TIP: Take breaks from work for a long weekend or to spend time with the family. It’s the best way to rejuvenate and will reflect on your productivity.Nandini Sawhny has always been conscious of her weight. “I’ve been on the heavy side all my life and it’s made me keep tabs on the weighing scale,” she says. After her pregnancy, it became more of a challenge, when she put on 12 kg and was bordering on being overweight. Choosing yoga to shed the wobbly bits, she avoided the usual gym routines that she felt were hard on the knees and back. “I lost five inches and it’s also helped my sinusitis, allowing me to go off medication completely,” says Sawhny, who does yoga five times a week, for an hour every morning.She is also particular about what is cooked at home, additionally so because her father-in-law is a heart patient and her elder son is a few kilos too heavy. “I am a foodie but while I don’t obsess over what I eat, I know I have to work at staying a certain size and it helps me stay disciplined,” she says.Focus on the internal as much as surface good looks “Being able to cut off from everyday pressures and clear my head is more valuable than losing inches,” says Sawhny, who does a combination of breathing exercises and cardio to stay on her toes. And there’s the additional psychological boost of being able to fit into clothes she couldn’t earlier.Eat healthy and you don’t need to crash diet Sawhny doesn’t frequent dieticians or deny herself the odd cookie or ice cream. “I’ve swapped white rice for brown, rotis are made of bajra or jowar and fried foods are a treat for the children when we go the movies, but not lying around at home,” says the mother of Advaye, 10, and Arush, 8.
MAN HEALTH TIPS
Yet it’s obviously important that men of all ages become more proactive about their health. And an easy way to start is to follow these 10 basic steps to maintaining health and vitality.
1. Eliminate "White Foods" from Your Diet. White flour, white sugar and other processed foods are not only devoid of vitamins and minerals, but they’ve also been stripped of their natural fibre. As a result, they rapidly drive up blood sugar levels, which contributes to weight gain, diabetes and a host of other health problems. Avoid breads and baked goods made with white flour, sugar-laden sodas and snack foods. Instead, focus on eating fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
2. Stay Away from Dangerous Trans Fats. While it’s important to reduce your overall fat intake, it’s even more important to watch the types of fat you eat. Deep-fried foods and anything made with hydrogenated oils (margarine, peanut butter, shortening, store-bought pastries and cookies) contain trans fats that raise your risk of heart disease. Eat only healthful fats, such as olive oil and the omega-3 oils found in salmon and other cold-water fish, which actually protect against heart disease.
3. Take a Potent Daily Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement. Although there is no substitute for a good diet, I am convinced that for optimal nutrition, you need to take a high-potency multivitamin and mineral supplement. Even if you are eating right, it’s unlikely that your food contains all the nutrients you need. Poor soil quality, storage, processing and cooking deplete our food of vitamins and minerals. Taking a high quality daily supplement is "health insurance" against possible deficiencies.
4. Include Weight Training in Your Exercise Routine. Aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular conditioning, but it’s vastly inferior to weight training in attacking the "flab factor." Recent research has shown that as little as once-weekly resistance exercise can improve muscle strength. Even the busiest or laziest among us can find the time and energy for that. Join a gym, consult a personal trainer or ask an experienced friend to show you the ropes.
5. Maintain Your Optimal Weight. Current statistics suggest that half of us are losing the battle of the bulge, but maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll look better, feel better and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other major killers. I know this is easier said than done, but if you just follow the four steps above, you’ll be well on your way.
6. Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation. You’ve probably heard of the "French Paradox," and that drinking wine protects against heart disease. Repeated studies have shown that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol (all kinds) protects not only against heart disease, but also lowers risk of death from all causes. Remember that moderation is key. While one to two drinks a day are protective, excess alcohol consumption is devastating to health. And for some, one drink is too many.
