Thursday, August 30, 2007

Exercise It’s a Part of Life, a Part of Health

The older you get, the more reason you should exercise. Just 30 minutes of exercise can have a tremendous affect on your well-being and can even help you sleep better.

Anyone, regardless of age, can participate in some form of exercise. It doesn't have to be a vigorous activity, causing you to breathe and sweat hard. You simply need to be involved in an activity that causes you to breathe harder than normal.

As we age, we lose 20% to 40% of our muscle. After the age of 40, we loose approximately 1% of our muscle per year. Along with loosing our muscle, we loose the strength of our muscle. If we are involved in an activity that aids us in retaining our muscle we tend to have more strength and endurance. This can assist us in our lives in many ways including something as simple as getting in and out of a chair without assistance.

Our muscles will be stronger and perhaps prevent an injury as a result of a fall. Also, endurance activities can help prevent or delay many of the diseases that seem to come with the aging process.

What type exercise do you need? Any exercise that you enjoy doing can be incorporated into your everyday life. If you enjoy doing it, chances are you will stay on track and continue exercising daily. One example would be a brisk walk. A brisk walk is not only good exercise it also is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors. The sunshine and fresh air are enlightening and can make you feel more positive the entire day. If the weather is bad on your walking day, you can walk in the local mall. Many malls have walking groups that use their facilities for exercise several days per week.

Many people enjoy bicycle riding. Providing you have a safe place in which to ride, the bicycle can be an excellent form of exercise. If you live close to a grocery store, instead of driving the car if you need an item or two, the bicycle may be an alternative. The bicycle can be your transportation for visiting friends that live close. The bicycle not only provides exercise; it is an alternative mode of transportation.

Vacuuming or cleaning house is a form of exercise. Cleaning house can help keep you in shape. Using the weed eater or hedge clipping is another form of exercise. Raking leaves or sweeping the driveway is a very good form of exercise. Any activity that causes you to breathe harder than normal is a form of aerobic exercise. As long as you can carry on a conversation comfortably while engaging in the exercise it is normally safe to continue.

Exercise can be a personally rewarding experience, especially if done with a friend or relative. Not only do you get to work on improving your health you also have the benefit of good company and pleasant conversation. Exercising can also have a calming effect.

With any exercise it is always best to start slowly and build up to where you want your exercise level to be. It is always advisable to discuss your exercise plans with your physician prior to starting. If you start an exercise program, stay on it. Choose what you like and make it part of your life. Consistency is the key.

Exercise -- a great way to feel good about yourself!

The Effect of Body Weight on Sexual Performance

Question: Can being overweight affect sexual performance?
Answer: Yes, it can. In fact, improving your sex life might just be a good reason to shed extra pounds.

Let's take a moment, though, and define our terms. A person who is overweight might have excess body weight compared to the accepted norms because of large amounts of muscle tissue. Obesity is a condition in which a person is at least 20 percent heavier than the accepted norm thanks to excess fat. This is the type of weight problem under discussion here.

A 1996 study of 94 previously obese patients who had undergone surgery to lessen their stomach's capacity for food found that 50 percent of them enjoyed sex more after losing weight. And a full 78 percent of these patients' partners reported enjoying sex more once their partner had lost weight. Forty-four percent of the patients and 40 percent of their partners noted improved orgasms after treatment for obesity. Only 27 percent of the patients felt they were attractive before surgery, while 80 percent felt more attractive afterwards; 94 percent of their partners agreed.

The study's authors don't discuss the causes for these improvements. Certainly, North American social norms hold that fat isn't sexually attractive (something that's not the case in all cultures, by the way); so many people who lose weight are likely to feel more attractive and more enthusiastic about sex. More self-appreciation and enthusiasm are bound to improve sexual enjoyment. Being overweight, though, can affect your sex life through more than just psychological factors. Good overall health is the foundation for good sex -- and obesity tends to lower overall health.

If you're overweight, you're more likely to develop blocked arteries, high blood pressure, adult-onset diabetes, elevated cholesterol, respiratory problems, gallstones, abnormal liver function, and cancers of the cervix, uterine lining and prostate. Some of these conditions have a direct impact on sexual performance. Blocked arteries for instance, can impair circulation not only to the heart but also to the penis, contributing to impotence. The liver plays an important role in maintaining proper balance of our sex hormones, so having a stressed liver could conceivably alter libido, in both men and women. Any condition that lowers overall vitality and energy is likely to impede sexual desire and enjoyment. For the best sex, aim to keep your weight in the range at which you have the greatest health and zest for life.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fitness Basics: Say Yes to Interval Training

Most people have two standard excuses for not exercising: either lack of time or not being able to achieve the desired result. However, interval training is the best solution for both these excuses. Try it and you will be amazed at the results.

What is interval training?

As the name suggests, interval training is intense training in short bursts followed by a low intensity activity. It is sequential and normally the sequence is intense activity for a short time followed by a low intensity activity and then again repeated by intense activity. This does not mean that you stop all activity. In fact, you just need to switchover to a low intensity phase that is known as an active recovery phase. This active recovery phase is also short like the intense phase but what is important is that it is usually a less-intense form of the original activity. Interval training is actually an efficient training method that keeps you away from common workout injuries. Non-stop training increases the chances of injury while interval training provides the opportunity to increase your intensity without burning yourself out in a matter of minutes.

Fartlek Training

Fartlek is a kind of interval training that originated in Sweden and that does not involve accurately measured intervals. Instead, intervals are based upon your own personal needs and capabilities. This makes Fartlek training more flexible and effective because you yourself decide the length and speed of each interval.

Aerobic and Anaerobic: how it works

Interval training is a scientifically proven method. It uses your body's dual energy-producing systems: the aerobic and the anaerobic. The Aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy; which eventually enables you to walk and run for miles. On the other hand, the anaerobic system generates energy from carbohydrates, in the form of glycogen, which is stored in the muscles for short bursts of activity such as sprinting, jumping or lifting heavy objects. However, this system provides energy for only short bursts of activities and cannot last for long. Moreover, anaerobics makes your muscles achy and gives a burning feeling. You can clearly experience this feeling after running or skipping intensely for sometime. Interval training actually allows you to benefit from anaerobic activities without causing any discomfort or pain.

How to do it

Interval or fartlek training is not complicated in its basic form. You can walk for two minutes and then run for the next two minutes and repeat the sequence again and again. There are no hard and fast rules for you to follow. Just listen to the needs of your body while you complete the first phase. See how you feel and decide your activity and active recovery time period accordingly. Fartlek training not only helps you decide about the duration of each short intense activity and recovery but can also determine the length of the entire workout. However, you should also consider your targets and goals while setting your limits because you may have to work harder for bigger goals. Remember it's very important to consider a few important things before you start expecting any benefit from your schedule:

  • Intensity (speed) of work interval
  • Duration (distance or time) of work interval
  • Duration of rest or recovery interval
  • Number of repetitions of each interval
In a nutshell then interval training is a great way of achieving your fitness goals but always remember to consult an expert before starting out.

Stretch Your Fingers

It is quite common to see people forcibly pulling or bending their fingers frequently and producing snapping noises. Do you know why? By doing so, they reduce the joint stiffness of their fingers, even though temporarily. But aren't fingers designed to do a wide range of jobs-from holding, pulling and pushing objects to writing, typing and doing all manual jobs? Yes, true! So why do fingers become stiff?

Like all other parts of the body, finger muscles also need regular stretching. However, if you use your fingers to do jobs that limit or reduce their movement for long periods (e.g. writing, typing, playing a musical instrument, etc.), finger joints become less flexible progressively. That explains their stiffness and the urge to snap them frequently. With the passage of time, these finger joints could become internally bruised and swollen.

Presented below is a series of three sets of exercises that you can attempt as often as you can to improve the flexibility of your fingers and wrist.

Part A: Paper Ball Exercise

1. Take a large sheet of cardboard or any thick paper.
2. With your right hand fingers, apply pressure on this sheet, crumpling it slowly.
3. Increase pressure with fingers and wrist to compress the crumpled paper and shape it as a ball.
4. Take a fresh sheet of cardboard and repeat steps 1-3 with your left hand.

Handy Tips

1. The stiffer the paper, better the exercise. In case you cannot get hold of cardboard, pick up a roll of 5 or 6 computer sheets.
2. Continue to compress the crumpled paper until you cannot compress it further.
3. After completing the fourth step, compare the two compressed balls. This way, you will be able to compare the flexibility and power of your right-hand and left-hand fingers.

Part B: Rubber Band Exercise

1. Take a large rubber band. Loop it around the five fingers of your right hand, giving one twist between any two fingers, so that you can feel the band resisting.
2. Try to stretch the rubber band, utilising all the five fingers, so that the distance between any two fingers is nearly the same. [Fig. 1]
3. Hold the fingers in stretched position for at least 30 seconds.
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with a fresh rubber band and your left hand.

Handy Tips

1. Gradually increase the thickness of the rubber band so that the resistance increases.
2. Just before starting the exercise, clench and unclench your fist 10 times to warm up. Repeat after completing a sequence (steps 1 to 3).

Part C: Rubber Ball Exercise.

1. Take a small rubber ball, filled with air-one that you can easily grip with your hand, enveloping it from all sides.
2. Squeeze the ball, employing all five fingers and wrist.
3. Hold for 20 seconds at least, at maximum squeeze position
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with the other hand.

Handy Tips

1. If you have difficulty attempting any of the above exercises, don't do it!
2. If you want more of a stretch, use solid rubber balls, e.g. squash or golf balls.

General Precautions

Do not hurry through the steps. If you cannot hold any pose beyond 5 seconds, you need not! To be slow but steady is the best strategy.
If your wrists are inflamed or feel hurt, or if you feel pain in your fingers either during or after a step, consult a qualified orthopedist before starting on the exercises.

