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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Exercise-Part 1

Exercise is good for your body and mind. You feel better, and look better. Exercise increases self-esteem, confidence and endorphin levels, making you happier and healthier.

Ovulation and Exercise

With the spurt in the number of fitness centers and gyms across the country, more and more people are gaining an increasing awareness of the importance of regular exercise. However, is it possible to over-exercise?

The answer to this is, of course, a yes. But then you knew that. It is important to increase the amount you exercise, gradually. Don't push yourself too hard, only to collapse the next day. Take it slow and easy, or you will only cause more harm than good, defeating the purpose of exercise.

However, there's more to the story.

Irregular periods

Women who are looking to get pregnant, should be especially careful. Excessive athletic activity could cause a change in the ovulation cycle, leading to irregular periods, delayed periods, and then skipping of periods. If this happens, it means you are definitely overdoing it.

Unable to conceive

You may be unable to conceive until you lighten up your workout. Even if you are not looking to get pregnant, excessive exercise, which results in you skipping your period (amenorrhea), leads to a severe loss in bone density, leading to osteoporosis. So if you or someone you know has a high fitness level, and if seems to be affecting your period, you should start taking it easy. Marathon runners especially acquire exercised induced amenorrhea.

It is thus important that you take small breaks from strenuous athletic activity.

Pushing yourself too hard, too soon

It is very important to exercise regularly, but don't push yourself endlessly. If you jog, it could be tempting to increase your distance by just a little bit every time. Do this, and before you know it, you will be jogging six hours a week, if not more, which may be a little excessive. If you have been exercising since childhood, if your current level of fitness is relatively high, and if you have noticed no irregularities in your period, then you can carry on exercising at your present rate.

Fitness experts' opinion

Certain fitness experts feel that a 'fit' woman who has not been getting her period, is healthier than a woman who gets her period. They also state that such a woman can conceive even if her period has stopped, because despite exercise-induced amenorrhea, she is still ovulating. However, because of her high exercise level, the blood does not flow out of the body, but is absorbed back into the bloodstream.

Medical experts however seem to disagree with this opinion. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which could suppress the ovaries if produced in excess. The more rapidly you increase your exercise level, the less you eat, the greater the likelihood that your menstrual cycle would be affected.

Corresponding increase in food intake

Opinion is divided on whether increased fitness levels, low weight or low body fat lead to amenorrhea. Researchers also concluded that it would be extremely irresponsible, not to mention dangerous, to state that exercise itself causes amenorrhea. The need of the hour was to find out what it is about exercise that causes amenorrhea, and this has been identified as a dangerously low fat level. The fact is that many women who exercise strenuously, also restrict their calorie intake.

An increase in fitness without a corresponding dietary increase contributes largely to decreased menstrual flow. And if women go for more than 6 months without a period, they lose bone density.

Athletic amenorrhea is thankfully reversible if women increase their food intake and reduce their physical activity for a short duration.

So now you have it: if you have plenty of fat to burn, go ahead and work out strenuously. But if not, and if you are exercising just to be fit and more toned, then you need to increase your caloric intake along with increasing your exercise level.

Move Your Body

Some of us long to be fit and healthy. Others want to lose weight. Some want to increase their stamina, while still others simply want to tone up and look sexier. While the solution to all these problems lies in exercise, most of us are unwilling, too lazy, or simply too tied up to put in the effort a workout requires. It's not always due to laziness though. We may be otherwise active and hardworking individuals, but when it comes to working out, we clearly cannot find the motivation. Certain exercises seem boring, while others are just too time consuming, or require too much monetary investment or discipline.

So if you find exercising alone a little too monotonous for your liking, and if you see yourself constantly putting it off for the tomorrow that never seems to come, perhaps its time you hung up your keds and put on your dancing shoes.

Dancing ranges from being a mild to a strenuous form of aerobic workout, depending upon how vigorous your moves are. The best part? It's a lot of fun.

You will need

Learning any particular dance form by joining a class for formal training does wonders for your posture, and goes a long way in making you more graceful and poised. However, if all you are looking for is a fun way to exercise and lose weight, you merely need access to a music system, a radio or cassettes with dance music, and space.

Do you have a full-length mirror? If yes, set up your little studio in front of it. You will find your workout far more interesting if you can watch yourself move. In addition, dancing in front of a mirror also helps you perfect your dance movements.


