Prof. David Cameron- Smith’s take on Type 2 Diabetes

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Wellness Experience with Cindy Jourdain & Tamara Zweck

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The ‘Science Behind Exercise’ isn’t just another ‘fitness training’ workshop.

Cindy Jourdain, a leading certified celebrity trainer has teamed up with Tamara Zweck, the Indian Premier League (IPL) Medical Director to create an interactive classroom to teach people about the right ‘moves’ to make while working out.

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They used ‘Jigsaw’ the skeleton to demonstrate the effect of exercise on muscles and bones. Their most recent workshop focused on two movements- the squat and the deadlift. The pair explained the right techniques and common mistakes people make when doing these movements. To wrap it all up, the workshop participants put the theory to test during a 10-minute workout.

Cindy and Tamara are committed to helping people learn the right way to exercise whether it’s simply stretching or something more demanding. If this workshop is any evidence, they’re well on their way to helping people work out the right way.

In Conversation with Dr. Aashish Contractor

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Pioneer of cardiac rehabilitation in India, HOD- Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital

A heart attack kills one person every 33 seconds in India. What can we do as individuals to reduce the risk of heart ailments?

Dr. Contractor: As individuals, we can keep our risk factors in optimal control. Unfortunately, we have no control over advancing age and our family history but what we can and should control are:

  • Not smoking or taking tobacco in any form;
  • Keeping our BP in check (close to 120/80);
  • Keeping our cholesterol under control, as well as blood sugar;
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight;
  • Getting in at least 30-60 min of daily physical activity;
  • Keeping stress under control, and sleeping well

Have you always been a fitness enthusiast?

Dr. Contractor: I would like to think so, and am glad you didn’t use the phrase, ‘fitness freak’, as most people do. It’s sad that we call a healthy person a ‘freak’.

What is your daily fitness routine?

Dr. Contractor: I aim to get in at least 10,000 daily steps and this does NOT include the exercise I do. So, in addition to 10,000 daily steps, I run or cycle 4 days of the week and do some strength training on one or two days of the week.

You have been using the pedometer since last 10 years. What role has this device played in your health and wellness journey?

Dr. Contractor: I think it’s played a critical role in my health and fitness journey. As I’ve written in my book “The Heart Truth”, my pedometer has been my ‘conscience on my belt’ and served to keep me honest about my daily physical activity.

Statistics shows that heart disease is the leading cause of death in Indian women. What is the cause? How can they take care of their hearts?

Dr. Contractor: Honestly, the care that women need to take is no different than what men need to do, which is, to take care of their risk factors as listed above. One point that women need to remember is that their symptoms sometimes differ from that of men- they tend to get ‘chest pain’ less often, and instead, ‘shortness of breath’, is their warning sign of possible heart trouble.

Three heart disease myths even the fittest people should know about:

  1. Fitness does not give you immunity- just because you are fit, does not mean you can’t have a heart attack
  2. To gain the health benefits of exercise you don’t HAVE to run marathons or do any other ultra-endurance activities. 30-60 mins of daily exercise is good enough for best health benefits. Anything more you do, is more for ‘achievement’, than health (not that, there is anything wrong with that- I run marathons, too!)
  3. Heart disease cannot happen in young people. In our country, it’s not uncommon to see people as young as 30 suffering.

What is your advice to the corporate professionals today as increasingly 30-year-olds are suffering from heart ailments?

Dr. Contractor: My advice is that they should ‘know their health numbers’- just as they know their company targets, profit and loss, so on. They should know their individual health parameters and chase health targets as much as they do for business targets. Once health is lost, unfortunately, it’s very hard to recover it.

In your book ‘The Heart Truth’ you describe doable “life rules” for a healthy heart. Please elaborate for us.

Dr. Contractor: My point is that to lead a heart healthy lifestyle we all know largely, what’s ‘good’ for us, but unfortunately implementing it is the hardest part. Which is why I suggest, making simple rules, which you can stick by. The rules that apply to you, will be different for somebody else, whose lifestyle is not the same as yours. For instance:

  1. No snacking on starters at parties, before dinner
  2. Walking back and forth, while waiting for your flight after check-in, rather than sitting in one place
  3. Parking your car at the furthest spot from the entrance in a parking lot

Tell us a bit about your published study ‘Pedometer Assessed Physical Activity in Urban Pubertal Children: First Report from India’.

