Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Eat Right When You Eat Out – The Food Court

It’s easy to hand out advice on living the right lifestyle but what about following up on it. With this in mind I convinced my husband to make a simple change, eating right while eating out. Given our sedentary and highly stressful lifestyles, most of us take a break by going out to eat, either on the weekends or as a mid-week break. In our family, we occasionally tend to do both. We also can’t afford to eat at the best restaurants on every outing, where the chef is willing to make food to suit our specific requirements. So join us as we experiment with food outside our home. 

You know those days when you need to hit the mall for a number of reasons, including shopping for the festive season. With me these are days when I can very easily fall of the healthy eating plan.

I mean come on, first you walk for hours carrying heavy bags and second when you decide to get a bite your senses are assailed by the multitude of smells from the food court. Fried and sugary foods abound, while the long waiting lines and hungry kids, just make you more and more desperate, till finally  you grab a burger or vada pav and a milkshake or aerated drink and stuff yourself silly.The supposedly healthy options are also heavily processed or greasy in their fast food avatars, as I have learnt the hard way. Plus, no way is the harassed guy in the food court going to customize his menu to suit your requirements (less oil, less salt, no ajinomoto).

Well, this month considering that we are already in full preparation mode for the festive season, we decided to help you with the food court dilemma. The aim of our experiment was to cut back on the sugary and fried foods,  while upping the fiber levels and ensuring that we had enough energy to stay on our feet for the post lunch round of shopping.

To prevent the initial sugar crash that causes us to crave everything in sight, we had a tomato juice (without the seeds and with Tabasco sauce) about half an hour before our usual lunch time. This gave us enough time to get in one more round of shopping before the lunchtime crowds hit, as well as, enough energy to comfortably review the options available in the food court. The juice also kept us hydrated so that we didn’t mistake thirst for hunger and overeat.

For our second course we were tempted by the fragrance of the steaming corn that a vendor  had ready. We got a helping each with spice and lemon, while skipping the margarine and salt. Though corn is a source of carbohydrates, it’s also high in fiber and really made us feel like we had had a filling main course.

Though we had decided to skip dessert, we did have a third course an hour later. We were passing a chaat stall and both of us really enjoy our street food. To stick to our diet we opted for paani poori with a filling of bean sprouts and chopped onions. Though the pooris are fried, they are extremely thin (and dry) and the protein rich filling helped to round off our meal and make it a balanced one. We also went light on the sweet chutney.

The best part of the meal was that we didn’t have to fight for space in the crowded food court and we beat all the waiting lines. So what did we learn?

  • Start half an hour before you expect to get hungry with a vegetable or low sugar/ low calorie fruit juice. A few suggestions are – tomato, carrot, a mix of cucumber and some other fruit, watermelon, pineapple or pomegranate. Specify no sugar or syrup to the guy making your juice. Avoid smoothies unless you know that there are no hidden calories or sugars. For example,  ice-creams, sweetened yoghurt, flavored syrups, tinned or frozen sugary fruit pulp are common ingredients in most store bought smoothies.
  • Add in a fresh fruit salad (no sugar or syrup added), if you have access to this. We didn’t though I would have loved some fresh juicy fruit. It also heads of the dessert craving.
  • Have a fibrous main course that is preferably steamed or baked. Alternatively, a complex carbohydrate like a baked potato, if you are comfortable with it, also works.
  • Add on more courses if you are hungry, maybe a protein rich option such as grilled cottage cheese or tofu.
  • Stay hydrated so that you don’t get tired or mistake thirst for hunger.
  • Be aware of sugars, oil and excessive salt.

Most importantly, choose foods that you enjoy, after all it is your day out.

How do you handle meals at a food court? Do you prefer smaller snack type options or do you need a large sit down meal after hours of shopping?

P.S. – You can check out part 1 of this series – Eat Right When You Eat Out – Indian Chinese

About the Author:

Niranjani is an entrepreneur and blogger who believes that good quality, affordable healthcare should be available to all. She occasional puffs and pants her way through a 10k race to feel fit, despite her chaotic life.

