Tag Archives: Workweek and weekend

5 Simple Health Hacks for the Festive Season

It’s the season to be jolly. Yes, another year is coming to an end and we are well into the month of super-
sized celebrations. For most people, this is followed by a month of the blues and we wonder why our year got of to such a bad start.

Well, we at Beaming Health believe in enjoying ourselves when the opportunity arises, however, we do have a few tricks up our sleeves that we want to share with you. So clear your schedule for five minutes and reap the benefits over the years to come.

STAY CALORIE CONSCIOUS:

Before you skip ahead, let me tell you how I came to add this to our holiday commandment list. I am pretty conscious of picking the healthier option on a daily basis and our monthly fast food trip is no exception. I always picked the spicy paneer wrap with no mayo at a popular fast food joint and though I factored in the deep fried element (the panner pieces) I was pretty confident of making a fairly smart choice. That’s till I started tracking my calories on a whim. My smart choice was apparently costing me close to 800 calories!

No, I’m not going to tell you that you should skip the holiday treats, no way. What I did was I counted that wrap as my treat and adjusted my other small indulgences for the day/week, ensuring that I got to keep my cake and eat it too.

Basically, being calorie consciousness is not the same as calorie counting. You don’t have to count every bite that goes into your mouth, but just like you budget your finances for the festive season, budget your consumption and you’ll be good to go. A simple app on your phone like My Fitness Pal should suffice. After all no one wants to start the New year broke and bloated.

INCREASE YOUR FIBRE INTAKE:

Since you know that you’re going to be indulging a lot more this season, try and make the few non-party meals a little more healthy. Let these meals work for you, so that you can relax during the celebrations. Increasing your fibre intake is a simple way to start. Fibre makes you feel fuller for longer, tricks your body into thinking that you have eaten more than you actually have, slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and even reduces cholesterol levels. It also helps cleanse your gut and colon. The simplest way to make this change is to add fibre into two, or at least one meal, during the day. Have a bran or oatmeal option for breakfast or add a green leafy salad to your lunch.

Remember, all fibre is not equal and you have to be aware of the individual benefits of soluble and insoluble fibre to get the most out of this magic ingredient. Read this simple and quick guide for more information.

SIP ON FLAVOURED WATER OR HERBAL TEAS:

This one is pretty obvious. More water means milder or no handovers, a fuller stomach and fresh dewy skin. Since it’s not very tempting to keep downing glasses of water throughout the day, try having a jug of fresh fruit flavoured water on your table or a bottle in your bag. Check out a few recipes here or make your own. These look so good, they may even tempt you to keep refilling.

Stock up on nicely flavoured herbal and fruit infusions that you can dunk in a mug of hot water every few hours. Specific flavours even have special benefits. Best of all add a mug of green tea as your after meal drink of choice. As far as possible avoid strong caffeinated and aerated drinks as these act as mild diuretics and can lead to a feeling of being dehydrated. Most importantly, don’t go for the pre-packed flavoured waters or iced teas. These are full of preservatives, artificial flavours and sugar. You’ll be better off drinking just plain water.

PICK  A SMART PARTY SNACK:

Most party snacks are heavy on the calories, but we all tend to reach for the munchies when we mingle. A simple way to feel fuller a little faster is to choose a protein based snack over a carbohydrate heavy snack. For example, a handful of nuts is preferable to a handful of chips. A piece of cheese is a smarter choice than some deep fried pakodas. Stay smart and don’t deny yourself too much, you’ll be sure to enjoy the party and the next day.

TAKE 2 GLASSES:

If you choose to drink alcohol, alternate it with a glass of water. This way you’ll avoid a killer hangover and cut back on mindless drinking. Enough said.

So that’s it, our simple but sneaky tips to enjoying the holidays and the days and months to follow. Wishing all our readers a very happy festive season. Don’t forget to share your party season health hacks in the comments below, like they say sharing is caring.


About the Author:

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

Photo Credit: Image 1Image 2

Copyright 2014 (c) Primex Scans and Labs. Please do not reproduce this article in its entirety or partly without permission. Alternatively, a link to this URL would be appreciated.

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5 Healthy Ideas to Try This Week

Every January all of us make resolutions, many of which center around health and fitness. The problem with these resolutions is, we have the big picture but not the steps to achieve them and so they ultimately fall by the wayside. This year, we at Beaming Health Magazine decided to share a few tips to help you stay on the road to good health and fitness. So, plunge right in and do let us know which ones worked for you. 

