Friday, 14 November 2014


It’s a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that’s easy, free and suitable for people of all ages and most abilities. Here’s why it’s so good for you

1. It strengthens your heart

Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check. 
Anything that raises your heart rate and gets your blood pumping is a workout for your heart and circulatory system . Walking briskly for up to 30 minutes can help prevent and control the high blood pressure that can cause strokes – reducing your risk by up to 27 per cent.

2. It lowers disease risk

Walking habit can slash your risk of developing type 2 Diabetes ,asthma and some cancers. A study in the British Medical Journal showed taking more steps every day can help ward off diabetes.Those of us who are active have around a 20 per cent lower risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and womb than those least active.

3. It keeps weight in check

A person weighing 60kg burns 75 calories simply by strolling at 2mph for 30 minutes. Increase that to 3mph and they’ll burn 99 calories. Speed it up to a fast walk (4mph) and that’s 150 calories . Walking also increases muscle mass and tone and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – so the more calories you burn, even at rest.

4. It can help prevent dementia

Dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80. We know being active has a protective effect on brain function and regular exercise reduces dementia risk by up to 40 per cent. 

5. ...and osteoporosis, too

Walking counts as a weight-bearing activity. It stimulates and strengthens bones, increasing their density – really important, especially for women. It also helps maintain healthy joints so may stave off conditions such as arthritis.

6. It tones your butts and thighs

A good walk can help strengthen and shape your legs, giving great definition to calves, quads, hamstrings and lifting your glutes (buttock muscles) – especially if you add hills. 
7. Let’s not forget your arms
Your speed when walking comes from your arms.Hold them at a comfortable level, bent at the elbow, and swing them backwards and forwards as you walk. Swing them faster and you’ll automatically speed up. And all this movement tones your arms, shoulders and upper back." Bye bye, bingo wings!

8. It boosts your vitamin D levels

If you’re walking outside in daylight, you’ll be boosting your body’s stores oVitamin D – a nutrient that’s hard to get from food, but that we can synthesize from exposure to sunlight. Many people  are deficient in vitamin D and it’s a nutrient that plays a big role in everything from bone health to immunity. 

9. It gives you energy

It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. 

10. It makes you happy

The ability of exercise to boost mood is undisputed. Studies have shown regular, moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) to be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression. Getting active releases feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream, reducing stress and anxiety. And don’t forget it’s often a social activity – joining a walking group or meeting friends to walk and chat is a great way to banish feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

How to Detox Post Diwali?

If you ushered in the festival of lights with traditional good cheer, then sweets and fried savouries must have been a staple part of your diet for weeks. Tips to recover from the excesses that come naturally during the special season

Diwali is the perfect time of year to indulge. As friends and family rejoice together and sweets and snacks are lavishly distributed, it can also mean that high calorie temptation is always close at hand. Especially so, if you are fighting the battle of the bulge, making a tremendous effort to keep your weight, cholesterol and diabetes in check. Not surprisingly, this season can offer the most dangerous pitfalls for good health.
Since it is almost impossible to deprive oneself in the midst of all celebrations and joy, (not to mention the variety of sweetmeats doing the rounds), for most of us, a post Diwali detox would be in order! What you eat over the next couple of weeks can undo the toll taken by the festive season on your system.

Is it necessary to detoxify?
Detoxification means flushing out the bad and letting the good in. For instance, what do you when you are hung-over after too much alcohol? Lots of water and maybe lemon juice – it’s how you detoxify your body to flush the alcohol out. Is it necessary? To get rid of that headache, yes. Similarly, the avalanche of fried food and sweetmeats that you are feeding your body (which it is clearly not used to digesting) clogs your system. It needs a break and hence the need for detox. It’s not only a way of flushing out the toxins but also to compensate for all the binging during the festive season.
Lesser portions, frequent meals: Cut back on the size of your portions and try eating 5-6 times rather than 3 times a day. Addchaas in between meals when you feel hungry and eat fruits.
Reduce sugar intake: This is easier said than done because we tend to drink tea or coffee at least twice a day and prefer sweet lassi tochaas. Soft drinks are another vice so make a conscious effort to avoid these. Post Diwali, your body is dealing with excess sugar so try to give it as much plain fluids as you can. Water is a great detox option and a glass of warm water in the morning as soon as you get up can work wonders.
If you are wondering how you can avoid the sugar from fruits, remember that natural sugar is always better than processed sugar.
Say no to oil: Cut back the amount of oil in your dals and vegetables. Don’t use butter or ghee on your rotis for some time. Instead of frying, try baked or grilled dishes.
Eat fresh: Consume lots of green leafy vegetables, have green salad; the more you eat fresh the faster your body detoxifies. Steer clear of red meat.
Exercise: The last few days of high calorie diet and lack of exercise must have taken a toll on your body – give it some movement. Walk or climb your office stairs; move around as much as you can.
Pamper yourself: Forget the food bit for the moment; all the reunions with relatives, meeting with friends, late night parties with families is bound to leave you tired once the festivities are over.  Before the daily routine of work begins it would be a good idea to visit a good spa. Many offer post-Diwali treatments that’ll leave you feeling refreshed physically as well as mentally. Conventional detox treatments include body masks, dry scrubs, hydrotherapy and of course, chocolate scrubs, foot spa treatment and facials. You can opt for a spa session at home as well but there’s nothing quite like getting pampered by an expert.
How not to detox
Those enthusiastic about detoxifying their systems sometimes go all out and do things they should not do. These practices are not only useless but can have a worse effect on your body.
Starving yourself: Just because you have binged or overeaten a tad doesn’t mean you have to starve your body in order to lose all those extra calories. Crash diets are a strict no-no. If you need a better idea of what you need to eat, consult a dietician.
Skipping meals:  So you think, ‘Instead of eating less, I’ll just skip lunch entirely’. Don’t. Skipping meals is the worst idea possible and you won’t lose weight this way.
Depriving yourself of everything you love:  Yes, you are trying to stick to a detox plan. But don’t deprive yourself of the things you relish. If you do, you crave more and the more you crave the more you’ll slip. Allow yourself one odd scoop of ice cream but don’t go overboard.
Make detox easy
It’s very difficult to go on a detox plan right after a week filled with delicious sweetmeats and traditional snacks. To make it easy, try detoxifying during Diwali. Keep a tab on how much you eat in a day and if you’ve eaten too many sweets, go easy on meals.
The most important thing, although slightly difficult, is to maintain your exercise routine. Even if you can spare 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk it will do your body a lot of good. Promise yourself a fruit at least once a day because fibres can help detoxify well. Drink a lot of water 15 minutes before a meal so that you eat lesser. Try to curb the sweets to day time because it gives your body a chance at burning some calories.
The easier you go on your body before and during Diwali, the better your chances of recovering after it.
Detoxifying after a festival needn’t be a punishment! And why should it be? Treat yourself to all the goodies out there but to a limit. After all, you want to be snack-ready for the next festival!