Photo Credit: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

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“No, I Don’t Eat Rice……..

.. Not I don’t that I don’t like it, I just don’t eat it. Why you ask? I believe that rice makes me fat, and so I never eat it, but nonetheless I haven’t lost a single kilo! If anything I’m gaining fat!” How often have you heard that refrain? It’s almost becoming a standard discussion every time a group of people get together. I’m sure you have heard it more times than you care to remember, and are now wondering how much sense the argument for and against rice makes.

If you are a South Indian, this should actually be a no-brainer. Our fore fathers ate rice as a staple part of their diet for hundreds of years and stayed healthy, so what makes this generation so different? Okay, I know what’s running through your minds. The previous generations had a different kind of lifestyle or the quality of rice they got in those days was different or worst of all, they didn’t know the virtues of a pure protein or pure fat diet.

Okay so let’s work this one through step by step. All of us know that our bodies require the four macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fat and water – to perform optimally.  Carbohydrates, such as rice, chappattis, bread, pasta and fruit, all fuel the body. They are what give you the energy to move, to breathe, to think and carry on the process of metabolism. The bulk of your diet, that is, 45 to 65 percent of it, must consist of carbohydrates. Don’t ever forget that the primary function of food is to fuel the body. If you deny your body its basic share of carbohydrates, it will look for other sources for fuel. The first logical one is protein and more often than not this means muscle protein. Sure, your body will be fueled  but by an extremely inefficient, expensive source of fuel. Pretty much like burning a sandalwood log in the kitchen fire. We all know just how hard it is to build muscle. More importantly, protein will neglect its prime function of repair and maintenance of tissues, and helping to build fresh muscle. The result is that you will be left with aging skin, falling hair and damaged tissues.

So where is all this leading? Obviously it does not mean that you need to do a complete 360 degree turn around and gorge on every candy bar in sight? What you need to do is choose your carbohydrates carefully, and learn to read food labels. Skip the highly polished white rice and go for brown, black or red rice In this case, the more coloured it is the better it is. Look for the word unpolished on the label, which basically indicates that you are on to a good thing. Ensure that your chapattis are made with atta (unrefined wheat flour), not maida (polished and refined wheat flour) and have no oil in them. Check that the grains in your breakfast cereal are unprocessed and have no sugar. Ragi or oats porridge is always preferable to processed breakfast cereals.

Moving on to bread, the real biggie on the carbohydrate team. It’s so easy to read the label that says brown or whole wheat bread, and think that you are making the right choice. Stop for a moment and check the ingredient list. The ‘brown’ may be coming from caramelised sugar, and if in the list of ingredients whole wheat flour is listed after the salt, you know you are being conned. The quantity of salt in a loaf of bread is only a teaspoon, which makes the whole wheat even less.

Going back to our main character here, rice. It is the rich, oily gravy or the fried papaddum that you eat with the rice, rather than the rice itself that should be a source of concern. Every gram of fat in that gravy contributes nine calories, as opposed to the four calories contributed by a gram of carbohydrate in the rice. Basically, less than half your calories for that meal come from the rice.

So banish the oily and fried stuff from your life, and enjoy your complex carbohydrates. You can be certain that they will be your greatest allies on the road to fat loss and good health. So now, can we please bring on the rice?

About the Author:

Sunitha Srinivasan is a Lifestyle Consultant and Resistance Trainer. She has qualified with the National Association for Fitness Certification, Arizona, USA. She conducts workshops on wellness that she calls ‘A Celebration of Life’, counsels on the management of lifestyle diseases and writes for leading journals and magazines.

She can be contacted at sunitha@sans-souci.in

Photo Credit: Image 1, Image 2

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

Back to Fitness: Week 1 Round-Up

We all know by now that whichever approach we take towards our health – preventive or post diagnoses – exercise is part of the prescription. So join us as we take the most important step on our way to a healthy lifestyle, getting back on the fitness track. It doesn’t matter if you have never actively worked out or have just taken a six-month hiatus due to general life pressures. This program will help all of us get off the couch and on a regular workout routine.  Here’s the starter article.

