New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic has bought this fast-moving world to a standstill impacting each person in one way or another. One of the ways that Covid has taken a toll on the people is the curbing of activities and movement due to lockdowns and social distancing norms. People are unable to go to gyms, children are away from playgrounds, many got infected and some are still struggling with the long-lasting impacts of Covid. So, how in these times of pandemic can one get on to their fitness journey? To understand this, the NDTV Banega Swasth India team conducted a Facebook Live session with Celebrity Fitness Trainer Yasmin Karachiwala. Here are some excerpts from the discussion.
NDTV: You are passionate about building a strong, flexible and healthy body. So what is a healthy body according to you?
Yasmin Karachiwala: When a person says that they want to work out, I like to find the pulse of a person- what they like to do. A lot of time we get caught up in the rut that Katrina Kaif did a routine or Deepika do this exercise. Of course they are our role models, we inspire to be like them and follow their regime because all of them are so fit and focus so much time on their health and fitness. But what I like to tell everybody who I come across with is first find that mojo that you have with fitness- What is that you enjoy doing? It can be wights or Pilates or anything. Just ask yourself if you like the strength training or you like to get tired at the end of every session or you want to feel relax and enjoy the journey. So, there are different personalities that enjoy different things and the first important things if to find what suits you because that is what will become your lifestyle and will help you get a healthy body. Along with exercises, eating healthy is very important too. Eating healthy means finding out the foods that work for your body. Limit fried foods and sugar intake- it is important not just for weight loss but also for your overall health. I feel, finding that right balance of eating health and doing the right kind of exercises and doing it in a way it becomes a lifestyle for you.
NDTV: Fitness is usually seen as physical health, but mental wellbeing is also important. After the pandemic, a lot of us have been struggling with it. How do exercises uplift someone’s mood?
Yasmin Karachiwala: Exercising releases a hormone called endorphins which are your feel happy hormones that help alleviate your mood. So, when I have a fight or when I am upset, I do a 20 minutes workout go for a walk or a run and it just calm my mind. One this that I have realized in life is that never make a decision when you are upset of angry because that is the you make most irrational decision. So, it is important to first calm down and then decide how you to handle a situation that upsets you. Endorphins also help people struggling with depression. It has become even more important now as not only people are home bound because of the pandemic, most of the people have lost jobs, they have lost loved ones- the pandemic has taken a lot away from each one of us.
NDTV: What kind of exercise one should do build lung health post Covid?
Yasmin Karachiwala: Cardiovascular exercises like aerobic or routines like more than 20 minutes of walking, swimming, cycling makes you breathe more oxygen and get your lungs to function.
NDTV: There are many post-Covid effects, how can we deal with those effects?
Yasmin Karachiwala: From a fitness perspective, the first thing that you need to do is a body checkup. Had Covid and the first thing that my doctor made me do after that was to getting my blood test done to find out if everything is fine. Take your Vitamin C and Zinc for a month after you have had Covid to make sure that your nutrients are all there. Another important thing is starting slowly when it comes to working out. The first week when I was recovering, I just meditate and did breathing exercises. Do a lot of stretching and breath work post Covid and then slowing start getting back into your routine of working out. Don’t push it, post Covid is not the time to test your stamina because it does take a toll on the body. Be kind to your body, nurture your body after Covid.
NDTV: What is your fitness mantra in these difficult times?
Yasmin Karachiwala: I like to see the glass half full rather than half empty for everything in life. I am one of those people who try to find positive in everything in life. The biggest mantra I follow in life apart from this is ‘Be fit because you deserve it’, each person deserves to be fit. It is self-love, you have to do something for yourself. If you are fit, you can handle any situation that life throws at you.
NDTV: Women sometimes take a backseat when it comes to dedicating time to their fitness. Do you see this trend changing and more women coming out to make themselves fit now than before?
Yasmin Karachiwala: Most of my clients are women. They are from the generation in which they matter and their life revolves around what they do. But of course we do have a lot of housewives who come in. It is very interesting to see a shift from 30 years ago when I started to now when women are actually reorganizing their life to make time for themselves. Try to find one hour in a day at least three times a week for your fitness if not every day.
NDTV: What kind of exercises one should do to reduce the belly fat?
Yasmin Karachiwala: Pilates is a great workout to address belly fat and it is one of the reasons that I got into it because after the kids, I had some belly fat that would not go with whatever I did. Pilates is not like doing hundreds of crunches, it works your core from inside out. Your core is a mix of four muscles which include- your deepest abdominal muscles, your deepest spinal muscles, your diaphragm, and your pelvic floor. Pilates is a preventive and a progressive form of exercise. It allows you to stay away from injuries.
NDTV: Is it ok to cleanse your body by fasting from time to time?
Yasmin Karachiwala: If it works for you, you can definitely fast from time to time. It is better to check with your doctor if your body would be fine while doing the fast and how often you can do it. If you are doing it too often, you will have repercussions, so you have to space it out.
NDTV: How to help children avoid obesity, since now during the pandemic, most of the them are at home and glued to screens?
Yasmin Karachiwala: More than anyone, people who have suffered the most during the pandemic are children because there are no play grounds to go to, no school grounds to visit, they are suddenly stuck in front of a laptop because everything is online. I am scared about what it will do to their eyes and skin. You must know that if you sit in front of a computer for many hours, you must apply sunscreen because the computer throws light. Dermatologists say that the blue light from computer causes pigmentation.
Also, as adults, we can train ourselves to work out in a confined space but children need a lot of space to run around. It is very important for kids to move for at least an hour a day. Children need sunlight, they should be encouraged to go out in open if there is a place away from crowd. Get your child a skipping rope and get them to do at least 1,000 jumps but make sure that they are wearing shoes when they are skipping. Bare feet skipping on marble can be very harmful to your joints.
NDTV: Can exercise help in building immunity?
Yasmin Karachiwala: Most definitely. Exercise helps in building immunity just like food. Of course, to build your immunity, you need to eat right kind of food, you have to stay away from drugs, alcohol, smoking as much as you can and you need to work out. You should work out to nourish your body and not to break your body. Use your smartphones to put multiple alarm to remind yourself to walk for five minutes every hours. We have come from animal kingdom, so we are actually supposed to move and not have a sedentary life.
You can listen to the full Banega Swasth India podcast discussion by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.