By Bina Bakshi
VLCC, Reebok… The list of burgeoning health and fitness centres increases with the passage of each day-a testimony to the feel-good and look-good attitude of today‘s India. The writer quizzed the country‘s best fitness gurus to bring you some useful and easy-to-do fitness tips that could be incorporated in the tight schedules of your workaday life
Ramma Bans: Physical trainer
‘‘Manage your thoughts today and you can have the body you want‘‘
A fit 73-year-old, Ramma Bans has to her credit the distinction of being the first physical trainer in India. She was responsible for grooming Rekha and celebs such as Yukta Mookhey are regulars at her exercise studio in Colaba, Mumbai.
All of us are responsible for and capable of moulding the body we live in. Each person reacts uniquely to a substance. Milk, for instance, benefits one by aiding calcium absorption, is discarded by another as urine and creates painful kidney stones in the third.
· Pay attention to, and respect the uniqueness of your body. Do not insist on eating and doing things that are unacceptable to your body. The hypothalamus gland that controls your emotions, hunger, thirst, sleep and metabolic rate can be programmed to avert attraction to substances that cause stress, disease or pain.
· Harmonize the forces inside your body with your environment to create immunity to illness. While positive emotions produce healthy reactions, negative emotions can give rise to disease.
· Eighty per cent of food intake should consist of fruits, dry fruits, salads, vegetables (cooked and raw), sprouts, milk, grains, and lentils. A sattvic diet promotes health and nobility. Tamasic items such as fried and spicy food, alcohol, meat and fish create disharmony within the body and produce toxins.
Junk food leaves toxic residues in the body, which break loops of resistance in our cells, resulting in disease. Eat nourishing food. Restore the body‘s own resistance to keep it healthy.
· Let go of the past. Holding on to memories of rejection, disappointment and doubt is unhealthy. Treat them with the detached observation you‘d reserve for a movie.
Anjali Mukherjee: Nutritionist
‘‘You cannot be healthy at any level if you don‘t try and be healthy at every level‘‘
Anjali is a nutritionist to Miss India contestants and a host of celebrities. She also writes a column on health and nutrition for Mumbai Times. The urban, hectic lifestyle of a metropolitan city affects all aspects of the human body. It lowers energy levels and suppresses body immunity.
· The first step to correct this is to undertake a cleanzing process, such as detoxification. Combat pollution with antioxidants, specially Vitamin C, vegetable juices, adequate water intake and essential oils in the diet. This improves nutrition absorption and boosts energy levels.
· Change your food habits. Add to your meals vegetable juices for cleansing, garlic as an antioxidant, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds for essential oils, which provide B group vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibres, and oils that will drive away your fatigue and stress. Food influences a person both physically and psychologically.
· Bust that stress. meditation and pranayama are the best ways to fight stress. They relax your muscles, ease your mind and drive away worries.
· Lose weight if you need to. Each person has a unique constitution and definite results depend on correct analysis. But, in general, to achieve ideal body weight, increase fibre intake, include a glass of vegetable juice everyday to your diet and go for a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes every day.
· There is no substitute for rest. Relaxation and recreation are as important to the body as food, water and exercise to maintain optimum health.
Micky Mehta: Trainer
‘‘Live righteously and life will grant you health beyond fitness‘‘
Mehta has been a physical and spiritual trainer to Miss India contestants. He is currently working on the Sunsilk Pageant, teaching the young contestants mantra jaap along with fitness and stamina training.
· Play the Gayatri mantra in your room and in your children‘s room while you are asleep.
· Seeds, nuts, fruits, roots, vegetables and sprouts are loaded with nutrients. Meats are dispensable.
· An inconsistent, degenerative lifestyle and abuse of your self will lead to intellectual corruption, physical degeneration and mental erosion. To guard against these, lead a wholesome life. Avoid all that is tamasic.
· Orient and compose the self by practising stillness and conscious breathing.
· In addition to physical training to stimulate your muscular, cardiovascular and skeletal systems, activate your internal organs through yoga and psycho-neuro system with pranayama.
· Take in plenty of sunshine, ozone (early morning sea air is full of it), ample rest, good thoughts and sounds. Good emotions and positive cheer should be a way of life for all. Your body metabolises good smell, good gestures, good thoughts and good behavior.
· Practise positive karma of loving, caring and sharing. Extend benevolence, compassion, philanthropy, sympathy and care to all including your self.
· Meditate. It will extend the gravity and conductivity of your body to the natural elements – sun, water, fire, stars and your inner self. The energy thus created will be ecstatic.
Micky Makhija: trainer
‘‘Live life king-size, but don‘t let it make you believe you are king!‘‘
Makhija is a lifestyle trainer to many sportspersons including former billiards champion Michael Ferreira.
· A correct diet, systematic physical training (weight training here), de-stressing and selflessness are the keys to keep the fires burning, bright and strong.
· Food provides the body with protein (carbon dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen, and sulphur), carbohydrates and fats which are essential requirements of a balanced diet.
· Next to water, protein is most essential for muscle-cell build up and maintenance. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to provide the body with proteins so it can repair tissue cells, which are broken down during weight training, build new cells and fortify your immune system. Whey, eggs, soya, milk, nuts and lentils provide protein.
· Carbohydrates are the body‘s preferred source of energy. Bread, beans, rice, pasta, cereals and vegetables should be supplied to the body. Fat is not innately bad. However, as fat is more difficult to digest, it actually saps the body‘s energy levels. Therefore, one must minimize intake to optimize performance.
· Water is the spirit of life. Drink at least four litres a day.
· Eat several small meals a day, instead of three large meals. Not much gets stored by way of calories and digestion is simple and quick.
· Eat protein to gain lean fat muscle.
Physical training tips:
· Do not start a programme without warming up.