Great stuff, we are almost done with the first week. Today you must have upped your game with an increase in running versus walking time. This means we are actually starting to run, so here are some tips on running, which will make a big difference as you progress with the 21 Day Back to Fitness plan:

Head
Keep your head tilted down slightly. Look ahead 10-20 feet. Concentrate on running in a straight line. Relax your jaws and your neck.

Shoulders
Keep your shoulders relaxed and square. Do not hunch over as this will restrict your breathing passage and reduce oxygen flow to your working muscles.

The head and shoulders tell the complete story. Tension often originates in the head and shows up in the face neck and shoulders. Consciously relax your face, jaws, neck and shoulders. The relaxation will percolate down to your entire body.

Torso
Lean forward slightly from the waist. Open your chest and shoulders for effective breathing. Hit that balance.

Hips
Keep your hips in line with head and shoulders. Your leg should strike (hit ground) directly under your hips, which is your center of gravity.

Arms
Drop your arms. Relax. Keep it bent at about 90 degrees at your elbow. Again — relax, nice and easy. Swing your arms up and down, in tune with your legs, as you run. The faster you run the faster is the swing. Use the swing of your arm to propel yourself forward. Swing you arms upward chest high and on the downswing brush your waistband and bring them back behind your body. Keep it there and do not overdo. Make it nice and graceful. You will find it translating into an enjoyable run. Your arm movements will also decrease rotation of the torso while you run.

Hands
Cup your hand like you are holding an egg that you don’t want to break. The thumb should gently touch the top half of your index finger. Do not clench your fists or lift/drop your thumb. It will most likely cause stress and pain in your neck and shoulders. Don’t let your arms cross over to the other half of your body during the swing. Keep them to their respective sides.

That said, old habits die-hard. The style or pose that you have adopted is something that your body has found efficient for itself. Your brain has memorized it and that’s the style it will permit. Call it habit if you want. So if you need to change, do it one at a time and repeatedly so that your brain erases the old style and remembers the new one.

Now that your done with running for the week, enjoy your game on Saturday and relax with a nice movie on Sunday. Post your progress and let’s meet next week.

About the author:

Naresh is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running, rowing and a multitude of outdoor sports. He also works in the healthcare industry and, at close to sixty years, is trying to create awareness of the concept of health through fitness.

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

Call for Action – Back to Fitness in 21 Days

The very fact that you are reading this blog means that you are interested in figuring out a way to lead a healthy lifestyle, or maybe you are already there and are now on the lookout for new ideas. Over the last few months, we have posted various topics spanning health, fitness and nutrition. All these are aimed at helping you lead a healthy lifestyle that can be sustained lifelong. While we will continue to post articles on these topics, we would also like to take a proactive role in getting you on the path to good health. As part of our endeavor to promote ‘wellness’ to the society at large, we have designed a 21 day ‘back to fitness’ routine for those of you who are trapped in the sedentary lifestyle (that truth be told, has caught up with most of us today).

We all know by now that whichever approach we take towards our health – preventive or post diagnoses – exercise is part of the prescription. So join us as we take the most important step on our way to a healthy lifestyle, getting back on the fitness track. It doesn’t matter if you have never actively worked out or have just taken a six-month hiatus due to general life pressures. This program will help all of us get off the couch and on a regular workout routine. Now before you panic and think “I can’t do this” or sigh in frustration and write this off as another non-starter program, do finish reading this article.

For starters, we are not just posting the 21 day routine and stopping here. We are actually asking that you make the earnest start on Monday, October 22, 2012, along with our team. We will have daily updates on our Facebook page, as well as, a weekly follow-through here. This simple routine will get you ready for the 3.5 km run on Saturday, November 10, 2012, again along with our team. Trust me you will feel good at the end and the sense of satisfaction will be unbeatable.