7. Protect Your Prostate. Around the age of 40, the prostate gland begins a growth spurt that results in symptoms such as frequent nighttime urination. The good news is that this condition, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, can be prevented or reversed by taking extracts of two herbs: saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and pygeum (Pygeum africanum). Dozens of studies have shown that these herbs work in improving urinary flow without adverse side-effects. Suggested doses are 160 to 320 milligrams of saw palmetto and 40 to 80 mg of pygeum daily.
8. Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Cancer. Experts estimate that 80 per cent of all cancers can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices. Avoid saturated and trans fats, which may fuel prostate cancer growth, and incorporate protective foods, such as soy, green tea and tomatoes, into your diet. Soy contains isoflavones with specific anti-cancer activity. Green tea is rich in polyphenols that inhibit the formation of cancer-causing compounds and block the growth of prostate cancer cells. And tomatoes, particularly cooked tomato products, are an excellent source of lycopene, which is linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. In addition, make sure your daily nutritional supplement contains high doses of the antioxidant selenium (200 micrograms) and vitamin E (800 IU), which have been shown to dramatically lower the risk of prostate cancer.
9. Maintain Vigorous Sexual Function. Most cases of erectile dysfunction (impotence) have a physical cause: You’re just not getting enough blood to the area in question. To improve overall circulation, follow the diet, exercise and supplement recommendations above. If you’re taking drugs, review them with your doctor, as many can worsen erectile function and impair libido. Smoking also significantly impairs erectile function. Several herbs have been shown to improve sexual function. Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to the penis, and Panax ginseng, oats, horny goat weed, maca and seroctin improve libido.
10. Maintain Close Relationships. Another thing women seem to do better than men is maintain close relationships. Make a point to strengthen ties with your family and friends. Volunteer work, religious ties, even pets–anything that keeps you involved with others–reduces stress and enhances health. Take charge of your health by incorporating these 10 steps into your life. The rewards of optimal health and well-being will be well worth your efforts.
When you are eating well and exercising daily, one of the last things you want to do is feel as though you are depriving yourself of some of your favorite treats. So, be sure to treat yourself. You may wish to have a small indulgence each day if you wish or a slice of cake as a reward once a week as an example. A small piece of chocolate has about 50 calories. If you choose dark chocolate, it is rich in flavonoids (just like red wine) and they are actually good for you! Cadbury has a 100 calorie thin chocolate bar that is also great. If you choose a once a week treat, then adjust your calories accordingly throughout the day and you should be just fine. Even if you eat more in one sitting such as at a restaurant on Saturday night, this can actually work to your benefit.
When your body is kept guessing each day on the amount of calories you are consuming, it actually tends to burn more fat over the course of the week.I know organic produce, dairy and meat is generally more expensive and harder to find in many cases, however the sooner you start budgeting for this, the better. There are a lot of toxins in our food chain that are making us progressively sicker as a society.
Do a little research and you'll see that this is indeed true. In addition, the moment you try some of the produce for example, you'll start to notice a real difference in quality. Standards vary, so be sure to read labels and become a more educated consumer. The whole foods industry is growing and we will soon see decreases in pricing as demand for these wonderful products increases.Eat berries and more berries. Berries are rich in antioxidants, high in fiber and low in calories. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are highly recommended.
According to Wikipedia.com: "an antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells". Free radicals can lead to cancer.
Try putting those berries in your oatmeal, and not only are you helping ward off cancer but you are also lowering your blood cholesterol levels too!Meditate for the sake of your heart and circulatory system, as well as your overall sense of well-being. Meditation in its simplest form involves closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. When a distraction enters your mind, you simply re-focus on your breath. After a few sessions, you'll find that you are able to go longer and longer without interference. The benefits of meditation have been documented over the past 25 years in leading research studies.
In a nutshell, meditation can: reduce stress, increase energy, increase creativity and intelligence, increase inner calm, promote a younger biological age, improve memory and learning ability, reduce anxiety and depression, reduce insomnia, and increase happiness and self-esteem.