As someone who wishes to walk on the path to Health Transformation and weight loss, you may be wondering the right activity for you.
I am a 43-year-old working mother of two wonderful kids. I am sharing my secrets to health transformation through the BlogchatterA2Z series.
Here are a few activities that worked for me during my Health Transformation journey.
I continue to pursue them happily. A combination of these ensures that I never get bored.
The easiest, cheapest and best way to kickstart your fitness journey. Walking has a host of health benefits. It burns calories, helps preserve lean muscle, burns belly fat, improves your mood and helps keep weight off.
Things to keep in mind:
- Invest in good quality walking shoes
- Buy cotton sports socks that offer proper grip
- Ensure that you do 10-15 minute warm-up exercises before you begin
- Start with shorter distances, at a slower pace.
- As you progress & become regular, you can increase your pace and distance.
- You need to walk briskly without speaking till you are out of breath & your heart is beating fast. That’s when the calorie burn begins.
- Have patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Focus on building stamina slowly but steadily
- Don’t forget to do a 5-10 minute cool down exercises and stretches after you finish
- Hydrate yourself before, during and post
Pranayam and Yoga
Many find it unbelievable that simple breathing exercises can lead to better health. For those who struggle to find time to attend fitness programmes or make trips to gyms or going for morning walks,
Pranayama or the science of breathing can help you find respite. Pranayama exercises are fairly simple and can be done at home, while travelling or in the office. That way you can easily make them part of your daily routine.
Pranayama or Yogic breathing techniques are an effective way to reduce body fat.
There are several online resources that will teach you Bhastrika, Kapalabhati and Anulom Vilom Pranayama – studies show that all three are effective ways to lose body fat.
My experience: I started with walking then moved to aerobics for weight loss and then started Vinyasa Yoga for lean muscle development. I found that Yoga made me calmer, I felt more energetic and when added to my calorie-burning aerobic exercises, I saw faster and longer-lasting weight loss results. The Pranayama exercises made me more aware of my body and breathing catalysing the weight loss process.
Yoga will aid you to be in sync with your own body, it will improve your self-image and give you a better sense of overall wellness.
There are different types of Yoga that you can practice. Studies show that athletic Vinyasa Yoga helps burn most calories. There are many variations of Vinyasa Yoga like Ashtanga Yoga, Hot Yoga and Power Yoga.
If the vigorous Vinyasa Yoga doesn’t work for you, you can begin with Gentle Yoga forms like Gentle Hatha Yoga, Integral Yoga or Kripalu Yoga. Once you are comfortable you can move to the athletic Yoga options to speed up weight loss and burn calories faster.
Enrol for free trial classes to see which type of Yoga works for you.
When I started on my health transformation journey, I enrolled in the aerobics class. Initially, it was very difficult to keep pace with the class as the movements were very fast and rigorous. Our trainer combined aerobics exercises with endurance training, core strengthening, weight training and many other techniques. That way my body became used to different types of exercises and movements. Combined with my diet and walk routine in the initial days it led to faster weight loss and loads of health.
There are many benefits of enrolling into an aerobics class. Aerobics helps lose weight and keep it off, it is great for cardiovascular health lowers blood pressure, helps regulate blood sugar, strengthens the immune system, improves brain power, boosts mood.
The best part of aerobics is that like Yoga and walking, it is safe for all.
Things to keep in mind:
- Go at your own pace
- It’s okay to slow down, catch your breath and start again
- Don’t expect magical results
- Wear the right shoes so that your feet, knees and back are protected
- Wear the right socks that offer proper grip
- If you are above 35, please wear knee guards to prevent injury
I belong to the generation where owning a cycle was one of the biggest milestones in our middle-class, Indian life. It turns out that I never had my own cycle – my parents preferred sending me to the local shop that charged INR 0.25 paise for half an hour and INR 0.50 paise for one hour. Along with a bunch of my friends, we would take off early morning to Mumbai’s Nariman Point and enjoy the sunrise. Feeling the breeze on my face gave me a wonderful sense of freedom and made me very happy.
A year and a half ago, when I had knocked off about 10 kgs, I gathered the courage to go back to cycling.
They say one never forgets swimming, driving or cycling. It was almost 25 years since I last rode a cycle.
I was filled with self-doubt and worry.
I clearly remember trying to awkwardly climb the cycle, a friend helped me get on. I went red in the face! My knees hurt for the first few pedals but once I got the hang of it, the breeze touched my face and played with my hair. The sense of freedom and happiness returned. Since aerobics was on alternate days, on off days, after Yoga, I started cycling for half an hour. Yes, people called me crazy and teased me about it. But the little girl in me was back and she was joyful!