So this weekend prepare for a ‘wellness’ program towards a healthy tomorrow. Refer to our list below to help you get ready and remember we are with you all the way.

Preparation and points to remember:

  • Pick your workout location, such as a park or the beach, in advance (say this weekend) to get you of to a running start (pun intended) on day one
  • Make sure you have comfortable clothing and the right footwear
  • Have a very clear idea of why you have chosen to get fit. To make this a lifetime habit you need to enjoy it
  • Make sure you prioritize this activity, only you can make the time for it in your schedule
  • Learn from the bad days, celebrate the good ones (in the right way) and don’t give up
  • Slow and steady is the way forward. Injuring yourself will bring your effort to an abrupt halt
  • Always warm-up, cool-down, stretch correctly and stay hydrated
  • Most importantly, check with your doctor on the suitability of any workout and heed your body’s signals

Now that you have patiently read through this, get ready to start. You can log on to  facebook page, or visit our comments section here and post your progress/questions. I will personally be with you every day, monitoring your progress, cheering you on and answering your questions, so you can take your next day out with ease.

Here’s to a fitter, happier and healthier you.

About the author:

Naresh is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running, rowing and a multitude of outdoor sports. He also works in the healthcare industry and, at close to sixty years, is trying to create awareness of the concept of health through fitness.

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

The Tiffin Dabba Saga

Do you go to sleep every Sunday night with this on loop in your head?  “Oh my God, it’s Monday tomorrow! The beginning of another mad week which means getting ready for work, trying to fit in some exercise, deadlines, schedules… and the biggest worry, trying to pack lunch for my fussy seven-year old.”

Most days, the dabba comes back untouched. The days he’s nibbled something, I count myself lucky. He hates vegetables and the school doesn’t encourage meaty lunches. He will eat a boiled egg but the teacher says he spills the shell all around the table…. Does all this sound familiar? I’ve even known a parent who used to pack deep-fried slices of bread, which had been dipped in sugar syrup, every day for her daughter’s lunch. Why? Because that was the ONLY thing the child would eat and the mother was so desperate that she would pack almost anything.

By the way, habits of fussy eating are picked up mostly from parents. If you want your child to eat healthy, then eat healthy yourself! The dictum of “do as I say, but not as I do” has never worked and never will.  Examine your reactions to food. Do you make a face at brinjal? Do you say “yuck” to garlic? Do you complain when the idlis are hard or the dosa is not crisp? Do you absolutely refuse to try any new food, saying “I know I won’t like it” before even putting a spoonful in your mouth? Guess what, ninety nine times out of a hundred, that ‘s exactly what your child will do too. The hundredth, will probably turn out to be a rebel and eat insects picked up off the ground or mud from the garden just to have the pleasure of hearing you go “eeeeeuuuuggghhh, how could you?”.

Now, hanging your head in shame is not going let you see the screen in front of you. To figure out what next, look up and read on. These simple steps will make you the envy of all the mothers at the school gate:

