Category: Health

Walk Improvement


New research indicates that brisk walking for just 20 minutes will do the trick for improving one’s cardiovascular health. I am not able to cite that research here, but am sure you would be able to find that in a couple of minutes on the web.

The same research says that during that brisk walk, race your heart for some 30 seconds are so and then keep walking. I thought this meant that I have to run for some 30 seconds every couple of hundred metres of brisk walking. I have started doing this regularly in the morning, and the result has been good.

So, it works this way – I warm up the muscles for some 3 minutes or so, then start walking briskly early morning time; after 200 metres or so of such brisk walking, I start running (not very fast) for 30 seconds or so (need not be accurate – don’t look at your watch or phone !), and then stop and start walking briskly again. I repeat this over 2,000 metres and 30 minutes every morning.

This has made me feel better than the usual walk, and I believe that the research may be correct, though I do not have quantitative data to support the research. Periodic racing of the heart for a very short duration is considered to be good exercise for the heart and nothing more is needed, as per the research. There are many articles on the web which talk in detail about the benefits of brisk walking as compared to intense running. It is apparent that brisk walkers enjoy the same, if not better benefits as compared to the runners. What the heart needs is just an intense, short duration workout every day, and give that to the heart !

I am sure now that this is what the doctor ordered, and I am following this workout most of the days during the week. During weekends, I take a more leisurely beach walk, since that is devoted to discussing worldly affairs with my partner. Nevertheless, even such an “aerobic” walk is helpful for both physical and mental health.

Do something folks, get up and walk !

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

1st March 2015

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Fruits Shopping


Since I take mostly fruits every morning, I spend quite some time once every fortnight shopping for a variety of fruits. It is a personal pleasure, and adds to the de-stressing effects of fruits.

You may ask why. Fruits provide a kind of pleasure other types of foods do not provide. They provide a multi-sensory experience, including colour, fragrance, taste and fulfillment; apart from very less calories and high level of nutrients.

But the most important part of the fruits experience is two-fold: one is the experience of shopping and the other is the cutting of fruits. I enjoy shopping around with an exclusive focus: just fruits ! It is unlike other shopping trips. A single-minded focus to investigate the different varieties of fruits available, try almost every one of them, and spend time in the whole process. It takes me close to 45 minutes or sometimes even more, to complete my fruits shopping.

The more interesting part, however, is the cutting of fruits (which I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts on de-stressing). It is quite an art, involves concentration, and a selection of fruits which would fill a plate with differing impact. I cut slowly, to ensure I get the right kind of pieces (of apples, pears, kiwis, strawberries, guavas, plums, nectarines, apricots, et al), and once I am satisfied with the look and the fullness of the plate of fruits, I sprinkle cinnamon powder on it, and add some nuts such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts. I further add some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Overall, it usually looks good and “full” for the morning breakfast (almost every day except when I travel). This cutting and dressing exercise takes some 20 – 25 minutes and is an excellent way to de-stress without thinking of anything else. Just the fruits.

I believe this fruits breakfast is healthy and wholesome though many folks disagree that there are no real carbohydrates. I realize that and sometimes I take half the quantity of fruits and supplement the same with a toast of multi-grain brown bread (toasted in olive oil). I guess this combination is good for almost everyone.

So, overall, the fruits shopping and cutting combine together to give an excellent de-stressing experience to me. And, I have been following this process wherever I lived and it has worked well for me. I suggest this to some of my friends but they usually laugh it off as a fad, and continue with their rather heavy breakfast (in Singapore, that usually includes rice in the morning).

Well, no gain without pain. Some work is required to achieve less stress and a better breakfast !

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
30th August 2014

Walk along ECP


This morning I went for a long walk with my wife along the East Coast Parkway. We have done this a few times, and I have always enjoyed these walks. Apart from the serenity of the place, its cleanliness and discipline of the cyclists and joggers have always impressed me.

Of course, the long walk also gives an opportunity to talk things over with your partner !

The East Coast Park is probably 20 KMs long, and you can choose whichever section works for you. Some sections are straight and monotonous, some are curving and touching water bodies, etc.,

The issue is always the weather. Even at 6 AM, the humidity is rather high, and one wonders if his/her physical effort or the humidity which is causing the sweat in the first instance. At 7 AM it is quite warm, and it is better to get back home after that. I don’t understand how people are jogging during mid-morning times, when the temperatures cross 32 deg Celsius.

Nevertheless, long walks are always a good thing to do, and I would prefer these to the treadmill walks which put stress on your knees. Natural gait and walk are always the best thing to do, and I do that five times a week. The minimum distance that I walk is 3 KMs – while that is less than what I do on the treadmill, I find that to be healthier and engrossing as I tend to absorb the surroundings while walking. On the treadmill, one keeps looking at the numbers flashing on the display, and trying to keep up all the while to ensure that the numbers are ever increasing while the heart beat is either constant or decreasing.

Well, natural walk in a brisk manner, covering at least 1 to 1.2 KMs every 10 minutes or so (or faster), is one of the best ways to keep your body in good mood for the rest of the day. I have learnt it after a long while, but it has been working for me for the past few years.

I encourage everyone to do it, but many folks don’t wish to get up early and do this stuff. Morning is the best time for brisk walk, not after a tiring day in the evening time.

These are my thoughts and actions, and hope the approach will help you, Mr. Reader of this blog post.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
25th May 2014

Continuing the Exercise Pattern


I believe that the most important parameter of a healthy feeling is to maintain consistency in whatever we do on a daily, routine basis.

