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All pain, no gain: Proper exercise and diet

Answers to your health queries
In addition to exercise, you need to count your calories. Eat 20 calories/kg/day. Then try to work off 300-400 calories with exercise.

Dr Gita Mathai   |     |   Published 21.07.20, 10:25 PM

I exercise regularly but my weight remains absolutely constant and my shape (sagging arms and protuberant belly) has not changed at all.

In addition to exercise, you need to count your calories. Eat 20 calories/kg/day. Then try to work off 300-400 calories with exercise. All exercises do not work equally efficiently for everyone. Alternate the exercises and switch them around so that your muscles are surprised and do not get attuned and into a rut. Jog one day, cycle the next, swim or do HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Weight training also tones up your muscles and increases the BMR (basal metabolic rate) so that your muscles burn calories all day long even when you are at rest.

Itchy feet

The spaces between my toes itch all the time. There is white, flaky material if I scratch the itch.

Infection in the web spaces between the fingers or toes can occur as the area there is moist (sweaty) and not well ventilated. The infection is usually fungal caused by the candida species. It can also be due to bacterial growth. Consult a dermatologist so that a precise diagnosis can be made.

The area needs to be kept dry. Try wearing open-toed footwear. Change out of damp and sweaty socks immediately. Bacterial infection requires antibiotics. Fungal infection requires regular application of an antifungal cream. It can take up to six weeks to respond satisfactorily.

Stomach ache

I develop a gnawing pain in my stomach quite often. I don’t like to keep taking antacids.

Pains, bloating and discomfort can occur if you miss meals, have irregular meal timings, consume more than 400ml of milk in a day, eat high-fat food, or drink too much alcohol. Try correcting all these factors. Also, drink 3-3.5 litres of water a day and walk for 40 minutes daily on an empty stomach.

Diabetic genes

My parents are diabetic. I am now 43 years old. Although my blood results are in the normal range, I am anxious.

Check your BMI (weight divided by height in metre squared) and try to keep it around 25. If you are overweight, it probably means you need to lose weight. Exercise aerobically at least five days a week and add strength training. You need to also concentrate on getting 7-8 hours of sleep and not cutting down on that for work or television.

Body odour

I have excessive sweating in my armpits. My clothes get damp. Regular use of body spray does not help.

Bodysprays are usually deodorants. They act by reducing body odour. Antiperspirants block the sweat pores and reduce sweating. Try using antiperspirants in your armpits after a bath. You can also buy absorbent pads which you can insert inside the clothes.

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to


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