Flexible fingers are a boon for everybody. But each time you feel like snapping them, stop! Go for a rubber band, cardboard or rubber ball instead, and do the above exercises quickly.

Posture: The Biomechanics Of Movement

Have you ever spared a moment to think about this wonderful body that we call our own? Do you take for granted how it works? Do you misuse it often and what do you do to it when it starts protesting? Your body has a way of getting back at you when things go out of control. But this article should be able to help you understand how you can treat your body with respect so that it never fails you.

The base of most of your movement lies in the backbone. It keeps us erect and through the evolutions has done a wonderful job. But do not, for a moment forget what it was there for in the first place: to stay erect and ramrod straight. There are normal curves in the back, which allow for natural arches, movement and comfort. An outward curve in the thoracic or chest area to take the weight of the head, an inward curve in the lumbar or lower back area to take the weight of the body and a slightly more outward curve in the lower most curve of the spine to keep the balance intact.

What can happen?

Bent over or rounded shoulders will cause the upper back muscles to over stretch, leading to discomfort in the upper body. This malfunction, with the chest caved in, can also impact your breathing capacity due to the lungs' inability to take in its full capacity of air. This lack of intake of oxygen can make you sluggish and lethargic without you even knowing it.

An excessive arch in the lower back can lead to or be caused by the weak muscles in that region resulting in improper posture. This reciprocal effect can be the cause of a number of ailments, which can lead to lifetime visits to the doctor, if not checked in time. This pain in the butt can be corrected with awareness and proper guidance.

The right way to go about it

As you move, sit or stand to do any job, you have to be aware of the back's intricate and wonderful ways of keeping the head in place and the body, erect. Any misuse will cause a chink in the body's armor and this will slowly but surely give way at some point or another, during stress or strain, causing discomfort and pain or injury and damage. The best way to go about your business is to respect the body so that it functions with maximum efficiency.

Here are some tips to help you correct those chinks that have been clinking!

  • Keep your head in the center of your body, not too far forward or back nor tilted to any one side for too long.
  • Align the shoulders so that they sit square to each other.
  • Keep the center of the ribcage pointing lightly upwards to ensure an adequate intake of oxygen.
  • This will mean that your shoulders cannot round themselves too much, keeping your shoulder blades relaxed and down.
  • This will also force you to increase the area in the mid-section, straightening the back and elongating the abdominal muscles. This will keep that long and troublesome belly in place, not allowing it to slacken and bulge.
  • Ever so slightly tighten your buttocks so that your lower back maintains a natural rather than an excessive arch.
  • When you pick up something heavy, make sure you bend from your knees or hips. Do not let the tummy muscles slacken, which will make you prone to injury in the lower back.
  • The center of the body is the mid section that helps keep the body in its upright posture. The muscles in the back -- the abdominal and the oblique -- should be lightly but surely tightened to keep the main structure from collapsing.
  • As you walk, run or just stand around doing nothing, think of elongating yourself like a towering edifice, keeping back straight, tummy tucked in and shoulders relaxed and backwards.
Following these tips will ensure that your body moves correctly and functions with maximum efficiency.

10 Barriers to Weight Training

It's finally dawned on you that despite working out everyday, you are not getting anywhere. Where is it that you're going wrong? Are you aware of the right principals that go into meeting your specific goal? Stop to think for a moment. Here's a quick checklist you can run through to figure out what you need to rectify.

No warm up, sudden start
The body has to prepare for the routine that is to follow thus a warm-up phase is absolutely essential prior to the workout. Jump-starting this period will only lead to sudden muscle pulls and tendons tears, and terrorise the body. Also if you've had some gaps in your workout, do not presume that you can restart at the same pace. Be sensible and gradually ease into your exercise schedule.

Weight without enough experience
There is a keen, competitive, eagerness to ape the guy framed on the poster staring right in front of you. He has probably taken ages to get there and is on the wall to inspire you not wrestle with you in direct competition. Be realistic in your goal setting and aim to achieve one milestone at a time. Chart your progress and reward your successes amply.

Importance on cardio-vascular work
You may be keen on building brawn but must also consider aerobic workouts significant enough. Do not carry the false belief that you will lose much of what you have worked for in the first place. Each effort, involving muscle building, heart and lung efficiency and increase in flexibility, work on different principles. And each of them requires that they be trained separately. A well-balanced program will give you much better long-term results and will make you feel fitter rather than just look fit.

Close to dinner
Life in the fast lane today leaves us with very little time for ourselves. But there are some who manage to spend a couple of hours over a heavy-duty routine in the gym even way past 10.00 pm. However, working out too close to your bedtime will leave you charged up and will interfere in the quality of sleep.

Control rather than momentum
Rather than mindlessly pumping weights at the pace of a racehorse, if you were to think about engaging the muscle (when contracting it during the exercise) EVEN when you are not using an iota of weight, you can specifically work that muscle more effectively. The idea is to target the muscle and work with concentration not speed, control not momentum.

No less than 48 hours gap
A common fallacy people have, is to work at the same muscle or muscle group day after day, in the fear that if you don't use it you'll lose it. This fear has no grounding because muscle need time to repair, recover and the benefits take place during the rest period. At least 48 hours between your last work on that muscle/group is what's required.

Sets for the same muscle / group
Endlessly working on the same biceps or abdominal muscle is just a waste of time. A minimum of 8 or 12 or 18 repetitions done in two to three sets is all you really need. Use the rest of the time in a fruitful manner by training on the treadmill or cycle or work on improving your flexibility instead.

With breathing
Just remember the EX-EX principal, breathe out or exhale on the exertion, when you are contracting a muscle. Inhale when you have finished the move.

Cool down and stretch
Do not walk away without working at getting the original length of the muscles back in order. The easiest way is by stretching them of course! And remember that weight training involves bursts of energy that heat the body. There is a very strong need for the body to be brought back to homeostasis for it to benefit entirely from the hard work you have put in.

Vary your program
Do not get stuck in a rut and go over the same exercises week after week. The body gets accustomed to a certain routine and then does not produce the required results. Instead, keep the body guessing by frequently changing the equipment (dumbbells instead of barbell), the stances (standing rather than sitting, sitting rather than lying). This requires a small amount of ingenuity but is worth the while in the long run. Variety training will keep the body on its toes and you will achieve more stunning results in no time!

Overcome these barriers and there'll be no stopping you!

Allergic to Exercise?

Exercise is good for your health. It helps you lose weight, stay in shape and keeps you away from illness. You've probably heard this many times before. So what's new? According to latest findings, there are many people who have been found to be allergic to exercise. Although hard to believe, allergy to exercise is real, though not very common.

If after exercising, you break out into rashes, hives, have a breathing problem or suffer from a drop in blood pressure, it is quite possible that you are allergic to your workout. For those who are actually plagued with this problem, a trip to the gym may even be life threatening.

Kinds of exercise-related allergies

There are three kinds of exercise-related allergies that are commonly found.

Cholinergic Urticaria: This exercise-related allergy is related more to the body temperature of the individual rather than the exercise. Symptoms surface while exercising or just after a workout when the body temperature increases. Symptoms may include smaller hives (about two to four millimeters in size) visible on the upper body and neck, difficulty in breathing, fever or emotional stress. This kind of allergy generally afflicts the 10 to 30 year olds. The best way to treat this allergy is to avoid its occurrence. Avoiding exercising on warm or humid days, reducing the intensity of the workout, and stopping the exercise immediately can prevent this allergy.

Exercise-induced Anaphylaxis: This allergy is usually related to what you eat before or after the exercise. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis generally affects young adults. The allergic foods may include wheat and other cereals, celery, seafood, nuts, fruit and some vegetables.

Common symptoms include fatigue and a feeling of warmth, followed by itching and redness of skin. Patients may also develop large hives (over 10 to 15 millimeters) and lose consciousness. Other symptoms include swelling of the throat, difficulty in breathing, choking, gastrointestinal problems, nausea and vomiting. What is important to note is that there is a relation between the severity of the symptoms, the amount of food ingested, how vigourously the exercise is done and the time between the food eaten and the exercise. Clearly severe symptoms are usually found in persons who have eaten only a few hours before the exercise.

To prevent this allergy, you need to do your own detective work and eliminate the allergy-causing food. This can help you detect and avoid the foods that are the problem. By keeping the offending agents at bay, you will be able to exercise safely and bid adieu to this kind of allergy.

Exercise-induced asthma: Exercise is just one of the many things that can provoke the narrowing of the air passages in asthma. Climatic conditions such as temperature, humidity and exposure to allergens in the air can in fact aggravate the condition even further. To avoid exercise-induced asthma, you must take care of heat and moisture i.e. have a light warm up or use a mask while exercising to minimize heat and moisture loss. What's more, different kinds of exercising impact the condition differently. For instance, running outdoors will in general be worse than swimming because it constricts the airways. In fact swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for people with asthma because it usually causes the least amount of chest tightness. Running indoors on a treadmill, or cycling on an indoor exercise bike will come somewhere between outdoor running and swimming.

So remember that if you do suffer from any of the above-mentioned allergies, take adequate precautions or you may have to pay a heavy price for staying in shape.

Five Best and Five Worst Foods for Healthy Living

Food is a basic part of our existence and is something that nourishes our body. It has been used as an expression of love, friendship and social acceptance. We all eat food without even thinking about it. But beware there may be some foods that you pile on your plate and eat that could harm you. Which are these foods? Here's the final word from experts on what to have and what to avoid.

Best foods

Banana: One of the most valued fruits, the banana is considered to be the tastiest of all the foods in the world. The energy content of banana makes it very advantageous and filling. The fruit is a fair source of B vitamins, calcium, iron and potassium. At the same time banana is a fairly good source of fibre making it one of the most useful foods for kids and adult alike.

