HEALTH & FITNESS

Walking a simple yet effective activity
by Dr Ravinder Chadha

T
he most common complaint one encounters is walking regularly and yet not losing weight. One may wonder if walking would be effective in keeping an individual fit as it seems to be “too easy” for reaping such dividends.

No proper care for ‘diet-only’ diabetics
LONDON:
Thousands of diabetics who are treated by diet only are not receiving adequate care, according to the findings by a team of British researchers. Their study showed that these patients — who may number hundreds of thousands — have significant rates of complications and are less likely than those on medication to be properly monitored.

Artificial dietary supplements
by Gauri V. Singh

L
ooking good, feeling young and energetic is a major concern in an individual’s life. And for this insatiable urge, the food industry, particularly the one dealing with artificial dietary supplements, has witnessed an enormous growth during the past few years.

In UK, they drink Prozac!
LONDON:
An Environment Agency report in Britain has revealed that traces of the anti-depressant drug Prozac can be found in the nation’s drinking water. According to the BBC, the report has suggested that since people are taking Prozac nowadays because of which the drug is building up in rivers and groundwater through treated sewage water.

The pain is all in the brain
LONDON:
Researchers at the University College of London, have found that people under a hypnotic spell are capable of imagining the same kind of pain, as actual physical pain thus stressing the fact that certain kind of pain originates in the brain rather than the body.

Homoeopathy & you
Migraine is curable, but how?
by Dr Vikas Sharma
M
igraine is not a serious disorder but can seriously cripple one’s ability to live life normally. The unpredictable nature and the severity with which the headache comes on, affects one’s life in many ways. It brings about lower tolerance levels for frustration, noise and fatigue.

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Walking a simple yet effective activity
by Dr Ravinder Chadha

The most common complaint one encounters is walking regularly and yet not losing weight.

One may wonder if walking would be effective in keeping an individual fit as it seems to be “too easy” for reaping such dividends.

Effective walking is easy, enjoyable, requiring no infrastructure or tools and can yet help in maintaining/losing weight. Not maintaining or losing weight over a period of time when effective walking is being pursued indicates that the individual is either not restricting diet or not walking effectively. Walking at a good speed over a prolonged period can only lead to the burning of fat and thereby leading to a reduction of weight.

Brisk walking is an aerobic activity as then the body has oxygen that is required to burn fat. It is one of the safest ways to lose weight, reduce stress and increase energy.

I generally see a majority of people walking aimlessly with poor technique. They seem to be pushing themselves and are unable to walk fast and hence get tired easily, putting unique pressure on the joints and muscles, leading to heel pain, shin pain and muscle soreness.

In order to achieve optimum results, a proper walking technique should be adhered to.

* Walk with your chin up and with relaxed shoulders held slightly back.

* Walk so that the heel of the foot touches the ground first. Roll your weight forward.

* Walk with the toes pointed forward.

* Swing your arms as you walk. Bend arms at 90 degrees and swing them back and forth, opposing the leg motion.

Five elements necessary for a successful walking programme include:

* Warm up: Walking at a slow pace for approximately five to seven minutes.

* Pre-exercise stretch: During such an activity an individual performs a series of stretches focussing on hamstring, calf and quadricep muscles. This helps to increase the flexibility of the joints and muscles. Each stretch is repeated five times, holding for 10 seconds. As one’s flexibility increases one can repeat each stretch 10 times and hold for 10-15 seconds.

* Hamstring stretch: Stand with on foot on a chair, bench or step and then touch the foot with your hand.

* Calf muscle stretch: Lean your hands one a wall with your feet about three-four feet away from the wall. Bend one knee, and point it toward the wall. Keep your back leg straight with your foot flat and your toes pointed straight ahead. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

* Quadriceps stretch: Stand next to a wall, tree or chair for balance. Reach back and slowly pull non-weight-bearing foot up towards your buttocks until you feel tension in your front thigh muscles. Hold the foot for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

* Aerobic activity: A person walks at a brisk pace in an attempt to elevate his/her heart rate. A brisk walk will burn up to 100 calories per mile or 300 to 500 calories per hour. Combined with a sensible diet, walking will not only help you lose weight but also keep the weight off.

It is always advisable to start off very slowly and increase the pace gradually in an attempt to elevate one’s heart rate. Being by walking at 105 steps per minute and alowky increase to 115 steps per minute for a period of 20-30 minutes. Then slow the pace down to 105 steps per minute to cool down for about five minutes.

For moderate fitness a woman should walk two miles in 30 minute or less three days a week of walk 2 miles in 30-40 minute five-six days a week. A man should walk two miles in 27 minutes or less at least three days a week or walk two miles in 30-40 minutes six-seven days a week.

Walking for weight reduction: There is an improvement in metabolism when a person is walking, but the fat reduction starts only when walking is done at a target heart rate for about 20-30 minutes. To calculate the target heart rate, one has to subtract one’s age from 220, i.e. the maximum heart rate at birth.

The target heart rate is 60-80 per cent of the maximum heart rate. For an individual of 50 years the target heart rate will be as under.

* 220 (maximum heart rate) minus 50 (age)=170 beats per minute.

* 60 per cent of 170=102 beats/minute——17 beats/10 seconds.

* 80 per cent of 170=136 beats/minute—-21 beats/10 seconds.

Therefore, while doing the exercise you can count your pulse up to 10 seconds on your wrist or neck, which should be between your upper and lower target rate.

In my view, walk six time a week for three days with an intensity of the target heart rate for 20-30 minutes and three days with an easy pace for 30-40 minutes.

Increase your distance for not more than 10 per cent per week. If you are walking 2 km then don’t increase more than two and a half km next week.

The cool-down follows an actual aerobic activity. This is continued walking at a much lower intensity for approximately five-seven minutes. Stretching the same muscles in an attempt to counteract the exercise induces the contraction of the muscles and enhances joint flexibility.

Walking definitely is the ideal medicine for weight reduction.

— The writer is a former doctor/physiotherapist, Indian Cricket Team.
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No proper care for ‘diet-only’ diabetics

LONDON: Thousands of diabetics who are treated by diet only are not receiving adequate care, according to the findings by a team of British researchers.

Their study showed that these patients — who may number hundreds of thousands — have significant rates of complications and are less likely than those on medication to be properly monitored.

Writing in the Lancet medical journal, the researchers concluded: “There is great scope for improved management within general practice.”

Up to 3 per cent of the British population has diabetes. Of these, almost 1 per cent have non-insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes which is solely controlled by diet.

They balance their blood glucose levels by eating the right kind of foods at the right times.

But the study, led by Dr Julia Hippisley-Cox from the University of Nottingham, found that patients managed by diet only received less monitoring for blood pressure, cholesterol and other risk factors associated with diabetes than those taking medication.

Diet-only patients were more likely to have raised blood pressure, and 45 per cent more likely to have raised cholesterol. They were also less likely to be receiving drug treatment for these problems.

Although fewer patients treated by diet had diabetes-related complications compared with those on medication, the rate was much higher than for the general population.

Dr Hippisley-Cox said: “Patients with diabetes on diet only are receiving less intensive review of their condition, and fewer referrals to, for example, dieticians; they also have a high rate of complications.

“Although some individuals with Type 2 diabetes might be effectively managed by diet only, there is a case for better routine surveillance; for more intensive therapy if glycaemic (blood sugar) control, blood pressure, or cholesterol are not optimum, and if any diabetes-related complications occur; and for greater consistency of clinical practice concerning the decision to start medication.”

“Almost 1 per cent of the entire population has diabetes and is on diet only and, therefore, the study has substantial public health implications,” he said. — DPA

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Artificial dietary supplements
by Gauri V. Singh

Looking good, feeling young and energetic is a major concern in an individual’s life. And for this insatiable urge, the food industry, particularly the one dealing with artificial dietary supplements, has witnessed an enormous growth during the past few years.

These so-called natural and artificial products, promising more than naturally feasible results, find favour with a lot of people who are either miserably ignorant or choose to be ignorant about the side-effects in the long run.

There are various kinds of products—from steroids, thermogenics, hormones in injection and tablet forms to powder—available across the counter throughout the country, even as many of these are useful when used strictly under medical supervision.

Steroids, for instance, have assumed place of a “wonder drug” among the athletes. Physically, steroids have shown to have a remarkable effect on muscle growth and strength and, psychologically, they provide the user with an aggressive contentious mindset, which often delivers favourable results during competitions and training.

It is not only a problem that is detected among athletes alone but younger lot also, who take steroids for social factors since the community of teenagers and young adults is more keen on having a good looking body than any other quality.

Most of them simply desire to improve their physical appearance, but in their zeal they take the shortcut after realising that they are too lazy or do not have enough time for the workout.

When you are using drugs, it simply means that you are short-circuiting your body’s normal process.

