Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Painfully Tall

Recently one of the leading newspapers carried an article in the ever increasing heights of heels of shoes, a trend especially popular in the west since a long time.
Needless to say, that it is becoming increasingly common in the local scenes as well, with the short, not very tall and even tall girls and ladies opting for 3 and 4 inch heeled shoes. No doubt it looks very elegant, but yet it is a huge price to pay in the long run.
Anatomically speaking, a high heeled shoe causes your foot to go into plantar flexion (sole of the foot facing backwards), placing tremendous pressure on your forefoot.
This causes a shift in the centre of mass; your body adjusts its balance by making the lower part of your body lean forward and the upper part of your body lean backward. This puts increased pressure on the joints in the body, especially the distorting the S-curve of vertebral column, and leads to lower back pain, muscle imbalances etc.
While walking also, it becomes difficult to push off from the ball of your feet, at every step and puts more stress on the hip flexor muscles as well as the knee joint, which remains bent most of the time.

Some of the negative effects of heeled shoes are -
Mis-alignment in the body, especially of the lower limb.
Ankle Sprains
Shortened & Tight Calf Muscles
Shortened Achilles Tendon, which might lead to Tendonitis
Lower Back Pain
Tight Gluteus muscles

A few tips on living with heeled shoes -
Restrict the use of heels to very special occasions
It has been found that a 1 ½ to 2 inch heel is quite bearable, for short durations.
Once home, warm-up a little and stretch out your calf, gluteus, hip flexor and lower back muscles.
Hit the gym regularly to strengthen your lower limb muscles to withstand the stress.
Try to go in for heels with comfortable straps behind, to ensure better foot alignment during multi-lateral movements.
Massage the bottom of your foot by rolling a small ball under the ball of your foot for about two minutes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shoes for the right moves !!

Welcome to the discussion of the favourite activity for ladies and a few men as well !! Before you start thinking, no,
its not kitty parties….its the aerobics sessions at your gym.
Aerobics sessions are a great stress buster, calorie-burner, and make for an enjoyable cardio workout.
They are ideally designed to be low-impact (since one foot is always in contact with the floor) activities done using different moves on the floor or using the STEP to a rhythmic count sequence.

Aerobic dancing involves quick lateral movements, jumping, and leaping for extended periods of time usually lasting for an hour, and hence the shoes must have -
Good medial-lateral (side-to-side) stability.
Sufficient cushioning and shock absorption to compensate for pressure on the foot, which is many times greater than found in walking.
The tongue of the shoe should be thick, and the lace mechanism has to be perfectly fitting, to provide forefoot stability.
Make sure shoes have a toe box that is high enough to prevent irritation of toes and nails.
Basically, you should look out for shoes that provide lateral stability, support while permitting both twisting and turning.
Now, I am sure, after reading last few articles, you must be calculating the investment required, just for shoes !!!
Well there is a solution, my friends !!!! They are called “ Crosstrainers”.
They can also be used for your fitness routine, which involves running, walking, weight lifting and for some sports.
Running or walking shoes are built for the forward motion of running, and do not provide any stability to the ankle for side-to-side motion; only cross-trainers are designed to prevent injury and support lateral moves.
You should also wear cross-trainers when weight-lifting, because they provide the most multi-directional support.
Most cross-trainers have a wider outsole than running or walking shoes, which contributes to their excellent stability for lateral motion.They are designed to be used for multiple activities, and hence a good investment if your routine consists of multiple activities.Well…. that sounds relieving, I hope !!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Get.... Set... GO !!!

Taking it up from last time, it is important to understand the challenges that the body faces while running or walking, to understand the right fit..

Running places impact forces on the point of contact – the heel, which are more than 3 to 5 times body weight, and which can wreak havoc on the ankle, knee, hip and lower back joints.
Hence, 3 main considerations arise-
Shock needs to be absorbed and dissipated or reflected, which is usually done using various shock absorbing materials or springy materials etc.
Lateral support and stability is needed to stop the foot tilting excessively inwards or outwards, leading to twisting, ankle sprains etc.
Also, look for a shoe that is light weight and breathable.