Beans: All kinds of beans -- red kidney, white gram and black beans are considered to be among the most beneficial foods. They are the richest source of fibre, which plays a very important role in the management of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. At the same time these beans are very rich in protein and folic acid.

Broccoli: The dark green florets of broccoli are one of the best nutrition bets around as it is rich in vitamin A and C. Both of these nutrients play a role in prevention of cancer. Apart from these nutrients, broccoli is also a very rich source of fibre. It also contains a good amount of folic acid, calcium and magnesium. The excellent nutrient composition makes it one of the best foods to be consumed.

Skim milk: Milk is the richest source of calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is required for the development of healthy bones and teeth. According to latest research, vitamin D also helps in preventing colon cancer. Milk is an excellent source of good quality proteins despite being low in fat.

Whole grain cereals: Cereals provide you with most of your complex carbohydrates. Also, they are a rich source of fibre, which plays an important role in cancer prevention. Fibre also has an added advantage. If you are on weight losing spree, then consumption of high fibre foods at breakfast helps you to lose weight by curbing your appetite at lunch. Cereals also provide you proteins and other important vitamins and minerals.

Worst foods

Saturated animal fats: This includes fatty meats such as pork, beef and poultry skin. It also includes full fat dairy foods such as whole milk, cheese and cream. Though these foods provide you with nourishment, the same nutrients can be obtained from other sources. Besides, intake of saturated fats should be avoided as they make you prone to heart diseases.

Soda: Drinking soda is full of sugar and artificial sweeteners and often contains caffeine, artificial colours and flavours which can give rise to numerous diseases such as tooth decay, obesity and allergies. If you are thirsty, it is better to drink fresh lime juice in clear water as compared to aerated beverages. Drinking soda is a poor choice to quench your thirst.

High fat snacks/chips: Even though they are made using vegetable oils, these should be avoided. Excess of these oils can lead to heart diseases, besides leading to weight gain. Such snacks are rich only in fat and provide no other nutrient. Snacking on fruits and non-fat whole grains is a better choice.

Nitrates: Many foods, especially bacon and hot dogs, use nitrates to preserve colour and to maintain microbial safety. Nitrate by itself is harmless but it gets converted to nitrite, which can form a cancer-causing chemical in your body. Hence if buying preserved meats, look for nitrate free variety. If this isn't possible, then always have a glass of orange juice along with the meat as vitamin C is known to inhibit the conversion of nitrate to a cancer-causing chemical.

Alcohol: Liquor is something that can cause more problems than all the rest of the foods put together. Consuming alcohol wisely and safely may not cause much harm but being an addict is surely bound to shorten your life considerably. All your body parts get affected due to an excessive intake of alcohol.

An awareness about what you should eat can help you select foods wisely and hence enjoy a meal that takes care of your health.

Weight Gain: Are you underweight?

Are you underweight and even though you eat like a horse you never seem to put on that much- needed weight? Your friends envy your thin-as-a-reed figure, while you wallow in self-pity and misery wishing you had at least some curls and curves. You've tried every possible means to gain weight - you eat pan-fried pizzas topped with rich cheese, gorge on Big Boy burgers and drink aerated waters and milkshakes by the gallon. But alas, apart from emptying your wallet, this hasn't made even an iota of difference to your weight. Instead of increasing your waistline, your bingeing may just land you up with cholesterol problems or heart-related ailments.

The good news, however, is that gaining weight is easier than losing it. You simply need to eat more calories than you burn. Eat as much carbohydrates as you like, plenty of proteins and fat. However, you need to eat them in proper proportion or in other words, eat a well-balanced diet. Whether your goal is to gain or lose weight, a correct and sensible eating plan is more essential than you may realize. This includes eating a selection of foods daily from each of these food groups -- cereals, vegetables and fruits, milk, meat and pulses. Whether you are on a weight gain program or a weight loss program, the emphasis is on avoiding junk food, excessive fats and other poor nutritional choices.

Causes for being underweight

Being underweight involves multiple factors such as:

  • Poor nutrition during infancy and adolescence as well as the nutritional deficiencies of a mother during pregnancy can lead to a lower number of fat cells and as a result lower fatty tissue accumulation.
  • Poor eating habits and low food intake
  • Illnesses can cause low body weight.
  • Stress and anxiety are also associated with low weight.
  • Stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes can also induce weight loss. This combination may apparently help you work efficiently, but will adversely affect your health.

What's the best way to increase calories

If you want to gain weight, then you need to increase the number of calories that you consume daily. This will happen as a result of good nutrition intervention that includes a healthy diet and intake of supplements. Follow these tips to increase your calories nutritionally:

Eat larger than your normal meals. This means eating bigger portions than what you normally consume.
Include snacks throughout the day and also before going to bed.
Eating easily digestible, high calorie foods compared to bulky low calorie foods.
Drinking high calorie beverages such as a banana milkshake made from full-cream milk.

Calorie boosters

Whole-wheat breads; cracked wheat is a better choice compared to lighter flaked or puffed varieties. Top with nuts and dried fruits.
Bananas, pineapple, raisins, dates are rich in calories compared to other watery fruits.
Full fat milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream can be a good source of calories.
Cheese crackers, peanuts, sandwiches, bran muffins, sweets and dried fruits
Use Corn oil and margarine in your diet. Add to puddings, casseroles, sandwiches, vegetables, soups and cooked cereals.


Intake of some supplements help in improving the potential for weight gain. Supplements such as additional B vitamins aid in weight gain, metabolism and assimilation of food and proper generation of energy. Additional fatty acids as supplements or as part of the diet are helpful from both calorie as well as the metabolic point. Amino acids are helpful when taken before meals. They stimulate the appetite and increase the protein synthesis capacity thus helping to build the body. Supplements that provide a good amount of calories are available and should be taken under medical supervision.


To gain weight, you also need to follow a regular exercise program oriented towards toning and conditioning. These include working with weights, to build up the body muscle and thus increase weight. Vigorous aerobic exercises, however, burns off more calories and may keep the weight down. Walking in fresh air will help you stay fit and be more receptive to food.

Thus if you are on a gain weight mission, you need to eat well, take supplements and exercise regularly. What's more, you can click at Activekarma to avail of our personalized meal plans that will help you gain weight the easy, safe and healthy way.

Exercises During Pregnancy

You're pregnant and worried about becoming ungainly. You want to continue with your workouts, but are worried that it may harm the baby. What should you do? Well, nobody said that being pregnant means that you can't stay healthy and active and should stop exercising. What you need to do is exercise with care.

You may find that you are getting tired easily and need more rest. This is probably because your circulatory and other systems have more work to do when you are pregnant. Hence, you should never exercise to the point of breathlessness. If you are out of breath, your baby may be low on oxygen. You should always be able to talk as you exercise. If you cannot talk while exercising, slow down and catch your breath. Overdoing an exercise session can affect the foetus. In fact, if you exercise regularly, then take care to increase your caloric intake so that you have a baby of normal birth weight.

If you feel any pain, stop exercising immediately. You may just have performed an exercise incorrectly, or you may have overdone it a bit. Discontinue exercising if you begin bleeding or cramping. Be careful not to over stretch while doing an exercise or even while doing a normal activity such as getting out of bed. During pregnancy, the body secretes a hormone that loosens joints and ligaments slightly in preparation for birth. This makes it easier to strain ligaments and muscles. In addition, the center of gravity changes as the baby grows. This increases the risk of sprains, stress fractures, and falls.

Most doctors feel that the best exercises for a pregnant woman include walking, swimming, water aerobics, low-impact aerobics, stationary cycling, jogging (if it was done prior to the pregnancy), tennis (preferably doubles), golf, and bowling. No matter what kind of exercise you choose to do, begin it slowly, as early in your pregnancy as possible, and gradually increase your stamina.

Researchers have found that those exercising experience less weight gain, but greater infant birth weight and gestational age. They also had shorter labours. In comparison, those who did not exercise complained of more discomforts such as swelling, leg cramps, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Another benefit of exercising regularly is the increased secretion of endorphins or natural painkillers produced in the body. These natural opiates give a feeling of well-being during and after exercise.

So don't abandon your exercise plan just because you're expecting. You can remain active and fit even while pregnant. All you need is a little bit of care and caution. Observe the following guidelines,especially if you are pregnant:

  • Check with your gynecologist before you begin any exercise programme.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes and a support bra.
  • Include warm-up and cool-down periods.
  • Start slowly, gradually increasing the length and intensity of your exercise.
  • Stop and rest when you feel out of breath.
  • Choose smooth, continuous movements rather than jerky, bouncy ones.
  • Avoid strain
  • Stop if you feel pain or experience or any other warning signs.
  • Don't lie on your back , after the first trimester
  • Don't hold your breath
  • Drink plenty of fluids .
  • Your pulse rate should not rise above 140 beats per minute.
  • Avoid exercising in hot, humid weather.
  • Avoid hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas.
Practice these guidelines to have an active and trouble-free pregnancy.

Swimming: Getting Started

Wish to relax? Need a fit body? Need to beat the heat? Or just looking for a mermaid? Well, the answer to all these queries lies in swimming! Trite though it may sound but swimming actually is a panacea for most modern-day illnesses.


Swimming is a very healthy activity, as it exercises all your muscles and keeps your body in tune. Many doctors recommend swimming for overcoming commonplace ailments or for getting your strength back after an injury. Water also removes gravitational pull in your bones and joints, thereby reducing the chances of strain or injury. In fact, swimming is one of the best all-round routes to fitness. But if none of these reasons appeal to you, take a swim just to beat the heat.

Is swimming for me?