By providing hormones and other substances from outside the body, you shutdown the internal mechanism that would have produced the required substance normally. This can result in long-term and sometimes a permanent imbalance in the body that can be intensely harmful to your health.

Always keep in mind that by using drugs, you force your body to function in ways it is not meant to, and the changes brought about by drug abuse may have significant short-term and long-term consequences.

— The writer, who was earlier associated with the PGI, Chandigarh, is a Jalandhar-based consultant dietician.
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In UK, they drink Prozac!

LONDON: An Environment Agency report in Britain has revealed that traces of the anti-depressant drug Prozac can be found in the nation’s drinking water. According to the BBC, the report has suggested that since people are taking Prozac nowadays because of which the drug is building up in rivers and groundwater through treated sewage water.

A spokesman for the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) said that the Prozac found was most likely highly diluted.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, are calling for an urgent investigation into the evidence.

“It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water,” said Norman Baker, MP and Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman. The report, however, concluded that the Prozac in the water table could be potentially toxic and that the drug was a potential concern. 

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The pain is all in the brain

LONDON: Researchers at the University College of London, have found that people under a hypnotic spell are capable of imagining the same kind of pain, as actual physical pain thus stressing the fact that certain kind of pain originates in the brain rather than the body.

This study may help doctors to determine the cause of medically unexplained pain such as chronic low back pain, which continues to baffle medical men.

The study by the University College of London and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre found that volunteers who felt pain as a result of hypnotic suggestion showed strikingly similar brain activity to those subjected to actual pain.
— ANI
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Homoeopathy & you
Migraine is curable, but how?
by Dr Vikas Sharma

Prevention tips

Keep a headache diary: This may help you in identifying the trigger factors such as foods, activities and weather

Exercise regularly:
Regular exercise, yoga and relaxation techniques such as meditation can also be of great help.

Keep regular sleep patterns
: Sleep adequately. Sleeping too much or too less can trigger migraine.

Watch out what you eat:
Foods such as caffeine and Chinese foods that contain monosodium glucamate and chocolates cheese are well-known trigger factors.

Eat regularly:
Fasting is a very common trigger in many people. If it is such a factor for you too, make sure that you eat at regular intervals.

Migraine is not a serious disorder but can seriously cripple one’s ability to live life normally. The unpredictable nature and the severity with which the headache comes on, affects one’s life in many ways. It brings about lower tolerance levels for frustration, noise and fatigue. Fiction writer Carol Lewis is said to have created those strange characters and bizarre sensation in her book, Alice in Wonderland,” during the migraine attacks that she suffered. Just a small comfort for those suffering from migraine. They join the club with many well-known intellectuals like Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Thomas Jefferson.

How does a migraine attack differ from an ordinary headache?

Common headache, often called tension headaches, are usually of mild-to-moderate intensity, and have no such symptoms as nausea and visual disturbances associated with migraine. They generally occur as isolated incidents. Migraine is a headache of a severe type and tends to recur. The pain is usually confined to one side of the head but may eventually spread to the other side. It may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Classical migraine is differentiated from common migraine by the presence of a condition called aura.

Aura is an occurrence of neurological symptoms 10-30 minutes before the classical migraine attack. Symptoms such as flashing lights, double vision, zigzag pattern, mental fuzziness and mood changes are a part of it.

What are the causes of migraine?

The pain during the migraine attack is usually caused by the dilation of the arteries (vessels carrying blood) and an increase in the blood supply to the particular area in the head. This is in response to an initial contraction of the arteries caused by the trigger factors.

What are the common trigger factors?

Stress, emotional disturbances, tobacco smoke, fasting-hunger, lack of proper sleep, excessive tea or coffee intake, foods containing monosodium glucamate, hormonal changes, weather changes. Genetic predisposition is supposed to play a major role.

Homoeopathy can cure the disease permanently, though it may take some time before the recurrence of headache are completely stopped. It also depends on the factors such as patient compliance, medicine intake regularity, knowledge and avoidance of trigger factors and the chronicity of migraine attacks.

With the correct prescription, one may slowly notice the problem receding, the attacks becoming less frequent and also their decreasing severity. Sanguinaria, Nux Vomica, Iris and Spigelia lead the homoeopathic table in treating this disorder.

Another medicine that needs a special mention is Epiphegus, because the symptom it treats are so often found in patients, especially women. Headache comes when one deviate from one’s normal routine. It is made worse by going out in the sun, by any exertion.

— The writer is a Chandigarh-based homoeopath

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