In part two of our four-part series on a mind, body and relationship make-over for 2011, we tell you how to take small, but firm, steps towards physical fitness
Whether losing weight and getting into shape is on the agenda or not, jump-start your new year with the simple goal of feeling better inside out. No unreasonable goals; it’s all about making simple switches in eating habits and firming the resolve to stick to your exercise regime. We help you team your determination with a clear-sighted plan.
Work on it
Job, commute, chores, etc., take up large chunks of each day and mustering up motivation is difficult. Counter procrastination with this list of get-back-into-shape tips by fitness expert Poonam Zaveri of Body Tonic.
Do it for a week and watch your body clock re-wire itself. Some peaceful ‘Me’ time early in the day will charge your batteries for the entire day.
If you dreads the idea of going to a sweaty gym, don’t do it. Do something that you love which will keep you motivated – a high-energy aerobic-cum-callisthenics workout with pumping music in your own room, perhaps.
Convenience is key
If you want to join a gym, keep in mind the convenience factor. Choose a gym that is close to your office or home to increase the chances of actually going to it.
Set simple realistic goals. Ambitious weight loss plans fall through within the first week. Make goals that are small enough to be achieved, but challenging enough to keep you at it.
New and improved
One of the most demotivating factors is doing the same workout over and over. So spice it up by trying out something new – salsa or tennis lessons – anything that will make you sweat and have fun.
Make it challenging
If you like the challenge of competing and winning, team up with a bunch of friends on the field, court, or the gym.
Start your plan by taking measurements, weighing yourself and keep a tab on progress. Reward yourself with every milestone you achieve. Not with a candy, but a new outfit or haircut.
Sit for 10 minutes in padmasana, breathe deeply and bring in positive, reassuring, calming messages for your day.
These simple but effective exercises will help tone and stretch your body, and give you a 30-minute sweaty workout.
This is my all-time favourite in the house and can be done almost anywhere. If done correctly, it can build stamina and turn fat into muscle on your upper body.
Lie face down with palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Push body up with back and legs in a straight line and lower yourself towards the floor. To strengthen chest, place your arms wider apart. To strengthen triceps and back, move your arms closer together.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Cross arms across chest and raise your body up to meet your knees. This can strain the back, so if it is weak do crunches instead.
Abdominal and back muscles
It may look silly but its great to get the heart pumping and to build stamina. It will also strengthen leg muscles. Those with weak knees should avoid it.
Calf and thigh muscles
It helps shape buttocks, strengthen thighs and build stamina. Stand up straight, bend your knees with arms outstretched, parallel to the floor. Bend until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Thigh and buttock muscles
An effective exercise to strengthen S
Just like exercising, food habits don’t need dramatic changes to fall into shape. Just a few mental notes and replace bad habits with better ones sets the ground for a healthy start. Nutritionist Piyali Dayal suggests the following:
Know your hunger
To improve eating habits, know your diet pitfalls. Write down everything you eat for three days and observe the list. Do you eat a lot of butter, creamy sauces or salad dressings? Do you take bigger portions of proteins at the cost of vegetables? Rather than eliminating fatty, sugary foods, cut your portions. Make these changes consciously and gradually.
Plan it right
Plan your diet in a manner of small manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, think of your diet in terms of colour, variety and freshness. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and delicious. Also, you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy. Planning quick and easy meals ahead of time will help in not falling for hasty, unhealthy, processed options.
When you ban certain foods, it is natural to want them more. If you are drawn towards the sweet or salty, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. You will crave them less or thinking of them as occasional indulgences. Portion control is essential. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t super-size anything. At home, use smaller plates and serve small.
Listen to your body
Ask yourself if you are really hungry; have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead. Stop eating before you feel full. It takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
Proteins in perspective
Just because you like meat doesn’t mean you avoid all vegetarian options. Trying different protein sources such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, and soy products. This will open up snacking options as well as sneak in healthy vegetarian substitutes. Avoid salted or sugary nuts. Cut protein portions; it shouldn’t be the centre of the meal, but an equal part of grains and vegetables.
Replacing bad habits with good ones
- Alcohol/soft drinks before a meal = Water 20 minutes before a meal.
- Skipping meals/ starving, then eating one big meal at night = Five meals during the day, the smallest at night.
- Eating to console yourself = exercise to console yourself.
- Eating too fast or too slowly = 20-30 minute meal times.
- Bad food combinations such as proteins + starch = One portion of vegetables/ curd/ lentils and cut down carbs.
- Diet all week and binge on weekends = Snack before stepping out to control gluttony while eating out.
Exercises for the elderly
- Do A 30-minute activity that makes you breathe harder every day. You don’t have to be active for all 30 minutes – 10 minutes of endurance activity at a time is fine. Just add those sessions up to a total of 30 minutes.
- When muscles aren’t used, they waste away, so keep using them. Muscles increase your metabolism, allowing you to incinerate more calories even when your body is at rest. Don’t stop doing everyday tasks such as driving, swimming, etc. just because you are past 65.
- Flex your balance. Every now and then, walk heel-to-toe. The toes of the foot at the back should touch the heel of the foot in front.
- Stretching keeps you flexible and warms up the muscles.