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.


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 !!


Vijay Srinivasan
2nd February 2014

Fruits, Nuts, and a Little………

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


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


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


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 !


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.


Vijay Srinivasan
23rd November 2013

Gymmatics – An Update

If I do not hit the gym for a single day, I don’t feel that good during that day.

It is a bit of slow down which happens when there is no physical activity.

I go to the gym for at least 6 out of 7 days of the week, and during some weeks I go on all 7 days of the week.

That translates to 21.18 KMs on the treadmill over a typical week, and 960 Calories expended. That is not much, compared to what a more aggressive runner will deliver in a typical week. I would estimate a typical runner does some 30 KMs of running in a week and expends more than 2,500 calories doing that. But that is only my guesstimate.

Each day I go on the treadmill, I spend 36 minutes on it, and some 5 minutes warming up for it. After that exercise, I release the tension in the leg muscles by some exercise and then walk off.

This schedule has been doing good for me. The only variation that I have seen is the impact on the heart beat rate during a normal day, as compared to the previous day when I have had an alcoholic drink like couple of glasses of wine. If there is alcohol intake the previous evening, the heart rate as measured on the treadmill the next morning is elevated. Instead of reaching some 118 heartbeats at the max, I tend to add another 10 heartbeats to the max, sometime even touching 130.

I have been seeing evidence of this behaviour for some time, and I am now convinced that there is a direct correlation.

I am reducing the intake as much as possible, to ensure that the heart rate remains within 120 at the peak point of the treadmill exercise.

I thought it would be good to report this in a blog post.

In any case, I have no plan to reduce the daily morning gym activity. I believe it helps in a big way.


Vijay Srinivasan
17th November 2013

A Website and A President

What is happening in the U.S. Government is rather amusing.

The most technologically savvy country in the world is not able to set up and run a website – HealthCare.Gov – though one should acknowledge it is a complex B2C Exchange, or a Marketplace for Insurance.

The President of the U.S. went public and claimed that the site would start operating from 1st November, but it did not work seamlessly for most Americans who wanted to check their status on Insurance and possibly select a new one. After spending hundreds of millions of dollars, the system is not able to handle the purpose for which it has been set up.

No wonder both parties are clamouring for heads to roll in the aftermath of this rather public disaster. But President Obama has resisted calls for action against individuals responsible for the site’s operation.

Though the new date for the full operation of the site is somewhere around end of November, the President is reticent about making a fresh public commitment, indicating he does not yet have full confidence.

The political cost for the President and the Democrats could be much higher than what is being perceived – the credibility of the Government and the Obamacare legislation is being questioned by people all over. The Republicans must now be laughing their way to the next elections, though they were equally burnt by the Stop Government campaign which failed recently.

The potential implications for the world will also not go unnoticed. With multiple foreign policy challenges facing the White House, and serious internal policy issues, the President can expect some rather tough time in the coming months.

In a recent interview with NBC News, the President said “I’ve been burned already with a website” – I have never heard such a statement from any minister or even a government bureaucrat, anywhere in the world. And this is the President of the U.S., mind you.

How the White House tackles this most serious problem affecting millions of Americans and how the Americans are able to leverage the website to buy insurance before end of March 2014, would determine where the President and the Democrats are headed. It is going to be rather interesting, as a website would now decide the fate of so many important people in the U.S., and also affect various other U.S. Government initiatives, and may be even foreign policy matters in terms of the priority allocated to them !

Welcome to the new world of power mongering websites !


Vijay Srinivasan
9th November 2013

Relaxed Company with Laughter

Relaxation and Laughter are two key things in life that most of us miss.

It is difficult to relax in this hyper-competitive world.

Things move so fast, people are aggressive, situations become challenging, customers are demanding, economies are rapidly transforming, personal lives have become more and more complex, and so on and so forth.

So, one’s mind is so pre-occupied. Sometimes, I find it difficult to listen to someone unless I concentrate intensely – not an unusual problem. This is because the mind is distracted into several other voices hounding one, all at the same time, demanding our attention.

How does one deal with such a situation ?

One thing I find very useful is to follow the Japanese.

You may wonder why. How is Japanese relevant to this topic ?

Very relevant, it turns out. May be I am not the first person to discover this linkage between mind relaxation and the Japanese way of life. However, I have maintained this idea ever since I met my first Japanese boss in the mid nineties.

The Japanese do one thing at a time, and they do it exceedingly well. They will surely not be able to do multiple things at the same time, and then end up doing all of them badly. The secret of their success is their extreme focus and concentration to get one thing executed very well.

I am yet to find another nationality who has that kind of devotion to a perfect execution.

And when one has that kind of intensity and executes so well, then the mind is free to relax after such an execution. It has to, so that it can get ready for the next intense execution of a job. Think about it for a moment, and you will see what I mean here. Between bouts of perfect execution, you can train your mind to relax. This is a much better scenario than the one I described above, where the mind is challenged by multiple tasks simultaneously, and then you give a slice of your mind all at the same time to each one of these tasks, degrading effective execution of all the tasks.

Interesting, isn’t it ?

I can go on writing about this topic, because I have observed the Japanese in close quarters and learnt the secret of their success in whatever endeavour they undertake.

The other aspect of relaxation is laughter.

When you are in the midst of close friends and engage in good-natured banter, then you will see that your mind is gradually relaxing itself. Laughter is a great medicine as well – it calms your nerves and destresses your facial muscles. You kind of get a feeling of goodness, with good harmones flooding all over you. I always feel very good when I am cracking a joke and making people laugh, and when I laugh at myself for my silly mistakes and interpretations.

Laughter is a critical part of the mind relaxation exercise that we all should engage in.

All told, have a relaxed company with good laughter, and that would make a big difference to your mental well-being.


