Get smart with fitness

23rd Jul 2013
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If you are smart enough to start a business, be smart enough to manage your health, too, says Dr Sheela Nambiar. At the launch of her book, ‘Get Size Wise: Training for life for the Indian woman’ (Rupa), she could take a break from autographing copies to answer a few questions from YourStory.

Here is a playlist where the author answers questions on the responsibility of the media, the role of the spouse and family in your fitness, and offers advice to entrepreneurs:

You don’t need a PhD in exercise physiology or human anatomy to exercise intelligently, writes Sheela. “Begin by learning the ropes. There are some simple scientific facts you need to keep in mind in order to make the most of your exercise.”

The book speaks of four major and six minor pillars of fitness. The major ones are cardio, strength, flexibility, and endurance; and the minor pillars are coordination, balance, reflexes, reaction time, power, and speed.

Dr Sheela Nambiar
Dr Sheela Nambiar

The author underlines that focusing solely on any one aspect is insufficient because such an approach leads to an unbalanced fitness routine. “I see bodybuilders lifting colossal weights to grow their muscle, but completely disregarding their flexibility. Then there are the Cardio Queens, who run endlessly on their cardio machines but refuse to lift even the lightest weight in the weight room, perhaps for fear of bulking up?” Sheela also bemoans those who only participate in hatha yoga – that too the very gentle form of yoga where they barely break a sweat – or perform asanas that require them to support their own body weight, and are convinced they have a complete routine in place.

A chapter titled, ‘Fitness on the go,’ is about staying fit while travelling. Important read, because whatever improvement you achieve in fitness can vanish during travel, unless you are mindful of the four major pillars. For instance, to address the ‘cardio’ pillar during travel, the author advises you to walk while sightseeing, rather than take a cab. “Metros, streets, malls, stairs – make it a point to walk everywhere. I advised a client once to wear a pedometer while she was on holiday in Europe. She clocked an astounding average of 15,000-25,000 steps a day with all the walking while sightseeing… She lost over 2 kilos that holiday despite the food and wine.” Back home, however, the client found that she was normally clocking only about 3,000 steps a day.

A book to be read, not sitting, but walking, as one of the speakers at the launch event urged.

About Dr Sheela Nambiar

In addition to her primary profession as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, Sheela runs a fitness programme called Training for Life in Ooty and Chennai. Certified as a fitness and lifestyle consultant from the National Association of Fitness Certification of the US, she uses fitness as an extension of her medical practice to improve the quality of women’s lives and as a form of preventive care. In her spare time, Sheela volunteers at women’s and children’s organisations, where she teaches spoken English and conducts workshops.

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