In addition to the obvious benefit or making you fit, the more you dance, the better a dancer you will be. Your movements will become more fluid, and your sense of rhythm will improve. You will also gradually start developing and discovering new moves, and while we can't guarantee that you will win a dance contest, you will definitely not stay off the dance floor because you have 'two left feet'.

Further benefits include:

  • Dancing builds leg muscles, and tones your thighs and hips.
  • It is a cardiovascular workout. The constant movement and swings contribute to strengthening the heart.
  • Dancing also increases flexibility, improves your balance and your posture.
  • The combined effect of music and dance helps reduce your stress levels.

Maximise your workout

Don't just move your legs about. Try hand movements and swings. The next time you are watching a Hindi movie, don't stare blankly at the song and dance numbers. See if you can pick up a few steps. Better still, every time a song and dance number comes up on television, get up and burn a few additional calories by trying to imitate the steps. This way you will keep picking up new steps for your dance workout.

Dance for around 45 minutes, at least three times a week, if not everyday. Keep a particular time aside, perhaps in the evening if you are rushing for work in the morning. Turn the volume up, and shake it, baby.

Top 10 Domestic Workouts

You don't have to sweat it out in a gym in order to stay fit. Simple daily chores such as washing your undergarments yourself or dusting your shelves can do the trick. In fact, women who stay fit by working around the house not only lose as much weight as women in aerobic classes, but are also better able to keep the weight off for a longer period. All you need to do is try and accumulate at least 30 minutes of physical activity through the day. And it's just as easy said as done!

1. Washing your undergarments yourself is excellent for finger joints. You can kiss arthritis in your finger joints goodbye. Make sure you use a mild soap though, and follow up by applying a hand lotion, to avoid drying your hands.

2. Invest in a cordless phone and walk around while chatting. Can you think of a more enjoyable way to burn calories?

3. Instead of asking the office peon to fetch you a glass of water, get up and get it yourself. Refill your glass of water every hour. This helps boost circulation, and will reduce the risk of you developing varicose veins.

4. Don't just flick the channel during commercial breaks. Get up and do something: change the bedcover, tidy up your cupboard shelves or just walk around.

5. When you drive down somewhere, park your car in a far-off spot so you walk more to reach your destination.

6. Stand up while riding the train or bus, instead of sitting. An average person burns around 140 calories an hour while standing, as opposed to 100 calories an hour while sitting. That may not seem like a huge difference outright, but those additional calories add up to quite a bit, over a period of time. So the next time you are tempted to grab that empty seat in a bus or train, resist, especially if you are in a sedentary job, and have been seated all day anyway.

7. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, wherever possible. It makes a world of difference to your fitness level. It strengthens the heart, and is a great workout for your hips, legs and butt.

8. Get off the bus or train a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to your destination. Try and get in at least 20 minutes of walk time in a day. Two short 10-minute walks everyday add up to 2 hours, 20 minutes of walking time in a week. And if you are not getting any exercise at all, this is a great way to compensate. Short periods of exercise can be just as effective as one long workout, for certain basic health benefits.

9. It never fails to amaze me as to why someone would spend big bucks for a gym membership, and then not do a spot of work at home. Housework is the best exercise, and if you don't find time for exercise, then you must try and do some work around the house. Don't depend upon your household helper to make your bed everyday; do it yourself.

10. The next time you're standing in line, or waiting for someone, take this opportunity to work your butt. Tighten your butt muscles, hold to the count of ten, and slowly release. Repeat 6 to 10 times. Make sure you're wearing a skirt, or that your butt is concealed. You don't want people staring at your twitching butt!

11. Okay, here's a bonus 11th tip! What's the best domestic exercise of then all? Sit down on your haunches and sweep the floor. That's right! This excellent 'workout' will tighten and strengthen your entire lower body, including pelvic muscles, with the result that if you have been sweeping floors regularly, your labour will be a lot less painful, and you will recover faster. So if you are planning a pregnancy sometime soon, pick up the mop and start sweeping!

Healthy Habits

We spoke to ten men between the ages of 55 and 70, who were healthy, fit and had more energy than all of us put together, and asked them the secret of their health. Here's what they had to say.

"I take an early morning walk every single day of my life. I wake up at 5, and am at the park by 5:15. I started this when I was 40, and my routine hasn't changed since."

Lakhulal Chaurasia, 69

"I was in my 30s when a very close friend of mine had a minor heart attack. He survived, but my wife and I sat down and decided to make some changes in the way we live our life. I used to eat meat almost every day. That had to stop. I reduced my meat eating and switched to vegetables, and around 5 years ago I became completely vegetarian."

