Fitness Q&A: Losing weight after childbirth

Fitness expert, Namita Jain answers readers’ questions on fitness. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Thursday.

This week’s answers:

1. Dear Madam, Ihaving back pain. I am sitting almost more than 8 hours in a day. Which food I have to prefer? & which type of yoga/exercise I can do?

Our lifestyles often give rise to poor posture, rounded shoulders or a flat back. If the natural curves of the spine are overly arched or flattened for long periods of time, the spine gets stiff and weak.

Tips to save your back
· Maintain good posture. Sit and stand tall and keep your spine erect, but relaxed.
· Avoid sitting continuously for long periods. Take frequent breaks to move and stretch your muscles.
· Sit on a chair that supports your lower back. The height of the seat should allow your feet to rest flat on the floor.
· Wear comfortable footwear with good arch supports. High heels cause the back to arch excessively.
· The screen of the computer should be at eye level so that the spine and neck are not strained.
· Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
· Perform flexibility and strength exercises for the back to keep the spine strong and supple.

2-yoga asanas for your back
Yoga asanas work on flexing and extending different parts of the spine and regaining the range of movements available to the spinal column.

The Snake pose (Sarpasana)

Benefits: This pose stimulates energy flow into the back, chest and lungs.

Lie on your stomach with legs extended out. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and elbows slightly bent, lift your spine, chest and shoulders off the floor. Take your arms back and interlock your fingers.

The child pose (Balasana)

Benefits: Stretches the spine, reduces fatigue and nourishes the facial skin and scalp.

Sit on the heels. Slowly bend forward, resting the forehead on the floor. Extend your arms forward so that you feel the stretch along your spine. Relax all muscles.

2. hi,after pregnancy i was 70 kg.after 1 year and 9 months of pregnancy with diet and exercise am now 62 kg.i am not able reduce than that.plz help.

The truth is that the closer you are to your ideal weight, the harder it gets to shed off weight. Also, if you are too hard on yourself, it becomes difficult to sustain the effort. Know that a yo-yo pattern of eating and exercising eventually affects your metabolism, adversely.

Here are simple strategies to get to your goal

§ Build muscle
You can increase muscle mass by adding resistance training to your workout. Try lifting weights, using dumbbells, dyna bands or exercising on machines. This will not only improve your metabolism, but also tone and define your body and improve body strength.

§ Include cardiovascular exercise
Do some sort of aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming at east week, for a minimum of 30 minutes. Metabolic rates can increase up to 25-percent after a vigorous aerobic workout. This form of exercise will also help improve the digestive system and decrease levels of body fat.

§ Eat slowly and sensibly
The faster you eat, the more you consume. This results in increased storage of fat. Eat slowly, sensibly and at regular intervals – consume foods that are low in fat to increase your metabolism and better digest the food.

§ Lead an active life
Keep your mind and body active to avoid lethargy from setting into your routine. Nothing is worse than that for slowing down the metabolic rate.

· Change your routine
Vary your workouts every six weeks. When you find your body has adapted to the demands of your existing routine, give yourself a new stimulus to break out of the plateau. Remember, change creates change.

· Intelligent eating
Learn from the past. Take a piece of paper and write down every single diet you’ve been on. Then write down what happened at the end of each one.
If you’ve tried any diet more than once, list it. How long is your list?
Were you able to sustain the weight loss?

There is only one conclusion to draw: Diets don’t work. What works is a sensible eating plan.

It is possible to break out of a plateau and kick your metabolism into a higher gear. When you stay focused you will find yourself moving forward consistently – and finally reaching your goal.

3. Dear Namita, how to exercise for tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is an injury, you need to rest the hand and you can ice it to reduce swelling. Please to check with your physician for specific recommendations and stretches you can do, based on the severity of your condition.

4. Hi, please tell me if it is safe to exercise with PCOS

Gentle exercises should be safe; always consult your doctor for specific exercise recommendations.

5. What is the best workout for stiff neck, I drive over 3 hours daily and my neck is sore in the evening

I suggest these 3 stretches:

1. Neck stretch
Turn your head to the right side look over your shoulder, and then to the left side and look over your shoulder. Repeat 8 times.

2. Shoulder rolls
Rotate your shoulders forwards 5 times and then reverse direction 5 times.

3. Arm and spine stretch
Extend both hands straight above your head, clasp your hands and stretch your spine and arms. Hold for 10 seconds.

Namita is a certified clinical exercise specialist and lifestyle and weight management consultant. She is currently attached to Bombay Hospital as their clinical and wellness specialist.

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