10 Commandments for a fitter you!

Nutritious food is no substitute for physical activity but watching what you eat plays a vital role in developing a strong and healthy body. Combine a balanced healthy diet with careful attention to good nutrition while exercising and you’ll make sure that the food you eat is keeping you in great shape. Monitoring your portion size, prioritizing fresh foods such as fruits, whole grains, and fish over processed foods and red meat, adding superfoods like broccoli, sweet potatoes and nuts to your diet, supplementing your diet with high-fibre foods like cereals and beans…these are just a few ways to start eating wholesome energy-boosting food!

  1. Toned up muscles – If you would like to tone up your body and control your weight better without rigorous workouts or daily visits to the gym, a well-balanced diet is what you need on a daily basis. For toning your muscles as well as to improve your overall fitness, you should follow a proper diet and some sort of home-based workout or simple exercises.
  2. Fruits & vegetables – My advice as a dietician is that at every meal you add plenty of vegetables and fruits like apple, guava, lemon, grapes etc. In a balanced combination diet, you can take as many salads and fruits as you like in a day. For example, make it a habit to include at least 1serving of fruits and veggies in your mid-morning and mid-evening eating regimen. Start enjoying green leafy vegetables such as any locally available greens in raw or cooked form, if possible every day. You can also include dry fruits and nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dates and raisins to improve your healthy fat intake.
  3. Deep & regular sleep – Aim for 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep each night. It is also important to follow a routine when it comes to sleeping and waking times, even in the midst of busy work and study deadlines. Practising stress management techniques such as meditation and deep breathing regularly is proven to help sleep-related problems.
  4. Water intake – The human body is made up of 50-60% of water, and you need to keep replenishing it. Drinking enough water is very important for health and fitness. Ideally clean and safe drinking water and not any other beverage but if you are exercising a lot and sweating more than normal, you will need to increase your water intake and maybe drink some drinks with extra minerals in it like salted buttermilk or tender coconut water to replenish what is lost in sweat.
  5. Carbohydrates, Protein & Fat – Your body needs 60-70% of carbohydrate from rice/chapathi /cereals etc. Always choose whole grain products instead of refined ones. Proteins are essential for your body growth and development so you can choose whole grams, lentils, soybeans, legumes on a daily basis and animal proteins like fish, egg and chicken once in every 2-3 days. Always choose healthy cooking oils such as Sunflower/Gingelly/Olive/Canola because they contain healthy fats that are essential for many body functions.
  6. Avoid highly processed foods – Reduce your intake of fried foods, fast foods and processed foods like bakery items and pre-packed foods as they are rich in unhealthy saturated fats and trans-fats and can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. The excessive amount of salt and artificial sugars in these foods may also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and kidney failure.
  7. Small but frequent meals – Frequency of meals is an important aspect of nutrition, with profound effects on human health and lifespan. Planned small frequent meals once every 2-3 hours, that is 5to 6 small healthy meals instead of 3 big meals in a day is the smart way to stay free of disease.
  8. No to Supplements – My advice for all of you there trying to manage weight problems and get fit is to stay away from slimming medicines or any protein supplements as they all come with harmful side effects. Some serious medical complications are also known to occur in certain individuals.
  9. Shift system at work – We are often encountering people working night shifts for long periods of time or changing shifts on a weekly basis suffering from indigestion, sleep disorders, premature greying of hair, ulcers, acidity, constipation etc. Personalised exercise, diet and stress management sessions pave the way for better health for these individuals.
  10. Exercises – Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. It has many uses, including improving your overall health and fitness, and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases. There are many different types of exercises; it is important that you pick the right types for you and stick to them on a regular basis. If time or your work pattern is a major constraint, we can help you incorporate regular exercises while at your workstation or during a busy workday.

With all the information you need to start becoming a fitter person, is it still something you’re scared of? I sincerely hope not! Just make a good start, believe in yourself and follow these simple steps in your daily routine. There is no doubt you’ll be on your way to a fit, healthy and confident person very soon!

 

Get set, Walk!

Believe it or not, walking is a great activity for physical and mental fitness. Being a physiotherapist, I will always recommend that my clients walk at least 40 minutes per day. And the cool part is it doesn’t need any equipment or trainer to monitor. That’s why walking is the best exercise to do whenever & wherever you are. It’s great for people who are trying to lose weight, the elderly, those who have diabetes, hypertension and other heart-related problems, and of course for anyone who wants to get fit. Brisk walking promotes good physical and mental health in middle-aged and elderly persons and hence it should become a priority to develop appropriate brisk walking programs in the community, say the authors of an article published in 2017 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1322769615001134.

Hippocrates, the Greek Physician born in 370 BC and fondly remembered as the “father of Medicine” said walking is the best medicine. It is the quintessential aerobic exercise that can be done by all irrespective of age, social status and cultural beliefs. The American Heart Association recommends brisk aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week to maintain health and fitness http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

Did you know? Regular walking has significant beneficial effects on our body. Here are just a few of the benefits of your daily walk:

  • Controls your body weight
  • Regulates your blood pressure
  • Improves your heart health
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Strengthens your bones & muscles
  • Reduces your risk of developing chronic disease like cancer and dementia
  • Uplifts your mood… and many more!

So let me help you start walking with some easy tips: For beginners, I recommend the “five front, five back” walk plan. That’s right, you walk out for five minutes, turn around, and walk back. Increase by five minutes per week and reach 40 minutes of walking in a day. I think this is a realistic and achievable way to get started for an aerobic exercise. And remember to warm-up and cool-down before and after your brisk walking. If you would like to know more about warm-up and cool-down exercises, please click the link to our earlier newsletter http://cardiacwellnessinstitute.com/images/Newsletter-June2017.pdf

How to implement the Habit of Walking and stay motivated:

  • Use stairs instead of lifts/escalators
  • Park your vehicle far away from your office/grocery store and walk for a while
  • Arrange a walking meeting and walking phone calls
  • Walk with your kids or dogs
  • Join in walking groups
  • Walk with your friends but focus on your walk
  • Chose 2 to 3 different areas for your walks so you feel motivated and enjoy your daily walk without getting bored

Guess you are convinced enough to start walking! We have planned a Walkathon just to get you started. Cardiac Wellness Institute is organising Walk Chennai Walk on 29th September 2018 (World Heart Day) from 6.00-7.30 am in Elliot’s beach, Besant Nagar, Chennai. We have some fun events and cool sponsors lined up for the event. So join in and be a part of a healthy society and a better future. Please register yourself, your friends and walking buddies on https://www.townscript.com/e/walk-chennai-walk-324404.

Please contact us for group bookings of more than 10 participants.