Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Exercise for Healthy Life

Few healthy habits, if followed daily, lead to a healthy life. Most people are aware of the significance of exercise, but are constrained by their busy schedules, due to which they cannot spare time to exercise. But wow! Wait a minute.

The truth is that being physically fit and having a healthy body does not involve countless hours of exercises and rigorous fitness regime. Exercise is no longer about getting hot & sweaty. Yes, believe me, it is true.

For instance, taking your dog for a walk everyday or for that matter, climbing the stairs to your 3rd floor apartment, is a fantastic yet simple means of aerobic exercise. Likewise, small sessions of twenty minutes of exercise are good enough for you to be physically fit.

So, GET READY & GET STARTED! Say yes to exercise at least 5 days a week!

Which are the exercises that improve health & physical fitness?

While talking about fitness, we refer to three main types of exercises:

  1. Aerobic

  2. Muscular strengthening and endurance

  3. Body flexibility

It is very important to know that all of these three types of exercises are an integral part of any exercise protocol. Any exercise protocol would be incomplete without any one of these. Let us understand these three main types of exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility.

Aerobic exercises:

These are extended activities which make you breathe hard using your large muscle groups at a regular and even pace. Walking, Swimming, Jogging, Dancing and Gardening are some of the common aerobic exercises that improve your body's Oxygen consumption. It strengthens & enlarges the heart muscles, improving its pumping efficiency, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. It also reduces the risk of diabetes, cancer and many other ailments.

Typically one should start with any of the above mentioned aerobic exercises combined with the strengthening program. These aerobic exercises should be practiced on alternate days and should be started with warm up stretches and end by cool down exercises or stretches.

Strengthening/Resistance Exercises:

These exercises are a critical component of any fitness program. As we age, it becomes even more important to offset age related declines in the muscle and bone mass which lead to osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, osteomalacia, etc. The strengthening exercises strengthen your muscles and help in burning calories.

Most importantly, these exercises increase and maintain your muscle mass which in turn strengthen the bones, ligaments & tendons. All these ultimately reduce the risk of injury and many other clinical conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiac problems, etc.

-“Strengthening exercises are no longer limited to lifting heavy weights".  Now-a-days, many specialized tools like Therabands, Swiss balls and Weight cuffs are used for strengthening muscles. Exercise with the Theraband allows you to add resistance in multiple directions, something which free weights & machines can't do. The bands also prove to be perfect travel workout tools. Exercise with the Swiss balls not only strengthens the muscle, but also improves balance & coordination.

So without spending countless hours at a gym, you can strengthen your muscles by Theraband, Swiss ball & Weight cuff at your convenience.

Flexibility Exercises:

These exercises help to increase or maintain an adequate range of motion in the joints. Stretching and Yoga are two common types of flexibility exercises.

Stretching: It should always be performed before the aerobic & strengthening exercise to elevate body temperature and increase the flow of blood to the muscles which will boost muscle flexibility, reduce the risk of injury & most important reduce the risk of muscle soreness.

It is always advised to stretch the major group of muscles you are working on. One should at least perform 4 repetition of each stretch with a holding period of 10 counts.

Yoga: Yoga is another way to stretch your body while also working on balance and stress relief. Adding yoga to your routine a few times a week is a nice compliment to strength training and aerobics, giving you a gentle and soothing way to work your body and mind.

What next?

Studies have reported that EXERCISE TRAINING can increase self-confidence and body image.  Once results are noticeable, people tend to continue with their routine workouts because they have an improved self-image.

So, the mantra for coming months is Keep Exercising!

From the desk of your health manager,

Dr. Khushboo Bhagat

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Diabetes - Myths & Facts

Diabetes is a condition where in the body does not produce enough insulin or produces ineffective insulin leading to an increase in blood sugar levels.

What do the recent statistics say?

India, China, US in the order is the top three countries having the largest number of Diabetic population. India has been termed as the 'DIABETIC CAPITAL OF THE WORLD'. Statistics reveal that there are approximately 33 million adults with diabetes in India. This number is likely to increase to 57.2 million by the year 2025. People dread this disorder and some have the trouble of accepting that they have diabetes and making the required modification in their lifestyle. These problems arise if you do not know the facts about Diabetes.  Here are some of the FAQ which will help to bust certain myths and make you aware of the facts.