  • Let the Winter Olympics inspire you to reconnect with a childhood game. Be it hockey, tennis, basketball, swimming or even just running free.
  • Discuss an issue that has been creating undue stress for you with someone you can rely on. Then work on eliminating or at least minimizing the source of that stress 
  • Eat one green meal every week. Be it an exotic one or a simple and delicious homemade one, the focus is on including as much raw plant-based food as possible in that meal
  • Switch off all electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep and read a book instead. This includes all computers, phones and the television
  • Spend five minutes in the morning doing a few, simple stretching or deep breathing exercises before you start your day. The quality of transition time, from sleep to alertness will make a difference to the quality of your day

Make these small changes in your weekly routine and soon you’ll be thanking us.

About the Author:

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

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2014 (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.

Family Fitness – Balloon Volleyball Sundays

It’s a well-known fact that it’s easier to teach kids with examples rather than through preaching. The same applies to lifestyle changes. Sitting around munching on a bag of chips and watching our favourite t.v. serial, while telling our little ones to go out and play, isn’t a great idea. They’ll most probably hide themselves away with an electronic gadget till we call them to start their homework or eat their next meal.

A simple way to make fitness a part of your lifestyle as a family and up the fun factor at the same time, is to introduce the concept of family fitness. There are multiple ways to do this and over the next few months we will introduce you to a few simple ideas to kick-start the process.

One game we enjoy as a family is balloon volleyball. I don’t know any children who don’t love balloons, even though many of them are terrified of the sound when one pops. I say balloons make dully dreary adults into children!

That being said, here’s our first activity for the family fitness program. Balloon Volleyball Sundays. Gather the family together, clear some space in a room, or make for the outdoors, and start playing.

Here’s what you’ll need (all available at most general stores):

A long piece of string or ribbon – for the net

Some tape – to secure the string

A pair of scissors – to cut the tape and string

A few balloons (obviously)

I have fond memories of my parents playing with my brother and me. Today it’s us with our little one. Fitness and a mental image of happiness, is as close to picture perfect as it gets.

So, this weekend ditch the afternoon movie and have fun being a child, with your children. Oh! and let us know if you have any family fitness ideas to share.

Our workout series aims to help you figure out the right fitness regime for your body and mind. Now we want you to get your whole family in on it. As part of this series, we previously covered: swimmingrowingrunning, a guide to picking the right shoe, a three-week campaign to get you out on the road and how to mentally condition yourself to get going.

About the Author:

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

Photo Credit: Image 1

Copyright 2013 (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.

Fit @ Fifty: Lean Quality – Lifestyle Management

50 ++? Now that’s the age to be in. Silver streaks that command respect and a sense of accomplishment! Comfortably placed, nice house and grown up kids, a large screen TV with a home theatre, a great place to work and a car for commuting. And holidays with family!

Or is it, numbers all around you and the boss breathing down your neck which is permanently on the block. Excitement and stress combined with a sedentary life, thanks to the air conditioned car, office and home. Driving, pecking at the laptop and blackberry while comfortably couched.

So which is it? Aren’t both part of the middle-aged dream life?

Of course it is. Dream you shall. Only those who dare dream, achieve! You walk this planet but once. So go right ahead.

That said, the road ahead is not always smooth; the road to quality has no end. These are corporate jargons that you are all familiar with. These are true statements. Health Insurance schemes, inter-alia, take care of the road ahead to a large extent. But ‘quality of physiological life’ needs a different approach. A ‘lean quality approach’ maybe? So what is this lean quality process? Lean processes are the latest diet craze in the world of quality control. Lean is a quality control technique you can use to identify and eliminate the flab in your company’s processes. The “flab” is all the dead weight carried by a process without adding any value. The customer doesn’t want to pay for dead weight, so why should you?

Similarly, by adapting a lean process for your own healthcare, you can significantly reduce health related risks and set yourself up for a smooth ride ahead. Lean provides a robust framework that facilitates improving efficiency and effectiveness by focusing on critical customer requirements. Lean is a management system that focuses on delivering value to the end customer by continuously improving value delivery processes.

Value Stream Mapping

People think in images not in words. Look yourself up in the mirror. Reflect on your lifestyle. For most of us who are over 50 our lifestyle dictates that during most part of the day when you are at work or back home, you are sitting behind the wheel driving your car or you are seated travelling, else you are seated behind your desk at work peering into your computer or at some files, or you are in your couch at home watching TV. Imagine the amount of time you spend in this sitting posture. Do you know what happens to your muscles in this posture? Remaining seated for long periods creates a static load on our body resulting in muscle fatigue and restricted blood circulation and will affect our health considerably in the long run. Remaining seated for prolonged periods disrupts metabolic functions that lead to poor vascular health. This is part of the package that comes along with the life that we dreamed of. Now that we have identified the flab, we need to remove it while we continue to enjoy the lifestyle that we have rightfully earned. Women who reach 50 years of age need to prepare themselves to face the additional challenges posed by the onset of menopause. Women tend to gain weight as they age due to decease in muscle mass and accumulation of excess fat and lower resting metabolic rate. Hormonal shifts can cause a range of symptoms and increase overall risk for heart disease and stroke. The absorption of certain nutrients may also decrease because of a loss of stomach acid.