You can choose to cycle at the gym or gather the confidence and hire a bike for the road. Either way, the benefits are immense. Cycling improves mental well-being, promotes weight loss, builds muscle, gives you better lung health, cuts heart disease and cancer risk. It is low impact and saves time if you are using it for a commute. It also improves sex life, helps you sleep better and boosts brainpower.
Things to keep in mind:
- Practice on the gym cycle before you hit the road
- Check your physical strength and endurance before jump on a cycle
- Wear proper gear – good shoes and socks are basic
- Wear knee pads to protect your precious knees
- Start slowly and gradually increase as your stamina builds
I love dancing! It makes me forget all my problems and instantly lifts my mood. Its a great stress buster and promotes fast weight loss. Did you know that one hour of dancing can help you lose almost 400 calories?
The best part about dancing is that you need no equipment or prior training. You can simply switch on your favourite song and dance away. Dancing improves flexibility, makes you active, boosts metabolism and strengthens the lower back, abs and lower back.
Things to keep in mind:
- Do at least 15 minutes of stretching and warm-up before you begin
- After you finish do a 7-12 minute cool down with stretches
- Warm-up and cool down prevent injury and reduce post-workout pain & spasms
Once I was on the fast-track to my health transformation, I realised that I needed something that will help me to maintain my weight. I was facing a weight-loss plateau and despite a rigorous fitness routine and correct diet regime, I wasn’t losing more weight.
I grew up as an athletic kid. I used to run 100 metres races, 500 m relay and hurdles. I also used to participate in the long jump, shot put and Throwball in school, however, over the years, sporting activities were left far behind as other priorities took precedence.
Pursuing sporting activities helps lose weight and remain active. It has been a long time since I weighed myself. Simply because pursuing sports moves the focus from the weighing scale to building health to improve performance at the game. Sporting activities build strength, boosts metabolism, shifts exercise routine towards performance enhancement. Personally, I believe that pursuing a sporting activity is the best tool for sustaining health transformation.
Which sports do I play: I regularly play Throwball, Cricket and Badminton. I aspire to play table tennis, tennis and squash in the coming year after I have strengthened my knees and other parts of my body.
Things to keep in mind:
- Consult a health expert before starting a sporting activity
- Choose an activity that you simply love
- Undergo pre-sports training to build strength
- Wear the proper gear
- Use the memories of your youth to boost your confidence
- Don’t give up when it seems hard
- Enjoy the games rather than focussing on being the best
- Modify your diet to suit the new, sustainable sporting lifestyle
Do write in your queries and suggestions. Would love to read and respond!
I really hope this post helps you to choose the right fitness activity for you. Of course, there are a host of other activities but I have included only those that worked for me.
For those who stumbled upon this post, here is my story:
Health Transformation is the only way to remain fit and healthy.
Two years ago, my son who was 12 at that time told me: Mumma, you will never be able to run with me.” His statement changed my life.
My Health Transformation Story
From a tired mom to a competitive sportsperson
In February 2018, I was 86 kgs:
- My physical measurements were: 43, 44, 48 with a body fat percentage of 30%.
- I was extremely low on stamina.
- I couldn’t walk even 450 metres.
- I came last at the 5 km Marathon and completed it by walking slowly
- I was a substitute player at Throwball
- I was extremely self-conscious and would shyly exercise in the last row at aerobics & yoga.
Today, 25 months & 25 kgs later:
- My measurements are 36, 28, 37 with a body fat percentage of 23%.
- I am among the top of my aerobics class
- I completed 5 km Marathon in under 35 minutes
- I won the best captain at Throwball last year
- Our Throwball team stood 3rd in Mumbai
- Our Cricket team won Runner up last year at the club
- At Turf Cricket, our team won the first place in Mumbai on Woman’s Day in 2020
- Today I play Throwball, Cricket and Badminton
- I aspire to play table tennis, tennis and squash in the coming year after I have strengthened my knees and other parts of my body.
- I take pride in telling the world that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
Are you at a total loss with your efforts to lose weight at getting healthy?
I really hope my post and the #BlogchatterA2Z series on my blogzine inspires you.
Do write in your queries, suggestions and comments. Would love to read and respond.
Dear Reader: You must know that I am not a healthcare expert and nor am I posing to be one through this series. I am sharing my personal experiences and journey. I urge you to speak to your healthcare professional before trying anything in this series.