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Ranadeep Moitra separates fitness myths and facts through an online workshop

'When it comes to injury protection, strength is more protective than mobility'
il patients, we have something called frailty index, to calculate their performance index when we give them toxic chemo and radio therapy. We in India do not have good body reserve to tolerate such toxic treatments and by the time we are diagnosed with cancer, most of us are frail. What I took away from this workshop is that we must do some kind of muscle-building and exercising,” said Dr Deepak Kumar Mishra, director, Tata Medical Center.: Ranadeep Moitra

Urvashi Bhattacharya   |   Published 12.10.20, 09:38 PM

Although the pandemic has kept everyone indoors, fitness pro Ranadeep Moitra took his knowledge and skills online with Audi Kolkata presents Qore & More. The premises of Endorphins in Ballygunge live-streamed a fitness workshop with Ranadeep Maitra on October 4 where he answered queries about fitness, exercise and diets. The Telegraph took down notes of what he said.

Fitness decreases stress

It is true to the extent that if you have other things right in your life. We say that you really need four doctors in your life. The first one is Dr Quiet, which is your downtime. Music is quiet, reading is quiet, meditation is quiet. Then you have Dr Diet, which is eating properly. Third you have Dr Happiness, that means the mentality to be happy with what you got. And I don’t mean happy at the time but spiritual happiness. So after you have these three doctors in place you can try Dr Movement. If you don’t have these three things in place and try Dr Movement it is going to ruin your body, it will be more stressful for you, you will secrete cortisol and not be beneficial for you at all. For example, you will say, “Oh my God, this guy is so fit. He would work out for 40 minutes on the treadmill.”


Now this guy has a highly stressful job. All day sitting in a chair, hits the treadmill, loud music, poor running technique, stresses the heart out. That’s stress and cortisol and that’s going to break down the body. Stress to an extent is healthy, we all need a little bit of it.
A Canadian endocrinologist called Dr Hans Selye in the early 20th century called it the habituation phase, when there’s stress and we learn to handle it from our adrenaline cortex with the pituitary gland. But a little bit of stress keeps us active and keeps us going and it’s good for you. If you don’t get stressed and have to wake up in the morning at a particular time, the animals are going to eat up your family. That’s where we are coming from, hunter gatherers. That’s why you have the right amount of cortisol early in the morning and it’s great to work out then. But if you have too much stress, when you secrete too much stress hormone in your body, it’s not going to make you stronger.

Playing a sport and exercising

Sport is a very close cousin of exercise but it is not the same thing. If you speak to any doctor who treats sportsmen, you will be surprised to find the number of sportsmen that play injured. Sports is not a healthy perusal at all. Recreational sports may look healthy to you. When you talk about health you talk about metabolic health and muscular skeletal health. A lot of sportsmen have muscular skeletal issues because they have dysfunctions in their muscular-skeletal system. You need to first get fit to play sports and not first play sports and then get fit. A lot of children that get hurt in America (I have data for America and I am aligned to The National Strength and Conditioning of America) is absolutely astounding. All this could have been helped if children were taught to learn movements.

Difference between training and activity

Training differs from activity the way reading differs from studying. When you train, you’re progressing in one particular realm and the biggest difference is that only what can be measured and documented is training. For example, you go for a walk. How long did you walk? You say 15 minutes. That’s activity. But if you say I walk two kilometres in 15 minutes and document it and that tomorrow you want to do a little more than two in 15 minutes, that becomes training.  

Rest days

The body recovers and improves during rest, you only give it stimulus. And there’s a very healthy word in physiology called ‘load’. You load your body and we as stress engineers need to device exactly how much load is going to set up adaptation and how much will cause reverse ability. So we hope we’ve set up the right stimulus in your body and give you rest to recover.

Without recovery growth can’t take place. For example, bone density is a big issue in today’s urban world, particularly with women. About 30 or 40 per cent of urban Indian women have osteopenia or osteoporosis and the only way to prevent it is to load the bone. When we say we “hope we’ve put the proper amount of loading”, it is actually 1/10th of the force that causes a fracture. So when I load the bone, the bone bends. Bending the bone is extremely important because when it bends all the osteoblast (a cell that gives bones it’s thickness) under the stimulation migrate to the surface of the bone and make it strong. You can have all your vitamins but if you don’t put the stimulus you will not have a dense bone.

Lower back injury

Rest is not recovery. If you get injured you have to allow your body to heal but you have to rehabilitate if you haven’t done prehab. When it comes to injury protection, strength is more protective than mobility.

So when people ask why I go to the gym, I tell them that God forbid I get into an accident at 50 or slip in the bathroom when I’m 65, I’m working for it now.

Coming back to back pain, there are no back exercises. You don’t treat the problem, you treat the person. If we did an MRI of the people here (in the room) and replaced them with older people, eight out of 10 would have shown some abnormality. There are also offending symptoms present that cause pain. You could have a slipped disc but if you have a strong core, hamstrings, can bend properly then you won’t get back pain. Still 70 to 80 per cent of people have back pain at some point in their lives, that’s because you try to treat back pain and you can’t treat back pain because everyone has different backs.

Shoulder injuries

Our lifestyle, spending our time sitting down, everything we tend to do is in front of our body (driving, eating, working). So the nature of our muscles on your chest tend to get short and tight. Over a period of time, if we don’t watch out, we tend to go like this (slouches).... When that happens, muscles around the scapula tend to get weak and it doesn’t function too well. There are many reasons for shoulder pain but the offending movement is important.

From the scapula comes out the spine of the scapula and juts out to the shoulder as the acromion. So when your hand goes up, the head of the humerus (at the arm’s joint) will knock the head of the acromion unless the scapula learns to move away. So the nerves between the acromion and humerus get pinched and starts an impingement which causes inflammation and pain.

Diets and exercise

You can have all the vitamins and vegetables but if you don’t have load and strength you won’t see results. Yes, a diet is very important. You could be the fittest person in the world but if you put kachra in your stomach then kachra will come out. I, as a non-vegetarian, eat three vegetables every day. I may have my meat and fish but vegetables are important because it’s antioxidants that give resistance... just because you’re lean doesn’t mean you can eat rubbish.

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