Get started on a better you

Health check: Set aside all those excuses and pick an enjoyable, new-age workout, go old school with a meditation and yoga regime, try a home spa or just take a walk in the great outdoors. Mugdha Variyar writes.

health and fitness Updated: May 28, 2013 01:37 IST
Mugdha Variyar
Mugdha Variyar
Hindustan Times

New-age workouts
If you’ve always wanted to shed those extra kilos but dread the dull monotony of gyms, you have no excuses anymore. This No TV Day could be the perfect time for you to head out and explore the new-age workout options available — including Masala Bhangra, which combines aerobics with the Punjabi folk dance; Yogalates, which combines yoga and pilates; Bollyrobics, a blend of Bollywood dance and aerobics; and street jazz, a mix of jazz and hip hop.

Or you can try capoeira, a relatively new martial art imported from Brazil; Tai Chi, a martial art form imported from China that involves awareness and self-defence techniques; or zumba, a Latin dance exercise that will let you have fun swaying your hips while you get a good workout.

BEd student Nudrat Azam, 24, for instance, was repulsed by the robotic exercises in gyms and found her daily walks around her Kandivli housing society boring. In January she saw an advertisement for a zumba class in the neighbourhood. “The class was about exercising while dancing to Latin music. It sounded like fun,” she says.

Ever since, Azam has been looking forward to her workouts, having fun while she loses up to 800 calories per 40-minute session.

“More people now want to have fun while exercising. Dances such as zumba are a modern form of aerobics, but instead of exercising on rigid counts, one can exercise to the tune of international music, changing steps with the change in tempo,” says Tulip Rodrigues, 39, who teaches zumba at a Vile Parle gym.

Take the dive, head underwater
Perfect for people of all ages, aquatic fitness routines such as aqualates and aquarobics transfer fitness routines to the swimming pool and minimise the risk of wear and tear thanks to the cushioning effect of the water.

“Aqualates combines aqua aerobics and pilates, which has the same focus on strengthening core muscles, but with virtually no chances of injury,” says specialist in aqua workouts Deepali Jain. “Since one weighs only 10% of your actual weight in water, and movement become easier, these workouts make exercising and losing weight easier for heavy people and senior citizens.”

Jain’s youngest student is nine, her oldest, 84. She also works with arthritic patients and pregnant women.

And, if you just love the water and don’t need any further inducements, swimming — just swimming — is one of the best workouts there is, exercising the muscles and respiratory system and relieving stress.

“Swimming is a complete work-out without straining the body,” says Aashma Singh, a 22-year-old media student who does 50 laps a day. “For someone like me, who always loved sports but had to quit after an illness, swimming is the best way to stay fit and refresh the mind and the body.”

Go old-school with meditation, yoga
Yoga keeps you physically fit and mentally healthy. It is therapeutic and a great stress-reliever,” says yoga expert Shiv Kumar Mishra. “Yoga asanas come in varying degrees of difficulty. You can work your way up at your own pace. And, in just a few moments a day, they help relieve stress and relax your body and mind.”

It’s worked for Goregaon homemaker Bharti Parsana, 44.

“Till a few years ago, I suffered from terrible back aches. I couldn’t even walk properly. Once I started learning yoga, though, that changed,” she says. “Now, I feel restless if I miss out on yoga for even a single day. And a couple of suryanamaskars are all it takes to lift my mood.”

Set up a spa in your home
If your idea of relaxing is to pamper yourself with some scented candles and soothing oils, give yourself a luxurious spa treatment this No TV Day. You can do it yourself at home, just as Goregaon resident Alka Sheth does.

“I indulge in a herbal spa session at home once a fortnight,” says the 54-year-old beautician. You can light some candles, apply a facial scrub, sit back and unwind to some lilting tunes.

You can also pick up the phone and have a spa brought to your home. “We create the ambience using aroma candles, essential oils and good music,” says Rahul Chaudhary, a freelance spa therapist. “You can get a Thai massage, an aromatherapy treatment, a soothing foot scrub or a rejuvenating facial, all conducted by a professional in the comfort of your home.”

Head out, take a walk
Ease all those tense muscles with a long walk and you could also end up loosening your joints and burning some extra calories. Go with friends or on your own, in a park, a shaded lane or by the sea.

“I often trek up a small hill near my house to meditate,” says Kharghar resident R Suresh, 57. “The best part about meditating outdoors, amid Nature, is the fresh air. You immediately feel more at peace.”

Churchgate resident Muskaan Goyal prefers jogging at Marine Drive.

“Sunset is the only time I get to myself in the day, so I head to this beautiful location for a jog. The endorphin release I get after every jog relieves me of my tiredness completely,” she says.

First Published: May 28, 2013 01:35 IST