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        Volume 6 | Issue 49 | December 09, 2012 |


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Winter Fitness 101

Apurba Jahangir
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

It's safe to say that winter has finally arrived. Not just because of the cold breeze outside, it's because of all the wedding invites piling up on your dining table, community centres shining with bright lights and the smell of BBQ chicken wafting through the air. One of the reasons why winter is so popular amongst the youth is because you get surrounded with a lot of junk food which we all really like—A LOT! It is not just all about leather jackets and hoodies. But then again we, being the young and the restless, can sometimes be really confused, because we want to eat the tanduri chickens and the kababs, but we also want our leather jackets to fit! Well, who says we can't have the best of both worlds? A bit heavy on the pockets, you think? Fear not! 'Losing weight' is not always synonymous to 'joining a gym' -- spending loads of money, which otherwise could be spent on cds, books, guitars, games -- and the list is endless! Here is a list of activities that you can do, have fun and at the same time, shed all that weight.

Having a couple of exercise machines like the treadmill and a couple of dumbbells at home can be helpful.

Walk them off!


Covering a distance of a few miles? Running an errand for your aunt? Buying bread or flour from the nearby grocery shop for mom? Walk -- don't take the rickshaw. Walking is the best way to stay fit. Try to walk to places where you would usually use a rickshaw. In winter, walking will not break you into a sweat, tire you out or dehydrate. Walking is also a great way to showcase your winter fashion statement. Sharli Shermin Tonni, a student of Siddheswari Girls College, says, “I always try to walk rather than taking the rickshaw. What I do is -- I walk the distance where the rickshaw would otherwise charge 50 takas or less. So, I save money and also stay fit.” Doctors also recommend that the first step to a healthy lifestyle is to walk. Regular walking is good because cardio-vascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, increasing overall fitness. So cut back on sitting your way from place to place and just move with those beautiful legs God has given you!

Stairway to fitness!
Another way to stay fit is to avoid elevators or lifts and opt for stairs. According to a medical journal, walking up the stairs has always been one of the best kept secrets in preventive medicine. Calories will burn two to three times faster while climbing stairs than walking briskly on the level. Walking up stairs burns 690, 563 and 472 calories per hour if you weigh 190, 155 and 130 pounds accordingly. You burn the same amount of calories running at 5 mph or walking at 4 mph. Even walking down the stairs is good for health. But for some, walking up the stairs may be a little boring. An organisation in Norway, called the Fun Theory, made it a little more interesting by constructing a working piano in the subway stairs. So imagine how much calories you would lose if you wanted to play a whole song on that thing! (Information Source: Internet)

Push ups and pull ups are always helpful to keep your arms in shape.

Count your Calories!
Watching what you eat or counting your calories, is yet another way of controlling weight gain. Some people think that not eating at all makes you slim. In fact, eating 4-6 smaller meals through out the day, instead of eating 3 large meals, as is the tradition, helps one to keep their weight in check. According to dieticians, a person should eat four times a day if they want to stay fit. But of course, one has to watch what one is eating. Gobbling up an extra piece of chicken, or skipping a meal just makes it worse. Also, one should take advantage of the season and try the fresh greens. With a little help from the television or the internet, one can make a delicious dish using just vegetables -- healthy and can help one stay fit.

Enjoy the outdoors!
Over the last few years, parks in different areas have become poplar amongst both the elderly and youth for walking, jogging, playing or just taking in the fresh air. Places like Rabindra Sharobar, Ramna Park, Gulshan Park and many more are now filled with people every morning and evening, who yearn to stay fit. Sohan Islam, an A level student from Mastermind, says, “After I am done with school I always go to Ramna Park to jog. It keeps me fresh and energetic. Plus, I love to eat. So, I need to burn those calories to stay fit. Running in the park in this cool weather is just the stress buster I need to deal with life.” It can also be great way to hang out with friends. Not just the elder members in a family, but also the young people go out jogging or exercising with friends. In fact, places like Ramna Park and Gulshan Park have mini gym areas -- monkey bars, push up benches -- which anyone can use. Fascinatingly enough, there are some groups that use them to stay fit, and the equipment helps them to work on their muscles-- kind of like fitness clubs. The clubs also have unique names. They help each other out with crunches, push-ups, and their other routines. And whoever is the fittest gets to be their leader. Roudud Khan, the leader of Bangla Muscle says, “It is basically a health club. The members are all my friends and we all carry a strong passion towards fitness and body building. So we try to help each other out as much as we can to stay fit and healthy.”

Dancing and skipping rope are brilliant ways to keep fit.


Dance the weight away!
Connect those speakers, crank up the volume (or put on your headphones in case your parents are home!) and put on your dancing shoes! This is probably the fun-nest way to lose weight. Don't worry if you don't have any dancing lessons -- all you have to do is move to the beat, jump up and down and maybe try some new moves from the Step Up series of movies! Urmi Mostofa, a student of Udayan Higher Secondary School, says, “After all my home work is done, I just lock myself in my room, put on a good upbeat song and just dance to it. Most of the time, it is just jumping up and down. But it is a really good stress buster and it keeps me fit all the time.” One can also jump rope for 10-20 minutes, minimum, to lose some extra calories. To develop stronger muscles and to lose the arm and leg flabs, use dumbbells weighing up to 2 Kgs, or any other kind of weight devices at home. And you can do all this, while watching television or listening to music. Who says multi-tasking is a bad thing when it is helping you to stay in shape?

Go techno!

  There is more than just one way to build up your arms!

Though all these exercises can be really helpful, they can also be very boring. That is when your ipod or mp3 player comes in handy. According to specialists, listening to music, especially upbeat music helps you to work-out even more and better. It keeps your mind distracted, so that you feel less pressurised and end up working out even longer! Games and sports that include a lot of physical movement are also very helpful in this aspect. And now with all the new smart phones everywhere, you can easily keep track of your calorie count with just an app on your phone!

So you see, you don't really have to go to the gym or spend a lot of money to stay fit. This winter, with all the good food everywhere, we should all try to be a little more fit and healthy. You can eat what you want but the tips mentioned above will help you stay in shape and make you feel fabulous despite the heavy meals. But, just to be on the safe side, let's go easy on those kababs!


Top ten work-out songs of all time
(source: www.toptenlists.com):

"Get Down Tonight" - KC and the Sunshine Band.
"Rock and a Hard Place" - The Rolling Stones.
"Dancing with Myself" - Billy Idol.
"Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor.
"Burning Up" - Madonna.
"Beat It" - Michael Jackson.
"Walk This Way" - Run-DMC.
"Strike It Up" - Black Box.
"Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes.
"Stronger" - Kanye West.

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