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Short bouts of exercise are great stress busters

delhi Updated: Feb 06, 2013 01:47 IST
Hindustan Times
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Dr Anoop Misra is the director of the Centre of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, and chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre for Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology.

He will be answering students’ queries on nutrition, exercise, stress-busting or exam-related disorders such as unexplained aches and pains and acne outbreaks.

Amrita: I’m in Class 12. I have started getting headaches since November. I have two aspirins twice a day. Is it safe? What else can I do to get rid of the pain without medicine?

Misra: The occurrence of headache can be due to these reasons: Anxiety, depression, overwork, lack of sleep, skipping meals, too much caffeine, sudden changes in sleep patterns, incorrect posture, eye strain, viral cold and sinus infection.

There are a number of things you can do to help avoid it:
*Learn what triggers the headache and try to avoid those things. Take a note of activities which tend to worsen it.

*Take a break from activities that provoke headache, such as using computer for a long time.

*A head massage often helps. Apply ‘pain balms’ over areas of pain and massage it gently

*If pain is over the back of the neck, gently move your neck muscles to give them some exercise. Avoid any neck movement, which causes undue pain.

*Use pillow in a way that your neck muscles get support at the back while lying down or sitting in bed.

*Take painkillers for headache only when required. Paracetamol has the least side-effects; aspirin in limited quantity (not more than 2-3 tablets daily) may be safe, but needs to be taken after a meal. Taking aspirin frequently may give you acidity and abdominal upset.

*If headache persists, get your eyes, BP and sinuses checked.

Sushant Tiwari: Physical health should also be given due importance during exams. With exams just round the corner, how can I manage my physical health given that there is hardly any time for sports? Can micro-nutrient-fortified drinks also help build immunity and achieve overall well-being? Does it increases attention and concentration levels.

Misra: The following simple tips will also help you concentrate on your studies better while improving your retention without any need for micro-nutrient-fortified drinks.

*Food and water hygiene should to be maintained to avoid abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

*Eat a balanced meals including whole grains and pulses. Avoid oily, high-carbohydrate and high-calorie foods. But eating out occasionally once you have finished your course or an exam is over can lessen stress.

*Avoid more than two cups of coffee or cola. Consuming green tea is a good idea.

*Energy drinks should be taken in limited amounts as they have high caffeine content which may cause nervousness and interfere with your concentration.

*A wholesome breakfast is essential as it maintains supply of sugar, macro and micro-nutrients and maintains efficiency of cognitive functions of brain.

*Have 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

*Rather than taking snacks loaded with fat and refined sugars, prefer fruits, salads and sprouts. Nuts (Almonds, pistachios) are excellent and healthy snacks.

*Low fat milk and buttermilk will help you get rid of those untimely hunger pangs.

*Take vegetable soup with plenty of broccoli, peas and carrots twice daily to enhance hydration, electrolytes and nutrition.

*Avoid heavy meals, especially late at night

Sleep and Exercise:
*Sleep for nearly 6-8 hours daily. Have a good sleep before the day of examination. You may take a nap after long hours of studies during the day. In fact, this can be a great stress buster.

*Since you don’t have time to go for long exercises, whenever you take break, you can do some basic exercises for 3-5 minutes, which can include stretching exercises, walking up and down the stairs, walking inside or outside the house, on-the-spot jogging, skipping, etc.

*These short bouts of exercise will act as a stress buster and also help you concentrate and improve your memory. A short stroll in the nearby park will always freshen you up.