  • Be enthusiastic about new experiences, whether it’s new books, new friends, new places or new food.
  • Be energetic. I agree that it’s easier to pack a sandwich than make a stuffed paratha, however, if you want results, there are no short cuts! If you want to create a healthy lifestyle for you and your family, it involves work. My tip here, prepare as much as you can a day before.
  • Be creative. If you have a kid who asks why he should thank god for his food when his food it consists of only ‘yucky veggies”? Make green, red and orange paranthas or pooris by kneading flour with boiled, puréed spinach or peas, beetroot and carrots. The same trick can be used for idlis and dosas.
  • Make it “cool”. For example, dosas in his lunch box again? Stuff them with a mixture of sautéed spinach, corn and cheese or paneer.
  • Be inclusive. Involve your child in the cutting, pounding and kneading activities of food preparation.  The excitement of creating their own food can carry over into eating it and sharing it. The big bonus, they learn to appreciate the effort you put in everyday.
  • Create anticipation. Tell them what to expect in their lunch box and show it to them before they leave (if you’re not rushed off your feet). Trust me, they’ll look forward to lunch time.  To keep the momentum, don’t forget to plan an occasional surprise, which creates its own excitement and breaks the monotony of always knowing what’s in the box.
  • Learn about nutrition and share it with your family. These are skills not taught at school and there’s nothing like a practical lesson at home on what the humble curd rice is loaded with – probiotics and calcium – to make it a “hero”. Ditto for the reviled brinjal and the much hated bitter gourd. Don’t force these down their throats too often though, this will cause even a saint to rebel.
  • Cook with love, creativity will flow!  Even humble steamed carrot, peas and potatoes can be made “awesome” by adding a tad of butter and some herbs.
  • Keep it simple. Children tend to prefer simpler foods to more complex, adult foods. Steamed vegetables, sundal and rotis, or rice form a complete meal, while being easy to make and pack.
  • Keep them small. Finger foods, small wraps with rotis and vegetables in a salad dressing or mayo and some cheese, all look good, taste good and make kids happy.
  • Enjoy the process. Think of it as an outlet for your creativity. Approach food and cooking with anticipation and excitement and it will repay you hugely. Approach it as though it’s a chore to be done as quickly and with as little involvement as possible and it’s guaranteed to be a pain.
  • With all this, there are still days when your child will not eat what’s in the dabba. Well, if it’s just a one-off day, don’t sweat it. We all need an occasional break. If it’s too frequent an occurrence and then consider what further action is needed.

I, however, have to add a note of caution here on being ready for the unexpected. Why? Because I am a mother of two and know that kids are unpredictable. My four year-old daughter came back from school one day with her untouched box of pinwheel sandwiches. We had made these with great excitement and enthusiasm the previous night. Why did she not eat them? Well, she thought ‘they were too beautiful to eat’!

About the Author:

AnuradhaVenkatesh is an entrepreneur with a passion for education. She loves food and everything to do with it (the making, the reading about, the eating, the dreaming), word games, kids, the monsoon and mangoes  – though not necessarily in that order.

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

No Milk Today…

…..and any other day because…. “I don’t like it” or worse because “It makes me fat”, or worst of all, “I believe I don’t need it”. Are you among the vast majority who think that way? Has milk become a rarity in your diet? If so you need to do a fairly quick re-think.

Now if your first reaction was “Okay, I know I need calcium, but why milk? I can take a supplement”. The answer is completely straight forward. Milk is undoubtedly the best source of dietary calcium. In fact, it’s not just milk and calcium, it is best that you get all your vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet, rather than from supplements. This makes sense for several reasons.

First, a balanced diet ensures that you get the widest variety of required vitamins and minerals, in the correct proportion and in a form that is best absorbed by the body. When you take a supplement, unless it’s one that has been prescribed for medical reasons, you run the risk of imbibing too much of the vitamin or mineral, which can harm your body in the long run, or else you may be spending huge amounts of money on a supplement that the body does not absorb. This will undoubtedly result in huge damages to your wallet and no good to your body!

Modern nutrition science also recognises the fact that fruit and vegetables, besides providing essential vitamins and minerals, are a source of photochemicals and polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect the body from several illnesses including cancer. No supplement currently known to science can provide this.

So now we know that we need our fruit and veggies, and that there is no magic tablet on earth that can replace them. However, we started this story with milk…. and maybe we should get back to it. So, does your body really need milk? Do you stop needing it after a certain age? Is milk the only source of calcium that is good for you? What if you are lactose intolerant?

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies. About 90% of the body’s calcium is stored in our bones and teeth. The word stored is operative. The human skeleton is a store house for calcium and as long as you are getting enough calcium in your diet, the body’s hoard remains intact. On the other hand, the moment you start depriving your body of calcium, it will start drawing from its store house, because it needs to maintain a certain level of calcium in the blood, thereby weakening the bones and teeth. This is what results in low bone density, bone weakening and ultimately osteoporosis, the brittle bone syndrome that cripples so many senior citizens.