· Do chest, shoulder and triceps on day one, back and biceps on day two, hips and calves on day three. Then take a day off. Start again. This will not allow any muscle part to deteriorate while you concentrate on another, as each body part gets its share of training.
· Vary your programme every three months. Do not let your body get immune to a routine. Then you will get no results.
· Train hard, not long.
· Avoid distractions. Devote your allotted time to training.
· Focus on form, not weight.
· Take the advice of trained people to work out because body maintenance is a science and not everyone is a scientist.
Deanne Panday: Trainer
‘‘Listen to your body, and live within your physical limits‘‘
Deanne is physical trainer to Channel (V) popstars and the pop group Viva, besides being trainer-consultant to the likes of Lara Dutta and Bipasha Basu.
· It is important to create a drill based on each individual‘s physical and mental capacity. In fitness, one man‘s meat can be another man‘s poison.
· It is also important to live within one‘s means and role-a parent needs to incorporate fitness routines for the children, spouses to create routines that include each other.
· Staying calm and stress-free is important for fitness, health, control over obesity and stamina. Any exercise routine not only improves blood circulation, digestion and overall well-being, but adds to the person‘s physical stamina as well.
· Stress is measured by how well you are able to stay in control of your thoughts and reactions.
· Yoga and yogic principles should become a way of life.
· Learning aromatherapy, acupressure or reiki can be beneficial.
· The Gandhian principle of simple living, high thinking should be adopted across the board.
· Relax with art and music.
· Keep medical support handy.
· Laughter in itself will make you let go of all that can cause you stress.
· Breathe correctly and deeply to increase oxygen supply to each cell in your body.
Vandana Luthra: VLCC Chief
‘‘It is a healthy body that bears a healthy mind!‘‘
The mastermind behind the country‘s largest and most successful chain of health and fitness centres is an acknowledged authority in the field of beauty and fitness.
Good health is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or illness. It is important to understand that everything in our lives is a reflection of our health.
· Exercise regularly. Moderate form of exercise such as walking help in lowering the level of triglycerides in the blood and stimulates the production of endorphins, a morphine-like chemical that helps to counteract feelings of anxiety and depression. It also helps you relax throughout the day and sleep better at night.
· Eat a balanced diet. Lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and low-fat meats and fish are essential for good health. Avoid foods that have a strong effect on your moods and can disrupt the body‘s smooth functioning. Caffeine in coffee, tea, and soft drinks produces anxiety and interferes with sleep and medication in many people. Sugar is another culprit. And, of course, avoid smoking, drugs, and the excessive use of alcohol.
· Build confidence. Identify your abilities and weaknesses together, accept them, build on them and do the best with what you have.
· Accept compliments. Many of us have difficulty accepting kindness from others but we all need to remember the positive strokes when times gets tough.
· Make time for family and friends. Relationships need to be nurtured in order to share life‘s joys and sorrows; if taken for granted they will succumb.
· Create a meaningful budget. Financial problems cause stress. Over-spending on our ‘wants‘ instead of our ‘needs‘ is often the culprit.
· Volunteer. Being involved in community projects gives a sense of purpose and satisfaction that paid work cannot.
· Manage stress. We all have stress in our lives but learning how to deal with it when it threatens to overwhelm us will maintain our mental health.
· Meditate. To keep mentally healthy, meditate regularly.
· Learn to be at peace with yourself. Get to know who you are, what makes you really happy, and learn to balance what you can and cannot change about yourself.
Radha Krishnaswamy, Reebok trainer
‘‘Exercise induces positive attitude and self-motivation‘‘
Radha, a Reebok University master trainer, heads the Reebok fitness activities in India. Besides training over 300 aerobic instructors across the country, she has also imparted training to the Miss Chennai contestants, newsreaders and TV artists.
Being alive with no major illness and having an optimal quality of life constitutes a healthy person. To keep the body healthy, one must engage in regular and moderate physical activity two to three times a week, including aerobic workout like walking, swimming or jogging, light weight training and stretches for all the major body muscles.
· Think positive and meditate everyday for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes to keep negative energy and thoughts away.
· Diet plays an important role in keeping the body and mind healthy. Eat only when you are hungry. Excess food upsets the stomach. Eat seasonal foods.
· Stick to a set routine. To maintain body weight, the best thing to do is regular exercise and walking to burn out excess calories. Follow a strict time for meals. It is advisable to avoid alcohol and junk food such as cakes, pastries and soft drinks.
· For a healthy lifestyle, one should always have a positive attitude. Do not sit idle. Follow some relaxation techniques that suit the mind and body.
· Avoid a) unorganized work; b) trying to do too much at a time; c) setting unattainable goals; d) stressful lifestyle coupled with a hyperactive attitude and negative thinking.
Dr Vinod Dhurandhar: Obesity consultant
‘‘Leisure and profusion of goods are to be handled with emotion of contentment‘‘
Dr Dhurandhar was India‘s pioneering besity consultant and is still practising at 72. He runs a couple of clinics in Mumbai. Shabana Azmi, Kiron Kher and Amjad Khan were all his clients at different points in their lives.
· Our leisure activities are becoming increasingly sedentary. Playing cards, watching television and eating out are rated highest among leisure activities today. We are also eating more. More food, less exercise: a fatal mixture.
Obesity, therefore, is rampant, which then leads to diabetes, blood pressure and heart diseases. Beauty of mind and body can only be achieved through a dietary contentment and a return to roots.
· Leisure activities should include not only essentials like swimming and walking, but also enriching activities appropriate to one‘s capabilities, such as teaching poor kids, arranging food kitchens, gardening, doing physical labour in and around the house.
· De-stress regularly by traveling out of the urban jungle to a healthier environment, and by practising yoga and spirituality.
-With inputs from Anshuman Singh Guleria
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