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Instant way to stay healthy

Short on time, OLYMPIA SHILPA GERALD tries a quick custom-built session of exercise

Photo: M. Moorthy

Stretch hard To keep fit

We are an impatient generation- there’s no denying it! Just look around and from the broadband connection, readymade mixes and tea bags to 24 hour news channels, over-the-counter pills and instant messaging, everything you find reflects an obsession with ‘now’.

Exercise too seems to suffer the brunt of this fixation for easy means and quick results. Why do people schedule exercises though they are aware of the importance of fitness? An oft-repeated excuse that many, including this writer, are guilty of, is lack of time! Twenty four hours is never enough and we promise ourselves we’ll begin tomorrow, but as the saying goes, ‘tomorrow never comes’!

So, while I was looking for an exercise routine that didn’t require me to set aside 45 minutes of my ever ticking time, yoga master N.S.Sivakumar, as always, came to my rescue mentioning ‘quick yoga’.

“It involves less than 15 minutes of workout everyday and is ideal for those who never find the time for exercise,” he grinned. I was hooked- that sounded like me!

Flexibility and strengthening combo

I discovered that quick yoga is custom built and flexible, tailored just to suit fitness needs of the time starved. A combination of strengthening and flexibility training consisting of just three or four exercises, quick yoga can be designed to target tightening of the abdomen, hips and waist while strengthening neck and back muscles.

For the first position, I imitate my mentor and get down on all fours, with palms planted firmly on ground. “Stretch out your right leg and left hand. Now bring in the left hand and the right leg. Ensure your left elbow touches your knee.” I feel a tightening in my stomach as I realize this is exactly what the exercise intends- with constant practice, this is your way to a taut stomach.

Quick yoga differs from traditional yoga, primarily in the initiation process. There’s no slow drifting and testing the waters- it’s a straight plunge! We bypass the slow movements step-by-step and get down to the nitty-gritty of body toning. It is at once more exacting and result- oriented.

With the first exercise being relatively easy, I try the second one, but manage to hold ground only after some dithering and fumbling. Meanwhile Sivakumar demonstrates stretching his right leg and clasps it with his left hand easily. “This strengthens the back,” he chimes, following it up with another routine in upright position. “Clasp your hands and crunch them behind your back. This strengthens the neck muscles, which are often neglected.”

We arrive at our final stance- supporting total body weight on one hand while attempting a sideways pose. “It is challenging in the beginning, but with practice, this has dual benefits. It increases your flexibility and simultaneously boosts your endurance levels,” he points out.

Concentrating on your breathing makes the exercise more effective. Every movement should be accompanied by five seconds inhalation and 10 seconds exhalation. “Breathe in while you stretch out and breathe out while you pull in,” chants my guide.

As we wrap up the session, I’m truly enamoured by this quick spell of fitness. If yoga is unchartered territory for you, then quick yoga can give you an insight besides boosting your confidence levels. Recommended for the time-starved, the ‘always on-the-toes’ and those who like their exercise in nuggets!

Bottomline: Best of total fitness training in limited time

Mr. Sivakumar is the physical education director at Urumu Dhanlakshmi College and can be contacted at 98949-97097

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