The Lean Integration Principles

 Build quality. Do your stretches before and after your exercise schedule. This is mandatory and so is a consultation with a doctor before you embark on an exercise schedule. Follow through with your doctor periodically. Augment with daily doses of Multivitamins, Calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

The Lean Integration Principles

  1. Focus on yourself. You are in control of your health. The change begins and ends with you. It is such a simple change. You just need to ensure that the flab that came along with the package disappears. You don’t need it. It’s a waste. Exercise is the elixir that removes waste and gives a new meaning to your well-earned lifestyle. It should be our goal to exercise to have a strong heart and muscles, decreased stiffness and less body fat.
    1. Walking, running, dancing or cycling are good cardio exercises that you can build into your exercise schedule. Walking and Cycling are relatively easier on the knee than running or dancing. They need not be a rigorous. You can walk to the grocery, you can take the stairway to your office or your apartment, and you can cycle to your club or even to your office if you are blessed with a residence that is close by. A good 30-45 minutes of cardio exercises two days a week is recommend.
    2. Two days in a week should be utilized for muscle strengthening. Weight training under supervision is the best way to do this. Invest in a membership in a gym or use the gym in your club to your advantage. The return on investment is considerable. Research shows that by age 65 we end up losing 20% – 30% of our strength and every decade after 65 the rate of loss speeds up. The good news is that this rate can be slowed down by building muscle through weight training. If you have not done weight training at all in your life so far, it does not matter. Start at 50 and set yourself up to be fit at 65 and beyond. That leaves us with 3 more days in a week.  
    3. Chose the sport that you love. Go out and enjoy playing for an hour, two days of the week. It could be badminton, tennis, swimming, volley ball or any other game. Give it your best, both physically and mentally. This will keep you physically fit and mentally sharp. While aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, strength training can build muscle mass and bone density. Both come in handy when you’re trying to pick up your grandchild or even simply a bag of groceries.  
    4. On the seventh day, whichever day of the week that is – normally a weekend, turn off your alarm clock. Catch up with sleep. Read a book. Work on a crossword to keep you mentally agile. Spend time with family. That’s an hour a day, six days a week, all for you. And imagine, until now someone else was managing your time. Now you are managing it yourself. Not to forget the whole of the seventh day that you will devote to yourself and your family. Isn’t this wonderful. 50++ is not so bad after all!
  2. Once you are set continuous improvements can be introduced. For example as you  progress you could build-in interval training in your cardio exercise schedule – alternating 10 min fast and 10 min slow or any similar time alternates that can be built-in within the total exercise time for better results.
  3. You are empowered to take your decisions. You can decide to walk, dance, cycle or run. Innovate. Try something new. Do not fear failure.
  4. Change is constant. Plan for change. If you had a wonderful place where you could cycle but had to move to a different home from where you cannot access this place, don’t let it be a show stopper. Go for a run, do something else that you enjoy.
  5. Optimize the whole. Adopt a big picture perspective. Introduce a good dietary system into your lifestyle. Clearly, the diet for the 50+ will conform to the goals of maintaining weight, consuming heart-healthy foods and building strength. Research shows that even modest exercise and changes in diet can bring considerable benefits regardless of the age you start. You don’t need to run marathons to shape up after 50, but you do need to get moving.
  6. Automate. While I wouldn’t want to call it rigor, it should become part of your DNA. It should happen by itself.
  7. Build quality. Do your stretches before and after your exercise schedule. This is mandatory and so is a consultation with a doctor before you embark on an exercise schedule. Follow through with your doctor periodically. Augment with daily doses of Multivitamins, Calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

Lean is not just for quality in the manufacturing or service industries. Lean is for quality in your lifestyle. Health is quality. Exercising and eating right is health. Dream, achieve and build quality into your lifestyle. Enjoy life 50++.

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 2013 (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.

 

Christmas is coming…

The goose is getting fat, recipe books are being dusted off and hotels are preparing for Christmas cake mixing sessions. It’s a wonderful time of the year, full of festive cheer, catching up with friends, exchanging gifts and generally making merry, all of this accompanied by good food and wine of course.
Good food and wine, the perfect accompaniments to a nice evening out. In fact, can you really imagine catching up with friends and not sharing a meal? It’s something all of us do at least once a week right? Once a week, that’s the operative phase. Drinking in moderation which means two drinks for a man and one for a woman, once a week, is perfectly fine and does your body almost no damage at all. The same goes for eating rich ‘party’ food. The problem is, that during the festive season once a week tends to become every day or every other day, and as a result during that short week between Christmas and New Year a whole year’s sensible eating can go down the tubes, leaving you to start the New Year feeling totally depressed and frustrated. The end result, instead of looking forward to new beginnings, the focus would be on regrets over a year’s efforts wasted.

