Exercising needs to be a core habit, just like sleeping and eating, if you want to stay at your ideal weight. So you need to spread your risks; risk of not being able to do what you prefer most – be it because you are hurt, because it rained in the night, because the playground is hosting a cricket match, or because you simply want a change!
RunningRunning is my staple, primary form of workout. Warm up of back, torso, legs and ankles is very important to prevent injuries. It may seem like a waste of time – but I can swear by it. I have pulled a muscle here and there when I neglected warm-ups. As the days have passed, I have gone from running 4 km regularly to 5.5 to 7 kms regularly. These days an 8km-run is a weekly or fortnightly achievement. It’s an expected progression for anyone working out regularly. I have already covered how to keep going when you cannot run earlier.
Running keeps me healthy! I am a different person – more energetic, strong-willed, healthier and leaner. Leaner – at least on the inside! – its important how you feel about yourself. Heck, even my sleep-requirement goes down from 8+ hours! Viral-infections and cold don’t happen to me if I am regular. They don’t progress beyond stuffy nose (also thanks to hot green-tea) – mucus flows as easy as the sweat during the run! And so, recovery form occasional cold is rather quick.
Of course, I don’t run if I get fever. Rest is paramount in viral-fever. After adequate rest, walking provides a simple check for recovery, and a smooth transition back to running, while keeping my feel-good factor!
Surya-namaskarIf you are in a guided program at a gym, you tend to have good variety and a full-body workout. By myself, I prefer swimming or surya-namaskar. Surya-namaskar even helps me ward-off beginnings of a backache, before it transitions from irritating to debilitating, – backache from sitting in office-chairs, car-seats or cramped-bed with kids! 40 laps of surya-namaskar makes me sweat adequately. And a gap of more than 2 weeks is enough to remind me of the neglected muscles in my body 🙂 – thats the “full-body” part of it!
Most importantly, it helps retain flexibility in the body and soothes over-worked muscles from the staple-workout. Following up the 40 laps with floor-exercises like abs, plank, pushups, dhanurasana and vajrasana; you have a fulfilling and exhausting workout! Ending with meditation rounds up body-n-soul nicely. It is something I need to work on personally.
Surya-namaskar is best learnt in-person from an instructor. It is important to get the poses and breathing right. A few weeks of supervision should be enough to get the flexibility to get going on your own, and the practice to do it on your own, hopefully for the rest of your life!
Walk in the ParkWalking helps me maintain my absolute minimum level of activity. Walking at 6 km/h burns 300+ cals for me in an hour. And given time, I’ve done 2.5 hours in a day (not in one go).
But there are other interesting alternatives too – like playing catch with kids in the park, or walking around at Lalbagh with the younger one on my shoulders. The best part is that I can do these any hours of the day during weekends!
Challenging MyselfWeekend hikes, wall-climbing or cycling are other things that I like to do once in a while. They help me discover muscle-groups I tend to forget I have! Climbing, in particular, has a meditative effect. I am completely focused on my move and the thought of falling (despite the harness and mattresses) does not let the mind wander at all. And the fingers never get a work-out like in climbing!
You need to discover your interests. Sports are excellent, but they need company. On the other hand, one can go on treks and cycling-expeditions with complete strangers and still have fun.
Parting Thoughts – City LifeOur cities are polluted. Eating organic may not help much if you cannot fix the air around you! So if you cannot prevent toxins from getting in, the only reasonable strategy may be to workout and expel the toxins. Vigorous exercise helps flush toxins from the body thru sweat & mucus.
You need to start now, if not already!