’10min of intensive exercise as good as hours of training’

The common excuse that there is not enough time to exercise effectively is now wearing thin as scientists have claimed that short but intensive bursts of workout are as effective as hours of moderate training.

The study into the benefits of “high intensity interval training”, known as HIT, by McMaster University, Canada, suggested that staying in shape is not at all a time-consuming affair.

The researchers found that HIT is “a time-efficient but safe alternative to traditional types of moderate long term exercise”.

HIT involves running or cycling at almost maximum effort for a minute and then resting for a minute before repeating the process around 10 times, The Telegraph reported.

For their study, volunteers rode an exercise bike in stints lasting just 60 seconds while peddling hard enough to get close to their maximum heart rate.

Tests afterwards showed that their muscles had improved as much as if they had been involved in endurance training.

Prof. Martin Gibala, who led the research, said the study “proved that it was possible to get more by doing less”.

His report, published in the Journal of Physiology, said it was not clear why HIT was so effective but it appeared to “stimulate many of the same cellular pathways” as traditional training regimes.

“The findings also meant that a lack of free time was no longer an excuse for refusing to exercise,” Prof. Gibala said.

The perfect exam diet for students

IPL fever has gripped the nation, but unfortunately, students have to grapple with the exam fever. The exam season is back, it’s that time of the year when one can feel the anxiety in every inch of one’s body! So, what’s a student to do? Most starve because they are busy cramming or lose their appetites. Adults often advise children that one needs to fuel the body with foods that energise during the exam phase.

It’s similar to preparing for a long marathon. It’s also time to pamper oneself a bit with comfort food. Bananas are said to be excellent before an exam because they release their energy slowly. Even an orange, carrot sticks or a sweet fruit work in the same way.

It’s also recommended that one has a light and balanced meal a couple of hours before an exam. Not eating is the worst things! Manjeet Kaur, a housewife with an 18-year-old son, says, “I make sure my son eats light, has plenty of juices and fruits during his study break. I don’t prepare deep-fried snacks and rice because they make one drowsy. I also insist that he eats every two hours.” Dr Nalini Karukaran advises oats for breakfast.

She says, “A light meal comprising meat, eggs or fish and vegetables is okay. Avoid brinjals, very sour and salty food. For dinner, one can have Rice and Moong Dal Khichdi made with pure ghee.” Nutritionist Dr Harshada Rajadjyaksha says that students require food that increase concentration, enhance memory, boost energy, calm the mind and reduce stress and fatigue. She regards coffee, tea, colas and sugar as energy-fakers.

She recommends a balanced combination of nutrients for sustained energy. She says, “Combine vegetables, whole grain cereals or pasta, fresh fruits, dry fruits and nuts. Drink enough water. Almonds, apples, walnuts along with raisins, grapes, oranges, dates and figs and eggs, milk, soybeans and fish are memory-enhancing food. Calm the mind with honey, milk, oats, wholegrain cereals, nuts and pulses.”

–Hindustan Times

Convincing kids to eat healthy food

A file photo of “NUTRI FEST” organised by Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children on the topic ‘Breakfast for Children’.

Parents should pay attention to colour, appearance and texture when trying to make healthy food appealing to their children’s tastes.

“Colourful, crunchy pieces of fruit go quicker into a child’s mouth than colourless fruit,” said Monika Niehaus, a paediatrician in Germany.

Brown spots on fruit and vegetables, or a slimy texture, such as that of some types of mushrooms, cause most children to reject the piece of food, said Niehaus, spokeswoman for Germany’s professional association of paediatricians, citing the results of studies conducted by the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.

Parents should take advantage of the fact that children are creatures of habit.

“If they always eat fruit or vegetables at a certain time, as dessert, for example, they reach for it more frequently,” Niehaus said.

Vegetables typically are not popular with most children. But when parents give their children a choice of several types of vegetables, they tend to start helping themselves, said Niehaus. Every child likes at least one type of vegetable. Tomatoes or cucumbers are often their choice. Strawberries and apples are typically favourite fruits among children

Stay fit, not thin…

Fitness and nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar talks about her weight loss methods, her bestselling book and, of course, Kareena Kapoor and size zero. An exclusive interview.