Of course it is. It is never too early or too late to learn to swim. The younger you start the better, because this is when you learn the quickest. But people in their 70s can also learn to swim successfully. Children of two, three or even younger can be taught basic swimming skills and be encouraged to move through the water unaided. But if you can’t swim, whatever your age, there’s no better time to start than now.

Where to swim?

Of course, the best option is to go to a place close to where you stay. Though it is possible to swim in the sea, rivers, canals, lakes or ponds, these places are seldom suitable for beginners because of hazards such as currents, weed, and sudden changes of depth and cold water. However, before you take that plunge, make sure the swimming pool is right and safe.

What do I look out for?

The swimming pool must have a full-time lifeguard, who is a trained instructor. But if you are a beginner don't go swimming alone until you feel confident in the water. It is better to be accompanied by an experienced swimmer or a teacher at first. The water temperature in the swimming pool should ideally be 26-29'C, which helps you relax and make the right movements. If you have a temperature-controlled swimming pool that’s great, but if you don’t never mind. Just avoid it in the winters. The water should ideally be chlorinated and cleaned very often.Avoid overcrowded swimming pools if you are looking for a relaxing swim.

Gear Time

Swimming is frankly the most inexpensive of most sports. All you need is a swimming costume, a towel and pay the price of admission, and you are ready to go. There are a number of aids to look out for before you take that first splash:

For beginners: Inflatable arm bands, rubber rings, floats and flippers will help you to float and will get your body into a horizontal position in the water.

For all: A bathing cap is useful for keeping hair out of your eyes when you swim, but don't expect it to keep your hair completely dry. Successful swimming means putting your head in the water, so some water is bound to get in under your cap. Use goggles, if the chlorine in the pool stings and ear plugs to avoid water going into the eardrums.

Basic Etiquette

Just like going to school, working at office and anything you do in life has a certain decorum, the same applies to swimming. Swimming pools are often shared properties, so please remember to do unto others as you would like others to do to you.

Before entering the water

Visit the lavatory and take a shower, if one is provided
Wash your feet in the footbath.
Never go swimming if you have an infection or an open sore.
Never duck anyone under the water. This could frighten a beginner and damage his confidence.


Swimming is fun, and a potential lifesaver. But it can be risky too. Follow these simple guidelines, and be on your way to conquer three-fourths of the world.

  • Stay in your depth until you have learned to swim.
  • Try to make sure that you never swim alone. If you get into trouble you may need help.
  • Take care when walking near a swimming pool, because the side is often wet and slippery. Avoid running by the sides.
  • Never eat or chew anything while swimming, as this could be dangerous. And never swim on a full stomach. You need to wait for at least an hour after eating a heavy meal to allow time for digestion.
  • If you do swim in the sea, be very careful when using a rubber ring. You could be carried away from the shore very quickly by a current.
  • Dry yourself thoroughly after each swim, to avoid colds and chills.
  • Avoid the temptation to dive, unless you have learnt it from an instructor. And never dive into the shallow end.

So what are you waiting for? Get Set! On Your Marks! And go!

Fitness At Work: Exercises While Sitting Or Standing

Working at office can be more stressful than you imagine, especially if you have a desk job. Picture yourself sitting on a chair from morning to evening. The only exercise, if you can call it that, is sauntering to the toilet and back or to the boss’s room and back. Not more than 50 yards, is it? Tired after a long day, you go home and park yourself in front of the TV, gobble down a huge meal and go to bed. But you can’t sleep. Your muscles are sore, you have a crick in your neck and you feel a gnawing pain in your lower back. So what should you do? Get active at work.

It’s not your fault if you have a sedentary job. However, if you become lazy, feel lethargic and turn into a couch potato, you have no one but yourself to blame. What you need is some exercise. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the time or money to enroll in a gym or go to the park to run. You can exercise even while sitting in your chair. This will keep your muscles toned and help you feel positive throughout the day.

Exercises while sitting

These exercises need no special time or place. You can do them while sitting on your chair.

  • Shoulder shrugs and rotations : Your shoulders can feel stiff and tense with no movement. Try shrugging or rotating them, clockwise and anticlockwise, to feel relaxed.
  • Upper backstretch : Your back can kill you if you don’t take care of it. Stretching it time and now will help release some of the stress.
  • Chest stretch : Do you feel a tightness in your chest? Or do you feel claustrophobic? Then you need to get some fresh air. Practice chest stretching too.
  • Wrist rotation : Using the keyboard can cause your fingers and wrists to hurt. At times, you may want to just throw the computer out of the window and get back to writing with pen and paper. Don’t despair. Rotating your wrists will make you feel better again.
Practice these exercises at least twice a day, and see your aches and pains vanishing within a week.

Exercises while Standing

If you feel tired just by sitting for long, stand up and practice these easy-to-do exercises.

  • Stride Jump : Your muscles hurt, probably because of disuse. Jumping will help keep your muscles soft and supple.
  • Hip rotation : Does your backside feel stiff, like a ton of lead? You need to move your hips in a circular motion to get rid of your stiffness.
  • Thigh Stretch : Get some circulation going in your legs. This and the next exercise will help you keep your legs nimble and flexible.
  • Squats: Squatting is a good exercise and will improve circulation in your entire lower body .
Practice these exercises twice a day and feel light and pepped up throughout the day. You will notice a feeling of well-being and improved performance.

Stretching: Stretch Your Back

Have you experienced short stabs of pain in your back when you change your position after sitting down or lying down for a few hours? Have you experienced discomfort when your chair does not support your lower back? Are you generally tired when you get up from bed? Chances are, your back muscles are stiffening up!

The back is an area that's often ignored but one which is a cause of concern especially as the years go by. The following exercises are designed to look after the flexibility of your upper, lower and middle back sections.

EXERCISE 1: Towel Stretch for upper back muscles

1. Stand in front of a mirror and grasp one end of a bath towel with your right hand.
2. Throw the other end of the towel over your right shoulder so that the left hand can grasp it behind your back.
3. Use the left hand to go back and pull down on the towel, thereby stretching the right arm up.
4. Hold this stretch until you feel the downward pull in your towel transferring to your upper back.
5. Then raise the right arm as high as you can so as to cause the left arm to bend up toward the shoulder blades.
6. Hold this stretch until you feel the upward pull in your towel transferring to your upper back.
7. Then try steps 1-7 using the left hand in front and the right hand at the back.

EXERCISE 2 A: Double knee-to-chest stretch for lower back muscles

1. Lie down on back.
2. Pull both knees on to chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in the lower back.
3. Hold for 45 to 60 seconds.
4. Release hold.
5. Stretch out both legs, keeping them close.

EXERCISE 2 B: Trunk stretch for lower back muscles

1. Bend knees and sit on your lower legs. Tuck your toes together below your butt. Keep hands on your thighs, relaxed, bent at the elbows. This is a Yogic posture called Vazraasana.
2. Slowly raise both arms in front of you, keeping them straight from the armpits. Keep hands open, palms pointed to the floor.
3. Push both arms further in front and lower them together to touch the floor at a distance from your knees. Feel the tug on your wings and lower back.
4. Lower your face to touch your upper arms.
5. Hold for 45 to 60 seconds.
6. Return to position 2, then 1.

EXERCISE 3: Rotation stretch for middle back muscles

1. Lie on stomach. Lift body so that only hands and feet touch the floor.
2. Imagine your body is a compass, where the fulcrum is located at the mid-back region. Hold for 10 seconds.
3. Try to draw a circle (just as a compass works) keeping the tip of your toes stationery (as if it is the needle) and the tip of your fingers tracing the circle on the floor.
4. Hold for 45 to 60 seconds and release.
5. Repeat twice on each side.

Common Tips

1. For maximum effectiveness, do some light free-hand exercises before working out any of the above exercises.
2. While doing this exercise, forget you are stretching your middle back muscles. Concentrate on drawing the circle!
3. For better results, take a chalk or pencil in your hand before beginning the exercise. Later check if you have been able to draw an accurate circle.
4. Stretch smoothly. Bouncing back or forth can cause injury.


1. Suspend all back exercises if you have spondylosis or slip disc.
2. Show your medical doctor the list of exercises recommended by us.
3. If you have had a hip replacement, check with your surgeon.
4. Before beginning any of the above exercises, warm up by moving both arms clockwise and anticlockwise on the sides. Avoid jerks.
5. Preferably do back stretching in an empty stomach.
6. If you feel acute pain in your toes or knees while doing the Vazraasana, (mild discomfort is normal), skip the exercise.

It's important to focus on all the three sections or areas of the back to achieve overall back fitness. However, your lower back requires special attention, and so two sets of exercises have been given. The Yogic posture also treats indigestion and improves balance, thereby inducing flexibility in the region. Follow these exercises and stretches to stay in tip-top shape.

Your Guide to Healthy Eating

What do you do to stay fit? Do you run or jog or may be pump weights? What about your diet? Do you nibble at your food scared to put on weight or dig into your meals with gusto not bothered about the calories? You won’t have to do either, if you practice healthy cooking techniques. Healthy cooking will enable you to get all the nutrients from different foods which will keep your body in good shape.

Healthy methods of cooking do not require removal of any type of food from the kitchen. You can eat everything, but in moderation. This specially applies to those foods high in fats, cholesterol, protein and sodium. Instead, a moderate and sensible intake of these foods, combined with whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables is advocated by experts. This is the key to healthy eating. ActiveKarma presents the complete guide to healthy eating by helping you modify your eating habits:

1. Cut down on calories
Obesity is a major detriment to a healthy, happy life. Being overweight not only gives rise to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, eating disorders and heart diseases but can also cause major psychological complexes and traumas. Truly, the only way to manage weight is to balance calories.