Vijay Srinivasan
15th Sep 2013

Gymmatics Update

It has been a long while since I last gave an update of my gymmatics.

Of course, I have been going to the gym regularly, almost all days of the week and the weekend as well, except when I travel. It has been good going, with an average of 3.52 KMs per day. On a typical week when I am not travelling, I therefore walk on the treadmill for a total of 24.64 KMs over 7 days of the week. Not bad, eh ?

While it is not bad, it could be better if I could potentially run on the treadmill, or run on the pavement instead of the treadmill. Running raises the heart rate, though the daily walk on the treadmill raises the heart rate as well – in my case, it hits an average of 120 bpm, sometimes, it even hits 126 bpm. You have to watch the heart beat rate carefully, as it cannot exceed a specific number that is tied to your age.

However, with all that, I have missed out doing weights for some time now. I should start that again. It requires a bit more time and planning than the treadmill. At my previous place, the gym was fabulous; not so in my new place. I could do 60 minutes easily, but now I do only a total of 40 minutes in the treadmill.

It’s not bad at all, and I encourage all to develop and stick to a discipline when you wish to hit the gym. Time discipline is very critical – here I mean, the daily start time of gym activity which cannot be switched around depending on convenience – it should be the same time everyday for a consistent performance; the other time factor is of course the duration of the work out.

If the above two timings are kept the same everyday, and then you do virtually the same everyday at the gym, then you would find significant improvement in your health and the manner in which you approach your job or company or associates or friend or family.

It is a healthy thing to do, the right thing to do for maintaining your health and positive attitude towards life, repeatedly and consistently. Try to start a rhythm in the gym if you haven’t yet done so.


Vijay Srinivasan
25th August 2013


I thought that this will be a good place to share some good experiences on diet biscuits.

I had been searching for sugar-free biscuits and cookies for a while. While I found sugar-free chocolates, it has been sometime since I last found a decent sugar-free biscuit.

Recently, I chanced upon the Voortman Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies from Canada from Voortman Cookies Ltd., who manufacture the cookies in Canada. I did not want to have Aspartame as the sweetener in the cookies, since it has been known to cause cancer according to some research studies which I am not quoting here (Aspartame is present in Equal sugar, which is widely used). I have been trying to avoid Aspartame and shift to Splenda as an alternative sweetener with hopefully no side effects.

So when I found that the Voortman cookies do not use the Aspartame but use Maltitol which is a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute, I did my research. Maltitol is generally considered safe, though in quantities more than 100 grams it might cause a laxative effect. The good point is that it is even more slowly absorbed than sucrose (another sugar substitute) which makes it more suitable for diabetics. Further it has only half as much calories as does normal sugar.

The decision to buy the Voortman cookies was made easier by the research. There are always pros and cons, however I made a judgement call here finally. I wanted to eat some cookies occasionally – like one every couple of days (!) and so, I wanted to get some worthwhile cookies which I can keep in the fridge (!!).

The Voortman Chocolate Chip Fudge Cookies did not disappoint – these were almost as sweet as real sugar based cookies, and I was even a bit worried that it might actually be sugar ! Hopefully not !!

As per the wrapper on the Voortman cookies, the total fat content is some 7% and one cookie of 20 grams provides 90 calories of which the calories from just fat is 50. The saturated fat content is 6% which I thought is reasonable (how do I know ?!!!). Cholesterol is 0%, Sugars is 0 grams, and sugar alcohol is 4 grams. Sodium is 2% and total carbs is 4% – looks like all of these are from dietary fiber and sugar alcohol.

In any case, I think the Voortman cookies are worth a try – I just picked up one, and am sure will go back for more – may be the almond cookies this time !


Vijay Srinivasan
10th August 2013

Avoid Cans

Courtesy: Ashraf, my secondary school classmate

A stock clerk was sent to clean up a storeroom in Maui , Hawaii .When he got back, he was complaining that the storeroom was really filthy and that he had noticed dried mouse/rat droppings in some areas. A couple of days later, he started to feel like he was coming down with stomach flu, complained of sore joints and headaches, and began to vomit. He went to bed and never really got up again. Within two days he was severely ill and weak. His blood sugar count was down to 66, and his face and eyeballs were yellow. He was rushed to the hospital where h e was diagnosed to be suffering from massive organ failure. He died shortly before midnight. No one would have made the connection between his job and his death, had it not been for a doctor who specifically asked if he had been in a warehouse or exposed to dried rat/mouse droppings at any time. They said there is a virus (much like the Hanta virus) that lives in dried rat and mouse droppings. Once dried, these droppings are like dust and can easily be breathed in or ingested if a person does not wear protective gear or fails to wash face and hands thoroughly. An autopsy was performed on the clerk to verify the doctor’s suspicions.

This is why it is extremely important to ALWAYS carefully rinse off the tops of canned sodas or foods, and to wipe off pasta packaging, cereal boxes, and so on. Almost everything you buy in a supermarket was stored in a warehouse at one time or another, and stores themselves often have rodents. Most of us remember to wash vegetables and fruits but never think of boxes and cans.

The ugly truth is, even the most modern, upper-class, super store has rats and mice. And their warehouse most assuredly does! Whenever you buy any canned soft drink, please make sure that you wash the top with running water and soap or, if that is not available, drink with a straw.

The investigation of soda cans by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta discovered that the tops of soda cans can be encrusted with dried rat’s urine, which is so toxic it can be lethal. Canned drinks and other foodstuffs are stored in warehouses and containers that are usually infested with rodents, and then they get transported to retail outlets without being properly cleaned.

Take care, and avoid canned drinks.

Courtesy: Ashraf, my secondary school classmate


Vijay Srinivasan
4th August 2013