SPORTS & WELLNESS
 


Loot of the Common Wealth
M. S. Unnikrishnan
The fallout of the many controversies surrounding the 2010 Commonwealth Gamesí preparations is that India has not only besmirched its fair name as a competent host, but also that the international federations would now think twice before allotting any major sporting event to the country.

Construction continues around the newly inaugurated Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi
Construction continues around the newly inaugurated Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Photo: AFP

Just jogging
Want to get fit, boost your energy levels and uplift your mood at the same time, don't go to the gym. Instead, head to the nearest park and start jogging. A walk in the great outdoors is better for the body and mind than pounding the treadmill, according to a new research. And those who burn off calories by jogging in the park or hiking on the moors feel happier than those who break a sweat in the gym.

Talk the walk
Walking may not be the best way to lose weight
Sachin Kalra
With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts are recommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far as to say that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I strongly disagree with this and am going to show you why walking is not effective at burning body fat.
Yes,youread that correctly.
   

 

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Loot of the Common Wealth
M. S. Unnikrishnan

A boy holding a placard joins a recent protest by physically challenged athletes in front of Sports Minister M. S. Gillís residence in New Delhi.
A boy holding a placard joins a recent protest by physically challenged athletes in front of Sports Minister M. S. Gillís residence in New Delhi. Hundreds of physically challenged athletes voiced their dissatisfaction with the Commonwealth Games 2010 Committee, the Paralympics Committee of India, and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs for alleged apathy in providing them with resources for proper training Photo: AFP

The fallout of the many controversies surrounding the 2010 Commonwealth Gamesí preparations is that India has not only besmirched its fair name as a competent host, but also that the international federations would now think twice before allotting any major sporting event to the country.

The media has gone into an overdrive to highlight the corruption charges dogging the games' organisation, holding CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi responsible for the mess, though to be fair to him, it's unfair to put all the blame on Kalmadi's door. The budget at his disposal as chairman of the committee is comparatively small ó Rs 2394 crore, including overlays, import and purchase of equipment etc ó compared to the thousands of crores being spent for the development of infrastructure by Central Government agencies and the Delhi Government.

The Union Urban Development Ministry, through the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), are in charge of the construction of the infrastructure in the major stadia under the control of the SAI, including the prestigious Nehru Stadium, the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium and the S. P. Mukherjee Swimming complex, while the Delhi Government is carrying out works on stadiums under its domain. The Delhi Government is also carrying out works on roads, flyovers, parks, sub-ways, pavement of roads, kerbs and mayriad other works, leaving Delhi a dust bowl littered with construction material and waste everywhere.

The exclusive Connaught Place shopping complex is in a total mess, and the many sub-ways being constructed there, are unlikely to be finished well after the 19th Commonwealth Games, scheduled for October 3-14. In fact, every agency, every key individual enjoying financial powers, not just Kalmadi alone, has joined in the loot of the great "Common Wealth".

If the Games budget has shot through the roof, people in charge of the games organisations and preparations are not complaining. For them it's more the merrier, while the common man and the taxpayer have been left fuming at this open swindling of public money.

 The Opposition parties in Parliament have blamed the government for spending nearly Rs 1 lakh crore for the Games, while a conservative estimate puts the total expenditure for it at Rs 35,000 crore.

In fact, Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy told Parliament that around Rs 28,054 crore were being spent on the Games, which includes Rs 11,494 crore sanctioned by the Central Government, and the Rs 16,560 crore being spent by the Delhi Government. The Delhi Government is also spending an additional Rs 670 crore for the beautification of Delhi.

In fact, Reddy's submission that in excess of the Rs 28,000 crore is being spent on the Games is an open admission that the budget has spiralled like noboby's business. But nobody would have minded the expenses had there not been corruption in the construction of infrastructure, import of equipment and overlays.

The Games are godsend for some to make a killing as such a chance occurs once in a blue moon.

The nearly 2000-strong workforce in the Organising Committee office at the nine-storey NDMC-owned building at Jantar Mantar in Connaught Place consists of relatives, friends and friends' friends of some big shot or another. And slowly but surely, the lid of massive nepotism is being blown off to expose many a VIP's role in the free-for-all-swindle of the Commonwealth Games budget.

India had raced against the clock to organise a memorable ninth Asian Games in Delhi in 1982, primarily because Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had formed a Special Organising Committee, consisting of Rajiv Gandhi, Arun Singh, Arun

Nehru and a few other trusted aides of hers, to fully back Organising Committee chairman Buta Singh to hold a successful games.

The Asiad preparations started from scratch after Indira Gandhi swept back to power in 1982, and in less than two years, Delhi got fully geared up for the Games, with no major last-minute glitches surfacing. In fact, most of the stadiums being renovated for the Commonwealth Games were constructed for the Asian Games, including the Nehru Stadium and the IG Stadium.

It's shocking that the renovation of the Nehru Stadium, with the addition of a weightlifting hall, has reportedly cost a whopping Rs 961 crore, which cannot be justified by any means. It's a rip-off of the public money, as for the construction of a brand new cricket at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, the Delhi and District Cricket Association had reportedly spent Rs 65 crore or thereabouts. Such blatant inflation of the construction costs of most of the infrastructure is seen as a fertile ground for corruption and for the unscrupulous to make money.

And Suresh Kalmadi is made to hear the music for the loot of the Ďcommon wealth' as the captain of the ship though many others have escaped unhurt so far, even as skeletons are tumbling out of the closet one by one. It looks very much a possibility that the Government would have to constitute an inquiry committee to bring the guilty to book once the Games are over, to apportion the blame for the mess that has been created during the Commonwealth Games preparations.