Running requires far more cushioning and stability than walking, but of course running shoes can be used for walking, if the fit is comfortable
Runners land almost flat footed while walkers land on their heels. A walker's foot hits heel first and then rolls gradually from heel-to-toe. So, you will need a flexible sole and more bend in the toe than a runner. You should be able to twist and bend the toe area.

Have you noticed that your old shoe has worn out more on the outer or the inner part? This can be explained by the different foot types, which need to be considered, to avoid joint problems.
Use the “Wet Test” to know your foot type –
Dip your feet in water, and then stand on a piece of cardboard / paper bag / dry surface, and then look at the imprint.

Flat foot – runners have low arch, which may lead to knee and hip / lower back problems. Their shoes need excellent motion control and this must be mentioned while buying shoes to the professional.

High Arched – runners have rigid, inflexible feet, which puts them at risk for ankle injuries and stress fractures. Their shoes need a lot of cushioning in the mid-sole region of the shoe, and must be mentioned to the professional while buying.

Remember that a good shoe is a long-term investment for a pain-free life ahead!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vijay Tendulkar's words

I have not read or heard any of this great man's works .... but after his unfortunate death, one of his quotes appeared in one of the newspapers - something I'll never forget .........

Here it is........................
" There comes a point in one's life, when his life appears like a stage -
People come....... People go........
People come.... in order to go, and
People go... with no intent of return
And when they do return... they return as one's past !!!


I’m not fat! I don’t need to lose weight! So why should I exercise?
I’m a housewife, so I’m moving around the house the whole day. That’s exercise right? So why should I exercise more?
Exercise!!!! I’m so thin! Ill become even thinner! Why should I exercise?
Exercise? I’m 40 years old! It’s too late to start now!

Sounds familiar? How many times have we come across clearly overweight housewives or professionals, who are constantly on the move the whole day, but yet find themselves heading towards the “XL” section while shopping?
Or our grandparents who think they are too old to exercise!
The basic point that these people are missing, is that exercise need not be restricted to just losing weight, or for the younger population.
That’s where the concept of fitness comes into picture. Fitness is a complete holistic development of an individual-social, mental, and emotional, and not merely the absence of diseases.
Exercise promotes the wellness quotient of an individual. Want to know how?
Read on…
► It reduces your risk for getting heart diseases, weight related problems, hypertension, chances of a stroke, cancer and other stress-related problems.
► Relieves stress & tension headaches, anxiety disorders, simultaneously boosting the body immunity against infections, and diseases.
► It improves glucose tolerance, which helps prevent the onset of diabetes.
► It also improves your digestive system functioning, helps fight gastric distress, constipation, etc.
► For females, it reduces the menstrual disorders, PMS, and chances of different forms of cancer.
Not only this, but exercise does wonders for your Emotional Wellness Quotient as well, since it
► It releases endorphins & enkephalins, which help battle stress.
► It improves your physical appearance, skin texture, and as a result your self-esteem.
► It helps to alleviate depression, anxiety.
Moreover, you cant overlook the fact that we are aging by the day, and consequently losing muscle and bone mass, and are prone to put on weight even with our same eating habits.
Means, we start heading towards the “XL” section while shopping!!!!!!
Again, exercise helps to,
► Increase muscle tissue mass, as response to weight training.
► Increase bone density, which helps the chances of developing osteoporosis
► Improves and maintains joint flexibility, and ligament strength, thus reducing possibilities muscle tears, fractures, etc.
► Helps correct postural imbalances, resulting from faulty posture over the years.
► Enhances sexual desire, performance & satisfaction.
Really, exercise is like a free tonic for looking and feeling great. Maximum returns with minimum investment! Controlling your diet alone has very little long-term effectiveness!!!
What’s the use of wasting all our hard earned money on medical and hospital bills?

