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Health Special: How to stay fit in your thirties

For men, the thirties is a crucial decade. It's when priorities change. Apart from plans to start a family, it's also when fitness should matter. So, before knee pains and receding hairlines take over, we tell you how to kick start a healthy lifestyle, at the right time

Thirties are a crucial decade in our lives. And we aren't the only one saying it. There are several studies and research papers, stating why the 30s are so important. Some such papers conclude: it's the decade where you are likely to be the happiest (aged 33) and when you are likely to have most affairs; it's also the decade when you are going to be least satisfied at work. It's also the decade, in which, if you are not careful, by the end of it, the tell-tale signs of aging may become more prominent — from weakened knees, reduced metabolism, to a receding hair line, warns nutritionsit Karishma Chawla.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal against Manchester United in July 2015. Pic/Getty images
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal against Manchester United in July 2015. Pic/Getty images

The problem areas
"People spend most of their 20s doing a lot of things wrong — right from excessive alcohol consumption and irregular food habits to lack of sleep. The effects may not show initially, but they can lead to some serious problems in the later decades including the 30s," says Chawla.

So, before it's too late, make sure that you don't leave your house before eating breakfast. Yoga and weight management expert, Dr Amrapali Patil echoes a similar thought. She says, "Most of us spend the 20s building our career. And often, we ignore breakfast and/or skip lunches to meet deadlines. But you can't continue with the same lifestyle in your 30s. The years of neglect have already weakened your system, and continuing with it will only make things worse."

And considering 30s is the decade, when most of us tend to settle down and start a family, staying healthy and fit becomes even more necessary. Something, which fitness trainer Nupur Shikhare, who has trained Aamir Khan and Sushmita Sen, claims, may not be very difficult to achieve. "We often tend to take fitness as a very tough task. The truth, however, is that it's not. Yes, it requires dedication and discipline, but then what doesn't," he says.

The Solution
Still, after spending 12 hours at work, heading to a gym would be the last thing in anybody's mind. Right? "It's true," says Shikhare. However, he informs that the trick always is to turn fitness into an activity that one would enjoy, and not consider it as another daily task.

"I wouldn't advise one to head straight to the gym after a lack of physical activity for decade. The best thing one can do is finding an activity that would help you release stress and also stay fit. It could be anything such as swimming, tennis, badminton, football or simply walking. It would not only help you stay fit, but would also put your mind at ease and help de-stress," he adds.

There are also modified yoga routines, that Dr Patil informs one can perform right at their work desk. "There are several meditative asanas that one can perform right on their office chair, or with slight movement. One can do Sukhasana (sitting pose) and Anulom Vilom Pranayam (breathing exercise) to relax, arm stretches to exemplify breathing, and sitting Vakrasana (Check box in the left) among others to release the stiffness of the back," she suggests.

Shikhare informs that the biggest obstacle in getting fit is clearing the mindset. "All of us think that there's a fix time for exercise, but this is untrue. One can exercise any time they want, whether it's in the morning, afternoon, late night or just the 5-10 minutes break at work."

Dr Amrapali Patil on yoga at work

Dr Amrapali

>> Sukhasana: Sit straight with your back and neck erect and chin up parallel to the ground. Close your eyes and keep your arms by the side. Now, put your palms intertwined on top of each other in your lap. Focus on  your breathing and inhale and exhale completely. This asana calms your mind and helps to breathe better. Generally, we breathe only from the chest, but with Sukhasana you also breathe with your stomach.
>> Alternate Nostril breathing: You can also modify Sukhasana with Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing). It takes three to four minutes. Breathe through alternate nostrils, start from the right, and exhale from the left. This decreases cortisol levels and gives you a happy feeling by increasing the
endorphin levels. It's good for de-stressing.
>> Arm stretch: Sit on your chair (a non-revolving one and without wheels). Sit straight as in Sukhasana, now clasp both your hands and lean backwards. This will help open the rib cage and improves the intake of oxygen. It can be done standing, as well as sitting. Most of the time, our lungs have stale air, which results in yawning. Arm Stretch enables complete breathing. So one is able to use the lungs to their maximum. It revitalises the body and reduces stress.
>> Sitting Vakrasan: This is a spinal twisting posture. Sit straight as in Sukhasana. Place one of your left hand on the back of the chair, and the right arm on  the arm rest. Now, tilt your back towards the back of the chair, very gently, as if looking backwards. Here, the neck should be straight and the legs have to be in the front. Only the torso will turn. Repeat the same movement with your right arm.

NOTE: Some yoga asanas and exercises need to be conducted under supervision. Please consult with a yoga expert or a fitness trainer before trying these at home.

Karishma Chawla on nutrition

Karishma Chawla

>> Never skip your breakfast. If you don't find time to eat, make sure you have some biscuits in the morning.
>> Eat at least five times a day. And if you can't, don't make up for the lost meal by overeating in the next meal.
>> If you still can't manage to eat in time, ensure that you keep some meal replacements with you. (Meal replacements are dietary replacements for solid food, available in the form of a drink, a bar or a  soup. Meal replacements have controlled quantity of calories and nutrients).
>> Always keep items such groundnut as snacks.
>> If you have been facing weight gain recently, avoid greasy stuff, and lower your intake of fat.

Nupur Shikare's fitness tips

Nupur Shikare

>> Take a 10-minute break from work for a walk. It will help you clear your mind as well as help loosen up your muscles.
>> Include small activities such as touching your toes in between work to get rid of any stiffness.
>> Do not worry if you find it difficult to attend gyms. You can always go for sports activities. Try an activity that you would enjoy be it badminton, tennis, football, swimming or simply walking. Make sure you do it at least thrice a week.  Besides, including a sports activity is also a good way to build up your stamina before hitting the gym.
>> You can build up stamina with exercises such as walks, sit ups, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges orshort quick runs.

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