2.Reduce the use of fat and cholesterol
It is common knowledge that heart diseases, obesity and certain types of cancer are linked with high levels of cholesterol and fat in the diet. The average Indian obtains 45 per cent of his/her daily calories from fat. This is about 15 per cent higher than is considered healthy. It is possible that some people may not know which foods contain high degrees of fat and cholesterol, or a person may simply be addicted to rich food, and finds the temptation to eat food high in sugar, cholesterol and fat too great to resist.

3. Increase the intake of foods rich in carbohydrates, and limit the intake of sugar
Food rich in carbohydrates is filling, and helps us consume less fat, cholesterol and protein. According to the latest research, about 60% of all calories should come from carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates.

4. Moderate the use of proteins
In general, proteins are considered to be healthy, but it is a myth that protein-rich food is non-fattening. Anything consumed in excess is converted into fat and stored in the body. Your daily supply of protein should provide only 15-20 per cent of your daily calorie count. Large quantities of animal proteins are unhealthy, as they tend to have both a high fat and high cholesterol content.

5. Moderate the use of salt and sodium
Salt remains a controversial item in our diet, though hypertension is caused by excess salt. There is not much one can do about the high quantity of salt in processed food, but while cooking raw food, salt should be added in the last stages because by then the natural salt in the food has been released, requiring a smaller quantity for seasoning. Herbs, fruits and vegetables should also be used to season and flavor foods. Salt should be minimized in dishes in which lemon or curd is used.

6. Increase the quantity of fresh food in your diet .
The less food is processed, the more it retains its nutritional value. Refined and processed foods should be used sparingly. Fresh fruit, raw vegetables and whole grains are ideal for nutritional cooking. Proper storage and handling are also important to retain the nutritional value of these foods.

7. Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages .
Remember that liquids are essential to a healthy diet and add calories without any fat.

Remember these seven golden rules of healthy cooking and you will be able to create a healthy and happy family.

Fitness: Music, Dance & Exercise

Have you reached a stage when you realize that the feet-stomping, heart-wrenching, muscle-squeezing workouts are just not for you? But you still need to feel the heavy pulse, the rhythm and beat as well as have your heart pound and recover with the satisfaction of having worked out. Do you have the urge to exercise but don't want to do it alone? Or may be you find exercising tedious and boring? Well, the answer might lie in learning how to dance!

Yes, dance can perk up your routine, get rid of the tedium and most importantly, help you stay in shape. Moreover, since it is a skill, it is something you can take home with you. As with learning any new skill, it does take a while to perfect and get a complete workout, so you might like to overlap your current routine till you get the hang of things and it becomes a part of you.

What can dance do?

Dance, like any other movement, involves not only motion in the physical sense but also hones the kinesthetic senses, taking motion through space and time. Dance also develops a sense of getting your mind to work in synchronization with your body, for an outcome that is both perfect and harmonious. Of course, what you do require is a keen spatial awareness with which, the nuances of each movement only get better. As your neural pathways begin to interweave all these senses together you will begin to enjoy the power of your body and mind at work, in dance.

Since dance involves the limbs, heart and lungs, it is considered an aerobic workout, sometimes even making demands on the anaerobic system, with high intensity moves like jumps, leaps and moving in different planes. Thus, like any aerobic movement, it does eat up calories and tones up the involved muscles, mostly in the lower limbs. With regular dance, and depending on the kind of dance you learn, it also helps develop the stabilizer muscles in the midsection.

Getting started

Find yourself a good qualified trainer failing which, you needn't despair! Put on a good pair of shoes, clothes you can breathe in and invest in a good music system and go for it! Blast the music, close your eyes and find the rhythm in you - it's got to be there somewhere. Try doing this in front of a mirror and you will be amazed at the way you can move.

One essential requisite is that you have to be willing to let go and throw all your inhibitions to the winds. That will give you the ability to adapt better to the music and actually enhance your dancing skills

Whom to dance with?

Dance can be done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be learnt for the pure joy of the activity, as a social skill or to develop confidence and poise. Dancing alone can be therapeutic but some dance forms involve partners. Finding a partner can be either cumbersome or a delight! Choose someone who shares your enthusiasm & joie de vivre and watch magic happen.

The role of music

You may be a perfect dancer but if the music doesn't complement your dance, it will not have the desired effect. Music has the power to impact your mood, your movements, and your ability to relax or get stressed. But each person reacts to the same music differently and not all music has the same effect on you.

Choose your music depending on the kind of workout you have planned. Pick the music with the right number of beats to enable to rock your spirits or calm you down, whatever the case may be. Say, for example, you are in the mood to do a cardio workout and you choose a slow, soothing soul number, you will land up getting no workout, leaving you frustrated.

Those who are musically inclined can almost know when to put their foot down in synch with the next beat. So take some time out to choose your music before you actually start to workout to save time and frustrating moments.


High intensity dance may not your cup of tea if you are overweight or obese or have joint problems. Also avoid them if you are not used to regular working out or exercising either your heart or muscles. Most dance-for-fitness classes have options wherein you do not have to perform all the moves beyond your capability or at the same intensity.

So if you find doing exercise long and boring, add a bit of dance to your routine and see the difference. It will add life and vigor to your workout, making it fun and enjoyable. So what are you waiting for? Turn on your music system and get swinging.

Women At Home: Find Time For Yourself

You have a hard job juggling a variety of roles. Be it the perfect wife or mother, caring daughter or daughter-in-law, the good neighbor or a loyal friend. What's more, your job is thankless, with no salary, no training and absolutely no time off. You are working round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You could very well pass off as Atlas, holding up the world, for that is how you feel today.

Add to that a traveling husband (either physically or mentally spaced-out!) and you have the extra burden of his jobs around the house, taking care of the kids school and homework. By the time everyone has left for the day, all you want to do is drop down on the bed - and it's only 9.00 am. But you can't! You have a stream of endless chores to finish before your two hungry devils return from school.

In this whirlwind of affairs, do you have the time for yourself? Answer this question honestly. Look into the mirror and ask yourself when was the last time you did something you enjoyed, saw a movie or even saw a TV serial of your choice (you are probably switching between cartoons or some crazy football game). This vicious circle of events has got to stop sometime and there is no better time than now.

The most relieving news is that you can do it and it does not take rocket science to start! So if it means:

Finding time for yourself - do it now
Setting yourself at priority - do it now
Forgoing some responsibilities - do it now
Stretching yourself a wee more - do it now
Getting up a touch early - do it now

Fulfill your responsibilities to yourself first, only then, will you be able to feel complete and be able to give yourself to others. It is imperative to take care of your personal needs while managing home and hearth.

First steps: Walking

The first step in rectifying things is something I strongly suggest to all my clients and friends. Start with a few minutes of walking everyday. The first step is always the hardest but when you've taken it -- you're on the road to recovery, rediscovery, revitalization and revival of yourself. The confidence that accompanies any fitness program is something you will get when YOU GO THROUGH IT YOURSELF. It is time you did it. And NOW is the time to start.

A walk does much more than strengthening your heart, lungs and lower limbs and improving your general health. Walking early in the morning helps to assimilate your thoughts for the day and gives you a new lease of life. An evening walk will help soothe frayed nerves and provide a refreshed outlook to handling situations. The bonus? You've earned a few extra minutes in your life span!

Second steps: Cycle 'n' music

You could also indulge in your favourite pastime or do what you enjoyed doing when you had more time on your hands. If it's music that gave you delight, listen to it. If it's reading that gives you joy, read. Combine the two and pamper yourself. And if you are enterprising, invest in a cycle and do all three: cycle, read and listen to music.

If movies are your stress buster, combine the time you are watching with the time you are on the cycle. That's either 1 Ѕ hours or 2 Ѕ hours (phew) to yourself and loads of fat fighting done in the process.

Final steps: Fun and Fitness
Get your diary out and catch up with friends (and that is almost a must). Instead of going to a restaurant and bingeing, you can probably enroll together in a gym or practice the latest low-cal recipes together. Or better still prod your husband to get up half-an-hour before his scheduled time and bond with him either by taking a walk or practicing some easy yoga asanas in the comfort of your bedroom. You may find a resurgence in your sex life, which incidentally will also help you burn some calories!

Remember even if you are at home and have nowhere to go, you can be dressed up. This will boost up your confidence. Better still invest in some good workout gear, which will motivate you to exercise. Staying at home is your choice, enjoy it to the fullest and you can do that only when you take care of yourself. Nurture your family but don't ignore yourself in the bargain. Your life at home can open up many opportunities for widening your personal and professional horizons. So go for it now!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dispelling Weight Training Myths

Strength training is no doubt a good fitness pursuit, but only if you steer clear of the myths and misperceptions that surround it. This article will free you from some of these and help you get fit.

Myth 1. Lifting weights makes you, especially women, bulky and muscle bound
This is a myth like any other myth. Lifting weights add muscle mass to your body, which is very different from fat. Inflexibility, which sometimes follows the muscle build up, is not an outcome of developing large muscles. Lack of muscle activity or improper technique is the most common reason for the inflexibility so the term 'muscle bound' is inappropriate for weight trainers. Secondly, women naturally cannot look like men or bulk up because of weight training because they lack testosterone that is responsible for the Schwarzenegger-like muscles.

Myth 2. You must workout each muscle individually for better results
It is difficult to exercise more than 600 muscles individually and in fact working out more than these is not beneficial either. In fact, you achieve a better workout by compound moves that are also less time consuming and easy. This really makes the individual muscle workout unnecessary. Moreover compound muscle workout has less chances of injury and is complimentary with day-to-day activities.

Myth 3. Eat more protein to get something out of weight training
Although you need a good quantity of proteins, excess of it of can be ineffective, even harmful. What you need is a rich balanced diet containing all the necessary ingredients rather than only a protein-rich diet. Remember, if you are aiming to lose weight then all your efforts may show no result because of a high intake of proteins.