Dr. Contractor: In our study, we found that children in India, take less ‘daily steps’ than children in western countries, such as the US, UK, and Australia. This was rather surprising since the school we did it at is known for its sporting excellence. This underscores the growing epidemic of physical inactivity and obesity that is spreading in our country over the last decade and is a cause of concern.

Founder of Stepathlon invited to speak at Mass Participation Asia 2017

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Ravi Krishnan, Co-founder and CEO, Stepathlon Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd., participated in Mass Participation Asia (MPA) 2017 – a first-of-its-kind forum in the Asian region for participants from all sectors of the mass participation sports events industry.

The theme for this year’s conference ‘Inspiration from Beyond Mass Participation’ featured several speakers from across industries – including other sectors beyond sports.

 
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Ravi moderated a panel speaking with Anil Singh, MD of Procam and Malcolm Thorpe, VP at Lagardere Sports. The experienced trio discussed the rise of Mass Participation in India and the opportunities in the market.

As a panelist for the next discussion titled, ‘Where is the Next Generation of Consumers Coming From?’, Ravi highlighted the relevance of mass participation for kids to their overall wellbeing. Along with Andrew O’Loughlin, Managing Director, Limelight Sports, Princess Galura, GM, Sunrise Events and PJ Roberts, Vice President of Sales, Nielsen Sports, Ravi discusses and shares the opportunities and challenges of targeting the future generation of participants.

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In Conversation with Arjun Gadkari

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Co-Founder & President, Nilgai Foods Pvt. Ltd.

Tell us about your health and fitness journey?

Arjun: I have actively participated in team sports and individual races from an early age. During my school and university, my main competitive sports were swimming, basketball and athletics. At Oxford, I competed at the university level in Modern Pentathlon, which involves 5 disciplines – swimming, running, fencing, shooting and show jumping (on horseback). I also took part in several half-triathlons. It is only after moving to Mumbai that I started road running as a discipline in itself – this year I completed the SCMM half marathon for the 6th time.

How do you start your morning?

Arjun: My wife and I have adopted a stray dog in Mumbai and this keeps us on our toes with morning and evening walks without fail for at least 45 minutes. Owning a dog is a fantastic way to create a disciplined routine, as a dog’s routine functions like a clock. My morning starts with a 45-min brisk dog walk followed by a session at the gym. Nutrition is the buzz word in my attitude to health because while I have always been enthusiastic about fitness and physical activity, it is so easy to eat the wrong things and take in the wrong kind of calories across the day, especially if you work in an office.

My morning, therefore, is focused around eating right because I know that I will do enough activity anyway. I usually structure it like this:

  1. A fruit, nuts and 1 Cocofly prior to the brisk walk
  2. High protein as soon as I get back from the gym – normally eggs or sardines on toast
  3. I have a multi-vitamin each morning to avoid missing out on some of the key nutrients

By the time, I get through this I know that I am ready for the day ahead of me.

Where does your motivation come from?

Arjun: I am a strong believer in the “healthy body, healthy mind” philosophy. My ambition and drive in my business requires me to be disciplined and structured around my physical health. For me, it flows from the physical outwards – your body is the building block on which everything else – mental agility, emotional stability, spiritual tranquility – can stand strong. And so my motivation starts from the end goal and works backwards. I want to be a happy person and I am ambitious about my career and the future of my business. That is how I motivate myself to stay fit and respect my body.

What’s one thing everyone should do for their wellness routine?

Arjun: The last few years of research and involvement in the Cocofly brand has given me a whole new respect for hydration. Water and electrolytes are the key to so many of our problems – it is like the oil in an engine that keeps everything else running smoothly. I have found that being fully hydrated at all times doesn’t just help you physically, but mentally as well. There is a sizeable amount of research out there, but I have also seen the impact on my own concentration and state of mind. Hydration can never be underestimated.

What’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?

Arjun: In today’s world, health and fitness risks falling into a very superficial bucket. While trim abs and toned muscle are great to have, that is not the only purpose of being healthy. Society needs to understand the deeper benefits of healthy living and the impact on their longevity, not just in terms of life expectancy but also in terms of quality of life too. When habits need to change, individuals need to see the relevance in their own lives in order to engage emotionally with the benefits of changing their habits. Today in India, not enough people relate to the significance of healthy living in their own context. That is why the message needs to get out there from as early age as possible because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Why did Nilgai foods step into the beverage segment with packaged coconut water?

