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Fitness for the Working Woman
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By Nawaz Modi Singhania  

It's hard prioritizing. It's tough making the time to 'fit' everything into a day. Women are often so many people all in one- from managing a career, being a parent, a spouse, a son/ daughter, a housewife, etc, etc. God, the list is unending!

Time being of the essence, even if you're motivated, when it comes to prioritizing things, you'll always have a good excuse to skip a workout. You'll remain perpetually busy working, catching up on your reading, running errands, surfing the net, helping your child with homework, cooking, shopping, meeting up with a friend, or even just sleeping late.

The answer to your list of obstacles is always the same. You have to make the time. Manage your time better! Exercise during your lunch hour, while watching television, use the time when your kid is at play school, or stop off at class on your way home from work. Where there's a will, there's always a way!

The benefits of exercise are really endless, & need no introduction. They include fat loss, muscle toning, a dramatic improvement in physical appearance & health, increased self-confidence, increased bone density, improved cardiovascular fitness, & much more.

Improving one's social life, personal life, sex life & career, it can transform your life completely for the better.

Do we really need more reasons to decide to make exercise a part of our regular lives?

Here are some simple & highly effective exercises you can do even while just sitting at your desk in the office.

  Quick Desk Fixes

For - The Upper Body (Arms, Chest & Back)
  1. While sitting at your desk, get your palms to meet at chest level. With your elbows bent & close by your side, squeeze your palms together while exhaling, & release this slightly while inhaling.

  2. Holding your hands at waist level, pull apart while exhaling, & release this slightly while inhaling.
For - Legs
  1. While sitting at your desk, lift one foot up about 6" off from the floor. In this position, pulse up & down a quarter to half an inch. Breathe normally & don't let the upper body rock while doing this. Keep it steady.

  2. In the above position, move the leg 3- 4" from side to side, instead of up & down. This involves the inner & outer thigh muscles.

  3. While standing, using your desk or chair for support, rise up onto your toes, & then lower yourself, but keep both heels slightly off the floor. Exhale while lifting up, & inhale while lowering. Here, the calf muscles are being targeted.
For - The Abs
  1. While sitting on the edge of your chair, keep both legs bent & apart from one another. Lean back all the way, just short of touching the chair. Make sure the spine is rounded over & your chin is lowered close to the chest at all times. Remain frozen in this reclined position for a slow count of 10, before sitting upright to relax for a few moments. Make sure you don't hold your breath at any time during this exercise. Breathe normally right through. Leaving the arms extended out by your side & parallel to the floor is the easiest option. As you get stronger & can take on more, bring the fists to your forehead, elbows bent & close together in front of you. To make the exercise even tougher, extend both arms straight up overhead.

    This works the main abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominus, which is also nicknamed the "six pack", as well trained abs resemble a six pack of beer. Sounds appealing, hmm?

  2. To include the below belly abdominal group, get into the previously described position, & then get your right ankle up upon your left knee. Hold this position for a slow count of 10.

You can switch legs at a later stage. This targets both the main abdominal muscle (rectus abdominus) & the transverse abdominus which sits in the pelvic cavity.

NB - The above abdominal exercises are not appropriate for those with a high BP problem.

Do this 3 - 4 times a week, & you'll see results in about 3 weeks time. You'll realize soon enough that you don't have to spend hours sweating it out in the gym, jogging in the park or participating in fitness classes. You can have it all without even leaving your office, & by spending as little 6- 8 minutes each day!

Here are some pointers to help you get started, & get you from here to there!

  A Few Quick Tips
  • Begin by doing 8- 10 counts of all the above exercises, in sets of 2 or 3 each. As you get stronger & more capable, you can slowly increase the counts or reps, and even the sets at a later stage. Keep the principle of overload in mind. It's always important to overload gradually, once the body has adapted & is relatively comfortable with the given activity. Once your body gets used to or adapts to a particular exercise, & it begins to get easier, it is important to load up in order to continue seeing results. Otherwise, you'll stop seeing regular results. Your body just gets immune to your workout! But give yourself time to adapt to the new activity before you decide to take on a more challenging level. One can overload by exercising harder, longer, more often, or by changing the type of exercise to something more challenging.

  • Remember that correct breathing patterns are crucial. Always exhale during the contraction, or the most difficult stage of the exercise, & inhale during the relaxation phase, or the easiest part of the exercise.

  • Find moderation & consistency in a combining a sensible diet with exercise. Compulsive exercising is as unhealthy as compulsive eating.

  • Don't bite off more than you can chew. If you go rushing into an over demanding schedule, you may end up unable to cope with it, which in turn will get you to possibly abandon the whole programme altogether.

  • Focus on correct technique & form throughout. It doesn't matter how much you can or can't do, but how you do it is vital. Concentrate on each exercise & visualize the body part that you are working. It's often more a mind-thing than a body-thing.

So get set to slip into your new body! It just doesn't get better than this!

For a large variety of classes and gym facilities & training, call the writer's fitness centre, Body Art, on 022-2380-5929/ 2602.