Do I really need calcium as I grow older? Can my body absorb it? For sure the highest calcium absorption is during childhood and young adulthood, when the body is working towards building its peak bone mass. This age lays the foundation for strong bones throughout life. Your mother was right, milk for a child is vital. After the age of 40, your bones will start to lose density regardless of the amount of calcium you take. Nonetheless, ensuring that you get enough calcium in your diet, along with regular bouts of physical activity (both aerobic exercise and strength training), will keep your bones as strong as they possibly can be, until you reach a ripe old age.

So, what constitutes sufficient calcium intake? About 3-4 cups of milk or curd a day is right. Of course, you need more if you are a child or teenager or pregnant and less as you age, but a reasonable average seems to be about 3 cups of skimmed milk or curd a day. If 3 cups a day seems like a lot to you, do remember that most of us have about a cup of milk everyday with our tea and coffee, and for an Indian a cup of curd a day is part of the daily diet. That just leaves one cup extra which can be had with your breakfast cereal, or as a snack just before you go to bed.

Is milk the only source of calcium? What if I am lactose intolerant? There are several other sources of calcium, such as, tinned fish with the bones for instance or meat stock made with bones, soy milk or curd or even almonds. All excellent sources of calcium, though we shouldn’t forget the caveats. For instance, a 1/3 cup of almonds supplies 100 mg of calcium against a daily requirement of 1000-1200 mg, but at a cost of 300 calories! And fish and meat stock are not an option if you are vegetarian. This still leaves you with the options of soy  lentils and green leafy vegetables.

Recent studies have indicated that the right intake of calcium in the form of skimmed milk or milk products can help with a weight loss programme. There goes the assumption that milk makes you fat. These studies are inconclusive, but nonetheless when you are thirsty and hot it makes far more sense to reach for a glass of skimmed milk than for a cola. So now can we change that song to more milk today?

About the Author:

Sunitha Srinivasan is a Lifestyle Consultant and Resistance Trainer. She has qualified with the National Association for Fitness Certification, Arizona, USA. She conducts workshops on wellness that she calls ‘A Celebration of Life’, counsels on the management of lifestyle diseases and writes for leading journals and magazines.

She can be contacted at sunitha@sans-souci.in

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2012 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

Enjoying Your Workout: Advantage Rowing

A lot of us start working out with a specific target and the right attitude, however, a week, a month or even six months into the regime we lose interest and either continue in a dispirited way or stop completely. The best way to combat this scenario is to choose a workout which interests and challenges us as an activity, apart from giving us the obvious health benefits. With this in mind, we bring you the following series on workout options that are simple, popular and effective, to help you make that critical choice.

FITNESS THROUGH ROWING

Need a total body work out? Go Rowing. Rowing uses almost all the major muscle groups in the body with particular focus on the legs, back, abdomen and arms.

Competitive and recreational rowing are both unique, in comparison to most sports, in that they exercise all of your major muscle groups. When executed properly the rowing stroke is a fairly safe motion providing little room for the serious injury (that is often the case with contact and high-impact sports).

Prof. Fritz Hagerman, Ph.D, Professor, Biological Science Department, Ohio University, who studies exercise physiology (which includes aerobic and anaerobic capacities, metabolic response and effects of blood lactate levels on athletes), opines that slide seat rowing is the most magnificent sport there is.

How Rowing Works

In rowing, each stroke is made up of four parts that flow into one another. These are the catch, the drive, the finish, and the recovery. The following describes the bio-mechanics of rowing.

