Fitness Q&A: Regular exercise is a great shield

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 Maam, Is steam bath good for health, how often should we do it and what is ideal temperature for steam bathing?


Steam baths can also be called sweat baths because both stimulate the sweat glands to produce heavy perspiration. In a steam bath, the heat is moist. The steam bath uses a steam generator to produce a continuous supply of steam. The steam builds up to create a humidity level of around 100%. Age-old traditions in steam are used to relax, detoxify the body and enable better blood circulation. I suggest you can do this weekly, or twice in a month, for about 10 minutes duration. Do make sure you drink adequate water after your steam bath to avoid dehydration.

2. Hi, My name is Anju Patel and working in IT industry. I delivered a baby gal on 8th November 2009.

Before delivery I was 63 kgs and 5’3’’ in height, but after delivery I am 73 kgs and now from last 3 months I am continuous hitting gym every day 1 hour each but only 5 days in a week. But then also I am not loosing weight.

My exercise includes alternate days cardio and weight training exercise.

It would be great if you can share a diet plan for me which can help me to reduce weight.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Anju Patel

Diet chart


2 idlis and sambhar

1 bowl grapefruit/ papaya

1 cup coffee or tea


1 Apple

1 coconut water


1 serving mixed veggie salad

2 rotis or I cup rice

1 cup green vegetables

1 cup dal or curds


2 non-cream biscuits

1 cup coffee or tea


1 coconut water or herbal tea

Late evening

1 cup roasted savoury such as popcorn (without oil or butter)


Vegetable soup with whole wheat croutons (toasted)

1 cup mixed vegetables

2 rotis or I cup rice

1 cup dal or curds

3. Can you suggest how meditation is done?



Meditation is not really forcing your mind to be quiet; it is finding the quiet that is already there.

Sit quietly with hands at your sides or in your lap. Now, with your eyes closed, start to breathe lightly and easily. Let your attention follow your breath. Don’t force your breath; just breathe normally. Continue this exercise for two to five minutes, just closing your eyes and focusing your mind on easy, natural breathing.

Now, what just happened with this exercise?

Your mind was able to sink in to a deep state of silence and peace.

This exercise gives just a glimpse of the boundless bliss possible through the practice of meditation. As you meditate regularly, you will find a reappearance of youthful energy and vitality, serenity and calm that supersedes all other experiences.

Suggested meditation practice

1. Sit facing north or east on a woollen blanket (or a silk cloth) in Padmasana (lotus pose) or in any easy cross-legged pose, or even on a straight chair (the blanket or silk cloth serves as insulation against magnetic earth currents that tend to tie the mind to material perceptions).

2. Close your eyes and calm the mind. Keep the spine erect, chest high and abdomen in. Take a deep breath in; inhale and then exhale. Do this thrice.

3. Silence the mind and experience the calmness within.

4. Begin your meditation practice.

5. After the practice continue to hold on to that peace. Say a silent prayer for healing and inner growth. Or repeat an affirmation to increase the positive thought power.

Meditation room or corner

It is important to have your own special room or corner for meditation so that in time, the allotted space generates spiritual vibrations. Your area of worship or meditation could contain an altar, spiritual pictures, any or all of the following:

Incense sticks (air element)

Ghee or oil lamp/ candle (fire element)

Water (water element)

Flowers (ether element)

A Bell (sound element)

Statue of a Deity (for worship)

Spiritual books (for inspiration)

Meditation beads (or repeating mantras a ‘mala’ or ‘rosary beads’ are generally used. They are usually made of rudraksha, crystal or tulsi)

4. Dear Madam, I am 72 yrs old, with a heart and cholesterol problem. I used to walk earlier, but now out of practice. Get breathless quickly. I’m active otherwise. Any health tips?



Regular exercise is a great shield

Physical activity is one of the most important steps for preventing and controlling heart problems. Examples of exercises are walking, bicycling, swimming.


Meditation helps calm the body and mind bringing them into a better state of balance.

Restful sleep

Sleep allows the pulse to slow down and relaxes the body. A good night’s sleep reduces overall fatigue, anxiety and stress.

Watch your salt intake

Most of us consume more salt than we need. Limit salt intake to 2,400 milligrams per day (1-teaspoon). When you eat too much salt, the body retains water to “wash” the salt from the body. This can result in high blood pressure.

Avoid smoking

Smoking reduces life expectancy by 15 to 20 years. When you stop smoking you reduce chances of heart problems.

Monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels

Routine check-ups are important to ensure that you get medical help in time.

Watch your diet

Consume a low-fat, balanced diet. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, whole grain cereals and low-fat dairy.

Manage your waist

Excess fat deposit on your waist is a risk factor for heart problems. Keep a check on your weight.

Check your family history

There is a tendency to develop heart problems if you have a family history. Take required precautions, regular medical check-ups and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Laughter is the best therapy

Life is too short to be taken too seriously. Laughter is the best medicine to look at the lighter and brighter side of life.

5. Hi. Is it safe to drink milk with breakfast everyday if I want to lose weight? My BMI is 28.


Yes it is. Please make sure you consume skimmed milk, this way you get the benefits of milk, minus the fat content.

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