Himmat Singh, 64

"I used to play squash when I was young, but quit when I started developing pain in my knees. I switched to golf. It's an excellent sport, relaxing, good exercise, and it is a sport I can stick with till the end of my days."

Prakash Singhania, 61

"I drink a glass of wine three times a week, and walk every day for one hour. I try to walk in the mornings, but if I can't make it, I go for a walk in the evenings. I make it a point to never miss my morning walk."

Shashikant Puri, 58

"Pollution causes ageing faster than anything else. For the past 10 years I have been spending three months of a year in the hills, and it has done wonders for me. I go for walks in the morning, tend to my garden, read good books, watch television, and socialise with the locals. The air is fresh - so much healthier."

Krishnakanth Patwardhan, 63

"Every day, after I step out from the bath, I tell myself loudly and forcefully that I am feeling fine, and am getting better and better everyday. I learnt this in a class that I had done. Try it, it works! Of course, this has to be combined with a healthy lifestyle - no smoking, vegetarian food, no excessive alcohol, and exercise."

Ajit Mohan, 64

"I bathe with room temperature water, no matter what the season. I never switch on the geyser, even in the heights of winter. I have excellent immunity, and rarely catch a cold or fall sick. I don't know if it's because of this, but ever since I started this practice - when I was in my 20s - I noticed a change in my health for the better."

Rajan Saxena, 56

"I didn't exercise at all until I suffered from my first heart attack at the age of 45. I have been very particular since. I didn't know how to swim, so I enrolled in swimming classes and learnt swimming. I now swim everyday for an hour. I think it's the best form of exercise as it tones up every part of my body. I am now 62, and feel better than I did at 45! Playing a sport is the best form of exercise."

Govardhan Lalwani, 62

"I do a form of yoga called Kunjal Neti every morning. I drink around 4 glasses of lukewarm water with a little salt, and then stick my fingers down my throat and vomit it out. This is a cleansing form of yoga and it cleans your entire system. It's best if you first do this under the guidance of a yoga master. I follow this up with Jal Neti and Sutra Neti. Yoga is the best form of exercise."

Bimol Sen Gupta, 57

"I do yoga for an hour every day, drink around 10 glasses of water, and play golf. I lead an ideal retired life, and, by the grace of god, am fit - for life!"

Rajesh Likhan, 63

Walk Of Life

Walking - it's so easy. And so cheap. You don't need any expensive equipment like golf clubs or raquets, you don't require a membership of a club, and you don't need fancy clothes like you do in tennis. all you require is a good pair of keds, and accesibility to a park. So why are you sitting at your desk? Get out there and hit the road! But first, read on to make sure you're walking right, so your efforts are not in vain and you get the maximum benefit.

1. Pick up the pace. Don't just stroll around the park as it doesn't really help. Of course, any kind of walking, slow or fast, is better than nothing at all but if you want to see some results in your health or weight, you will have to walk faster.

2. Walking faster doesn't mean taking bigger strides. It's always better to take short, quick steps instead of long strides. The next time you see a walkathon on television, observe the way the competitors are walking. Their steps are short and quick. That's the way to do it.

3. Try not to hunch or slouch. Your posture matters, as the straighter you walk, the more oxygen is entering your lungs, so remember what your mama said and - back straight! Pull your stomach in, and push your pelvis very slightly out. Now that's catwalk perfect!

4. Ever watched a Jane Fonda video? She keeps reciting one thing throughout. "Don't forget to breathe." That's right. Breathing doesn't mean taking shallow breaths. Take a deep breath - feel the oxygen fill up your lungs, and exhale. Now you're getting the hang of it!

5. Instead of swinging your arms back and forth, keep your elbows tucked in with your hands perpendicular to your body and parallel to the floor. Bounce them slightly up and down, and back and forth as you walk.

6. Don't push with your heels. Push with your toes.

Should you walk with weights?

A lot of people do carry weights in their hands while walking, but weights don't really help unless you really swing your arms vigorously. So if you're carrying weights but not really making the most of them, the result will only be that get tired faster, and will walk less. In addition, you may experiece higher blood pressure and joint pains. Thus, it's best to skip the weights, especially if you've got a history of heart trouble. If you must work with weights, do so after you've finished walking.

Identify your goal

Increased fitness

If maintaining your fitness level or increasing it slightly is your goal, you don't need to go overboard with your walking. About half an hour on a daily basis or approximately 5 times a week should suffice. Walk briskly, but not too fast. It is not required. Walk at a pace where you are comfortable keeping up with conversation.

