You have to agree that there are few things more annoying than watching a lean person pack away fries. No, I have nothing against fries; the problem is I like them. That is why I feel depressed at the sight of people eating so many calories — 100 gms of McDonald’s French Fries has 361 calories, with a medium order of fries weighing 114 gms — without a care in the world. I console myself at the thought that they would have to walk for one hour at an average speed of 6 km/hour to burn the calories accumulated from this medium order of fries!
This was before a fitness-obsessed friend explained the nuances of the situation. It seems fries are the badge of courage gym-fanatics wear when they are not running 6 km each day or counting ab-curls the way insomniacs count sheep. The logic is that if you are brave enough to eat fries without worrying about them lodging on your washboard abs, you are fitter than you look. In a country where most people still need a doctor’s prescription to take a leisurely walk, this reckless invitation to unwanted flab surprised me enough to make me say no to fries for a whole week.
But when you think about it, it’s not all that hard to get some exercise. The trick is to tell yourself you are worth the hard work, factor in your schedule, and choose an exercise form that interests you, be it walking your dog, gymming or popping in a virtual fitness disc into your gaming console. If you are looking to lose weight, endurance exercises such as fast walking, running or aerobics should form a major component of your workout, but people over 40 years who have never exercised before should avoid beginning with high-impact activities like running.
Start slowly and progress gradually, giving the body time to adapt. If your body hurts, take a break. A day of rest between exercise sessions allows the body to adapt to the new strains and stress. Running, for example, puts stress on the body — roughly three and a half times your bodyweight with each stride — so if you’re a beginner, it’s vital to get medically screened to ensure that your heart can take the strain.
Drink water before, during, and after moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise lasting for 30 minutes. Since an existing disease and medication may raise the risk of heat illnesses and fluid loss, people on diuretics and other anti-blood pressure medicines need more water.
Do not exercise vigorously soon after eating, as blood flow to the intestines increases after a meal to aid digestion. During vigorous exercise, the demand of the muscles for blood also goes up, making it impossible for the heart to supply enough blood for both digestion and muscles. This leads to vital organs getting deprived of blood, causing cramps, nausea and giddiness..
For newbies with limited time, the sheer convenience of the gym with its bicycle, treadmill, stepper, exercise board, gym ball and weights make it the best option. They should, however, do a different set of exercises each day and not just hop on and off the treadmill. Exercising indoors also helps you avoid the vagaries of weather along with inconveniences such as heat exhaustion, cramps, or collapse brought on by low stamina.
The risk of death from disease halves for both men and women if they exercise for 30 minutes a day five times a week. Now if that doesn’t get you going, nothing will.