She is the brain and inspiration behind Kareena Kapoor’s size-zero figure, the svelte frames of Preity Zinta and Konkona Sen-Sharma and the fit physiques of actor Saif Ali Khan and corporate honcho Anil Ambani. Not just that, sports science and nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar is also credited for magically transforming hundreds of others’ lives by teaching them how to lose weight without losing their minds! In an exclusive chat, Rujuta opens up about her magic mantras of eating, “not less but right”, even as she talks about her bestselling book Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight completing a very successful one year.

To begin with, tell us about your journey before you came into the limelight as the person behind Kareena’s enviable frame.

After my post-graduation in Sports Science and Nutrition from SNDT College, Mumbai, I started counselling people about nutrition and lifestyle. This was in 1999 when celebs were the only ones aware of the benefits of eating right. I began with actor Farah and director David Dhawan’s wife Laali. After that, there was no looking back. Today, I have hundreds of clients ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, and celebrities like Anil Ambani, Saif Ali Khan, Konkona Sen-Sharma, Preity Zinta and, of course, Kareena Kapoor (Bebo).

You are among the pioneers of advocating eating all you want and yet staying fit! Doesn’t this seem contradictory?

I advocate a common-sense approach to eating. First, never forget that our bodies need all nutrients; be it vitamins, protein, minerals and, yes, carbohydrates and fats! Depriving the body of any of these will create major physiological imbalances. On the flip side, stuffing yourself with any kind of food will also lead to imbalances: drastic increase in weight, increase in cholesterol levels, sugar levels, indigestion… The secret lies in eating not less, not more, but just right! So I say you can stay fit, despite having samosas and gulab jamuns; as long as you have them in moderation and at correct times. I advocate staying fit, not thin.

What is your take on diets and people resorting to extreme dieting?

A diet is a lifelong commitment to maintaining balanced eating habits. What we see are abused versions of the word, which obviously lead to disastrous results! I always maintain that choosing a diet is like choosing one’s life-partner! What works for you may not work for me! By opting for fads like liquid diet, low carb diet and others, you harm the body by depriving it of essential nutrients. You may lose weight, but at what cost? An ideal diet is one that is tailor-made for you. If you follow such a diet plan with commitment and without succumbing to contradictory fads, nothing can stop you from staying your fittest best always!

Tell us a bit about your Mitahar nutrition plan.

My Mitahar nutrition plan essentially advocates ‘eating food that makes you feel sweet (mita+ aahar) i.e. good about oneself’. The concept behind this is to evolve an eating pattern that fits into your work schedule and lifestyle so that there is no question of going “on” or “off” the diet.

Does one need to supplement a correct diet with correct exercise to gain optimum results?

Definitely! Both go hand in hand. Again, there is no ‘perfect’ exercise for everybody at large. Opt for whatever works best for you; be it cardio, yoga, kickboxing or Pilates. As long as your body is happy with what you’re doing to it and not rebelling. At our URJA gym, which works on the concept of ‘Use It or Lose It’, we focus on imparting the right training to each individual by offering tailor-made fitness advice and plans depending on a person’s current fitness levels, body composition, specific conditions and fitness goals.

You also provide Marathon training sessions. Now, that’s a novel concept…

The idea generated after I trained Anil Ambani for the 2005 Mumbai marathon. I realised that there are many enthusiastic marathon-aspirants who could do with professional training to build up fitness levels. My sports science background and a training stint in New York enabled me draw up a technically superior running programme, which is run in two stages: a year-long programme and the 14-week training programme just before the Marathon. It includes easy runs, long runs, breathing and relaxation techniques, suryanamaskars and so on.

I also believe that fitness can and should be practised beyond the four walls of a gymnasium. Trekking in the Himalayas has been an integral part of my life from childhood. I’m also actively involved with Gaurav Punj’s venture, “Connect with Himalaya”, which takes out interesting treks to these mountains.

Your book, Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, has had a superb innings since its release last year.

I’m thrilled about Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight becoming the national No.1 bestseller and selling over 1,00,000 copies! The translated Marathi version too has been doing well. To put in a nutshell, the book is about what ‘ diet’ is and should be all about, the four principles of eating right, a relearn and rethink about eating, inculcating awareness and fundamental steps to adopting a healthy lifestyle.

No conversation with you can be complete without asking about Kareena’s transformation.