Myth 4. More repetitions of each exercise is better
Repetition builds endurance, which is a big plus especially if you are involved in sports, but to gain strength you have to lift heavy weights. Your muscles should reach the momentary fatigue to gain strength, which is possible with heavy weights only. So the best way to train is in sets and see that you lift so much weight that it becomes practically impossible to lift more. However, you should increase the weight slowly.

Myth 5. Your muscles will turn to fat if you stop weight training
This is nothing more than a myth and that too a very irrational one. Muscles and fat are two different things and not interchangeable. You cannot turn your fat to muscles and nor can your muscles turn to fat. However, if you don't use your muscles for long and keep taking fatty foods your muscles will shrink and the fat layer will increase. Remember less of one simply means more room for the other.

Myth 6. Strength training strengthens everything but not the heart
Strength training is good for your heart. Research has shown that it can benefit your heart in many ways such as reducing cholesterol (LDL) and blood pressure and prevents overexertion, which may indirectly become a reason for heart problems and other physical damages.

Myth 7. Strength training reduces flexibility and is not good for weight loss
If done correctly, strength training can actually increase flexibility. The muscles that strength training builds not only boosts your calorie burning rate but actually help in reducing your weight. Reason: the more the lean muscles, more the number of calories burnt and if combined with aerobics, then strength training can be one of the most effective ways of losing weight.

Myth 8. Weight training can help in spot reduction
Spot reduction is anyway a myth and weight training or not you cannot remove those bulges from any particular body part. Fat reduction is overall and no amount of weight training can actually reduce fat exclusively from that particular area. However, you can certainly spot tone. You can build any particular muscle, which can give a slimming look to that particular area. The best way to accomplish all your fitness goals is to design your exercise schedule in such a way that it includes all the basics of fitness from aerobics, flexibility training, endurance training to strength training.

Myth 9: Strength training and body building are same
Strength training is not body building. They are two different things: strength training is gaining strength while bodybuilding is a competitive event where strength is of no value. For bodybuilding muscle size, definition and symmetry determine winners and any relationship to flexibility, strength, endurance, or aerobic capacity is secondary. On the other hand strength training, weight training, or resistance training is for the purpose of improving fitness levels and appearance and for enhancing athletic performance.

Myth 10. Children should not participate in strength training.
Strength training or resistance training is something that children do naturally. You don't have to lift weights all the time to strength train. When children play they are actually participating in resistance training every time they go outside, even if the game is not a sport. Running, throwing, pulling, lifting, or doing any kind of exercise against resistance is nothing but resistance training.

Let go of these 10 myths in your fitness life and you will be able to enhance your fitness and strength levels considerably.

Working Out With Allergies

Have you decided to drop your exercise schedule just because you have a allergy to dust and pollen? There's no need to get disheartened so easily. If you readjust your exercise schedule keeping in mind your particular allergic condition, there's nothing stopping you from going ahead.

Allergy and Exercise

The allergies that are discussed in this article are not triggered due to exercise but are already a part and parcel of your life. How can those suffering from any kind of allergy exercise so as to reap the maximum from their exercise regimen as well as have minimal impact on the allergic condition.

Allergies of the respiratory system

Since an exercise schedule puts a lot of pressure on your breathing process, the respiratory system should be in top form. An allergy of the respiratory system can result in:

Congestion of nasal passage
Bronchial congestion (mostly in asthmatics)
Tightness in the chest

These could happen mainly due to exposure to allergens (agents to whom you are allergic to) such as:

  • Pollen and dust
  • Polluted air
  • Dust
  • Pet Dander (minute parts of animal skin that keeps falling off)
  • Bacteria found in carpets, dampness
  • Chlorine allergy found in swimming pools
Tips to help you deal with allergies of the respiratory system:

If you are allergic to pollen, choose to exercise indoors. If you must go out, wear an air filter. After a spell of rain, pollen levels generally decrease and thus exercising outdoors after a rainfall is safe.

Avoid smoky dusty areas outside. If possible use air-conditioned space for exercising. In highly polluted areas, use masks or filters to avoid inhaling dust.

Falling dander can be minimised by giving your pet a regular scrub bath. This will not only help you exercise safely but also improve general hygiene.

Exercise in a room with minimal upholstery as carpets and curtains retain small dust particles and even bacteria.

Damp corners in a house breed bacteria. A regular disinfecting and drying the corners to eliminate fungi and bacterial growth reduces the chances of bacteria-induced allergy.

Allergies of the skin

An irritating skin will always dampen your spirit and exercise schedule. A skin allergy can result in:

Skin Rashes
Swelling or inflammation of the skin
Irritation of the eye

The causes behind these are similar to those of other allergic reactions and include:

  • Sunlight
  • Polluted Air
  • Bacteria
  • Plants
  • Chemicals such as chlorine in a swimming pool
  • Specific clothing
  • Insect bites

Tips to help you deal with skin allergies:

Avoid long exposure to sunlight if you have a tendency of developing rashes. Alter the time of the day; say a morning walk can be shifted to evening etc.

Avoid highly polluted areas or consider altering your route if running/ jogging in an area which has high levels of pollution.

Bacterial presence sometimes causes rashes. Cover your body sufficiently to minimize exposure.

Certain plants such as poison ivy and poison oak are famous for the rashes that they give. Reduce the exposure and contact to these plants if exercising outdoors.

Chlorine levels can be altered to suit your skin and eyes if allergic. Another trick is to have intermittent showers between swimming sessions.

You could also suffer from other more serious allergic reactions that may take the form of muscle cramps, fatigue and headaches and require immediate medical attention. If you are severely allergic to something, make sure you carry the prescribed medicine with you.

The stop and go technique

This is a basic technique that allergy sufferers use to maintain a good balance between their output levels and their ability. It involves taking intermittent and regular breaks from the exercise or activity. This reduces the exposure to allergens and also helps your stamina and motivation levels from dwindling to a dangerous low.

Finally, then it is important to remember that a good exercise schedule can get jeopardized due to allergies. However, a little care and precaution on your part will go a long way in helping you workout without any problem.

Swimming Technique for Arm Action

Your arms provide the main propelling force in back crawl, just as they do in front crawl but with a difference. They work alternately in this stroke, pushing the water back. Remember, continuity is the key; you have to maintain continuity and rhythm throughout the stroke, one hand always applying the pressure while the other recovering from it. Regular practice and proper exercise can earn perfection but it's advisable to have a look at the stroke first. Let's consider the arm action in its three phases: entry, pull and push, and recovery.

Your hands enter the water at a comfortable point behind the head, with the arm at full stretch. The arm should be as close to your ear as possible and the hand goes into the water first, so the wrist can be cocked sideways to allow the fingers to enter the water before the wrist, either together or with the little finger leading. Keep the entry controlled and smooth, with no slapping and as little splash as possible. Your hands should 'catch' on the water just below the surface.

Pull and Push
Immediately, after the hand 'catches' the water, it begins the pull while arm remains straight until in level with the shoulder. The elbow then bends, to allow the hand to push water backs directly down the line of the body. End the push near the thigh and start recovery without any pause. Your hand in fact follows the 'S' shaped path as it moves through the water. Keep in mind that it is important to keep the wrist firm, otherwise your hand will slip through the water instead of grasping it, and much of your effort will be wasted.

When the hand reaches the end of the push phase near the thigh, it immediately leaves the water in one action without any pause and returns to the point of entry. The arm should remain straight and pass directly overhead to avoid any unnecessary rolling of the body. Try to relax the muscle that have been used for the pull and push while the hand clears the water quickly and smoothly.

Practice these exercises:
Hook your right foot under the rail and place your left foot flat against the wall just below it. Now, lie back in the water and practice the arm actions keeping your arm close to your ear.

Push off holding a float across your chest with one arm and use the other arm to pull yourself across the pool. Then change arms. Hold the water firmly with your hand as you pull, pushing right through to the thigh.

Push off holding a float firmly between your legs. Pull yourself across the pool with your arms keeping your chest out of the water and shoulders fairly high.

On dry land in front of a mirror: Stand upright in front of the mirror and observe as you execute the alternating arm movements.

One-sided arm pull at the edge of the pool: Lie in the water parallel to and close up against the side of the pool, with the arm nearest to the pool side resting on the edge of the pool or in the gutter, execute a complete action in the water with the other arm.

Double arm pull with paddles and pull-buoy: Keep paddles on the hand, swing back over the water and pull as far as the thighs. Extend the body in supine position and hold the pull-buoy between the legs. Variation: Replace the pull-buoy with a pulling tube.

One-sided pull with paddles: Execute the complete back crawl arm movement with a paddle with one arm, with the other arm resting against the hip. When the working arm above the water enters the water, the body rolls towards the pulling arm. The arms interchange their positions after half a length, with the legs swinging loosely in a flutter kick. A Variation: stretch the inactive arm backwards in the water.

Alternate pull with paddles: Perform alternate, gentle arm movements above and under the water with the arms. Swing the legs loosely.

Simultaneous pull on the back with gentle flutter kick: Swing the arms simultaneously over the water in the direction of travel and from there pull them to the thighs. Bend and press at the same time.

Alternating-side arm pressure: Move the arms alternately underwater as far as shoulders and press the thighs. Hold the upper arm against the rib cage and swing your legs loosely.

Alternating-side underwater pull: As in the previous exercise, but in this case before the pull, each arm stretches underwater passing the shoulder in the direction of travel. The body rolls onto the side of the extended arm.

Single-sided arm movement: Execute the complete arm movement with one arm underwater and the other arm resting against the hip; see that the body rolls towards the side of the rear arm, and the legs swing loosely.

Practice these exercises; take care of your technique and performing the back crawl can be a pleasure.