So, is the option curling up in bed every night and painting your toe nails? Now that would be truly crazy right? This is the time to wear a slinky black dress and show off that gorgeous figure that has cost you more hours in the gym than you care to remember. So how on earth does one really strike a balance?

As with everything else, the answer begins in your mind. Are you absolutely certain that you cannot enjoy that party without a plate of potato crisps and a whole lot of alcohol? Surely not, after all you are there to catch up with friends and enjoy their company right? So how about focussing on that instead of on the food and drink? Convince the group to join in some interesting party games maybe? Or even better; roll up the carpet, put on some lively music and get everyone dancing. You can be certain that the whole group will have a great time, and leave the party feeling wonderful. That “feel good” factor that comes only with vigorous exercise can make us all feel on top of the world. Best of all of you will wake up feeling full of beans rather than hung over and depressed.

If you are a fairly close group of friends who party together over the festive week, maybe you could suggest that everyone brings one or two dishes. This will earn you loads of brownie points from the hostesses, and at least a few of you can plan to carry some healthy, wholesome food rather than artery clogging ‘delicacies’.  But that’s going ahead to dinner, right? Before that you still have hours of drinking and snacking to get through. The first option is of course the games and the dancing. However, if that doesn’t work, or if you are in a restaurant, your best option lies in a bowl of soup, as this blog keeps advocating. Ask for a clear chicken or vegetable soup. It will fill you up nicely, thus keeping you away from the fried stuff, and help you stagger your alcohol intake.

The key to the whole game is to stick to your exercise routine, no matter what. If possible increase your exercise time, and this is where the dancing at parties comes in handy. Never forget that extra calories consumed have to be burnt or they will accumulate as fat in the body. Drink in moderation , and taste rather that eat the fried stuff and desserts, and you will be facing 2013 with a lovely broad smile because your favourite party dress feels looser than it did last year.

Have yourself a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

About the author:

Sunitha Srinivasan has qualified with the National Association of Fitness Certification in the USA as a Lifestyle Consultant and Resistance Trainer. She focuses on helping people with their struggle to create a balanced and healthy lifestyle,  given the time constraints and stress present in today’s world.
She also conducts workshops on Wellness, Stress Management and Work-Life balance.
She can be reached 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.

Back to Fitness: Week 2 Round-Up

So we are successfully into week 3 of the program, the most intensive and rewarding stretch. After the 36 minute workout on Friday and the family sports session on Saturday, did you relax with a meal at your favourite restaurant of Sunday?

This morning we seriously started running and I’m sure most of you have started experiencing the famous ‘runner’s high’. This adrenaline rush is addictive and beats any other I’ve known. Having said that, let’s jump right into today’s topic.

In the last round up we spoke about the various postures of Running. Let us today consider the finer aspects of ‘foot strike’. What is ‘strike’? ‘Strike’ refers to the landing of the foot during the motion of running. So where should the foot land and how? Is there any recommended style? Here are some answers.

Strike could happen in three different ways – fore-foot, mid-foot and heel. There is NO researched conclusive evidence yet to prove that one of these is the best and the most effective.

Our body adopts a pattern that best suits individual needs based on energy output, speed and body type. Foot strike patterns are natural and are attributes of human characteristics and the bio-mechanics/physiology of our body. At this juncture it is sufficient to note that 75 percent of runners are heel strikers. The percentage of fore-foot strikers is marginal. If you reach for the landing then you will strike with your heel. If you allow your feet to land under your body, then you will strike with your mid-foot.

So right now don’t worry about where you are striking – front, mid or heel. Leave that to your natural gait and “gravity”.  Here’s what you need to remember :

  • Relax your head and shoulders. They set the mood for the rest of your body. You will be surprised to see how the rest of the body reacts almost immediately and relaxes.
  • Take care of your knees. Do not ‘overstride’ or drive your knees up and forward. If you overstride you will be striking in front of your mass. Think of lifting your feet off the ground and striking under your body instead. This theory of Pose Running seems to work for most runners I know.
  • Eat right, hydrate yourself well with lots of water, and don’t forget your stretches before and after the routine.

Happy Running!

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.

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.

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.

Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle

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Demystifying health, healthcare and the secrets of a healthy lifestyle