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Get going: It’s never too late to start

It’s easy to adopt fitness into your routine, so find something that suits your personality

india Updated: Sep 07, 2011 13:27 IST
Pankti Mehta

Manoj Lekhrajani is 49, the CEO of a pharmaceuticals distribution company and works 10 hours a day. Like so many busy Mumbaiites, he had occasional thoughts about working out, but he was sure he would never find the time.

Then, one evening two months ago, Lekhrajani couldn’t find a taxi to take him to his next meeting 10 minutes away from his office, so he walked.

“I was so out of shape that by the time I got there, I had to sit down in the lobby for five minutes to catch my breath,” he said. “That’s when I decided I needed to start exercising something I had never done before.”

Ever since, Lekhrajani has been working out at the gym near his house five times a week, for one hour every morning. He begins his workout with a walk on the treadmill, then does weight-training and aerobic exercises.

“The first week was dreadful,” he said, laughing. “But I kept telling myself it would be worth it because, soon, I would no longer be that guy who pants every time he climbs the stairs.”

That aim kept him motivated, and he is no longer that guy who can’t climb a few flights of stairs. “I’m losing weight and am much more energetic,” he said.
Experts say even if you have never exercised before, it is never too late to start, whatever be your age.

“It takes just a year to repair yourself,” said health guru Mickey Mehta. “It takes seven days to renew your stomach lining, 30 days for your skin to improve, 90 days for your muscular skeletal system, a year for your whole self.”

For every subsequent year that you continue, experts say you will be rewarded with higher immunity and fewer signs of ageing.

If you don’t like working out, start with a walk. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t force yourself to be one; it will give you an excuse to be irregular.

Find a workout method that suits your personality: Decide if you’re more cut out for calming yoga, energised cardio or just brisk walking.

“Dance, if that’s what you love to do,” said Payal Gidwani Tiwari, yoga trainer to Bollywood celebrities.

If you’re over 40, start with a lowimpact, non-aerobic workout — yoga, walking or swimming . If you’re in your 30s, play a sport you enjoy.

Recognise when you are falling into the excuse trap, the most common one being that you don’t have the time.

That's what owner from Prabhadevi has a 13-hour workday, but was determined to find a suitable workout after she began putting on weight.

Every day, Sachdev now walks at Shivaji Park or works out with help from yoga DVDs at home. “I’m addicted,” she said. “I feel fresher and more alert at work, and I’ve stopped over-eating.”

“People don’t realise how easy it is to adopt fitness into their routine,” said Anjali Mukherjee, nutritionist and founder of HealthTotal. “The body is designed to walk and this simple exercise will show near-immediate results.”

If you don’t have walking spaces, do yoga in your room, walk on the road or climb the stairs, said Mehta. “Or ask your driver to drop you off a few minutes from home and briskly walk the rest of the way.”

Pushpa Rane, 84, wishes she had discovered the joys of exercising earlier. Rane turned to aqua aerobics two years ago. “I had arthritis and couldn’t walk by myself then. Now I can.”

In her group is 70- year-old Shalini Randery, who started doing aqua aerobics three years ago.

“I was scared as I can’t swim,” she said.

“But it’s the best thing that happened to me.

I feel energised, I can move more easily.”

Exercize Options
Don’t know where to start?
Here are some exercise options

Ages 18-25
At this age, your body is at its peak in terms of physical fitness and will easily fall into an exercise regimen and shed or gain weight as desired.

“The Biggest hurdle people in this age group face is finding the time for exercise, because they are slaving away to build a career,” said physiotherapist Heath
Matthews.

Many youngsters fail to take fitness seriously because their unhealthy habits have not yet affected their health. That is perhaps the biggest challenge this age group faces, said fitness expert Leena Mogre.

Exercises recommend
Cardio activity, to keep heart rate and blood circulation stead any activity done for 45 minutes without a break automatically becomes a cardio workout, because it is pushing the heart to reach its optimum pumping rate and is boosting circulation.

Youngsters should do one hour a day of running, stretching, walking, cycling or outdoor sport such as tennis, badminton, spinning, kick-boxing or swimming.

Cardio activity can help you lose those extra pounds, if you’ve been binging on too much junk food.

Weight Training
If you haven't done weight training before, start with machine weights to help you maintain the right form, posture and technique. Weight training can involve machine weight, free weights (such as dumbbells and resistance bands,etc) and body weight (such as push-ups, squats, lunges or sprints.) Weighttraining helps boost core strength and tone muscles.

Ages 26-40
At this age, your body is at its peak in terms of physical fitness and will easily fall into an exercise regimen and shed or gain weight as desired.

“The Biggest hurdle people in this age group face is finding the time for exercise, because they are slaving away to build a career,” said physiotherapist Heath Matthews.

Many youngsters fail to take fitness seriously because their unhealthy habits have not yet affected their health. That is perhaps the biggest challenge this age group faces, said fitness expert Leena Mogre.

This is a key period because your fitness levels here will determine how your body reacts to the slowdown of your metabolism, at age 30, and the gradual beginnings of ageing. As your metabolism rate will continue to drop between 30 and 40, fitness and exercise will be vital if you want to keep off those extra pounds.

Exercises recommend stretching
You need to give more importance to free-hand stretching as it will help keep your body flexible and raise your core body temperature, improving circulation.

Low-Impact Exercises
Cycling, Cross-Training and leisure sports such as tennis are good options to keep you fit and keep your heart healthy.

Weight Training
This will hepl increase muscle mass and strengthen the joints and lower back.

Yoga
It helps ease stress and keeps the body flexible, easing the stress on your joints and reducing the risk of injury and daily wear and tear. Some asanas help enhance lung capacity, strengthen internal organs and boost the metabolism rate. This is also a good time to add pilates to your weekly exercise routine, to strengthen
your core muscles.

Ages 40 and Above
This is a crucial time for your body, with metabolism slowing down further and the ageing process beginning to make itself felt. Pay extra attention to your joints, focusing on keeping them flexible to reduce the risk of wear and tear. Pay close attention to your weight and BMI, because weight gained now will begin to affect the heart and other organs.

Exercises recommend

Yoga
Yoga Pilates, walking and swimming are good activities to help you keep fit, exercising your muscles and organs with minimal risk of injury.

Light weight-training
Weight training should remain part of your regimen, to help maintain muscle mass and strength, which quietly start to diminish. Be sure, however, that you tone those weights down so you don’t strain yourself.

Cardio and more meditation and massages
Freehand Stretching, meditation, cardio and massages must also form part of the weekly exercise regimen.