#Exercises for staying #mentally #fit

Staying fit mentally is as important as maintaining our physical health. It is vital to exercise our brain regularly just like we exercise the rest of our body.

Exercises for staying mentally fit

According to studies, physical activity and brain exercise programs help reduce anxiety and depression in individuals. Moreover, such programs also play a key role in enhancing the plasticity of the brain which is its ability to continue to develop and change throughout your life. Due to this unique physical process of brain plasticity, people can grow and develop their mental capacities throughout their lifetime. There are various ways by which you can stimulate your brain to strengthen its functioning and remain fit mentally. Read on…

Solving puzzles: Did you know that brain growth in humans is a continuous process? Even in old age, studies have shown that the brain can rewire itself and grow new neurons or brain cells. Whatever, age-related memory loss occurs is due to the lack of adequate mental stimulation. Stimulating your brain with crossword puzzles or Sudoku helps to improve brain function and prevent any form of cognitive decline. According to Cognitive Rx, such exercises particularly help to improve your left brain function which uses logic, knows facts and is detail oriented. You can even add complexity to such exercises by choosing puzzles with hidden themes.

Strategy games: Games of strategy like card games or board games are regarded as great brain stimulators. This is because they enable a person to think in logical patterns. With advancement of technology, computer or gaming systems also offer a great opportunity to challenge one’s cognitive functions. However, it is imperative to avoid playing the same games at all times. Strategy games should be subjected to frequent alterations in terms of nature of the games and complexity.

Cardiovascular fitness: An effective way to boost your mental fitness is by indulging in cardio trainings. Besides improving your mental health, such form of exercises also prevents the fall of brain cells with age. Hence, cardio workouts are regarded as a great way to prevent age-related memory loss like Alzheimer’s disease.

Neurobic exercises: These exercises involve intentional stimulation of the brain for increased mental fitness and flexibility. Wondering what is so specific about these exercises? For an exercise to be regarded as neurobic, it involves using more than one of your senses at a time for performing an ordinary work. Taking a shower with your eyes closed or using only visual cues while eating are all examples of neurobic training. This also involves breaking routine habits in an unexpected, novel way like taking a new route to work.

Relaxation techniques: The beneficial effects of relaxation techniques for stree relief have been known since a long time. Merely grabbing a few extra hours of sleep is not sufficient to combat stress. You need to activate the natural relaxation process of your body with the help of specific techniques. This involves practicing deep breathing techniques, meditation, visualization, rhythmic exercises and yoga postures. All these fitness modules will enable you to overcome stress when it becomes overwhelming at times.

(Source: Livestrong.com, Learning Rx, Helpguide.org, Influence of Exercise on Mental Health report)

#Evening #walk: A #great option!

A brisk evening walk can go a long way in helping you stay fighting fit.

In an era of hectic lifestyles and intense work pressure, it may not be possible to get up early in the morning. However, that need not dampen your spirits, because there is always evening walk that can come to your rescue! A brisk walk in the evening, for as little as 40 minutes a day, will go a long way in keeping you fighting fit and happy. So, all you need to do is take out that one hour without fail from your daily routine. Walking briskly right after a meal isn’t advisable, as that can harm your body. The good thing about walking in the evening is that all your muscles have had the entire day to warm up, so you do not need to work extra hard for the same.

And apart from the positive impact it has on your body (do it religiously for about three months, and you can feel the difference not just in terms of weight, but also stamina!), it also makes you feel way better mentally. It rejuvenates all your senses and makes stress and tiredness go away. It also reduces the risk of hypertension and other diseases. Slowly, you can also work towards improving your speed.

Source: TOI Lifestyle News

#Fitness #tips every #woman needs to try

Most women are not fond of gym workouts. They prefer walking. If you look around in most gyms, you will find a higher number of men as compared to women, but some still force themselves to work out when it becomes a health issue. Another reason is if they have to shape up before their wedding or for a family wedding. Not surprisingly, the motivation is lost once the event is over. Then they bounce back and regain all the lost weight and a bit more, and then it’s only uphill. They feel they’ve reached a point of no return.

f8678d8d3b10db7ff5ea7a3c0fe0efc7The situation becomes worse if they are married with kids. With the everyday stress and strain of managing work, family and responsibilities, a woman has no personal time at all. Following a fitness schedule does not even feature anywhere on her priority list. The excuse – ‘I don’t have time!’

But the woman who is genuinely concerned about her weight and health is looking for a solution. So what does she do? Here are practical tips to help you stay fit and lose weight.

How to find time for exercise

The best practice would be to wake up half an hour early and exercise. If that’s not possible then a late evening workout should suffice. Those who have never worked out before can start with a 15-minute walk at a normal pace. Gradually increase the pace and duration.

Once you are used to walking and start enjoying it, try to incorporate other forms of workouts. Some of you might even enjoy working out in a gym. Beginners who prefer working out at home would do well with a personal trainer for a few months.

Those who have exercised before can do surya namaskars, squats, lunges, toe touching exercises, push-ups, dips and crunches a few days a week. It would also be a good idea to get a few home workout videos. But be careful and don’t overdo. You may end up with injuries and be put off by workouts forever.

The bottom line is to do something that you enjoy and can sustain for long. Exercising should become a part of your life. Besides weight loss, exercise is a great way to charge you up for the day ahead or to and wind up your day.

Working out at work

Some women spend a lot of time commuting to and fro from work. In addition, they even have to cook the family dinner, while some others have to look into their children’s studies too. These women can perform short bouts of exercise at work. Research has shown that this too helps.

You could begin by walking to the station instead of taking an auto or cab. You can use the stairs instead of the lift. Use the short tea and coffee break at work to do a quick up and down the stairs instead of chatting with your colleagues.

At work, walk up to a colleague if you need to, rather than emailing or whatsapping. Try to get up from your seat and be mobile whenever you get an opportunity. Avoid sitting in your seat for long stretches. If that’s not possible, at least move around in your chair, get fidgety, turn around, and stretch your legs and hands. Try to do a few simple stretches. It’s also important to maintain a good posture. Sit up straight.

If you have access to a gym at your workplace, you can use it instead of taking  tea or coffee breaks. You can also spend the first 10 minutes of the lunch break doing a quick burst of activity. Whatever you do, make sure to warm up before your workout and cool down after you finish.

Eating right

Then comes the next important part of the weight loss programme — diet. Most women will say that they don’t have the time to make special diet food. Some are scared because it means depriving oneself of one’s favourite foods, but the truth is you don’t have to make anything special or give up your favourite foods completely! Use these guidelines:

  • Make sure you are eating at regular intervals.
  • Include whole grains in your diet.
  • Avoid or strictly restrict refined and processed foods, deep fried foods, junk food, sweets, tea and coffee.
  • Eat five to six smaller meals instead of three big meals.
  • Add fibre to your diet.
  • Avoid eating late in the night.
  • Sleep early. Try to get around six to eight hours of sleep.
  • Restrict eating out to once a week, preferably lunch.
  • Avoid heavy dinners. Have proper balanced meals.
  • Don’t eat while watching TV, talking on the phone or working. Focus on your meal and keep track of your portion size.
  • Don’t overeat.
  • Instead of sleeping or lounging and watching TV immediately after dinner, stroll at a normal pace for 15-20 minutes, half an hour after dinner.
  • If you have an uncontrollable sweet tooth, eat a really tiny portion of a dark chocolate.
  • You can indulge in a bit of your favourite foods and dessert once a week. But the keyword is – watch your portion size. Do not overindulge!
  • Most importantly, drink plenty of water, as it’s something most often ignored. Stay hydrated throughout the day.