Bebo came to me in 2007 after she was dubbed ‘overweight’ in the Yeh Mera Dil number from “Don”. The first thing she told me was, “Rujuta, I’m a hardcore Kapoor who loves to eat! Don’t expect me to give up my pizzas and pastas! Tell me if you can help me on that condition!” Much to her relief, I told her she would not be put on ‘a lettuce a day’ sort of diet. She is a very dedicated person. Even in the most gruelling schedules, she takes a quick break every two hours to chomp on some peanuts. While travelling, she religiously follows the food-chart I give her that allows her to sample all the local cuisine while retaining her fitness. A lot of noise was made about her ‘size zero’ figure; but she was not toothpick thin and unhealthy or weak! That enviable figure is a combination of a correct diet of home-made food, no pre-cooked foods, fresh local cuisine (when shooting outdoors) and doing 100 suryanamaskars daily! Behind Kareena’s transformation lies discipline, dedication and a completely holistic diet plan.

Lastly, tell us about your future plan.

For starters, I’ve just launched the ‘Fettle Club’, an initiative to keep my clients focussed and informed about their food, lifestyle and fitness. I’m also working on a new book for women and the diet they should follow in the various stages of their life; teenage, pregnancy, motherhood, hormonal upheavals, a busy lifestyle…

Rujuta’s mantras

Start your day by eating and not by drinking tea/ coffee. Fruits, nuts, milk or hot homemade breakfasts are great options.

Never leave home without carrying at least one dabba of a nutritious meal.

Grabbing lunch is an offence. Eat at leisure; it keeps you smart at work.

Exercise is something that you owe your body. Cull out time to work out at least three hours a week.

Restful sleep is non-negotiable and an integral part of staying fit.

Take a break from work, home and your “responsibilities”. Go trekking in the Himalayas. Check out my trips on http://www.connectwithhimalaya.com

Remember to eat when you are busy; it’s the smartest thing you could ever do.

Throw off those weighing scales; focus on feeling and looking better, not on losing kilos.

To know more visit, http://www.rujutadiwekar.com

Kareena Kapoor

“I met Rujuta Diwekar in 2007 when my friend Shaira introduced me to her. The first thing I told her was that I would NOT give up my pizzas, pastas and Christmas puddings for anything; glossies who termed me overweight, be damned! To my utter relief, she said I could have all that and still become healthily lean. I learnt some very imperative things about healthy eating from Rujuta: Eat something every two hours; or eat fresh food as far as possible. She made me chuck out all my pre-processed soups, soy chaklis, nachni crackers the first time she came home! They were my survival mechanisms but she made me see the logic behind eating freshly cooked food as opposed to the pre-packaged one. Rujuta has not just changed my physique; but has also changed my mind and soul. She is the best thing to have happened to me!”

Four basic principles

Never wake up to tea or coffee. First eat something that’ll help increase blood sugar levels that are always low in the morning, and then have your cuppa.

Eat every two hours; it actually creates a conducive environment in the body to burn fat!

Eat more when you’re active (working, travelling) and less when you’re inactive.

Try to wind up your last meal at least two hours before bedtime so that the body gets ample time to repair wear and tear and rejuvenate while you sleep.

Now, a device that can stop you grinding your teeth

Are you among those who grind their teeth at night? Don’t worry, scientists have now devised a novel way to treat the condition – bruxism – using an iPod-sized device that delivers an electric shock to the temples.

Clinical studies have also shown that the device, developed by Danish scientists, reduces teeth-grinding by more than 50 per cent within just three weeks and 80 per cent after six to eight weeks.

The new therapy called ‘Grindcare’ consists of a small electrode that is attached to the skin of the temple with sticky gel pads. The other end of the electrode is connected to a matchbox-sized unit on a bedside table.

While on sleep, the device monitors the movement of facial muscles, reading the electrical signals that cause the muscles to contract.

When it detects this is about to happen, it delivers a small electrical impulse to relax the muscle instead, in turn relaxing the jaw muscles. This impulse is not usually felt by the wearer.

The device also records how many times this occurs in a night, the Daily Mail reported.

“Grindcare works by retraining the muscles to relax. In effect, it teaches someone to stop grinding their teeth, so it can reduce or even cure the problem,” says Dr Oulton, one of the first dentists in Britain to use the device.

According to scientists, bruxism is a common problem and affects one in four adults. It’s the most frequent sleep disorder after insomnia and snoring.

Bruxism often occurs as a result of changes in the normal structure of the mouth such as missing teeth, a new filling or an abnormal bite known as malocclusion (where the upper and lower teeth do not sit together properly).

But more commonly, it is related to anxiety and smokers are five times more likely to have episodes of bruxism. The disorder is also associated with pregnancy and menopause.

Whether the cause is physiological or psychological, the effect is the same: tension in the temple muscles, leading to teeth grinding and clenching.

“It’s vastly stress related,” says Dr. Barry Oulton, of Haslemere Dental Centre in Surrey.

“If someone comes to me about teeth grinding, the first thing I do is check around their temples for the temporalis muscles to assess their tension levels.”

Traditional treatments for bruxism include sedatives, hypnosis, herbal remedies and, more recently, Botox; these all aim to relax the jaw by releasing tension.

Another option is to wear a mouth guard to act as a buffer between the teeth.

Desi swine flu vaccine ready for commercial use by April-May


NEW DELHI: Pune-based Serum India’s swine flu vaccine ‘Fluvac’ will be ready for commercial use by April-May, subject to all regulatory clearances. The Pune-based company received the drug regulators go-ahead on March 5 to carry out advanced safety tests on the vaccine —Phase II/III clinical trials crucial for its introduction in the market.

On Monday, it started clinical trials of nasal form of vaccine on 300 subjects at different locations around the country. After Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute becomes the second company to have started Phase II/III trials, pushing it closer to the finishing line.

“The single dose vaccine will be available in two forms —nasal spray and as an injectable. The inhalation vaccine uses a live virus, which will be administered to three age groups. Further trials will be carried out later to test safety of the injectable vaccine on another set of people”, Serum Institute of India’s executive director S Jadhav told TOI.

The age group on which these trials will be administered is 9-19 years, 20-48 years and 48 and above. A single dose of the vaccine developed with egg-based technology will be initially tested in four cities across the country. The vaccine developed by indigenous players will most likely be administered as a single dose, and priced around Rs 150-200, sources close to the development said. (H1N1 vaccine globally cost between $9-15)

‘India needs more healthcare professionals’

A leading Indian-American cardiac surgeon suggests a “lean healthcare” system model for India to attract larger private investments and widen its reach and says the country needs more trained healthcare executives to manage the growing industry.

“The best implementation of lean principles is optimising of available resources directly reflected by visible increased productivity,” says Dr. Mukesh Hariawala, 50, who has just completed a “Physician Executive Healthcare MBA” programme at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“This methodology, if implemented correctly, makes most hospital systems viable with augmented profitability,” the Boston-based doctor told IANS. “This in India will attract and increase private sector participation including larger investments in the healthcare space.”

“My dream is to see a vibrant Indian healthcare industry managed by trained educated professionals who can navigate India to the path of prosperity.”

Hariawala, who did his MD from Topiwala National Medical School, Mumbai, said doctors in India too could do a better job of managing hospitals with a specialised management course like the one offered at Tennessee.

“Predominantly the culture of hiring CEOs in Indian hospitals is to seek retired defence personnel,” he said. “The attraction is not experience or good finance acumen but simply their ability to bring in higher standards of discipline in the organization.”

“Some excel with experience gained on the job,” Hariawala said, but “it would be more desirable if healthcare executives go through a formal business education and the results would be exponentially greater.”

Doctors in India particularly those in the pre-retirement age group phasing out from active clinical practice should consider an MBA programme especially since there are US programmes that are available which offer full internet distant e-learning, he said.

“This will lead to heightened career fulfilment and could open new revenue streams. This will also keep MBA graduate doctors actively engaged and productive longer in the Indian healthcare industry” Hariawala said.

Many medical colleges in India, including D.Y.Patil College in Navi Mumbai, had expressed interest in running combined MD/MBA programmes to make the Indian healthcare system more efficient.

India has a dual track healthcare system with government-funded hospitals catering to lower income group and the private sector geared to the affluent and upper middle class. As both are integral parts of the larger Indian healthcare community, Hariawala said, mandatory basic management education to all levels of providers of service would help them understand the values of conservation of available resources and run them more efficiently.

A doctor with an Executive Healthcare MBA with a better understanding of corporate governance and strong clinical knowledge offers a perfect combination of talent to steer Healthcare corporations to a position of strength as they develop new products or educate other doctors about their products.

Turning to the hot button issue of healthcare reform in the US, Hariawala said President Barack Obama had rightly given it top priority during his election campaign. But the timing of its push is not the best due to the current economic turndown which dilutes the attention it deserves, he said, as American citizens want all energies to be focused on job creation and address other urgent matters.

Healthcare reform must also be accompanied by insurance reform for it to be a meaningful long-term solution, Hariawala said.