Weight loss

Are you walking to reduce? If a slimmer you is your goal, you would need to speed up. Walk fast, and for a longer time. Try and increase your duration by a few minutes everyday. If you walk ten rounds, increase it by around ten steps everyday till you reach eleven rounds, and then twelve and so on. Make sure you walk at least five times a week.

Strengthen the heart

If you are looking at gaining aerobic and cardiovascular benefits from walking, you'll have to increase your pace drastically. Walk fast, with quick, short steps, and hands bent at the elbows in front of your chest. As with every aerobic workout, do a few stretches before starting to walk.

When should you walk?

The morning is unquestionably the best time to go for a walk. The earlier you can get out, the better. Try and catch the sunrise. While one of the best parts about walking is that it is an outdoor activity, the disadvantage is that this means you will be inhaling a lot of pollution, especially if you are living in a country like ours! You don't want to increase your fitness at the cost of your lungs, do you? Avoid the pollution and carbon monoxide by stepping out early, when pollution levels are at their lowest. If you are simply NOT a morning person and must go in the evenings, then make it a point to walk in a park or in a pollution free locality, far from the traffic. Steer clear from roads.

Walking shoes

Remember, the only investment you're going to make in this activity is a pair of walking shoes, so they might as well be good ones. Splurge, and get the best. Shoes specifically designed for walking are not just marketing gimmiks - they really do help. And ten years down the line your knees will thank you. Make sure they are flexible by twisting them around before buying them, and the minute they get old and frayed, get yourself a new pair.

Tighten Your Tummy

While there are many exercises that target the stomach, unfortunately these don't help unless they are combined with cardiovascular exercises. This is because while stomach exercises like abdominal crunches target the abs and reduce the fat, this reduction is only temporary. Excess flesh still remains, which encourages the accumulation of fat in that area. If your paunch is very slight and barely noticeable when you have clothes on, you could get away with doing just abdominal exercises. But if you have a rather large stomach, you need to combine the following abdominal exercises with an aerobic or cardiovascular workout like jogging.


Just because you've exercised today, doesn't mean you reach for that chocolate pastry without a twang of guilt. Remember, exercise should be combined with the right diet to achieve results. Don't starve yourself, eat well, and eat healthy, nutritious food. Stay away from sweets. Of course, you can nibble on the occasional desert, but don't make it a habit, even if you don't have a tendency to gain weight. It's just not good for you.


It's always confusing to remember when to inhale and when to exhale. The basic rule of thumb to follow is to INHALE when 'opening up' and EXHALE when curling up. This rule is applicable to around 90% of all exercises, and to all abdominal exercises, so by following it you can be sure that you're exercising the right way.

Stomach crunches

Almost everyone knows this basic abdominal exercise: knees bent, hands behind head, feet and lower back flat on the floor, lift torso upwards slightly and come down. Here are some basic pointers to keep in mind when performing this exercise:

  1. Don't bring your elbows close together when you lift your torso off the floor.

  2. Don't try and touch your head to your knees. You don't have to get up completely. Just lift yourself a few inches off the floor.

  3. EXHALE when lifting yourself, and INHALE when coming down.

  4. When you lift yourself, try and hold this position for a few seconds. Start with 2 seconds, and work up to 5 seconds. This is far more beneficial than doing numerous quick crunches.

  5. Gradually increase the number to sets of 10-15 crunches. Do around 5 sets. If you manage to hold each lift for a few seconds, 5 sets should be more than sufficient. Once you've mastered this, you could gradually work up to 10 sets.

Reverse crunches

1. Keep your hands flat out on your sides.

2. Lift your feet off the floor, so your knees form a 90 degree angle with your torso.

3.Using your stomach muscles, EXHALE and bring your knees forward so they touch your chest. Hold.

4. Slowly, INHALE and push them backwards till they reach the 90 degree position once again. Do 5 sets of 10-15 reverse crunches.

5. Once you've mastered the basic reverse crunch, try this: instead of bringing your knees forward, straighten one leg at a time till your toe touches the floor.

6. Slowly, work up to straightening both legs together, and brining them up again. Remember, the key is to do this slowly. (Ouch!)

Warming up and stretching

Before beginning any form of a workout, whether it is cardiovascular or spot training, it is imperative that you first warm up. Warming up could include some spot jogging, or if you are out in the open, a brisk walk. Cool down after you complete your workout, and then stretch. Stretches should be performed at the fag end of your workout, when your muscles are already warm and flexible, to reduce chances of them tearing.