How do I know if I have Diabetes?

The early stages of diabetes have very few symptoms, so you may not know you have the disease. Symptoms of diabetes may include the following:

  • Extreme thirst

  • Extreme hunger

  • Frequent urination

  • Sores or bruises that heal slowly

  • Dry, itchy skin

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Blurry vision

  • Unusual tiredness or drowsiness

  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

  • Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections

Screening is usually done with a blood test.  Blood test during fasting as well as after having meals (post prandial) would be a good indicator to find out whether a person is diabetic or not.  Fasting blood sugar for a normal person should be between 80-125mg/dl.

Some of you may say, "I am just 30+ yrs old; I will not get Diabetes, so why should I worry about it now?"

More and more young people between the ages of 30-45 are becoming prone to Diabetes.  It is no longer a disease for the aged!  The main reason being changes in lifestyle pattern i.e. major deviations in diet; decreased physical activity due to improved transportation and availability of energy-saving devices; a high level of mental stress associated with modernization. So if you have any two of the risk factors like a family history of Diabetes, overweight, a sedentary lifestyle accompanied by stress then you are more likely to end up having high blood sugar levels.  So keep a tab on the risk factors and get yearly health check up done.

Some of you may say, "My parents are Diabetic; I will get the disease anyway, so in what way I can prevent this by taking precautions?"

If you follow a healthy lifestyle like having a well balanced diet with good amount of exercise every day, try to maintain your body weight in the normal range and also know how to handle stress then chances are that you might end up not having Diabetes at all or at least delay the onset of the disease.

Some may ask a question, "I am taking medications for Diabetes; my sugar levels are well controlled, I avoid sugar wherever possible; then what should I do more on diet/exercise?"

Managing Diabetes most effectively involves a three prong approach!, Diet, exercise and medications.  This goes a long way in preventing fluctuations in blood sugar levels and also in preventing the complications.  Good news for recently diagnosed diabetics! You can maintain blood sugar levels without popping any pills! This is possible by following a healthy and well balanced diet along with some exercises.  Those who are not careful about their diet may end up taking more and more drugs or taking more units of insulin which is a huge strain not only on your purse but also on your overall health.  Consulting a team of professionals would help you to manage Diabetes in a controlled manner, minimizing its complications.

Let me tell you now, "What precautions should you take to prevent Diabetes?"

The main risk factors for the onset of Diabetes can be divided into two parts - modifiable and non-modifiable.

  • Non-modifiable include high racial susceptibility to Diabetes and family history of Diabetes

  • Modifiable include unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, overweight and central obesity, high stress levels

Modifiable risk factors are in your hands! You need to take precautions against them and ensure that you can delay/prevent the onset of this disorder.

So are you motivated enough to do what it takes to prevent Diabetes?

Do you want to know the best way to prevent Diabetes?

Do you want to know how to take the first step towards the prevention?

Are you worried about the health of your family and want to safe guard it?

The slogan of World Diabetes Day 2009 is "Understand Diabetes and Take Control"

Prevention is lot more economical than the cost of recovery!

So what are you waiting for?  Act now. If you want Health Managers to help manage your Risk!.Contact us to take the first step towards good health!

From the desk of your Health Manager,

Rohini Prasad - Head Nutrition

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Basics of Physical Exercise

Most of you may have read about Ms. Anuradha Vaidyanathan of Bangalore. She became the first Indian woman to compete and complete the Ultraman Canada Endurance Race, considered as the ultimate endurance race for a tri-athlete in the world. This event was held in British Columbia region this Fall season. She completed the race in 35:13:58 hours, covering 10km of swim, 420 km of biking, followed by 84.3 km of running.  Most of us will think this is inhuman, impossible for Indians, where marathon is considered foreign.

I am citing this just to show the capacity of human body. It is unbelievable. It is the most marvellous of creation of God by far. If managed well both in terms of mental and physical strength, it can be the wonderful home for your soul. Unfortunately, due to our busy life style plus ignorance of the fact that body requires adequate exercise to metabolize and assimilate nutrients, which we intake through food, we continuously abuse this marvellous piece of Gift of God.

