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Short exercises help avoid stress

health and fitness Updated: Feb 20, 2011 21:41 IST
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With exams round the corner, I have no time for exercise or sports. Can micronutrient fortified drink help build immunity and improve overall well-being? Does it increases attention and concentration levels?
—Sushant Anand

Following this simple advice will also help you concentrate better while improving your retention without any need for micronutrient fortified drinks.

1 Food and water hygiene has to be maintained at all times to avoid and diarrhoea.
2 Eat a balanced meal of whole grains and pulses. Avoid oily, high carbohydrate and high calories foods. On the other hand, occasional eating out after you finish your course or one exam could decrease stress.
3 Avoid more that two cups of coffee or cola. Green tea is a good beverage to take.
4 Energy drinks should be taken in limited amounts, as their high caffeine content may cause nervousness and interfere with your concentration.
5 A wholesome breakfast is essential as it maintains sugar supply, macro and micronutrients and efficiency of brain’s cognitive functions.
6 It’s important that you maintain intake of 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
7 Rather than snacks loaded with fat or refined sugars prefer fruits, salads and sprouts. Nuts (almonds, pistachios) are excellent healthy snacks.
8 Low fat milk/buttermilk will help you get rid of those untimely hunger pangs.
9 Take vegetable soup with plenty of broccoli, peas and carrots twice daily to enhance hydration and nutrition.
10 Avoid heavy meals specially late at night

Sleep and Exercise:
11 Sleep for about 6-8 hours daily. Have a good sleep before examination day. You may take a nap after long hours of studies during day. This is a stress busters for some.
12 As you don’t have time to go for long exercise, whenever you take break, you could do the following for 3-5 minutes: stretch, walk up and down the stairs or in and out of the house, Jog on the spot, skip rope etc. These short exercises will act as “stress busters” and help you concentrate. Taking a short stroll in the nearby park will always freshen you up.

I am a Class 12 student. I study at my desk for about 10 hours a day but develop severe backache by nighttime. Should I go to a doctor for a check-up? I am 5 feet 5 inches and weigh 60 kg.
—Anupreeta Chawla

By observing the following, your backache will become better.
1 Do not sit in the same posture for long hours.
2 It’s important to have a chair that has a soft curve to fit hollow of your lower back, other wise, keep a thin pillow to support your back so that muscles do not undergo painful spasm.
3 Do some stretching and bending, shoulder shrugs, and neck and low back rotation.
4 Take a short walk every hour.
5 Hot fomentation to back muscle often helps.
6 If pain persists, massage gently with an ointment.
7 If still pain persists, please take paracetamol tablet to interrupt pain cycle.

Dr Anoop Misra is the director of the Centre of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospitals, and chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolic Diseases.