Q: I am 32 years old. My weight is 69kg and height is 5 feet 4-inches. I often feel lethargic and think it is because of my age. Please give me an exercise plan. Maha
A: Dear Maha, as the saying goes, you’re only as old as you feel. Fatigue is a common complaint, especially after people hit middle age. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to boost energy. Some even slow the aging process. Here’s how to refill your tank when your energy levels sputter. Fatigue and lethargy is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anaemia, thyroid and sleeplessness. You must visit your physician at the earliest to rule out any underlying pathology or illness. Another thing you may try out when you are tired is physical activity, enhancing your activity level and exercising, as it boosts energy levels. Exercise is linked to an improved quality of life along with a greater sense of self-confidence. Exercise also improves the working efficiency of your cardio-respiratory and musculoskeletal system. Although most forms of exercises are good, but yoga may be effective, especially for improving flexibility and relieve you from aching muscles. Aerobics and cardio workouts can help your heart and lungs to get conditioned, and resistance training may help you in improving the strength of muscles and joints. Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents and is one of the leading causes of daytime fatigue. It is advisable for you to go to bed early enough to get a full night’s sleep. You need at least seven to eight hours of sound sleep at night. If you do fall short, take a brief afternoon nap. Napping restores wakefulness and promotes performance and learning. A 10-minute nap is usually enough to boost energy. Don’t nap longer than 30 minutes, or you may have trouble sleeping at night. You may benefit by eating a balanced diet and by having smaller meals more frequently during the day. This may help to steady your blood sugar level. You may take whole grain cereals, poultry, low-fat milk and eggs; lean meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, pulses, legumes; barbecue, boiled, steamed, and baked forms of foods. Dehydration is another factor that may cause lethargy, lowering your concentration levels. Keep yourself hydrated all day long to keep yourself physically alert.
Q: I am 22 years old and need to gain some weight because I am extremely thin. My weight is 42kg and height is 5 feet 7-inches. Please provide me a detailed diet plan that can help me gain weight. Zara
A: Dear Zara, being underweight can lead to many health issues for an individual such as weak immune systems, decreased muscle mass, unhealthy hair, skin and nails, weak bones and the inability to menstruate. Gaining weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can decrease the probability of these health issues. You should look for healthy ways to gain weight, rather than gaining weight by increasing fat on your body. You may follow the diet plan given below, but don’t forget that you also need to do some exercises to improve your activity level. An active lifestyle is the key, be it either way – to gain weight or reduce it. Balanced eating with increased calories and regular exercise can help you achieve your goals.
Breakfast: 1.5 cups oatmeal, 100ml skim milk, 1/2 cup dried cranberries/ strawberries/ blueberries/ raisins, 1tbsp flax oil (cinnamon flavoured flax oil works well with oatmeal too)
Mid-morning snack: 100ml milkshake prepared with skim milk, 1 large piece of fruit, 1 slice bran bread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1 low-fat cheese stick
Lunch: 2 cups egg salad on 2 wholewheat pitas, 120 gm grilled chicken/ fish
Afternoon snack: 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese, 1 cup blueberries, 1tbsp honey
Dinner: 75gm grilled salmon, 1 large sweet potato baked, 1 cup kidney beans, 1 cup skim milk
Post-dinner snack: 100ml fresh juice, 2 medium-sized bananas
Q: My height is 4 feet 9-inches and weight is 50kg. I am an 18-year-old girl and feel very embarrassed due to my short height and excess weight. Please suggest an exercise plan that can help me counter both the problems simultaneously. Thank you. Mahrukh
A: Dear Mahrukh, firstly, your height is primarily defined by genetics. It is your genetic make up that largely decides how tall you will be. There are other contributing factors also like proper nutrition, sleep patterns, and physical activity. However, their role in your height development is not as significant as genetics. Your pituitary gland secretes Human Growth Hormone (HGH) that is responsible for muscle and bone growth, fat metabolism and body composition. This usually happens around puberty, around which most people have growth spurts that usually start between the ages of 12 and 13, and continue for five to six years. Some people may continue to grow even after this, so you may get some positive results by taking appropriate steps. Giving your body the right fuel will improve the functioning of all your systems. Increased circulation, higher metabolic rates, stronger and longer bones – these are all by-products of eating right. All you need to opt for is a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, proteins and carbohydrates. Exercise stimulates the nerve ends that are directly associated with the pituitary gland. The gland then secretes more HGH, and this can lead to an increase in height even after the typical growth ages. You may follow the exercise plan given below on alternate days of the week.
Mon/ Wed/ Fri:
Warm up: 5-7.5 min; spot jog/ aerobic steps/ moderate pace.
Resistance training: 10-12 reps; 2-3 sets; 30-60 sec rest after each set.
Chest press machine; seated cable rows; leg press; leg curls seated; plank while holding for 5-10 seconds.
Cardio training: Moderate pace
10 min M.B; 10 min Elliptical; 5 min T.M run.
Cool down: 5min; R. Bike
Stretch: All major muscle groups; hold the stretched position for 15-20 seconds.