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Just jogging

Want to get fit, boost your energy levels and uplift your mood at the same time, don't go to the gym. Instead, head to the nearest park and start jogging. A walk in the great outdoors is better for the body and mind than pounding the treadmill, according to a new research. And those who burn off calories by jogging in the park or hiking on the moors feel happier than those who break a sweat in the gym.

They also have more energy and may even find it easier to concentrate at work.

It is thought that being surrounded by nature encourages the mind to relax, while the feeling of escaping from the bustle of everyday life may help beat the blues. And saving money on gym membership fees could also give many a reason to smile.

The findings come from a review of 25 studies comparing the benefits of exercise in natural environments, such as parks, forests and university campuses, with 'synthetic' ones, including gyms and leisure centres. Exercising outdoors is better at cutting anger, fatigue and sadness than exercising indoors, according to the journal BMC Public Health.

Those who chose an open-air workout also felt more energetic, and often found it easier to concentrate.

However, there was no firm evidence that exercising outdoors is better for blood pressure or the immune system. And not all 'natural' environments are created equal - with those who did physical activity in parks and other green spaces benefitting more than others who pounded pavements.

'This systematic review contributes a rigorous and objective synthesis of the evidence for added benefits to health from activities in a natural environment," the Daily Mail quoted the University of Bangor researchers as saying. Previous research has also credited green spaces with cutting crime and vandalism. ó ANI


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Talk the walk
Walking may not be the best way to lose weight
Sachin Kalra

With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts are recommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far as to say that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I strongly disagree with this and am going to show you why walking is not effective at burning body fat.

Yes, you read that correctly

Walking is not effective at burning body fat and if your goal is fat loss, you might be wasting your time. I am not saying that walking is not beneficial, I am saying that if weight loss is the primary goal, there are far better choices that will deliver far better results.

The primary benefits of walking are increased blood flow and circulation, improved recovery, and a strengthened immune system. There are several reasons why walking is not the best choice when it comes to fat loss. Here are just a few:

n Walking does not burn a lot of calories

The lower the intensity of the activity or exercise, the smaller the number of calories burned per unit of time. For example, you can burn more calories in 15 minutes of bicycling at a high intensity level that you can in 45 minutes of easy walking.

n It does not result in a large increase in metabolism

Another downside to walking is that because itís generally low intensity, it results in only a small increase in metabolism that will only last approximately 1-2 hours after the walk. On the other hand, metabolism increases are larger and last longer (4-24 hours or more) when you perform high-intensity cardio workouts.

n It does not deplete muscle glycogen

Low-intensity exercises like walking do not deplete muscle glycogen levels and therefore, later that day, if you have excess calories, they may be stored as body fat, whereas if you deplete the glycogen, the excess calories will primarily be stored in the muscles.

So, why then do so many fitness and health experts recommend walking for weight loss? One reason is that people donít want to hear that they have to work hard, so they figure some activity is better than none. Another reason is that the body burns more fat for fuel when exercising at an easy pace, however, the total amount of energy used is so small that you end up burning off little body fat. Yes you are burning fat, but so little that you would have to exercise at that easy pace for hours and hours each day. A fine example of this is the all the women walkers one sees in groups of twos or threes in various parks and in various cities, walking and gossiping at the same time. Their exercise intensity is so less that there will hardly be any substantial weight loss by the end of the day.

On the other hand, high-intensity cardiovascular / aerobic exercise is much more effective in burning off the excess body fat. In fact, several studies have been done to prove this. In one study, they compared one group that did moderate level aerobics for 45 minutes with another group that performed high-intensity workouts for 15 minutes. They did before and after fitness testing, including body fat analysis and found that the group who performed the high-intensity aerobics lost nine times as much body fat!!

Anil Ambani, a man who needs no introduction, is all into high-intensity training. His obsession with fitness began a few years ago, when, famously, a foreign investor told him that they would think twice about investing in a company whose management was not in good health. He took that statement as a challenge and changed his total lifestyle. He made exercise an integral part of his life and he jogs diligently 5-6 km six days a week. Wherever in the world, he never misses this run. His inspiration is former US President George Bush! He has lost 35 kg and looks fit.

Compare the bodies of a walker, marathon runner, and sprinter. If you are not familiar with what a sprinters body looks like, it is very muscular and has little body fat, while the body of a walker is likely to have the opposite, little muscle and more fat. The sprinter does little or no low-intensity exercise and does primarily short hard bursts of work, while the marathoner over trains so much, he burns both the body fat and the muscle and thatís why tends to look almost sickly thin.

So, what should you do then if your main objective is to shed those excess pounds of body weight?

Perform some form of high-intensity cardio 2-4 times per week

Stabilise blood sugar to minimise the storage of new fat

I know some of you must be wondering that you canít do high-intensity exercise because you have bad knee or bad back. But donít worry, I have a solution for you the good news is that high intensity is all relative to you and your current fitness level. For example, fast walking up and down hills may be high intensity for you. So, donít think that you have to start running or something like that. Just slowly start to increase the intensity of your cardio workouts while also maybe decreasing the same time because you can either work hard or you can work long.

Obviously, some exercises/activities are better suited than others but the point is, if you want to burn more fat and make your workouts as productive as possible, you need to increase the intensity.

FOOTNOTES

Anil Ambani (L) jogs diligently 5-6 km six days a weekTips to make your walking more effective:

n Increase your speed. For example, walk 2 minutes slowly and 5 minutes at a faster speed

n Use an incline track

n Add resistance on your body with resistance jackets, ankle weights or you can hold light dumb bells

n Exercise at intervals

Anil Ambani (L) jogs diligently 5-6 km six days a week

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