Hence, physical exercise is a must for proper sustenance of human body function. I am NOT subscribing to the fact that you have to spend endless hours in gym or fitness centres, which have mushroomed throughout the city. If you can spend 15-20min every week day, and 45-60min on weekends to do exercise which focuses on flexibility, muscle toning, and aerobic activity, you have done justice to yourself.

Physical exercise play following role in body functioning: Improves strength and tone of muscles, improves strength of bones, increases endurance, maintains flexibility of joints, nourishes and detoxify organs, strengthen immune system, increases metabolism which help in building molecular structures, reduces body fat etc. 15-20min of exercise speeds up metabolism for 8-10 hrs after you stop exercising! And above all, it refreshes mind, thereby strengthens concentration power.

If I have to prescribe exercise for you - my suggestion is to start with Surya Namaskar. It is by far the most comprehensive body stretch, and once repeated multiple times, gives you cardiac workout as well. And it needs hardly any space. You can combine this with walking on weekends. For beginners, you can start with two cycle, and gradually increase this to ten.

And let me tell you exercise is addictive. Once you start, body secretes Endorphin hormone, which gives you FEEL GOOD factor. And this will give body a yearn for doing it again the next day. Try for few days, and then it will be routine for you.

2mpower Health Management has been started with the vision to EMPOWER YOU, the Consumers of Health. Today, we play ignorant when it comes to health matters, and leave the decision making to third party. 2mpower helps educate you, support you, encourage you, and finally empowers you, so that YOU can take charge of YOUR health forever.

From the desk of your Health Manager,

Mohammed Hussain Naseem

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Basics of Nutrition

Continuing from my last article on Nutrition, where we talked about WATER, let's understand here the basics of Nutrition.

Many years back I had read an article from Dr. Vijaya Venkat, eminent nutritionist and founder of Trust for Re-education and Understanding of True Health (TRUTH). I am quoting many of her thoughts here, as I find her views radical but truly holistic.

As Health is much more than the absence of disease, and is not limited to attaining a pre-determined height or weight, similarly Nutrition is not limited to food intake. In fact Nutrition is the understanding of how our body works, what it needs and what it does not. It is the philosophy of life in itself. It covers air, water, sunshine, activities, relationships, attitudes, feelings, apart from food.

To respect the physiological processes of our body, let's understand cyclical rhythm that includes digestion, assimilation and elimination. Each of these cycles has duration of eight hours. From noon to 8PM is the time to eat, as the body is in the digestion mode and can efficiently break down nutrients. From 8PM till 4AM are the period when our body repairs and builds, making new cells and tissue through the nutrition it has received. From 4AM till noon is a cleansing period. Having assimilated all nutrients, the body spends eight hours detoxifying and eliminating waste products.

This is the basics, for right eating. Whenever we disturb this harmony, problems start surfacing. Hence managing our eating habits according to these cycles is the key to Good Health. The secret of losing excess weight, feeling more energetic, getting rid of illness and staying fit lies in following this eight-hour cycle.

Now let's look at what food should be eaten during each of these cycles, so that it supports the physiological processes. It may sound too harsh or radical, but understanding it and making a conscious effort to adopt it, will help in Good Health.

From 4 am till noon, when the body is detoxifying, it is preferred to restrict to fruits as they are body cleansers and energy givers. Fruits high water content helps in cleansing; it leaves no toxic residue and demands minimal energy for the purpose of digestion. From noon to 8PM have foods from other groups. Vegetables are body builders. Eat a good helping of raw vegetables, before going for main course. Do not mix fruits with vegetables, and ideally give an hour gap between them.  Incorporate sprouted beans and nuts as your evening snacks.

You may not be able to follow this in completeness, but being aware of it is the first RIGHT step. Allow your body to clean and purify itself and eliminate toxins to restore normal body balance.

And finally, Heal yourself through CARE not CURE. Please remember cure is out of fear, CARE is out of faith.

In my next article, we will move to the next component of Good Health - Physical Exercise. I hope this series is educational for our readers, and EMPOWERING them, to take charge of their health forever.

From the desk of your Health Manager,

Mohammed Hussain Naseem

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Water - Step ONE for Good Health

Henry Williams Allingham died two months back. At 113 years, he was the world's oldest man and one of the last surviving English service men from the First World War. One of the secret to his longevity, he once said, 'Never to worry, eat nutritious food in sparing quantity and drink plenty of water.'

