Monday, 30th October 2017

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Work on a better tomorrow

The older we get, the more difficult it becomes to perform even the simplest ones

By Mayukh Banerjee
  • Published 13.05.20, 10:03 PM
  • Updated 13.05.20, 10:05 PM
  • 2 mins read
To keep good health and sustain, perhaps exceed the requirements imposed by ADL, we need an exercise schedule Model: Meghna Bose Photographer: Tarun Pal

Covid has exposed us to a “new normal”. But there are some fundamentals that will remain unchanged and will continue to affect our quality of life, such as Activities of Daily Living (ADL).

These activities are a reciprocal function of age. For the elderly, ADL would be bathing, personal hygiene and mobility. For the young, they are obviously far more dynamic and challenging.

The younger we are, the more intense are our activities, but the older we get, the more difficult it becomes to perform even the simplest ones. Back pain, knee issues, morning stiffness and stress-induced headaches are all signs of a gradual systemic deterioration. There are other physiological issues such as cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, hypertension, muscular atrophy and cardio-respiratory weakness. All these ailments don’t happen overnight.

They creep up upon us and make small but significant changes to the way we live and perform. Accepting them and moving on are not the correct options.

Scientific advancements in the field of fitness have given us tools to strongly moderate this gradual systemic deterioration. We can sustain great muscle tone, strong immunity, effective cardio-respiratory efficiency and good health, well into our old age. For maximum effect, lifestyle disorders such as obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption must also be eliminated.

To keep good health and sustain, perhaps exceed the requirements imposed by ADL, we need an exercise schedule that broadly encompasses the following:

1. Cardio-respiratory fitness:

The heart, blood vessels and lungs are responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles for production of energy. The more effective this system, the greater is the body’s ability to perform work without being fatigued. Efficient functioning of the cardio-respiratory system also aids in boosting immunity. Walking and running contribute to an improved cardio-respiratory system. During lockdown you may try the following:

  • Regular walks within the house or terrace for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • For the fitter, stair climbing, skipping rope or HIIT programmes are an option.
  • We recommend 150 minutes of cardio-respiratory exercise every week.

2. Muscular strength and endurance:

Muscular strength is the force exerted by muscles and endurance is the duration of time the force can be maintained without fatigue. Muscular atrophy occurs when muscles waste away due to inadequate physical exercise. Loss of muscle mass and muscular atrophy are both conditions that can be easily reversed with systematic resistance training.

With no access to gyms, we recommend body weight training for maintaining muscle tone and strength. Some examples:

  • 20 repetitions x 3 sets of half-squats, push-ups and abdominal crunches performed in series.
  • Isometric resistance training such as planks, wall squats and superman posture.

3. Flexibility:

It is the ability of our joints to perform activities through their full range of motion. Yoga is a great format to increase flexibility and can be easily practised at home. At this time, one can take help of an online fitness professional.

4. Mind-and-body connect:

Last, but not the least, emotional wellness is very important to ADL. Mind-and-body connect must be included in every exercise regime. It is normally achieved through breathing and meditation techniques. Now more than ever, I recommend that a mindful meditation routine be followed. It can be done at the end of an of an exercise session to encourage the body to regain a sense of calmness after exertion.

Always consult a professional before starting on a workout.

The writer, a martial arts and fitness coach, is the founder of Mike’s Martial Arts, a Calcutta-based martial arts and advanced functional fitness studio. Contact: