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Photo by: Filotek. Model: Fitness Guru Chhayal Parikh

 

Make Time to Workout

Even the busiest bees can make time to workout--you just need to be smart with your time.

Schedule it in your calendar
If time is allotted in your daybook or PDA consider it an appointment that cannot be broken.

Workout in the morning
If you wake up an hour earlier and exercise, you have the entire evening to make other plans.

Make a date
Instead of making dinner plans with a friend, schedule time to socialize while working at the gym or taking a walk.

Stop watching Leisure TV
You won’t die if you miss prime time television--promise. But if you must watch a show instead of going to the gym, exercise in front of the TV.

Freeze meals for the week
When you do cook, make extra servings and freeze them for future dinners. This way you will have more time for regular exercise.

 

Have a question for our Fitness Guru? Enter it here and your question could be answered in the next issue!

 

 

Previous Columns

A Different Kind of Matchmaker: The need for South Asians to register their bone marrow

Abs Exercises for on Front of the TV

 

 

5 essentials to healthy living

By Chhayal Parikh

For first- and second-generation South Asians, America means a chance at a better life than our parents and grandparents. In following the proverbial American dream, too often we find ourselves juggling hectic schedules with work, kids, school and everything else it takes to be successful in this country. The fast-paced American lifestyle offers us numerous opportunities--many of which take time and energy to pursue--but the American dream certainly does not include heart disease and hypertension. In order to stay on top of your game and stay healthy, focus on five essentials to healthy living:

1. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is any activity that gets your heart pumping. "The American Heart Association recommends engaging in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day at least three to four days a week. Cardio activity can be as simple as brisk walking or as intense as a cycling class. Either way, aerobic exercise is the primary way for you to improve your aerobic threshold, which in turn will increase your metabolism.

In an effort to avoid monotony and add variety to your workout, change your routine every two to three months. During this change, consider taking your cardio training to the next level. If you are a beginner, your program may consist of a 30-minute, brisk walk--take it to the next level by running for 10 to 15 minutes of that time. The advanced athlete should consider cross training because it is an excellent way to stimulate various muscle groups. On any fitness level, when you kick it up a notch, you will increase the speed at which your body burns calories.

The amount of calories you consume in a day is the amount of calories you should burn in a day: Calories in equals calories out. If you eat more calories than you burn, your body will take the excess calories and store it as fat. The idea of cardio is to burn the excess fat by getting your heart pumping faster, thus burning more calories. This is important to your metabolism and ultimately determines your body fat percentage.

Just remember to take baby steps. Stay focused and dedicated to reach your goals.

2. Resistance training, or weight training, is necessary to start converting your body fat into lean muscle. For most women, lifting weights might not be all that appealing. Don’t fret--there are other forms of weight training such as resistance bands, Pilates, or the fitness ball. When you start building muscle, track your body fat percentage rather than your weight.

3. Yoga, stretching, or mind and body exercises are a few ways to relax and lengthen your muscles. These forms of exercise are important to ensure a life with flexible joints and relaxed breathing. Yoga, derived from the word union, is explained by the Yoga Journal to be the unification of the body, breath, and mind. The bottom line is that yoga classes teach you to focus on your breathing which, in turn, relaxes your muscles allowing your body to become flexible.

4. Basic nutrition involves drinking plenty of water, eating smart, and educating yourself on caloric intake. People have different body types and should develop their personal eating habits accordingly.

Everyone is guilty of overindulgence. Even for the most resolute, healthy eating habits require discipline; this will not be achieved overnight. It is okay to treat yourself now and then, but generally you should limit your sugar intake. Natural sugars such as those found in fruit are acceptable; avoiding refined sugars like the corn syrup found in candy and soft drinks will help shed a few pounds. The government dietary guidelines provide a great start to understanding healthy eating. After successfully following the guidelines, you should consider visiting a registered dietician for a nutrition evaluation. At www.eatright.org, you can enter your zip code and the American Dietetic Association will provide a list of nutrition professionals in your area.

5. A positive outlook on life is a must. Avtar Khalsa, 81, lost her husband last year and says, “I don’t deny I do get in the moods of loneliness. And I tell myself, everything you, yourself create. Your loneliness, your sadness, you create. No one else inflicts this on you. It’s your own attitude.”

Khalsa creates good health for herself by nurturing good thoughts and by staying motivated to keep exercising. Instead of dwelling on any aches and pains she has, Khalsa says that, while she will brave the cold to exercise, she also accepts that her body is changing.

“As far as health is concerned at my age, it is true--at times you get up and you can’t walk, or something happens to your arm and you can’t raise it. In two or three weeks either you get normal again, or you get used to that situation with your body. It’s cold here [in Canada]. It’s only 9 degrees. I go out, put my coat on, and try to walk.”

Chhayal Parikh is certified with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and is a Spinning instructor. She currently teaches at the Capital City Club and Spa in Washington DC and is pursuing her Masters in Interactive Journalism.

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