Shoe them Right !!!

Beginning from today, over the next few columns, we will discuss, what I feel is one of the most important but most neglected aspect, when it comes to your Fitness routine.
Yes…. The right pair of shoes very much determines the effectiveness of you exercise routine. In fact, every activity you do, demands a specific kind of shoe. For example, shoes used for walking are different than shoes used for running, and so on. We will cover the right shoes required for three most common activities – walking, jogging / running, aerobics sessions at gyms.

There are basically 4 considerations that define your choice of the right shoe-

Foot Alignment - Your feet can turn out, point straight ahead or turn in.

Knee Alignment – are they bowed, neutral or knock-kneed.

Height of the Medial Arch under the feet – are they normal or flat, touching the ground

Nature of Ankle Joint – Due to lax or tight ligaments, your foot can either be very flexible, which is not very stable or it can be over rigid, which is very stabile, but lacks good shock absorption.

In other cases, where one foot is shorter than the other, specially designed shoes are required.

Improper footwear can lead to joint injuries, shin splints, lower back problems, knee problems, plantar fascitis, myocitis, muscle pulls and many related problems, since when you are running or brisk-walking, the pressure on the joints is more than thrice your own body weight.

Most of the times, branded shoe manufacturers use demographic considerations while designing the shoes.

However, here are a few things about the right shoe

Shoes should be lightweight, with soft cushioning inside.
Soles should be flexible, yet it shouldn’t be able to bend or twist them
There should be at least an inch space between your toe and the front end of the shoe
Make purchases in the evening time, since your feet swell up a little over the day, and would ensure comfort at all times.
The heel of the shoe should have good shock-absorbing material, since it is the first point of contact as your feet touch the ground.
The in-soles should support the natural foot arch.
Check shoes for air flow—do they have porous fabric or air holes to ensure good ventilation inside?
Place the shoe on the floor and push it forward. If it easily slides forward, then it has poor tread design or smooth bottom and can lead to slips and falls.


Lower back pain? Tablets, analgesics, pain-reliever sprays are not a permanent cure… There are various reasons causing a lower back pain (LBP) like muscular imbalances, muscle tightness, wrong postures, injury or some inherent problems…

Generally seen amongst those with sedentary lifestyles, long hours of sitting cause muscle imbalances among the front (primarily Quadriceps group, which get stretched) and the rear (primarily Hamstrings group, which get shortened) thigh muscles. Tight Hamstrings pull the adjacent muscles (especially the gluteus, what we call butt) thus giving rise to LBP.

One of the other reasons is, when the person is centrally obese. The extra weight in the front is being constantly pulled down by gravity, to counter act, the postural muscles at the lower back region get into a state of constant tension, giving rise to lower back problems.

Apart from this, there can be other reasons like, flatulence, slip disc, protruding discs etc. which give rise to LBP.

It is very important to know the underlying cause for LBP, since every cause has a different treatment.
Muscular imbalances causing LBP have to be treated with a combination of stretches and strengthening exercises – Stretch the tight muscles first and then strengthen the loose muscles. Other causes may involve strengthening the back muscles, once the pain is under control.

Try This ….
A simple way to assess whether you will have LBP in the future --
Stand and Reach Test –Lower back and Hamstring Flexibility Test (only for those with no LBP)

Stand straight with your feet together and hands beside your body. Lift the hands straight up and bend forward, as much as you can, but without any discomfort.
If your hands are way above your ankle – it means you have tight hamstrings and prone to LBP

Round, Round and Round!!!!

No..I am not talking about my friend’s beer belly!!!! I am talking about the latest “in” phenomenon – Circuit Training, with specialist gyms coming up all over Pune, targeting especially older women.
As the name suggests, there is a circuit (a chain which starts and ends at the same place) of different exercises or “stations” positioned closely. You have to perform the exercise at each station, in rapid succession, without rest in between, until you finish the circuit. Rests are allowed in between circuits.