There should not be radical changes in one’s life pattern.

And that principle applies to exercise.

Whether be it gym, jogging, walking, home exercises, or yoga, one has to practice the same consistently and daily.

That is the secret to obtaining the best results from the time invested into such exercises.

While I try to maintain consistency, I could reach only between 80 to 90% of maintaining a routine regular schedule due to my travels, during which I find it is rather difficult to go to the hotel gym in the morning, and evenings are occupied by client dinners.

I think that % is a good enough achievement, as I know of many people who struggle to hit even 50% consistency.

Of course, achieving it 100% is the best investment as then the body expects and receives the treatment it deserves, and then delivers the health that we all so badly need to run a happy life.

I hope I am making sense here.

I recently recalibrated my work-out sessions.

At the gym (which I go to only on Saturdays and Sundays), I do the treadmill and light weights for 50 minutes, and I have maintained the drill without much change. On the treadmill, I do 3.5 KMs and expend around 180+ calories, with average heart rate around 115.

While I go walking around my place on weekday mornings, I do approximately 3.0 KMs in 30 minutes.

This pattern has continued for long, and nowadays I feel a bit down if I do not carry out this exercise. If I exercise in the same pattern, then I feel “good”.

So, I continue my exercise pattern, and I hope you do too.

Nothing replaces exercise for achieving good health – not medicines, not reading, not chatting. One got to exercise. And, exercise daily.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
5th April 2014

Persimmons – better than Apples


I have always loved to eat the persimmon fruit. Not available in India, but has been available in Singapore for as long as I can recall. Initially, I used to see persimmons from China, and of late more persimmons from the Sharon valley of Israel.

Persimmons are a great and healthy fruit, the only downside being that their availability is limited to the period December to March (at least that is the case in Singapore). A box of 9 persimmons from Sharon valley costs a little less than USD 3 in Singapore. I am sure it is going to be cheaper in Israel !

I have tried both the China persimmons and the Sharon valley persimmons. Though the fruit originated in China, my vote goes to the sweeter and fleshier persimmons from Sharon.

Let us look at the health benefits of persimmons. While there are many, a quick summary as follows (as adopted from “Nutrition and You”):

1. Rich source of Dietary Fiber (more than that of apple)
2. Low in calories
3. Contains anti-oxidants and anti-tumour compounds
4. Good source of Vitamin C and many B-Complex Vitamins
5. Contains minerals such as manganese, phosphorous, copper, and potassium, all beneficial to our health

Without going too much into the biological and chemical terms, the above list summarizes the benefits of persimmons. It is a fabulous fruit with a fantastic sweet taste, but somehow I could not convince my kids to go for it. We should all try this fruit, and my only regret is that it is not available right through the year.

Try it soon ! Before it is gone for the year !!

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
2nd February 2014

Fruits, Nuts, and a Little………


You thought it is “a Little Exercise………..”, right ?

No.

Of course, exercise is very important and I exercise 5 to 6 days a week, as I have blogged in my “gymmatics” series of posts over the past couple of years.

Here, I meant “alcohol” – a moderate amount of alcohol is better than not having it at all, or having a lot of it !

Recent studies have shown that moderate amount of alcohol, in the form of beer or some red wine, is not a bad thing at all.

I am not going to quote the recently published studies in the U.K., as that is for the medical fraternity to decipher.

I focus heavily on Fruits, Plant Nuts, Exercise and some Alcohol (in the form of wine only 90% of the time !).

I have all kinds of fruits, though some of them have a high sugar content. My favourite ones are:

1. Pear
2. Apple
3. Grapes (red)
4. Persimmon
5. Cherries
6. Blueberries
7. Plums
8. Kiwi
9. Dragon Fruit (occasionally)

Plant Nuts:

1. Almonds
2. Peanuts
3. Pistachios
4. Cashew
5. Walnuts

Alcohol:

Red or White Wine – 1 to 2 glasses, 3 times a week
Occasional Beer

Exercise:

40 minutes on the treadmill
Very moderate weights

With the above combination on a regular, consistent manner, you would find a great difference in your health parameters. It takes time, but it works all the time !

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
14th December 2013

Discovery of the unwellness


Only when one is not really feeling well, true emotions come out.

Especially when one is not physically feeling well, even in a light manner, one tends to come down mentally and emotionally. Especially in a person who is otherwise mostly well most of the time.

That is what happened to me this past week.

I went down after some good natured get-together. I got a headache, mild body pain and then some fever. It worsened day after day.

Since I am not used to getting such instances of unwellness, I felt really uncomfortable. I felt drowsy since I took the cough syrup to quell some mild coughing. I felt drugged since I took a series of medicines to reduce headache and body pain. It kind of lingered on for almost 4 miserable days.

I tried to take honey drops in warm water but did not see any effect.

Two things finally helped me out of my situation – some 10 glasses of mildly warm water a day and corn soup !

I thought of sharing this, as my kind of situation might actually be common. Tonight I am having clear soup with vegetables. In the evening I had two cubes of dark chocolates to perk me up. It helped !!

So, finally I discovered the true nature of unwellness. May be I was in this situation a few years ago. This is not a recurring scenario in my case.

The ability to devise a solution which is of a non-medical nature is lacking and I had to engineer a solution working with my wife. The unwellness is now slowly disappearing, but it established one thing – when one gets older, things take longer to settle down or cool off.

In any case, this has been a new learning for me.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
23rd November 2013