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Workout for a healthy lifestyle

Dr. Anjali Mukherjee explains how we need to strike a balance that reflects in our physical, mental and spiritual well being.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 08, 2011 14:59 IST
Dr. Anjali Mukerjee

At the very onset, let me tell you that exercise is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle. I for one am a great believer in the benefits of a ‘sensible’ exercise routine. However, I want to add that a person may look physically fit and muscular and at the same time suffering from frequent headaches, allergies, sugar cravings, hair loss, acne and many other such conditions.

He may look physically fit, but harbours strong negative emotions like anger, violence towards his family, and may even suffer from jealousy, lack of self-worth and deep grief. Such strong emotions bring about bio-chemical changes in the body, invite stressful situations and eventually lead to disease conditions. Therefore just looking physically fit does not translate into being healthy.

We need to strike a balance that reflects in our physical, mental and spiritual well being. Nutrition, along with proper exercise, stress management and a positive mental attitude plays a key role in helping you achieve total health. Here are some frequently asked questions by my readers. I am a vegetarian and I enjoy working out. But I’m not sure if I am getting all the proteins that my body needs.

An averagely healthy adult body needs approximately 40 to 50 gms of protein everyday to keep hair, skin and muscles in good form. If you are into weight training you would need an additional 15 gms daily. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) however is slightly higher, that is, 0.8 gms per kilogram body weight. That means if your weight is 70 kgs, your RDA for protein is 56 gms daily. The RDA is higher as it takes into account extra protein needs for injury, illness low immunity etc. An average healthy individual should be well looked after by consuming between 40 to 50 gms protein daily.

Vegetarians have to try a little harder to get enough protein but is not difficult. For eg. a glass of milk along with a paneer sandwich should give you 30 gms of protein just at breakfast. Munching soya nuts through the day (50 gms) should give you another 20 gms protein. This is not taking into account your meals like a bowl of dal (5 gm protein), curd (6 gm protein), chapattis (10 gm protein), sprouts (6 gm protein). Eating a wide variety of high-protein vegetarian food makes it unnecessary to consume animal protein at all.

I am sure all of us desire a well functioning body capped with a well functioning mind. To achieve this we need to re-educate our palate.

I exercise for almost two hours every day. I try to watch what I eat, but I am unable to lose weight. Please help. Exercise offers many health benefits like improving circulation, better oxygenation and improved metabolism. It also stimulates the detoxification process, improves lipid profile, blood sugar response, bone density. It also makes you lose weight. But weight loss is not one of its primary benefits, since weight loss does not only depend upon calories. Rather, it depends upon your hormonal balance, digestion, immune status, glandular functions, genetic tendencies, nutritional status and other factors. It is far more complex than just exercising. But most people exercise only to lose weight. One should exercise in moderation for all the health benefits that exercise has to offer, and not only to lose weight.

(Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.)