And finally, some good news: abdominal exercises need not be done more than three times a week. So do them regularly, and do them right. You'll be thrilled with the results.


Swimming is an excellent exercise. Here are some tips on how to teach your child to swim:

Take your child to the pool with you. Let him play around in the water even if he can't swim. In this manner, he will get used to the pool. A lot of children are scared of water. The more your child plays in the pool, the easier it will be for him to get over this fear.

Don't push your child too hard. If he is frightened and wants to hold on to you, don't force him to swim on his own. This will only increase his dislike for the pool.

Let your child start slowly. The first thing your child should learn is floating in the water. Let him float with support, by holding on to the edge of the pool. He should spread his body straight out behind him, and kick his legs. Help him by holding his legs for him initially. Then, when he gets used to the position, leave his legs.

He should immerse his head in the water. His body should be stretched straight. Slowly, he will be able to float without kicking his legs.

Once he has achieved this, encourage him to float without support, with head underwater, hands stretched out over his head and legs straight together. Be close to him so he doesn't feel insecure in the water, and
knows that he can grab on to you if he needs to.

In order for your child to float, he has to take a deep breath and immerse his head underwater. When a person takes a deep breath, his body becomes lighter than water and he is able to float.

Make sure that your child never swims alone. There should always be someone with him, even when he learns swimming. There should be a lifeguard watching over the pool. If this facility is not available in your local clubhouse, see if you can get it implemented. Even an experienced swimmer may suffer from a sudden cramp, rendering it difficult for him to continue swimming. Thus, its best that one is not alone in a pool, unless the pool is shallow.

Your child should never pretend that he's drowning, even as a joke. Remember the tale of the dog that cried wolf once too often! Though swimming is an excellent exercise, it should be done carefully. Discourage your children from fooling around in the deep end of the pool. They should never forget the dangers of water.

Planning to go for a swim? Here's what you should do to make the most of this workout.

Before entering the pool

Do mild exercises and stretches. Take a quick shower. You don't have to use soap. This gets your circulation going and also rids your body of dirt. After all, unless you're swimming in your own personal pool, you don't want to jump in with all the muck and sweat of your body intact. It's not fair on other swimmers.

After swimming

Most pools are heavily chlorinated, and you never know what kind of infections the pool is harbouring. The minute you come out of the pool, wash your eyes well. Chlorine tends to sting the eyes.

Rinse your mouth well and clean your ears. Water gets into the ears, and if they remain unclean, you may end up with a ear infection. This is common amongst swimmers because they do not clean their ears after a

Follow up by a bath - with soap this time.

Resist the temptation of eating immediately after a swim. Light snacks are fine, but don't immediately eat something heavy. Also, avoid cold drinks. Rest for a while. Swimming is a very physically draining exercise. If you are allergic to chlorinated water, find out if there is a salt-water pool close-by.

Did You Exercise Today?

Strengthens lungs

Ever notices how your breath becomes deeper while exercising? Exercise promotes full use of the lungs, thus reducing lung and chest congestion that occurs due to lymph accumulation. It also strengthens the lungs. Breathing deeply also increases the supply of oxygen to your bloodstream, as you are inhaling more air. Thus, while exercising, make sure you're in a pollution-free environment, or you'll be inhaling more
Carbon dioxide instead!

Increases respiration reserve

Some people start gasping inordinately easily. If you are one of those people who cannot climb a flight of stairs without panting, you are in dire need of a workout. Exercise helps build respiratory reserve and a better control of your breath. The greater your respiratory reserve, the greater your capacity to exercise.

Builds muscle

Exercise helps build muscle. With improved muscle tone, you lose weight even when you are not exercising! Now isn't that good news? In addition, toned muscles look good. Of course, you don't have to develop peckers à la Salman Khan, but cutting down the flab around your upper arms and waist and developing a tight, toned look is definitely something to be desired.

Strengthens the heart

Any form of aerobic exercise increases the rate of heartbeat in a person, for the duration of the exercise. This helps strengthen the heart. Studies have shown that less active people run a three times higher risk of suffering from a heart attack. Thus, one should combine any form of exercise (yoga, stretches, weights…) with some form of aerobic exercise. In order to strengthen the heart and thus obtain the maximum benefit of aerobic exercise, the activity undertaken should be maintained at that particular level for at least twenty minutes. Thus, if you are jogging, you should try and jog at the same speed for at least twenty minutes. Of course, this will not be possible immediately and you would have to slowly build up endurance. It would be best to begin with something you could do for twenty minutes continuously - at least initially. Thus, if you can't jog for twenty minutes continuously, go for a twenty-minute long brisk walk, MAINTAINING the speed.

Burns calories

Exercise burns those excessive calories consumed, so if you indulged yourself by downing that rich chocolate pastry lathered with chocolate sauce, don't feel too guilty. Simply add an extra ten minutes to
your workout.

Aids kidneys

Sweating helps eliminate waste matter. Exercise causes an increase in perspiration, thus facilitating the elimination of toxins. In this manner, exercise also helps take some pressure off the kidneys as it helps eliminate wastes.

Improves circulation

Exercise improves blood circulation. Regular exercise also leads to an improvement in the quality of blood. Studies have shown that those who exercise on a regular basis - at least three times a week - have
improved hemoglobin, alkaline and protein levels, and have a higher red blood cell count.

Inculcates discipline

Exercise helps inculcate a sense of routine, and it increase discipline and will power. The act of getting out of the house at a particular time everyday, and spending that time in strenuous physical activity day after day without giving up, is a great character builder. Thus encourage your child to exercise. Enroll your children in tennis lessons; encourage them to take up swimming or even dance. Give them an initial push till they get accustomed to the routine. You will be glad you did.

Increases emotional strength

Exercise increases the production of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. Ever heard of something called the 'runner's high'? This is a natural 'high' generated by a rush of endorphins into the system. Thus, a person who regularly exercises rarely falls victim to problems like chronic depression. Exercise not only promotes physical well-being, but it promotes emotional well-being too. It thus leads to a harmonious and well-rounded development of a person.


No workout is complete or completely effective unless you've stretched your muscles for at least half an hour. Here's a step-by-step, quick, no-fuss-no-frills guide to performing stretches.

Rotate your joints, starting from the tips of your fingers, up to your neck and then down to your toes. Thus, you should rotate your joints in the following order:

  • Fingers
  • Wrist
  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Legs
  • Knees
  • Ankles
Rotate every joint clockwise, and then anti-clockwise, ten times in each direction.

After you've finished these basic rotations, you need to do some activity that will warm you up. This literally means that you need to perform an activity that will increase your body temperature. Remember, you should never perform stretches without first warming up, because your muscles are cold, and not as supple as when warm. This causes them to tear.

You could either:

  • Go for a brisk walk
  • Jog
  • Do some spot-jogging
  • Cycling
  • Skipping, or any other activity
The activity has to be done for a minimum of five minutes in order that you are sufficiently warmed up.

Once you are warmed up, it's time to get stretching! Start with slow, easy stretches. It's best to start with passive stretches. Passive stretches involve assuming a particular 'stretched' position, and holding it for a few seconds before letting go.

Start with your back. Sit on the ground and slowly bend forward, as much as you can manage without straining yourself, and hold this position. Try to touch your toes. Don't use jerky movements, no matter how tempted you are. Slowly, after a few weeks, you should be able to touch your head to your knees without bending them!

Next, stretch your sides. Stand up and with your hands straight above your head, bend to the left, hold, then bend to the right. Don't bend forward, or your sides will not get stretched. Push yourself back as you stretch. Keep your knees slightly bent so your back doesn't get strained.

Stretch your thigh muscles. Sit, divide your knees, hold your feet together with heels and toes touching, and bring them to your crotch. Gently bounce your knees down, trying to get them to touch the floor. This will, of course, not be possible immediately, so don't push!

Once you have reached a certain level of fitness, you could also include isometric stretches at this point. Isometric stretches target a group of muscles, and are essentially resistance-based stretches. (E.g. pushing a wall with your calf, butt clenches etc.) Isometric exercises are not recommended for children or adolescents.

After you have finished these basic stretches, it's time to perform dynamic stretches, which include swinging or arms and kicking of legs. Don't do this too vigorously, and only perform dynamic stretches after you have completed your passive stretches.

Once you've completed all your stretches, you can begin your workout, which may include an hour or 45 minutes of brisk walking or jogging. Remember to cool down after you've completed your workout. So if you have been walking briskly, walk slowly for 5 minutes before stopping. Perform a few more low-intensity stretches, and you're done!

If possible, try and schedule a massage twice or thrice a week, which could follow your workout.

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