The Power of Posture

Take two minutes and think about the following questions. Have you noticed that you are constantly cowering down because your boss is too intimidating? Are you weary and tired and as a result frequently hunch your shoulders? Are you trying to reach out to someone and in the process unwittingly, let your chest out too far forward? If you've said yes to any of these then not only are you looking sloppy and unsmart, but are unknowingly encouraging bad posture.

What is Posture?
Think of a building without the steelwork or a bridge without an edifice and what conjures up in your mind is a weak and unstable construction incapable of withstanding stress or strain. The same could apply to your body. Your posture, a harmonious interplay of the skeletal and muscular systems, forms the structure and base of all your movements. And though it is of your own making, it communicates a whole deal about you to the external world. It signals your position in society, your levels of self-esteem and confidence as well as how comfortable you are with your body. Enough reasons to warrant taking action about it now.

Importance of Posture
Your posture has a prime purpose - to provide a framework that can carry your body through pressures and tensions, strains and stresses, without having any repercussions on your productivity and efficiency. A chink in any part of the framework will require compensation by the opposing group of muscle or set of joints. And any flaw will eventually lead not only to aches and pains in the short term but result in far reaching complications like a some ailment, dysfunction or injury (for e.g. risking your spinal cord, reducing your breathing capacity etc) all of which can be prevented by good posture.

Getting started
So how can you improve your posture? A good beginning is to objectively assess the stress areas, the probable flaws and imbalances. Once these are done (and believe us it is not too difficult. We even lay out the process in the article), begin corrective measures. Ideally before starting on any of the corrective measures. You should consult a fitness specialist, a physiotherapist and / or an orthopedic surgeon. The last is to ensure that there are no structural or dysfunctional reasons for incorrect posture.

Start with a POSTURE CHECK by standing with your back against the wall with four points touching it:
the back of your head, shoulders, hips and heels. Then go through the following guidelines:
The head and neck should be in line with the rest of the body
The shoulders should be parallel to each other
The shoulder blades should be pulled backwards and in a relaxed position
The abdominal muscles should be tucked in tightly
The hip muscles should be pulled in lightly
The hips should be parallel to each other.
The skeletal system provides rigidity and mobility while the muscular system provides elasticity along with stability. The backbone, an important component of the body's skeleton, is a delicate piece of architecture and has to be treated with care. Because of its S-like shape, it has amazing abilities but is also the first to take the toll of your stress or abuse. The remedy is to consciously maintain the normal curves the way they are meant to be - outward (but not excessively) in the upper back area and inward (but not excessively) in the lower back area. One of the functions of the set of muscles that attach themselves to the back, along with the muscles in the front portion of the midsection, is to keep the body upright and function with maximum efficiency.

Thus any movement or exercise, position or stance needs to be conducted keeping in mind the alignment of the bony structure and the stabilization of the musculature. Think of symmetry between left and right and think of balance between top and bottom, front and back.

Our recommendation
A combination of regular exercise, which will increase bone density, joint flexibility and cater to muscular strength and flexibility, will go a long way in improving your posture. Combine this with a sensible diet that supplies you with all the vital nutrients and you are on the right track. We have a number of exercises that you can do specifically for posture (ab and oblique crunches, back extensions, upper back strengthening work).

Finally, it may not be easy to undo years of bad postural habits but when you begin to feel the difference between before and after, the effort is well worth it. A keen awareness of yourself, within your body and in relationship to your surroundings will give you that extra edge and help you stay on top of things. So if you are looking for ways to beat bad posture and get a head start DO IT NOW. Improve your posture today and watch what the world says about you. You will be amazed!

Weight Loss Myths

Have you been downing lemon juice and honey for months now but your weight has not gone down? Obviously, because there is no scientific basis to this. You are, like many other dieters, trapped in just one of the many old wives tales regarding weight loss. And if you continue to believe them, rather than losing you may as well be adding on the kilos. Rid your mind of some of the common weight reducing myths.

Lemon juice helps in reducing weight.
This is a total no-no as far as losing weight is concerned. The fact is that lemon juice is a rich source of Vitamin C, which helps in repairing the worn out tissues in the body and cannot burn out excess fat. In fact, lemon juice has no action on fat.

Drinking a glass of warm water in the morning
How can a glass of hot water break up fats or shrink the stomach? Fat is already present as tiny droplets in the body. Breaking them further does not mean taking them out of the body. In fact, water is an important nutrient for your body. Many dieters also assume that drinking cold water makes them fat, forgetting the fact that water is not a food which can help in adding or losing weight. In comparison, aerated drinks are fattening.

Honey helps in reducing weight.
Honey is a concentrated source of carbohydrates and hence a source of energy. It will, in fact, add on to your weight instead of reducing it. So, if you are dropping weight with honey, it is just a psychological effect.

Miss a meal and you will reduce
If you continue skipping meals, you will gain weight. When we eat, the body’ s metabolism increases. Increased metabolism helps to burn excess fat. So, if you don’t eat, the body starts working slowly and hence you tend to put on rather than shed weight.

Avoid potatoes to shed fat
It is a fallacy that potatoes are fattening. Bread, wheat flour and rice are more fattening compared to the simple potato. It is the way potatoes are cooked which makes them fatty. Instead of deep-frying; boil, bake, steam or roast them and you will add a rich source of carbohydrates to your diet.

Juices help in losing weight.
How many oranges do you need for making a glass of juice? A minimum of three, at least. And how many spoons of sugar will you add to that? Doesn’t that make it rich and sweet in calories, rather than cutting on them. And you are losing out on the entire fibre of the fruit. Always prefer whole fruit to juices because they give a bulk of the fibre, which is nutritionally very important.

Margarine rather than butter
The calorie content of both margarine and butter is same. Hence, both are equally fattening.

Eating yogurt with every meal doesn’t add to weight.
This is true if yogurt is made from low-fat milk but if it is made from full-cream milk or is fruit-based, your calorie content will zoom.. So, the weight gain factor depends on the type of milk used.

Fruits are not fattening.
Fruits like banana, chickoo, grapes and mangoes have high sugar content and hence are more fattening as compared to less sweet ones such as apples, papaya, guavas etc. Most of the fruits have negligible fat content except for avocados, which have a high fat content.

Eating carrot helps to keep you slim.
Though carrots are a rich source of vitamins, eating them in excess can lead to health-related problems such as amenorrhea (absent or irregular periods), temporary infertility or discolouration of the skin. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. All calories may be equally fattening, but they are not equally nourishing. For instance, a calorie from milk and a calorie from coke are equally fattening. But while the milk calorie provides other nutrients, the coke calorie is just an empty calorie.

Sleeping after lunch makes you fat.
If you load your body with rich oily foods or creamy desserts, the blood flow to your digestive system increases and your blood sugar levels rise proportionately higher. In such a case sleeping is but natural. This is not likely to happen when you eat a normal balanced diet. So it is not sleeping or resting after meals that increases your weight but the kind of food you’ve eaten for lunch or dinner

Working Out in Water

Water can have the most soothing and therapeutic effect on jangled nerves and taut muscles. Going by the popularity of a Jacuzzi, as being the up-market stress buster, that must be so. Yet at the same time, working out in the water can be a refreshing, recharging and unique way to exercise.

Water workouts look misleadingly simple but can be most powerful with consistent use giving excellent results. The water provides excellent resistance and the buoyancy keeps the body from getting too tired. There is virtually no impact while the workout is being carried out, thus making this the preferred recommendation for the elderly, pregnant, those rehabilitating with joint problems or injury. The variety of ways to get to your goal will keep boredom at bay while still equipping the body with the necessary weapons to ward off fat, diseases and lethargy.

Making a splash

Runners may find that it can give the continuously jarred joints a break. Weight watchers will find this low impact routine a calorie-gobbler. Gym-haters can gain strength and size in their upper body with the splash of an arm. Walkers looking for a break from the sweat and grind can find this an equally energizing (if not more) alternative. Cross trainers will find it an equally beneficial option. The stressed out and hard-pressed executive can benefit from this two-in-one routine (cardiovascular benefits and overall toner).

Getting about it

You don't have to be a water baby to benefit from the values a water workout can give. You don't even need to be an aspiring Olympian to gain results. The mode is pretty simple but it is essential to keep some basics in mind before you start out.

The Basics:

Always warm up like you would on land.
Maintain body posture at all times: Shoulders back, abdominal muscles tight and back straight.

Do not start the movement from leaning forward from the chest but rather focussing on the lower body to get you going.

To increase your intensity in cardiovascular, pump your arms faster.
You can be tricked by your heartbeat as an indicator of intensity because the heart rate will be lower in the water by about 10-15 beats. So go by how you feel.
Hydrate yourself just as much as you would for a land workout.


Besides the traditional ways of getting there (free style, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly), here are some options any novice or fitness enthusiast can partake of.

Running in the pool:
Imagine running or walking in the traditional manner with just the medium changed. There are two ways of doing it.

Shallow water moves:
Stand in shallow water with your just your chest above the water. Use the floor to take you across to the other side. Pump your arms bent at the elbow at 90 degrees at the hip level to give you extra power.

Deep water jigs:
Deeper the water the more the resistance it provides. Using a float to keep you upright, with your shoulders, neck and head above the water, run in the water like you would on land. Raise your knees to hip level and push down with your legs. Pump your arms (again flexed at the elbow and at hip level) to the surface of the water and then back to the hips.


Because water provides the right kind of resistance, it can work wonders in toning the muscles if done in the correct manner. The trick is to concentrate on what you are doing and imagine there is more resistance than actually present. Done regularly, this can work as a definite option to free weights and machines.

Lower body:

Leg Lifts:
1. Stand in waist level water, on one leg (knee slightly bent), taking support if you have to. Slowly lift your leg to the side, as high as is comfortable, using the muscles of the hips (abductors). Do this without leaning to the opposite side. Bring down to original position with equal resistance. This works the outer thigh and the inner thigh on the return, if done properly.
2. In the same position, take the leg diagonally behind you, using the muscles in the bottom (gluts). Again bring down with equal resistance. This tones the hips.

Arm Floats:
1. Stand in neck level water with knees slightly bent, keeping arms by your side. Slowly take the arms up to shoulder level through the water. Bring them down with equal resistance.
2. Do the same movement with arms coming in front of you up to shoulder level.

The caveats

Infections are easy to catch especially in the monsoon, so perk up your immunity levels.

Trying not to look hilarious may be difficult but you could continue to keep your style by going during off-peak hours.

Darting between kids at play can be a trying game. Inform them of the area you need to workout in (before you start) and their cooperation will surprise you!

The winter can be a damper in your attempts and the 5-6 months just set you back to square one.

However, all said and done working in the water can be an exhilarating and enjoyable experience provided you are game for it.

Crash Diets Don't Work

Dump your crash diet right now. It is a proven fact that dieting doesn't work. It never has, and it never will. The sheer numbers prove this. How many diets have there been over the last 20 years – 50,100? Readers are constantly plagued by enticing covers that promise "to take off 5 kilos in two weeks." If diets really worked would there be a need for an unending chain of new ones?

Have you ever wondered why diets don’t succeed? The answer is quite simple. What do you think about when you're on a diet? You are usually thinking about what you are going to eat when the ordeal is finally over. How can you possibly succeed on your diet when all you are thinking about is food? Depriving yourself is not the answer to healthy permanent weight loss. It usually causes you to binge later on, which complicates the problem. Deprivation and binging becomes a vicious cycle, and that's just one of the many problems with dieting.

Another reason is that dieting is a temporary measure, therefore, the results too are temporary. No wonder dieters are often heard complaining that a particular diet didn’t work for them. Confusion and frustration are rampant among dieters. Most of the diets contradict one another. One popular diet says to eat more proteins and less carbs. Another one says to eat more carbohydrates and very little protein. Can both be right? Yet another says to eat a small portion of whatever you like, but be sure to exercise. The most dangerous of all is the latest fad diet that substitutes drugs, supplements and nutritional powders for real food, in the absence of strict medical supervision.

If you are on one of these crazy diets, you may suffer from negative nitrogen balance (NNB). This means that your body is losing more Nitrogen than it is taking in. When this happens your body loses weight but not necessarily fat. During NNB, your muscles, kidneys, liver and other organs become smaller. Losing these kinds of tissue is dangerous as these are irreplaceable. Besides, someone who has maintained NNB through insufficient eating over a long period of time is more prone to disease and infection. NNB is a warning against starving yourself or experimenting with diets and formulas that are imbalanced and don’t provide your body with adequate nutrition

If a friend says, "I’ve lost five Kgs," ask five Kgs of what? Fat, muscle or water? Losing fat is good. Losing water or muscle is bad. The minute you drink water that you've lost, you regain the weight. Losing muscle is even worse. When you lose muscle your metabolism slows down. Why? Muscle mass is your body's furnace -- the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns, whether you're sitting on a couch or working out in the gym. On crash diets, the body will go to muscle mass for nutrients before fat tissue. So even though you're eating less food, your body is burning fewer calories because it has less muscle to burn calories. And people wonder why they regain weight so quickly after dieting?

To prove you can't lose 10 pounds in 10 days, let's do some maths. A pound of body fat represents 3,500 calories. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 more calories than you eat. For example, if you weigh 170 pounds and are a moderately active person, you burn 2,500 a day. If your diet contains only 1,500 calories, you'd have an energy deficit of 1,000 calories a day. In a week's time that would add up to a 7,000-calorie deficit, or two pounds of real fat. In 10 days, the accumulated deficit would represent nearly three pounds of lost body fat. Even if you ate nothing at all for 10 days and maintained your usual level of activity, your caloric deficit would add up to 25,000 calories (2,500 calories a day times 10). At 3,500 calories per pound of fat, that's still only seven pounds of lost fat. So if you want to lose fat, and that's all you should want to lose, the loss must be gradual -- from one to two pounds per week.

Now that you are convinced about the demerits of crash dieting. We, do have some good news for you. Weight Loss is possible provided it is undertaken in a sustainable fashion.

Most people who try any restrictive diet almost always regain the weight. Often they gain more. Every fad diet is nutritionally unbalanced in one way or another, and some are downright dangerous. Your body craves for carbohydrates for a good reason -- it's our body's primary energy source. Lose your main source of fuel and you can't think or move easily. It is natural that if you want to shed between 15-40 kilos, you’d want to do it in the quickest possible way. So you convince yourself that going on a crash diet will accomplish your goal in the shortest time. The only problem is that you may end up crashing your system, causing serious damage to one or more of your vital organs.

Weight loss: Winning the Battle of the Bulge

Do you go on an eating spree when you are depressed or angry? You stuff yourself till you feel sick and then repent at your overindulgence. Rather than help you combat your moods, binging will only increase the inches and add to your weight. You need to kick the "I'm miserable, let me eat habit for good!' Loneliness, depression, anger and boredom are just some of the pressures that can drive you [to] nuts. And to chocolates, burgers and potato chips. Most chronically overweight people indulge in food because of these emotional triggers and not because they are responding to genuine hunger signals. Food is a primitive form of oral gratification and a brief phase of unhappiness can drift you to this "quickie" reward that momentarily calms and soothes edgy nerves. Do you use eating as a quick fix against upsetting problems instead of getting to the emotional roots of your unhappiness?

You are not to blame, entirely…

Most of these problems stem from incidents in early childhood. Many overweight adults had mothers who habitually criticised their appearance in childhood. "Eat or you'll get sick." Later, the same mothers told them: "You are too plump. Wear loose clothes." This form of brow beating made the growing child angry at the mother and himself, and usually resulted in overeating as a way to vent that anger.

Of course, a few of us grow up with eating disorders that require serious therapy, but most of us need just a little guidance to develop a sense of power and control over our excessive behavior. The first step in this direction is to stop treating food as an escape route and deal with your emotions constructively.

Have you met them?

Generally, people who overeat can be classified into four categories:

1. The Overburdened Housewife
Studies have shown that the charm for chocolates (or anything sweet) grows manifolds when life becomes predictable and monotonous for the woman who stays at home, caring for her husband, children and "in-laws" (in that order).

2. The Jilted Lover
For such people, food (for thought and for stomach) is the most important factor. Among urban males, an extra bottle of whisky is considered just right to chill grating nerve-ends. For women, it is watching the idiot box and munching. Eclairs, cookies, milk chocolates, all rich in carbohydrates, are all ideal "love" substitutes.

3. The Overzealous Executive
This breed of super-workers has worked its way up the corporate ladder, and spends a typical day attending meetings or snatching extra workload that should have been delegated ["I'm a perfectionist, you know!"] after office hours. And what else? Having several hurried bites at fried pakoras, pancakes and sandwiches in between faxes or e-mails, followed by a quick dash to the bar with colleagues or alone. The competition is fierce, and one wrong step could derail a bright career.

4. The Bubbly Child
You can see him in all parks, hogging the limelight. A brightly smiling and plump child in his mother's lap, getting all her attention (and kisses). And inviting a peck from older children and neighbours. The child obviously senses he is special and knows that he can demand anything that could keep him busy. So all he needs to do is just point his chubby finger at any of the food (or ice cream) vendors around the park. Quick as a flash, his mother darts to the vendor and gets him a mouthful- disregarding the fact that her love could actually smother the kid's healthy development. Such children are wont to borrow money to have whatever food or drink attracts them. It is easy to see that such early indulgences can lead to a serious emotion-triggered consumption tendency as the child grows up.

All these four types of people have a different problem at the root of their overeating. However, they are all guilty of letting their emotions get the better of their lives. Food is not a weapon to combat emotions-it will never make up for what is lacking in your life. You are the ones who have to stand up and face the stress head on.

The Big Five Stress Triggers & How to Fight Them

ANGER Go out to a desolate corner and scream. Yes, S-C-R-E-A-M! Or punch a pillow. Or knead a handful of dough with all the force you can muster. Count 1 to 10 and drink a glass of cold water. Treat yourself to a beauty sleep (rather than cookies) or go out and buy a new dress.

DEPRESSION Expression is the best antidote of depression. Sounds nice? Phone a friend as soon as depression threats to whack you. Or, take out a notebook from the briefcase or shelf to pour out all your pent-up emotions. Or how about watching the fantasy world of Walt Disney characters!

FRUSTRATION "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." A familiar quote but do you implement it? When frustration strikes, get going instead of sitting and sulking. Go out and smell the roses, play with a child and listen to his pranks.

BOREDOM "I get bored too soon." How often have you heard that said? "Nothing holds my interest for long!" The best way to fight these bouts of ennui is by picking up something you have not done for a long time. Maybe reading comics or listening to an old songs. Variety is the spice of life, and you should have a long list of "must-dos" handy whenever boredom threatens to upset your equilibrium.

ANXIETY "To be tense or not to be" is the question. Doctors say that anxiety is a neurosis, an apprehension of the unknown. Anxiety stems from an over-burdened mental state and an unsettled life. "Too many things to do, barely any energy to do it all, so stuff oneself with food whenever one can" sums up the lifestyle of anxiety-prone people. However, the best way to fight this condition is to relax! And there's no better way than some Yoga or meditation to soothe those frayed nerves and relax.

So remember the next time you are upset and sneak into the kitchen, turn right back and engage your attention into doing something positive, that distracts you and keeps your mind off food.