Circuit Training is a form of Interval Training,
Where work and rest are interspersed -
No two successive exercises focus on the same body part. As a simple example, if you perform a squat (exercise for legs) at one station, you may not exercise legs again in the same circuit, or at least not until next 4 to 5 stations, depending on the nature of the circuit -
In which strength / resistance exercises are combined with endurance / aerobic exercises, thus combining the benefits of both a cardiovascular (Peripheral Heart Action effect) and strength training workout.

Advantages –
Generally designed to provide a whole body workout.
Can be done using minimal equipments and/or calisthenics
It is also recommended for beginners for a full-body conditioning workout.
Generally done in a group, hence can be fun and enjoyable
Its time efficient – you can design to cover all three aspects of Fitness – Strength, Stamina and Suppleness in the same workout, where 1 circuit can get over in as less as 3 minutes!!
Limitations –
Not very suitable if your aim is to build muscle, since the intensity used is generally very low.
Boredom sets in after sometime
However, with creativity and the right guide, it can surely be a great way to be fit, especially when done in a group.

Functional Fitness

All this while, through our columns, we have focused on all aspects of fitness, be it strength, stamina, suppleness, or nutrition.
But the question is – which one is the most important?

Let us see an example. Mr.“ Huge Chest-Back-Biceps-Triceps ” is being chased by a dog. Now, although the dog may look like a speck of dust in front of him, in reality, he may not be able to run for his life. Focusing on just pumping iron will not develop his stamina. The principle of Specificity can be a double-edged sword, and hence has to be used effectively.

Moral of the story is that, fitness must be defined as a perfect blend of strength, stamina, and flexibility, which focuses on making the daily activities of life seem effortless. This is especially so in case of the elder population, where in the need is – functional fitness i.e. being able to carry out day to day activities easily & independently.
Functional Fitness is a revolutionary approach, which focuses on optimal development of strength, stamina, flexibility, based on the individual lifestyle.

The key to functional exercise is Integration. It's about teaching all the muscles to work together rather than isolating them to work independently."

The basic aim being, making the Activities of Daily living easier, and reduce the risk of injury. Due to its individualized approach, it will be different for people even within the same age group!
Key elements of Functional Training:
Strengthen the Core :
The core (Abdominal & lower back region) forms the foundation that supports proper body movement& stabilizes the spine.
Most strengthening exercises use one’s own body weight, like in Pilate’s.
Weight-bearing exercises require balance of muscle strength & endurance about each joint.

Latest trends include Stability balls, Core-boards, Wobble-boards, BOSUs, which provide an unstable surface.
A simple idea is to do regular gym exercises, balancing the body on one leg, like one-legged free squats. Or just try balancing body on one leg while standing and then switch sides.
Multi-Directional movements:
Most traditional exercise machines work muscles in one plane only. Real life takes place in three planes.
Use conditioning techniques that account the ways you actually move in respect to your daily activities.
Multi-joint movements:
Conditioning must include multi-joint exercises using both upper and lower body together, while maintaining a proper spine alignment.
Neuro-Muscular Co-ordination:
Coordination and body awareness in everyday activities is very important. This gets improved whenever “balancing” is required.

So out with the old, and in with the new!!
There is always enough room for improvement. As such, instead of focusing on cosmetic fitness, which may not serve any useful purpose, be wise and opt for functional fitness, for optimum gains.

Waist Matters

I am sure you must have come across the recent newspapers which were flooded about the risks of an excessively huge waist circumference. So what is all the fuss about?
Excess waist circumference is directly related to excess abdominal fat (adiposity), which is not only subcutaneous (under the skin) but more of visceral (around the important organs).
Excess fat deposition around the waist
Hampers the function of the Pancreas, liver etc. which gives rise to insulin resistance – which is one of the factors defining Diabetes.
Gives rise to obesity-related problems esp. like atherosclerosis (fat deposition around the walls of the arteries)
Increases your risk of metabolic disorders, heart attacks, strokes etc.
Increases the risks during pregnancy, in case of women

In women who are going through the menopause, it is common to see the waist size rising with or without their weight really increasing
The risk for health problems is high if you are a
· man with a waist measurement greater than 40 in (~ 102 cm)
· woman with a waist measurement greater than 35 in ( ~ 90cm)

Until recently, WHR (Waist-to-Hip Ratio) was considered as the benchmark method to assess health complications.
Men need a WHR which is less than 0.9, and women with a ratio less than 0.75 for low health risks.
WHR is a better predictor of mortality in older people than Body Mass Index (BMI).
The problem with BMI is that it can't differentiate muscle from flab. It also doesn't quantify or locate the fat deposits which is important since carrying extra fat around your waist may be unhealthier than having extra fat around your hips.

An Exercise Freak ???? Ever heard of OVERTRAINING!!

Do you sleep, dream, eat, drink, walk, talk about exercising?? Do your discussions start and end with how much and what exercise you did today, yesterday, the day before, the day before that, and so on??????
Welcome to this new breed of people, who seem to be obsessed with a certain type of body figure, which may/may not seem attainable, many a times idolizing TV or film personalities. Needless to say, that teenagers and adults between the age of 20-35 yrs form a major chunk of this breed.
The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine defines it as “a combination of signs and symptoms of over training which typically causes the sufferer to feel mentally fatigued in absence of physical fatigue and causes deterioration of performance”.
No doubt exercising must be an integral part of your daily routine, but becoming obsessed with it, can have its own dangerous consequences. Just like you need breaks at work, your body needs rest, in order to maintain good health.
Exercising places a positive stress on your body, and the body trains itself to adapt to it by making the body stronger, thus improving health.
However, for this adaptation to take place, the body needs rest. When the body is over-stressed, repeated stresses are placed before any adaptation can take place, which confuses the body.
For example, consider the case of men lifting heavy weights for the same body part everyday, with an aim to look like Hrithik or Salman quickly, and find that they have hardly gained any muscle over the previous months.
Please remember, that our body muscles need anything from 24-48 hrs of rest.
Moreover, the growth hormones are secreted while we are sleeping, which is why there is need of a good sleep (6-8hrs) daily.
The classic symptoms of overtraining are
Ø Depression, mood swings, difficulty in concentration
Ø Chronic, Persistent Fatigue
Ø Increase in the Resting Heart Rate
Ø Dehydration
Ø No gains in Health Status
Ø Increased/Decreased appetite
Ø Lowered bodily immunity i.e. increased susceptibility to infections
Ø Increased risk of overuse joint injuries
Ø Muscle pains & Joint pains

Factors like depression and fatigue also lead to over-eating, in many cases which may actually lead to increase in weight, thus causing further depression in people trying to lose weight by exercising heavily, everyday.
The only way to get out of this is to decrease the frequency of exercising or take a complete break and rest for a few weeks or change the activity to a less intense one.
This might mean hitting the gym every alternate day instead of everyday, altering the workout schedule, trying out other modes, just as an example.
Apart from the general population, sportspersons and athletes who over-train are more prone to overuse injuries like
Ø Tennis elbow (Lateral epicondylitis),
Ø Swimmer’s shoulder (Rotator cuff tendinitis and impingement),
Ø Runner’s knee, jumper’s knee (Patellar tendinitis),
Ø Shin splints.
In fact, the main problem for a coach is to know just how much to ask of an athlete without pushing him or her into a state of failing adaptation or overtraining.
Don’t just decide your workout schedule for yourself. Get a professional opinion, or better still, get it designed from an expert.
Moral of the Story is that : Too much of anything is bad..
Use common sense while applying the “No PAIN No GAIN” formula. A slight discomfort is the word!!
Listen to your body. Enjoy Training!!!!!!

TOO OLD FOR EXERCISE? Its all in the mind!!!

The old adage “ Its never too late to start” was probably written, to answer this very question.
We are forever in the quest to improve/maintain a good health status, since it is fundamental to everything else in life. So, why should it be an exception in the later years of life, where infact it is most needed.
And it has been established beyond doubt that EXERCISE is the best & safest bet, when it comes to good health. Infact the right kind of Exercise, in the right amount, is the best anti-dote to whatever problems aging brings along with it.

Exercise, because

  • Improves strength, stamina, Flexibility, Co-ordination, Posture
  • Helps deal with stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness and unhealthy addictions
  • Rev up your metabolism, particularly by strength training
  • Sarcopenia-- which is age related loss of muscle-mass (atrophy), leading to loss of strength
  • can be countered with Resistance training (weight / strength training).
  • Helps prevent Osteoporosis, Cardiac complications, Diabetes, Obesity, etc.
  • Excellent anti-aging potion for the skin
  • Improves Sexual performance
  • Focuses on all aspects of “ Wellness”- Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social, spiritual !

    Complications generally arise due to faulty lifestyle habits cumulated over the years—like obesity, diabetes, Cardiac problems, etc. Though problems like arthritis, especially Osteo-Arthritis, (which is an age-related wear & tear problem of the joints), Asthma, may have other causes.
    But no matter what the case, Exercise science has so rapidly advanced, that there exists some exercise, which can help improve any condition positively. Just as an example, a person with knee-problems, but still interested in losing weight, may find walking difficult, but can alternately use cycling, Aqua-exercises, Chair-exercises .

    The right kind of exercise will take into consideration
    Individual’s goals
    Health History, Present health status & level of conditioning
    Medical history — Medications & Complications.
    Contra-indicated & Risk factors

    Cardio Training
    Regular walking(outdoor/treadmill), cycling, dance-aerobics, step-climbing,
    aqua-aerobics, Tai-chi
    Recreational sports, like tennis, etc.
    Strength Training
    A set of exercises focusing on all major body parts
    Light-weights & more repetitions is the norm
    Active / Passive stretching, Yoga asana are the way to go!

    Try out different exercises, combinations, or the latest trends like Salsa dancing, Power Yoga, etc.
    Any time of the day is fine, as long regularity is maintained.

    A few precautions-- and you are ready to go!
    Obtain a “Physician’s Release” document
    Obtain information about exercise precautions & restrictions, Training-Intensity Limit (esp. in case of post-stroke individuals on heart rate lowering medications )
    Do-not over-exert. Watch for signs of fatigue.
    Maintain “pain free Range of Motion” of the movement / exercise.
    Maintain healthy Nutrition & Hydration
    Guard against climate changes by proper clothing, hydration levels.

    Its rightly said that “ Exercise not only adds more life to your years, and more years to your life”. So gear up, get your shoes on, and get out to enjoy the best years of your life in the best way possible. The bus is waiting!!!

Yoga for Weight Loss ?????

My friend’s sister has been on the lookout for a good Yoga trainer for quite some time.. Reason?
Shilpa Shetty, Asihwarya Rai and all the hot damsels of Bollywood devoutly follow it or atleast preach about it !!!!

The last couple of years have put the spotlight on Yoga in a huge way. Its “in” to do Yoga these days, or atleast to think and talk about doing it!!!!

Yoga, as originally intended, is a perfect way to bring about a union of mind and body on a very deep level.
Yoga as a physical exercise works to tone and strengthen the muscles as well as the mind.

However, one of the basic principles of Fitness – the Principle of Specificity, says that the type of exercise must be specific to the desired goal. Very simply put, if your goal is to cycle for 5 kms, you have to train by cycling itself. Even if you have the stamina to run for 10 kms, it need not help you achieve your goal to cycle for 5kms.

Moral of the story is that, although there is an endless list of benefits of Yoga, the basic requirement for weight loss is a physical activity that raises your heart rate, and gives your cardiovascular system a challenge. Another requirement is that the activity should prolong for atleast 15-20 min, with the heart rate constantly maintained at a calculated level.

The basic nature of Yoga asanas does not fulfill these criteria, with the exception of a few asanas as some would argue. Of course, with all the latest types of Yoga that are flourishing, this drawback can be overcome. But the bottom line remains!

Yoga, as a physical activity is an excellent way to maintain health, because it heals the body at a deeper level. But for those whose needs go beyond that, a cardiovascular (walking, cycling, aerobics etc.) or muscle training activity is a much better way to go about it. It is just more “Specific”.

And well, as they say “Variety is the spice of life”, a better choice would be to combine yoga and the other forms of physical activities, instead of opting just for either one of them.

If I stop gym, will I put on weight?

This question should enter the Guinness Book of World records as the single most widely asked question, across all age groups!!!!!!!
It seems like a good enough excuse to not workout, but then that is what it is – an excuse with no thought put into it!!

Weight loss is a simple equation of input versus output. Very simply put, when you suddenly stop doing any activity that you were previously engaging in, the output goes down, while the input continues at the same or increased level.
It has been observed, generally, that when a person begins an exercise program, he tends to intake more calories, due to the inherent nature of physical activity, psychology etc.

Also, when a physical activity program is a part of the daily routine, the body revs up its metabolism and burns calories more efficiently. A few days after the activity is stopped, the metabolism becomes sluggish and the usual calorie intake is prone to be stored as fat.
Infact, here is where weight training helps out. Muscle mass, being an active mass needs calories for its sustenance. But then again, weight training works on the “use it or lose it” principle, so it has to be a continuous effort !!!!!

So what is the MORAL OF THE STORY?
Firstly, health is a commitment for life, and 2-3 months is not life!!!
You have to engage in some sort of a physical activity on a regular basis.
The activity type depends on whether you are in the working phase or the maintenance phase.

Like for example, a person on weight loss program, who was exercising for 1 hour / 6 days a week while in the working phase (weight loss), can maintain that weight by even exercising 1 hour / 3 days a week….
Now if I hear this question again…………………………………………………

May the truth guide you!!!!

Continuing from the last week’s discussion about the numerous benefits of weight training, I would now like to focus on breaking what we, in the Fitness Industry describe the biggest myth ever – That women will put on bulk or become muscular by using weights!!
And by weights I mean those apart from the fancy pink and purple dumbbells!!

The fact is that women do not possess the necessary amount of testosterone, which is the main hormone required for building muscle mass, and they never will, at least naturally.
Hence it is IMPOSSIBLE for women to build muscle mass or look masculine, unless they use artificial drugs!
Infact, there are so many men who struggle to gain weight despite men having high amounts of testosterone, naturally.

This is a proven fact! So all you ladies please leave all the worries behind and grab some weights, whatever your age may be!
Remember, muscle takes up less space than fat and is more metabolically active than fat.
Women, naturally have lesser muscle mass as compared to men, which further decreases as age catches up.
Over the last decade of research, weight training has been widely recommended for women and especially those
over the age of fifty, although under supervision.
· You Will Be Physically Stronger.
· You will have more strength to carry out your daily activities, leading to lesser injuries.
· Helps to get back in shape, especially posture-wise after pregnancy.
· Adding weight training helps burn body fat, long-term.
· Sport specific training can be used to enhance your performance at competitive or recreational sports.
· Increases your neuro-muscular coordination and balance.
· Will reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis along with the help of other factors.
· helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, and other health complications in the long run
· You will reduce the risk of lower back problems, which are generally posture-related!
· It helps to boost self-esteem and combat depression.
Remember, don’t just believe – QUESTION and get informed !!!!! and get FIT !!

Weight training – Use it or Lose it !!!!

Weight training is a type of physical activity for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It generally targets specific muscle groups and is done using free weights(dumbbells, barbells) or machines.
First of all, please note that it is not the same as weight-lifting, body-building or power-lifting!!!!!

