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Get going: It's never too late to start

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.

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2011 00:48 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 low-impact, 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 Tina Sachdev, 38, did. The grocery store 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."