Eat healthy food, take short frequent breaks and exercise to score well

Dr. Anoop Misra is chairman, Fortis-C-DOC centre of excellence for diabetes, metabolic diseases and endocrinology. He is also the Director, Centre of Internal Medicine (CIM), Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.

Rajat: I’ve put on 6 kgs in two months of staying home for preparation leave. I study eight hours a day. What should I do to stay healthy.

Sitting for long hours and negligible amount of exercise/physical activity is the most prominent cause of weight gain especially during examinations. You could try the following health tips:

  •  During exams the appetite goes up and you might want to snack, so have small and frequent meals

  •  Rather than taking snacks loaded with fat/refined sugars prefer fruits/salads/nuts and sprouts as your snacks.

  •  To avoid munching on the wrong food (biscuits/chips/namkeens/other junk food) instead prefer munching carrots/cucumber/fruits etc.

  •  Avoid heavy meals specially late at night

  •  Expose yourself to sunlight at least 15 minutes a day to imbibe vitamin D, a good vitamin for regulation of weight and for the brain.

  •  Regular green tea (3-5 cups/day) is also a metabolic booster

  •  Prefer toned milk and nimbu-pani as these will help you get rid of those untimely hunger pangs

  •  Focus on consumption of fresh fruits rather than fatty foods (fried food items)

However, losing weight is a combined action of diet and physical activity both. The fact is that exercise is all the more necessary during exam time because not only is it a “stress buster”  but also has many other health benefits needed to keep fit during exams. Taking short activity breaks helps the mind to refocus and gain concentration. Take a 5-7 minutes short activity break after every 2 hours of sitting work. During this time you can indulge in any of the following:

  •  Stretching exercises (can be done in your room itself)

  •  Walking up and down the stairs

  •  Small sets of aerobic exercise

  •  Try incorporating small bouts of physical activity in your schedule, ideally after every 2 hours (e.g. on the spot jogging, jumping, skipping rope, walking for 5 minutes etc.).

Prerna: I get headaches if I study at a stretch. My eyesight is fine. What can I do to prevent it?

Occurrence of headaches can be due to the following reasons:

  •  Stress or worry/anxiety

  •  Depression

  •  Overwork

  •  Lack of sleep

  •  Skipping meals

  •  Too much caffeine

  •  Sudden changes in sleep patterns

  •  Incorrect sitting posture

  •  Excessive strain to the eyes

  •  Change in power of specs (in case you are using specs)

Taking too much of any painkiller may not be safe. There are a number of other things that you can do to help avoid it.

  •  The best way to prevent headaches is to learn what triggers it and then try to avoid those things. Take a note of all such activities which tend to increase your headache.

  •  Take a break from activities that provoke headaches, such as using the computer for a long time or studying for long stretch at a time.

  •  Lighting of the room and the chair should be proper.

  •  Have regular meals; prefer having small meals at frequent intervals, do not skip any meal as it can lead to low blood sugar and headaches.

  •  Rather than taking snacks loaded with fat or refined sugars prefer fruits/ salads/ nuts and sprouts as your snacks.

  •  Do regular exercise

  •  Try reducing the amount of coffee/energy drinks containing caffeine being consumed throughout the day.

  •  Use correct sitting posture to study i.e. sit upright and do not lean or study while lying on bed.?


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