Kiran Sawhney

Know me, know life. No me, No Life

Archive for the ‘jogging’ Category

Half Marathon in Delhi

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I have been training my clients for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon which is on 9th of Nov. There is

Half Marathon –Distance: 21.09 km
Dream Run –Distance: 6 km
Senior Citizens Run –Distance: 4.3 km
Wheelchair Event –Distance: 2.5 km

All my clients are training for 21.09 km

Initially, they all started their training indoor on a treadmill. They had to be taught the warm up exercises, stretches, how to keep their abs tight, maintain their postures, elbows bent 90 degree. Their speed had to be monitored and slowly a program plan designed to increase one component a day- speed, distance, time.

Slowly they became more aware of their heart rate, breathing, how to avoid oxygen debt and once they were ready, they were taken outdoors. Here again, we had pedometers and heart rate monitors. On every day basis, their workouts would be recorded in the computer and a graph was made for each one of them.

Now we are all ready for half marathon. We are in fact looking forward to it. We have it every year in Delhi and this is an event which we await.

Written by kiransawhney

November 2, 2008 at 7:57 am

Half Marathon in Delhi

with 14 comments

I have been training my clients for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon which is on 9th of Nov. There is

Half Marathon –Distance: 21.09 km
Dream Run –Distance: 6 km
Senior Citizens Run –Distance: 4.3 km
Wheelchair Event –Distance: 2.5 km

All my clients are training for 21.09 km

Initially, they all started their training indoor on a treadmill. They had to be taught the warm up exercises, stretches, how to keep their abs tight, maintain their postures, elbows bent 90 degree. Their speed had to be monitored and slowly a program plan designed to increase one component a day- speed, distance, time.

Slowly they became more aware of their heart rate, breathing, how to avoid oxygen debt and once they were ready, they were taken outdoors. Here again, we had pedometers and heart rate monitors. On every day basis, their workouts would be recorded in the computer and a graph was made for each one of them.

Now we are all ready for half marathon. We are in fact looking forward to it. We have it every year in Delhi and this is an event which we await.

Written by kiransawhney

November 2, 2008 at 7:57 am

Nike Run Club

with 8 comments

Running is a great Activity. We are going to have Airtel Half Marathon in Delhi. The official sponsor for the same is Reebok. But parallel programs are being run by Nike. And they are the ones which are really good. I have been hired by Nike to train their members who enroll for their run club.

Unlike Reebok, who train people only till the marathon, Nike Run club, would continue all year round. It is already a huge success in Bangalore. In Delhi, we have started our training on Wednesday and Saturday- 6-8 AM in Leisure Valley in Gudgaon. It is very dedicated and professionally managed club. We have kiosks where we register, give Nike shoes for trial runs, have security deposits for runners who want to leave their car keys, cellphones etc to run, serve refreshments, water etc and we also record each member’s pace, timings and email them individually. I am responsible for each member’s warm up, cool down, calisthenics, any questions they may have about their training, health, fitness, etc. I also push them to run and achieve their maximum potential. They are all training for half marathon and enjoying it so much that they would continue this all year round. We are soon going to spread to the other parts of the city as well.

Nike also has a partner in this event called runnersforlife.
I had heard of Hash House Harriers. They also have the same club in Delhi. But what Nike is doing to promote running is the best that any company is doing.

So if you are wanting to run with me and train with me, join me in the Nike Run Club.

Written by kiransawhney

October 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

Myths and workout

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Here are the facts about 10 unfounded fears, negative notions, and false hopes about working out.

Myth # 1: While light exercise does yield some benefits, it’s not nearly as beneficial as strenuous exercise.
Truth: Strenuous workouts do improve aerobic capacity far more than light or moderate workouts do. While that may improve athletic performance, it does not necessarily translate into a great health advantage.
The death rates from coronary heart disease, cancer, and all causes combined are much lower in moderate exercisers than in non exercisers; but they’re only a little lower in heavy exercisers than in moderate exercisers. The same holds true for the risk of developing type II diabetes, by far the most common kind.
In addition, non strenuous exercise seems to reduce stress, anxiety, and blood pressure as effectively as strenuous exercise does. And moderate exercise like walking can do just as much to control weight as vigorous exercise like jogging, since the number of calories burned depends on how much ground you cover, not how fast you cover it. In fact, moderate exercise is potentially more effective than vigorous for most people, since they can walk much further than they can run.

Myth #2: You can lose fat from specific parts of your body by exercising those spots.
Truth: There’s no such thing as “spot reduction.” When you exercise, you use energy produced by burning fat in all parts of your body – not just around the muscles that are doing most of the work. In fact, your genes may dictate that fat disappears from, say, your face or arms before your belly, even if you do endless abdominal exercises. However, working a specific region like the belly can have one site-specific benefit: Strengthening the muscles can make you look thinner by helping you hold in your gut.

Myth #3: The more you sweat during exercise, the more fat you lose.
Truth: The harder you work out, the more calories you’ll burn within a given period and thus the more fat you stand to lose. But how much you sweat does not necessarily reflect how hard you’re working. Some people tend to sweat profusely due to heavy body weight, poor conditioning, or heredity. And everyone sweats more in hot, dry weather or dense clothing than in cool, humid weather or porous clothing. (You may feel as if you’re sweating more in humid weather; but that’s because moist air slows the evaporation of sweat.)
Exercising in extremely hot weather or in a plastic “weight loss” suit will indeed make you sweat heavily and lose weight immediately. But that lost weight is almost entirely water; the pounds will return when you replenish your fluids by drinking after the workout. Further, you could develop heat exhaustion if you push yourself too hard in extreme heat or in plastic clothes. which prevent sweat from evaporating and, in turn, cooling you off.

Myth #4: Sports drinks can help you exercise more safely and effectively.
Truth: Sports drinks contain two main ingredients that are theoretically beneficial for exercisers: sodium, which helps the body retain water, and sugar, which the body burns for energy. But very few people exercise hard enough to sweat away much sodium or to use up their carbohydrate reserves, which the body converts to sugar. You’d have to jog for at least two hours, for example, before your carbohydrate stores would start to run low. So unless you’re doing a marathon or other exhaustive exercise, plain water is all you need.

Myth #5: Aerobic exercise tends to make you hungry, so it actually undermines your efforts to lose weight.
Truth: Aerobic exercise, such as jogging or brisk walking, may indeed increase your appetite – but only, it seems, if you need extra calories. Studies suggest that lean individuals do get hungrier after such exercise; that helps prevent them from getting too thin. In contrast, working out does not seem to boost appetite in obese individuals; so exercise should help them slim down.

Myth #6: Strength training won’t help you get thinner, since it burns few calories and adds pounds of muscle.
Truth: Strength training, using either weights, machines, or elastic bands, can substantially increase the number of calories you burn. A typical session, in which you rest briefly after each muscle-building maneuver, uses up calories at least as fast as walking does. Circuit training, in which you move quickly from one strengthening maneuver to the next, burns calories faster than walking does. And your body continues to burn calories for hours after either type of strength training. More important, the muscle you build consumes calories more rapidly, even when you’re not exercising.
In one study, three months of strength training boosted the average calorie-burning rate by an average of 7 percent, burned off 4 pounds of fat, and added nearly that much muscle. Since muscle is denser than fat, the volunteers presumably did become thinner. Equally important, they burned off that fat despite a 15 percent increase in their calorie content. If the researchers hadn’t prodded them to maintain their weight by eating more than they felt like eating, the volunteers almost surely would have lost weight.
Strength training is particularly helpful as part of a comprehensive weight-loss program that includes both aerobic exercise – which burns lots of calories during the workout and some calories after the workout – and a moderately low-calorie diet. (forget crash diets, which almost always never work and can be dangerous.) A recent study found that women who ate a moderately restrictive diet and did either strength training or aerobic exercise lost more weight than those who only dieted. But those who split their workout time between strength training and aerobic exercise lost the most weight of all.

Myth #7: Strength training builds muscle and bone but does nothing for the heart.
Truth: Strength training plus aerobic exercise may be the ideal exercise regimen not only for the waistline but also for the heart. One analysis of 11 clinical trials found that strength training can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, the artery-clogging kind (though it has little effect on HDL cholesterol, the artery-clearing kind). Aerobic exercise has a complimentary benefit: It improves HDL but does little for LDL. Further, some studies suggest that strength training, like aerobic exercise, may help reduce blood pressure. (But check with your doctor for guidance before starting a muscle-building program if you have hypertension, since straining can temporarily increase blood pressure.) One final benefit: By fortifying the muscles, strength training reduces the likelihood that sudden or unaccustomed exertion, such as moving furniture or shoveling snow, will trigger a heart attack.

Myth #8: When you stop exercising, your muscles turn to fat.
Truth: Lack of exercise does make the muscles shrink, reducing the body’s calorie-burning rate. The lack of activity itself further reduces the number of calories you burn. So people who stop working out are indeed in danger of getting flabby.
But that doesn’t mean that muscle actually turns to fat – they’re totally different types of tissue. Nor does it mean you’re doomed to gain fat around the muscles after you stop exercising; you just need to cut back on the calories you consume. (Of course, the best way to stay slim is to eat a lean diet and continue to exercise regularly.)

Myth #9: Building muscles reduces flexibility.
Truth: If you strength train without moving your joints through their full range of motion, you can indeed lose flexibility. But strength training can actually improve flexibility if you do move your joints fully. Stretch after a muscle-building workout to help keep yourself limber. (Stretch before as well as after an aerobic workout.)

Myth #10: Strength training tends to give women a bulky, masculine physique.
Truth: It’s very difficult for most women to build large muscles. That’s because women have relatively low levels of the hormone testosterone, which influences muscle growth. Both men and women can build firmer rather than bulkier muscles by working against lighter resistance more than 25 times rather than heavier resistance fewer times.

Written by kiransawhney

July 22, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Fitness for Healthy Heart

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Exercise lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, cuts bad cholesterol and blood sugar. Read Prevention’s guide to know the safest way.

If there is one way (other than the right diet) to make your heart stronger, it’s exercise. If you have a family history, a mild cardiac condition or simply the desire to protect your heart and make it healthier, upload this.

There is scientific evidence to prove that exercise is good for patients with heart failure. It not only reduces the symptoms, allowing patients to live more active lives, but also reverses some of the harmful hormonal changes that take place as the body attempts to compensate for a weakened heart.

Regular exercise also lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. “People who maintain an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who lead sedentary lives,” says Dr S C Manchanda, senior consultant cardiologist, Sir Gangaram Hospital, Delhi and Prevention advisor.

He reminds us that exercise lowers bad cholesterol or LDL and triglycerides, and increases good cholesterol or HDL. Blood pressure, sugar and obesity are slashed by regular exercise. “Combining it with yoga will help reduce stress,’’ he adds.

If you have a heart history, talk to your doctor about the following before starting an exercise programme:

Medication changes New medication can greatly affect your response to exercise; your doctor can tell you if your normal exercise routine is still safe.

Lifting heavy objects Make sure that lifting or pushing heavy objects and chores such as, mowing the lawn, and sweeping the floor aren’t off limits. Chores around the house can be tiring; ensure that you only do what you are able to do without getting tired.

Safe exercises Learn how to find the right intensity of exercise. It is best if you could chalk out your exercise regimen with your doctor. Get the doctor’s approval before you lift weights, use a weight machine, jog, or swim. Visit a library or bookstore for information on exercise programmes.

To improve your aerobic power, you do not need to submit yourself to strenuous and hectic exercise. In fact, an intensity of exercise called conversational exercise (where you can comfortably have a conversation while you are exercising) can be very beneficial.

Here are some exercises that improve heart health.

The stretches

Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps prepare muscles for activity and prevents injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility. While performing these exercises, make sure your movements are controlled and slow. Stretch until a gentle pull is felt in your muscle. Hold each stretch without wobbling or feeling pain for 20 to 30 seconds. Do not hold your breath during these exercises. Various types of stretches you can try:

Hamstring stretch While standing, place one foot on a stool or chair, your leg and knee stretched out and hold onto a wall for balance.

Slowly lean forward, keeping your back straight and reach one hand down your shin until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Relax and then repeat with the other leg.

Quadriceps stretch Stand facing a wall, placing one hand against it for support. Bend one knee, grasping your ankle with the other hand and pulling your leg behind you. Try to touch your heel to your buttock. Relax and then repeat with your other leg.

Calf stretch Stand facing the wall with your hands against it for support. Put one foot about 12 inches in front of the other. Bend your front knee and keep your other leg straight. (Keep both heels on the floor). To prevent an injury, do not let your bent knee extend forward past your toes. Slowly lean forward until you feel a mild stretch in the calf of your straight leg. Relax and then repeat with the other leg.

Knee Pull Lie on your back and flatten the small of your back onto the floor. Bend one knee and pull your bent leg towards your chest, until you feel a pull in your lower back. Try to keep your head on the floor, but do not strain yourself. Gently lower your leg, and then repeat with the other leg.

Overhead arm pull Lock your fingers together, with your palms facing out (or hold onto a towel so your hands are shoulder-width apart). Extend your arms out in front of you with your elbows straight. Lift your arms to shoulder height. Raise your arms overhead until you feel a gentle pull in your chest or shoulders.

Behind back arm raise At waist level, put your hands behind your back, locking your fingers together (or hold onto a towel so your hands are shoulder-width apart). Straighten your elbows and raise your arms upward until you feel a gentle pull in your chest or shoulders.

Side bend Stand straight with your legs about shoulder-width apart. Reach over your head with one arm, elbow bent, sliding the opposite arm and hand down your thigh, towards your knee. Hold the stretch until you feel a gentle pull at your side. Repeat with other side.

Double shoulder circles Bend your elbows so that your fingertips rest on your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders and elbows clockwise, then anti-clockwise, as if drawing large circles. Repeat in each direction.

Leg circles Hold onto a chair or a table for balance.

Lift one leg straight behind you, keeping both knees straight. Rotate your leg clockwise, then anti-clockwise, as if drawing small circles with your foot. (You should feel the movement at your hip joint). Repeat each direction, with each leg.

Cardio Workouts

Cardiovascular or dynamic exercise involves steady, physical activity using large muscle groups. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Over a period of time, cardio exercises can help decrease your heart rate, blood pressure and improve your breathing. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, jumping the rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoors), skating, rowing and low-impact water aerobics.

Cycling Bicycle rides improve the heart’s size and pumping ability in patients with stable heart failure (who have had a history of heart failure).

Countless exercise programmes claim to trim the thighs, abs and buttocks, but how many offer to re-shape a flabby heart? According to new research, aerobic exercises do just that for patients with stable heart failure, literally turning an enlarged heart into a trimmer, more efficient organ.

Walking The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that walking three hours a week can reduce women’s risk of a heart attack by 40% and walking more than five hours a week can slash their risk by 50%. It is a moderate form of physical exercise which also helps reduce the amount of bad cholesterol. Walking the treadmill will also reap similar health benefits. Take care to walk at a speed and intensity, suggested by your doctor.

Swimming It is an excellent aerobic activity that uses almost all muscle groups. “It makes the heart stronger, making it pump more blood per beat. But take care, a higher intensity may prove harmful,’’ says Dr Mahesh Jukar, sports medicine consultant, L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. In addition, the buoyancy factor makes this activity almost injury-proof. Swimming for three hours a week amounts to moderate physical exercise which— studies done at the National Public Health Institute, Finland show—can cut the risk of death by heart failure in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

What kind of exercise is good?

Studies show that when patients with heart failure did aerobic exercises several times a week, the oversized heart became significantly smaller and pumped blood more efficiently. Researchers were surprised to find that those who added weight lifting to the exercise routine to enhance muscle strength did not enjoy a similar improvement in the heart’s size or function.

Work out on elliptical exercise machines

Elliptical trainers have great features which are not easily found in other types of home-exercise equipment. You are sure to get a low-impact, cardio-friendly, total-body workout.

Their low-impact design also prevents injuries. Some people compare the workout they get on elliptical exercise machines to pedalling on a stationary bike while standing up. Since you can adjust the incline, speed and other factors, you can maximise the cardio impact of the exercise, making elliptical trainers more effective than weight lifting and leg presses.

The DOs of a safe workout

See your doc

+Get a thorough medical check-up before starting an exercise programme.
+Check your pulse frequently or wear a heart rate monitor and keep your pulse within the parameters your doctor sets.

Be careful while working out

+Wear comfortable clothes and flat shoes with laces, or sneakers.
+Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity, five or more times per week (or whatever y our doctor recommends). If you don’t have a full 30 minutes, try two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions.
+Exercise at the same time of the day so that it becomes a habit.
+Ask family and friends to join you. That way you’ll stick to your routine.
+Go for variety. Walk one day, swim the next, bike on the weekend to stay motivated and loyal to your regimen.

At home

Drink a cup of water before, during and after exercising (but check with the doctor, because some people need to limit their fluid intake).

Maintain an exercise journal. Write down how much you worked out, how you felt after each session.

Be active through the day. Walk the mall before shopping; choose stairs over an escalator; or take 10-15 minute walking breaks while watching TV.

…And the DON’Ts

Avoid exercising outdoors in extreme conditions such as high temperatures, humidity and poor air quality.

Avoid isometric exercises that require holding your breath, such as push-ups.

Don’t take hot or cold showers or sauna baths after exercising.

Avoid heavy weight lifting. If you develop palpitations, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, or dizziness stop exercising and rest. Call your doctor if symptoms don’t go away in some time.

Keep a gap of three to four hours between your meals and workout.

This article written by Kiran Sawhney was published in Prevention magazine and can also be found at

http://prevention.digitaltoday.in/index.php?issueid=9&id=1286&option=com_content&task=view

Fitness for Healthy Heart

leave a comment »

Exercise lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, cuts bad cholesterol and blood sugar. Read Prevention’s guide to know the safest way.

If there is one way (other than the right diet) to make your heart stronger, it’s exercise. If you have a family history, a mild cardiac condition or simply the desire to protect your heart and make it healthier, upload this.

There is scientific evidence to prove that exercise is good for patients with heart failure. It not only reduces the symptoms, allowing patients to live more active lives, but also reverses some of the harmful hormonal changes that take place as the body attempts to compensate for a weakened heart.

Regular exercise also lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. “People who maintain an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who lead sedentary lives,” says Dr S C Manchanda, senior consultant cardiologist, Sir Gangaram Hospital, Delhi and Prevention advisor.

He reminds us that exercise lowers bad cholesterol or LDL and triglycerides, and increases good cholesterol or HDL. Blood pressure, sugar and obesity are slashed by regular exercise. “Combining it with yoga will help reduce stress,’’ he adds.

If you have a heart history, talk to your doctor about the following before starting an exercise programme:

Medication changes New medication can greatly affect your response to exercise; your doctor can tell you if your normal exercise routine is still safe.

Lifting heavy objects Make sure that lifting or pushing heavy objects and chores such as, mowing the lawn, and sweeping the floor aren’t off limits. Chores around the house can be tiring; ensure that you only do what you are able to do without getting tired.

Safe exercises Learn how to find the right intensity of exercise. It is best if you could chalk out your exercise regimen with your doctor. Get the doctor’s approval before you lift weights, use a weight machine, jog, or swim. Visit a library or bookstore for information on exercise programmes.

To improve your aerobic power, you do not need to submit yourself to strenuous and hectic exercise. In fact, an intensity of exercise called conversational exercise (where you can comfortably have a conversation while you are exercising) can be very beneficial.

Here are some exercises that improve heart health.

The stretches

Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps prepare muscles for activity and prevents injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility. While performing these exercises, make sure your movements are controlled and slow. Stretch until a gentle pull is felt in your muscle. Hold each stretch without wobbling or feeling pain for 20 to 30 seconds. Do not hold your breath during these exercises. Various types of stretches you can try:

Hamstring stretch While standing, place one foot on a stool or chair, your leg and knee stretched out and hold onto a wall for balance.

Slowly lean forward, keeping your back straight and reach one hand down your shin until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Relax and then repeat with the other leg.

Quadriceps stretch Stand facing a wall, placing one hand against it for support. Bend one knee, grasping your ankle with the other hand and pulling your leg behind you. Try to touch your heel to your buttock. Relax and then repeat with your other leg.

Calf stretch Stand facing the wall with your hands against it for support. Put one foot about 12 inches in front of the other. Bend your front knee and keep your other leg straight. (Keep both heels on the floor). To prevent an injury, do not let your bent knee extend forward past your toes. Slowly lean forward until you feel a mild stretch in the calf of your straight leg. Relax and then repeat with the other leg.

Knee Pull Lie on your back and flatten the small of your back onto the floor. Bend one knee and pull your bent leg towards your chest, until you feel a pull in your lower back. Try to keep your head on the floor, but do not strain yourself. Gently lower your leg, and then repeat with the other leg.

Overhead arm pull Lock your fingers together, with your palms facing out (or hold onto a towel so your hands are shoulder-width apart). Extend your arms out in front of you with your elbows straight. Lift your arms to shoulder height. Raise your arms overhead until you feel a gentle pull in your chest or shoulders.

Behind back arm raise At waist level, put your hands behind your back, locking your fingers together (or hold onto a towel so your hands are shoulder-width apart). Straighten your elbows and raise your arms upward until you feel a gentle pull in your chest or shoulders.

Side bend Stand straight with your legs about shoulder-width apart. Reach over your head with one arm, elbow bent, sliding the opposite arm and hand down your thigh, towards your knee. Hold the stretch until you feel a gentle pull at your side. Repeat with other side.

Double shoulder circles Bend your elbows so that your fingertips rest on your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders and elbows clockwise, then anti-clockwise, as if drawing large circles. Repeat in each direction.

Leg circles Hold onto a chair or a table for balance.

Lift one leg straight behind you, keeping both knees straight. Rotate your leg clockwise, then anti-clockwise, as if drawing small circles with your foot. (You should feel the movement at your hip joint). Repeat each direction, with each leg.

Cardio Workouts

Cardiovascular or dynamic exercise involves steady, physical activity using large muscle groups. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Over a period of time, cardio exercises can help decrease your heart rate, blood pressure and improve your breathing. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, jumping the rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoors), skating, rowing and low-impact water aerobics.

Cycling Bicycle rides improve the heart’s size and pumping ability in patients with stable heart failure (who have had a history of heart failure).

Countless exercise programmes claim to trim the thighs, abs and buttocks, but how many offer to re-shape a flabby heart? According to new research, aerobic exercises do just that for patients with stable heart failure, literally turning an enlarged heart into a trimmer, more efficient organ.

Walking The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that walking three hours a week can reduce women’s risk of a heart attack by 40% and walking more than five hours a week can slash their risk by 50%. It is a moderate form of physical exercise which also helps reduce the amount of bad cholesterol. Walking the treadmill will also reap similar health benefits. Take care to walk at a speed and intensity, suggested by your doctor.

Swimming It is an excellent aerobic activity that uses almost all muscle groups. “It makes the heart stronger, making it pump more blood per beat. But take care, a higher intensity may prove harmful,’’ says Dr Mahesh Jukar, sports medicine consultant, L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. In addition, the buoyancy factor makes this activity almost injury-proof. Swimming for three hours a week amounts to moderate physical exercise which— studies done at the National Public Health Institute, Finland show—can cut the risk of death by heart failure in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

What kind of exercise is good?

Studies show that when patients with heart failure did aerobic exercises several times a week, the oversized heart became significantly smaller and pumped blood more efficiently. Researchers were surprised to find that those who added weight lifting to the exercise routine to enhance muscle strength did not enjoy a similar improvement in the heart’s size or function.

Work out on elliptical exercise machines

Elliptical trainers have great features which are not easily found in other types of home-exercise equipment. You are sure to get a low-impact, cardio-friendly, total-body workout.

Their low-impact design also prevents injuries. Some people compare the workout they get on elliptical exercise machines to pedalling on a stationary bike while standing up. Since you can adjust the incline, speed and other factors, you can maximise the cardio impact of the exercise, making elliptical trainers more effective than weight lifting and leg presses.

The DOs of a safe workout

See your doc

+Get a thorough medical check-up before starting an exercise programme.
+Check your pulse frequently or wear a heart rate monitor and keep your pulse within the parameters your doctor sets.

Be careful while working out

+Wear comfortable clothes and flat shoes with laces, or sneakers.
+Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity, five or more times per week (or whatever y our doctor recommends). If you don’t have a full 30 minutes, try two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions.
+Exercise at the same time of the day so that it becomes a habit.
+Ask family and friends to join you. That way you’ll stick to your routine.
+Go for variety. Walk one day, swim the next, bike on the weekend to stay motivated and loyal to your regimen.

At home

Drink a cup of water before, during and after exercising (but check with the doctor, because some people need to limit their fluid intake).

Maintain an exercise journal. Write down how much you worked out, how you felt after each session.

Be active through the day. Walk the mall before shopping; choose stairs over an escalator; or take 10-15 minute walking breaks while watching TV.

…And the DON’Ts

Avoid exercising outdoors in extreme conditions such as high temperatures, humidity and poor air quality.

Avoid isometric exercises that require holding your breath, such as push-ups.

Don’t take hot or cold showers or sauna baths after exercising.

Avoid heavy weight lifting. If you develop palpitations, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, or dizziness stop exercising and rest. Call your doctor if symptoms don’t go away in some time.

Keep a gap of three to four hours between your meals and workout.

This article written by Kiran Sawhney was published in Prevention magazine and can also be found at

http://prevention.digitaltoday.in/index.php?issueid=9&id=1286&option=com_content&task=view

Fitness for Healthy Heart

leave a comment »

Exercise lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, cuts bad cholesterol and blood sugar. Read Prevention’s guide to know the safest way.

If there is one way (other than the right diet) to make your heart stronger, it’s exercise. If you have a family history, a mild cardiac condition or simply the desire to protect your heart and make it healthier, upload this.

There is scientific evidence to prove that exercise is good for patients with heart failure. It not only reduces the symptoms, allowing patients to live more active lives, but also reverses some of the harmful hormonal changes that take place as the body attempts to compensate for a weakened heart.

Regular exercise also lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. “People who maintain an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who lead sedentary lives,” says Dr S C Manchanda, senior consultant cardiologist, Sir Gangaram Hospital, Delhi and Prevention advisor.

He reminds us that exercise lowers bad cholesterol or LDL and triglycerides, and increases good cholesterol or HDL. Blood pressure, sugar and obesity are slashed by regular exercise. “Combining it with yoga will help reduce stress,’’ he adds.

If you have a heart history, talk to your doctor about the following before starting an exercise programme:

Medication changes New medication can greatly affect your response to exercise; your doctor can tell you if your normal exercise routine is still safe.

Lifting heavy objects Make sure that lifting or pushing heavy objects and chores such as, mowing the lawn, and sweeping the floor aren’t off limits. Chores around the house can be tiring; ensure that you only do what you are able to do without getting tired.

Safe exercises Learn how to find the right intensity of exercise. It is best if you could chalk out your exercise regimen with your doctor. Get the doctor’s approval before you lift weights, use a weight machine, jog, or swim. Visit a library or bookstore for information on exercise programmes.

To improve your aerobic power, you do not need to submit yourself to strenuous and hectic exercise. In fact, an intensity of exercise called conversational exercise (where you can comfortably have a conversation while you are exercising) can be very beneficial.

Here are some exercises that improve heart health.

The stretches

Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps prepare muscles for activity and prevents injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility. While performing these exercises, make sure your movements are controlled and slow. Stretch until a gentle pull is felt in your muscle. Hold each stretch without wobbling or feeling pain for 20 to 30 seconds. Do not hold your breath during these exercises. Various types of stretches you can try:

Hamstring stretch While standing, place one foot on a stool or chair, your leg and knee stretched out and hold onto a wall for balance.

Slowly lean forward, keeping your back straight and reach one hand down your shin until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Relax and then repeat with the other leg.

Quadriceps stretch Stand facing a wall, placing one hand against it for support. Bend one knee, grasping your ankle with the other hand and pulling your leg behind you. Try to touch your heel to your buttock. Relax and then repeat with your other leg.

Calf stretch Stand facing the wall with your hands against it for support. Put one foot about 12 inches in front of the other. Bend your front knee and keep your other leg straight. (Keep both heels on the floor). To prevent an injury, do not let your bent knee extend forward past your toes. Slowly lean forward until you feel a mild stretch in the calf of your straight leg. Relax and then repeat with the other leg.

Knee Pull Lie on your back and flatten the small of your back onto the floor. Bend one knee and pull your bent leg towards your chest, until you feel a pull in your lower back. Try to keep your head on the floor, but do not strain yourself. Gently lower your leg, and then repeat with the other leg.

Overhead arm pull Lock your fingers together, with your palms facing out (or hold onto a towel so your hands are shoulder-width apart). Extend your arms out in front of you with your elbows straight. Lift your arms to shoulder height. Raise your arms overhead until you feel a gentle pull in your chest or shoulders.

Behind back arm raise At waist level, put your hands behind your back, locking your fingers together (or hold onto a towel so your hands are shoulder-width apart). Straighten your elbows and raise your arms upward until you feel a gentle pull in your chest or shoulders.

Side bend Stand straight with your legs about shoulder-width apart. Reach over your head with one arm, elbow bent, sliding the opposite arm and hand down your thigh, towards your knee. Hold the stretch until you feel a gentle pull at your side. Repeat with other side.

Double shoulder circles Bend your elbows so that your fingertips rest on your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders and elbows clockwise, then anti-clockwise, as if drawing large circles. Repeat in each direction.

Leg circles Hold onto a chair or a table for balance.

Lift one leg straight behind you, keeping both knees straight. Rotate your leg clockwise, then anti-clockwise, as if drawing small circles with your foot. (You should feel the movement at your hip joint). Repeat each direction, with each leg.

Cardio Workouts

Cardiovascular or dynamic exercise involves steady, physical activity using large muscle groups. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Over a period of time, cardio exercises can help decrease your heart rate, blood pressure and improve your breathing. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, jumping the rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoors), skating, rowing and low-impact water aerobics.

Cycling Bicycle rides improve the heart’s size and pumping ability in patients with stable heart failure (who have had a history of heart failure).

Countless exercise programmes claim to trim the thighs, abs and buttocks, but how many offer to re-shape a flabby heart? According to new research, aerobic exercises do just that for patients with stable heart failure, literally turning an enlarged heart into a trimmer, more efficient organ.

Walking The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that walking three hours a week can reduce women’s risk of a heart attack by 40% and walking more than five hours a week can slash their risk by 50%. It is a moderate form of physical exercise which also helps reduce the amount of bad cholesterol. Walking the treadmill will also reap similar health benefits. Take care to walk at a speed and intensity, suggested by your doctor.

Swimming It is an excellent aerobic activity that uses almost all muscle groups. “It makes the heart stronger, making it pump more blood per beat. But take care, a higher intensity may prove harmful,’’ says Dr Mahesh Jukar, sports medicine consultant, L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. In addition, the buoyancy factor makes this activity almost injury-proof. Swimming for three hours a week amounts to moderate physical exercise which— studies done at the National Public Health Institute, Finland show—can cut the risk of death by heart failure in people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

What kind of exercise is good?

Studies show that when patients with heart failure did aerobic exercises several times a week, the oversized heart became significantly smaller and pumped blood more efficiently. Researchers were surprised to find that those who added weight lifting to the exercise routine to enhance muscle strength did not enjoy a similar improvement in the heart’s size or function.

Work out on elliptical exercise machines

Elliptical trainers have great features which are not easily found in other types of home-exercise equipment. You are sure to get a low-impact, cardio-friendly, total-body workout.

Their low-impact design also prevents injuries. Some people compare the workout they get on elliptical exercise machines to pedalling on a stationary bike while standing up. Since you can adjust the incline, speed and other factors, you can maximise the cardio impact of the exercise, making elliptical trainers more effective than weight lifting and leg presses.

The DOs of a safe workout

See your doc

+Get a thorough medical check-up before starting an exercise programme.
+Check your pulse frequently or wear a heart rate monitor and keep your pulse within the parameters your doctor sets.

Be careful while working out

+Wear comfortable clothes and flat shoes with laces, or sneakers.
+Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity, five or more times per week (or whatever y our doctor recommends). If you don’t have a full 30 minutes, try two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions.
+Exercise at the same time of the day so that it becomes a habit.
+Ask family and friends to join you. That way you’ll stick to your routine.
+Go for variety. Walk one day, swim the next, bike on the weekend to stay motivated and loyal to your regimen.

At home

Drink a cup of water before, during and after exercising (but check with the doctor, because some people need to limit their fluid intake).

Maintain an exercise journal. Write down how much you worked out, how you felt after each session.

Be active through the day. Walk the mall before shopping; choose stairs over an escalator; or take 10-15 minute walking breaks while watching TV.

…And the DON’Ts

Avoid exercising outdoors in extreme conditions such as high temperatures, humidity and poor air quality.

Avoid isometric exercises that require holding your breath, such as push-ups.

Don’t take hot or cold showers or sauna baths after exercising.

Avoid heavy weight lifting. If you develop palpitations, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, or dizziness stop exercising and rest. Call your doctor if symptoms don’t go away in some time.

Keep a gap of three to four hours between your meals and workout.

This article written by Kiran Sawhney was published in Prevention magazine and can also be found at

http://prevention.digitaltoday.in/index.php?issueid=9&id=1286&option=com_content&task=view