It only makes use of weights and has various benefits like -
Strengthen bones, especially important for women
Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance
Increase your Posture and hence your confidence and self-esteem
Improve coordination and balance
Weight training can reverse the natural decline in your metabolism which begins around age 30
Weight training makes you less prone to lower-back injuries.
It has positive effects in controlling diabetes, cholesterol level, osteoporosis, etc.
You have stronger core muscles (lower back and deep abdominal muscles) which increase your endurance level
Weight training is the best form of exercise for women !!!

And it doesn't take as long as you might think.
It raises your metabolism
Muscles are an active tissue, and hence need energy for sustenance, which means you burn calories even while sitting!!!!!
Increasing your lean body mass actually makes your body a fat-furnace !!

Use it or Lose it!!
Lean Muscle mass decreases naturally with age (age-related atrophy) and is replaced by fat.
Muscle mass is directly related to your strength to carry out daily activities more efficiently.
Weight training can help you tone your muscles, improve your appearance and fight age-related muscle loss.

The REAL Scenario of Indian Fitness Industry

The Fitness industry is the 7th largest growing industry in the world at present, and to say that its only going to go upwards would be no exaggeration!
This is a competitive industry, and delivery of excellent service is a pre-requisite for its survival and success .A satisfied customer is more likely to continue buying the services, engage in positive word-of-mouth publicity, and increase the volume of purchases.
Which raises questions, which you as customers need to verify……..
Does your trainer avoid your exercise related queries?Or does he suffer “Verbal Diarrhea”, and start a completely insensible argument?
b) Have you ever felt that your trainer is not updated with the latest trends in the Health &
Fitness industry? Or that he is dishing out clearly wrong information?
c) Have you been asked about your aim for starting your exercise routine, your medical
background, your daily diet & activity routine?

In a world where we give such a great importance on using certified products and services (be it the ISO, CE, FDA etc. certifications), why do we compromise when it comes to the trainers at our gyms, who are infact dealing with the most delicate product ever created – the Human Body?
Most of the gyms (big or small) have their own certification course, which ofcourse is valid only within their gym or its branches, stretching about 3 months, max.
Now, even doctors take about 6-18 months just to learn the basic human anatomy and physiology. So, can you imagine how much a person would learn in 3-5 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shocking, isn’t it?
This is where the importance of a fitness trainer being certified by a well established, accountable, and widely recognized organization/university, comes into picture. The certifications need to be widely accepted, and provide means for continuous upgradation.
For example, there are over 400 certifications in the industry, with NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) in the US, as one of the premier bodies, which provides quality accreditation.
A certified trainer is well versed with the human anatomy and physiology specifics, thus enabling him to devise & modify exercises, workouts, to suit individual needs and limitations as well as provide the necessary guidance to achieve your personal best.
Let us not forget that we exercise to become fit and not to end up with injuries!

Also, he/she is well-informed in the areas of CPR, Nutrition, Health-screening, Testing protocols, Exercise-prescription, & General training knowledge regarding special populations (like diabetics, post-stroke patients, arthritis patients, etc.)

In addition, he/she is also well versed with concepts of Energy cycles, Fat-burning zones, Aerobic conditioning zones, Angle of attack, Range of motion, Grand-Daddy principles of weight training, Variable resistance training, Flexibility training, etc. plus well aware of the latest trends like Pilate’s, Core Board conditioning, Therabands, Stability balls, Medicine balls, Tae-Bo, Kickboxing, Power Yoga, and numerous others.
This versatile knowledge is highly useful, especially when it comes to personal training, and group fitness training, as it helps to add creativity, variety, enjoyment, and to the otherwise mundane workout schedule.
Hence to get the most of the precious 45 minutes that you can spare for your health, don’t you think a certified trainer would be the best?

So trainers and enthusiasts, go ahead--- --- GET YOURSELF CERTIFIED OR ATLEAST DEMAND A CERTIFIED TRAINER!!