I my last article, I promised to share with you some simple but very powerful tips to improve your Good Health.  We know that nutrition is one of the four important components to stay healthy. Other three are physical exercise, good sleep and meditation.

Nutrition is a vast topic in itself. Lets look at one of the most simple, and pure form of nutritious food - WATER.

The first simple step you need to inculcate in your daily habit is to drink water, drink water in right quantity and finally drink water at the right time. We are all trained to respond to hunger pangs, but rarely to thirst. We sometime mistake thirst pang to hunger pang.

Water is the most essential component of our body, and constitutes 70%. You can live for five weeks without food, but cannot survive even five days without water! Water plays an important role in every function and attributes of our body. It plays a pivotal role in skin beauty, digestion, cleansing of toxins, improving immunity, blood flow, assimilation of nutrients, balancing electrolytes, maintaining skin moisture/tone and many more.

What I am saying in the above paragraph is nothing new. I am sure many of you have read this number of times or suggested by your physicians/elders. Unfortunately, compliance to this simple, cost effective remedy is less than 10% worldwide. Heart burn, gastric problems are very common in today's world, with our changed lifestyle and food style. And we are programmed to cure these natural problems with medicines, which while give us temporary relief, it adds further to our toxin repository in body.

All of us drink water. Typically, just before we start our meal, during the meal or immediately after completion of meal. We also love drinking chilled water, because we think it cools the body, and stomach. Consumption of cold drink happens frequently to quench the thirst for water. What is wrong in this? Let's look at this scientifically. When you are hungry and ready to eat sumptuous meal, your stomach is also getting ready by filling itself with gastric juices for effective digestion. By drinking water just before and during the meal, you wash away these important gastric juices, which not only help in proper digestion, but also protect your stomach inner linings from oily-spicy food. If you drink water immediately after meal, you dilute the gastric juices, and make their task less effective, causing indigestion.

For a Good Health, let's take this small step. Change your pattern of drinking water. Drink thirty minutes before the meal, no water during meal, and drink forty five minutes after the meal. Drink at least 1.5-2.0L per day, preferably good portion of this in the first half. Start your day with 2-3 glasses of warm water. This will regulate bowel motion, help in complete cleansing of colon, eliminate heart burns, and improve digestion.

Please follow this simple advice. I promise that results will amaze you. In my next issue, we will take the topic of nutrition a little further. Slowly, you will start EMPOWERING yourself, to take charge of your health forever.

From the desk of your Health Manager,

Mohammed Hussain Naseem

Monday, 14 September 2009

Good Health


Mark Twain once said, 'The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not'.

This being my first edition of Good Health newsletter, let's start defining what constitutes good health. We all know this in some form. It has four important components - nutrition, physical exercise, good sleep, and meditation. To make this easy to incorporate in our daily routine, concepts of cooking, sports and prayers were evolved. Unfortunately, we have digressed in each of these areas. Cooking food has lost the knowledge of nutrition, sports in our country have still not been embraced at all age/gender, and we have lost the meaning of prayers.

With India gaining the reputation of diabetic capital of the world, heart disease on the rise in young generation, and obesity among teenagers is a cause of concern, it is time we look at health as an asset. Knowing well that wealth in this recessionary time has melted away!
So what is the solution? Do you need to join gym, switch to raw vegetables, or lead a sattvic life? The solution lies within you. You do not have to disrupt your life, make drastic changes, and cause discomfort to people around you.

But how do you do that? Answer is rather simple. Let me ask you this question. When you move into a new house, how carefully you plan each and every thing. And then make extra efforts to maintain that, keep domestic help, hire specialist services for annual maintenance and so on. Similarly when you buy a car, it is an asset, which you maintain very carefully. It is sent for regular service calls. However, when it comes to yourself, you have a tendency to leave it to GOD. Please consider your health as an appreciating asset. Once you are convinced, you will make every effort to protect it from abuse. Keeping yourself in good health does not take much effort. We make efforts to spoil that. Just cut down on that, and you are a Healthy person.

In my next issue, I will talk about some simple steps, which you can make part of your modified lifestyle. Results will amaze you. Slowly, you will start EMPOWERING yourself, to take charge of your health forever.

From the desk of your Health Manager,
Mohammed Hussain Naseem