The Catch

This is the start of each stroke and it is the moment when the blade of your oar/s enters the water. The legs, hips and shoulders in use during the catch involve the following muscle groups:

  • quadriceps
  • gastrocenius
  • soleus
  • gluteus maximus
  • biceps brachii

The Drive

As you begin to push with your legs, you are entering the drive of the stroke. During the drive your legs, back and arms are working with the following muscle groups:

  • trapezius
  • posterio deltoid
  • quadriceps
  • pectorals major
  • biceps brachii

The Finish

Once the legs are fully extended, you begin to pull the oar in with your arms and swing your shoulders backward, bringing yourself to the finish position. The blade has come out of the water and you are now at ease with the boat. You have just used the rest of the entire body’s muscle groups as follows:

  • gluteus maximus
  • quadriceps
  • brachioradialis
  • abdominal

Recovery

The recovery process begins soon after the finish, when the blade is out of the water and when you are at ease with the boat. The hands are still moving away from the body and once the arms are stretched the body moves forward and then the slide moves forward towards the hull to begin the stroke. This process gives time for the body to recover and be ready for the next stroke.

The entire process is repeated, each movement flowing into the next, forming another stroke.

The Benefits

Aside from full body conditioning, which builds lean muscle mass while burning six hundred calories per hour, rowing allows you to release stress, lose weight and reduce your blood pressure. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy movement and your connection with the water as you take each stroke. It can also be the opportunity to push yourself beyond limits you never thought possible.

Rowing provides a lot of flexibility when it comes to the social aspect. You can choose to train all by yourself or in a team. Rowing is unique in the sense that you need to move backwards from start to destination in a straight line, in the shortest possible time to win. If you are rowing single, you are blind to the destination. You build trust in yourself.  If you are in a team event you learn to trust the other members and work in tandem. You learn to listen, you learn to follow.

Rowing can be an effective stress buster with the calming effect of tranquil outdoor waters. In addition, you can go rowing at any age, as we discovered in this real life story centered on rowing.  Rowing is not a high impact sport, to be given up once wear and tear takes a toll. It therefore works well for rehabilitation. So if you are recovering from an injury, it is the perfect cardiovascular and muscle toning workout with minimal impact.

Rowing exercises muscles through a wider range of motion compared to other activities. Muscles are stretched and the joints move to a greater extent, thereby promoting flexibility and mobility.

The Options and Getting Started

Almost all clubs start you off on a training program on the Bank Tub, a large boat tethered to the banks in which you learn the basics. Then the graduation begins from here on, right up to the senior boats that are used in the World Championships and the Olympics.

Not many locations are blessed with water bodies and rowing clubs. Even if there is one you may not have access to the facilities of the rowing club for whatever reason. There is no cause for concern. You could head to the nearest gym and use the rowing machine or the ergo-meter.

Rowing machines are indoor exercise machines, which are also referred to as ergo-meters (ergs) and simulate the motion of rowing a boat in water. At its very minimum, it has a bar or a handle connected to a flywheel that one uses to grip and pull back to create the rowing motion, and a sliding seat or saddle to seat the person. Many indoor rowing machines also have resistance settings to suit individual exercise requirements.

While this is probably one of the most under-utilized workout equipment, it offers maximum health benefits as it provides a full body workout – including the upper and lower body muscle groups – and it also doubles up as a cardio-workout machine. The rowing machine is beneficial for heart health, lung capacity and stamina, upper body workout, lower body workout and weight loss.

Now that you have the low-down on rowing, go see if this is the right match for you.

ATTENTION!!

  • Always consult your doctor before you start a new workout regime. If you have weak knees or a back problem specifically check with your physician before you start a rowing program.
  • Please do not use the equipment without the guidance of a trainer on correct posture and method.
  • Do your stretches before your rowing, whether on the water or on the rowing machine.

About the author:

Naresh is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running, rowing and a multitude of outdoor sports. He also works in the healthcare industry and, at close to sixty years, is trying to create awareness of the concept of health through fitness.

Naresh is also an accomplished oarsman having won the GOLD in the Mens’ Open Coxed Fours category at the National Rowing Championships, Calcutta, 1980 and a recipient of the “Sportsman of the year” award from the Tamil Nadu Government (ROWING) in the year 1980. He has served as Captain of the Madras Boat Club (MBC), Honarary Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Amateur Rowing Association (TARA) and Chairman Marketing Council of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) and National Rowing Umpire.

Photo Credit: Image 1, Image 2

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Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle

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Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle