Friday, September 19, 2008

Hunting for the Right Gym !!

How does one choose which health club to go to… considering the colorful ads adorning every corner of the city..
With more and more people across all age groups getting more and more interested in getting fitter (!), health clubs are mushrooming all over the city, each one promising to give you a mind blowing experience, many times better than the others….
There are many other reasons why people choose to enroll into a gym, like work demands especially in the hospitality industry, health problems due to weight etc.

Whatever the reason, over the next few articles, lets see what criteria should be considered while choosing a health club –

PROXIMITY TO WORKPLACE / HOME – Very important factor. Closer the place to you, more are the chances of adherence. After a tiring day at work, no body wants to drive another ten kilometers to go to the gym…

ADVERTISEMENTS – A good way to judge the kind of the financial backing the gym has, but always be aware of the small star (*) following all statements… which says, that “Conditions apply” and may not be the real deal.

STATE OF THE ART EQUIPMENTS – A very important criteria, which as per my experience matters more to the youngsters rather than slightly elderly people. Nonetheless, try to search online about them and find out which is the best company.. Most of the equipments these days are imported, which usually but not necessarily mean good quality. A good quality equipment surely improves the whole experience.

INTERIOR AMBIENCE – While a pleasant ambience definitely improves your whole training experience, but they need not be expensive or very sophisticated. Remember why you are there…. Its definitely not for the interiors...However, do check out the cleanliness of the place, and how it is maintained, especially if you have any allergies or other such problems.

Check for any certificates of international accreditation at the gym premises. Also, do not compromise when it comes to the trainers who are in fact dealing with the most delicate product ever created – the Human Body? Demand a certified trainer.
Also, do not fall into the trap of trainers suggesting various supplements or dietary suggestions. Get them verified from your nutritionist or doctor…

Very very Important factor, but often overlooked.. Safety on the floor may mean proper notices put up, of the possibilities of accidents especially at the free-weight areas. Safety at the premises may mean, presence of first aid and emergency / doctor services, fire safety precautions etc. The most important safety factor could be the trainer himself who must be qualified and preferably certified, especially with a Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate.

The packages must be a value for money. Usually, these days most gyms also offer value-adds like grouper sessions along with the basic packages…
One word of caution though – Discounts should not be a deciding factor.

This may help incase you like variety or if you travel to the locations which have their branches.

Could range from juice bar, cafeteria, fruit bars, parties etc. Although they do add a spunk to your routine, don’t let them rule your decision process. Remember why you are there – you can socialize and eat otherwise also…

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Importance of Sleep

Here is one more excuse for turning up late at office!! How you realized the importance of getting good amount of sleep…
But seriously, this is the most ignored area that generally brings along with it a host of problems down the road. Partying late night, watching movies till late night, studying till late night or working till late night and then getting up early the next day, over a period of time causes a long list of problems, which has also been a favourite topic of research among researchers.

It is only when you sleep, that the growth hormones are secreted by the master glands in the human body – which regulate the entire metabolism on the body and the body’s responses to various stimuli. It is important to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep everyday.

· A good amount of sleep affects memory efficiency through improving the storage and retrieval of information. It also improves alertness.
· Less sleep affects the endocrine system – thereby altering the secretion and levels of hormones in the body – which affect weight, mood, appetite, and immune system.
· Chronic deprivation of sleep leads to weight gain, and makes it difficult to lose weight.
· Research has shown that chronic sleep deprivation also causes errors in judgement – thereby leading to a higher rate of accidents, mishaps and injuries. It is also said to promote “road rage” – as we like to call it.
· Lack of sleep leads to irritability, road rage, anger, depression, loss of concentration, lowered ability to think and take decisions, moodiness etc.
· Chronic lack of sleep also gives rise to digestion problems, constipation, ulcers, flatulence etc. it also causes drug / alcohol / tobacco cravings leading to drug abuse.
· Sleep deprivation also lowers the immune system of the body and hence makes you easily prone to common infections or other problems.
· It also supports hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, cancer indirectly through weight gain, hormonal imbalances and low immunity.
· Sleep is also very important for recovery and rest after heavy bouts of exercises, especially if you want to build muscles.