Arjun: At Nilgai Foods, our mission is to build F&B brands for the 21st century India. Our hypothesis is that Indian consumers are ready for engaging with the broader international community, but a lack of choice and access limits the consumer’s ability to engage with international trends.

After following the global coconut water industry closely for several years, it felt like too good an opportunity to miss out on. Coconut water was coming to India, it was only a matter of who would take the first step. Coconut water over the last 14 years has grown from a non-existent product category in the west to one of the fastest growing FMCG stories in recent history.

We are looking at a global habit change on an unprecedented level here, driven by technological improvements in preserving coconut water as well as a massive international trend towards healthy living. Coconut water ticks that box in a big way, giving consumers one of nature’s most perfectly balanced isotonic drinks that rehydrate the body better than almost anything. It was only a matter of time before packaged coconut water became a runaway success.

The ironic part of the global coconut water story so far is that India has been sitting on the 3rd largest global supply of coconuts, but so far doesn’t even contribute 1% to the global demand. There is a huge opportunity in India for both the existing domestic demand for coconut water as a refreshing drink as well as supplying into the massive global industry.

On the completion of our R&D, we are really pleased to be one of the first movers in this nascent industry.

Public Health England has asked food businesses to voluntarily cut the amount of sugar they use in their products by 5% this year and 20% over the next three years. Will this help in lowering sugar consumption? What are your thoughts?

Arjun: I think it is a fantastic initiative and I also think it is the right way to go about the problem. The mainstream public still makes purchase choices driven by their engagement level with the brand and the amount of visibility the brand has in their lives.

You will find that by and large decisions are based on the popularity of a product rather than the health benefits or nutritional details. It, therefore, comes down to the integrity and willingness of the major food brands to remove the ‘bad stuff’ from what they are giving to their customers. But the reality is that decisions will always be basis commercial first and humanitarian second. Sugar is in most food for a reason – it is cheap and addictive. It is a very difficult ingredient to reduce unless there is a broader program that these brands need to adhere to.

What is your advice to the young corporate professionals today about maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Arjun: The 3 fundamentals of physical health are exercise, nutrition and sleep. These are difficult to control as a young working professional. For me, the one that you can control the most is decisions around what you are eating. Be disciplined about what you eat at breakfast because across the rest of the day you tend to have less control over your food choices. A healthy breakfast can at least set you up correctly for the day ahead.

 

In Conversation with Pallavi Sharda

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You’ve been dancing since you were 3 years old. What keeps you moving?

My body has responded instinctively to rhythm ever since I can remember. When I dance, I forget everything else in life because it is a form of meditation.

Take us through your dance journey…you grew up in Melbourne and have been training in Bharatanatyam since you were a child. What kind of impact has it had on your life?

Rhythm and melody have always moved me. It’s not something that I can explain but I am very lucky to have been exposed to dance and music since childhood. I am glad I had the opportunity to sustain this passion through rigorous training in a classical dance form. Bharatanatyam is one of the most difficult yet purest types of Indian classical dance. It taught me about discipline, humility and hard work.

What do you love more Zumba or Bharatanatyam?

The two dance forms are very different. Zumba is fitness oriented whereas Bharatanatyam is more about performance and form. I find that Zumba is a fabulous instant stress buster, whereas Bharatanatyam is a pursuit at all levels. I would love to be able to practice Bharatanatyam regularly, however it is no longer practiced widely in India and not in the puritanical form which I was privileged to learn.

You are a lawyer by training, an actor, IPL host, dancer, impromptu comedian, motivational speaker, writer… what is that one thing you are very passionate about?

At my very core, I always come back to dance, but in general, I am also passionate about communication and everything I do is a form of story-telling. I believe that telling stories about the human condition is the best way to connect with others. As an artist, I lead a solitary life so talking about our human condition through my art is imperative.

You have a busy schedule and yet you manage to keep yourself active and fit. What’s your secret?

As soon as I get a chance, I put on my runners and start walking, particularly when I am surrounded by nature. I am a huge believer in “Movement Meditation” because it is an easy way to de-stress and can induce positive thoughts. Once your body gets in the habit of moving, it craves more.

Work-Life balance, everyone wants it, very few get it. What about you? And do you think it’s harder for women to stay on track?

I find it very difficult to maintain a Work-Life balance because of my unpredictable working hours. In Australia, Work-Life balance is an intrinsic part of the culture. However, in India, I feel that weekends, holidays and family time are not factored as strongly. Women who work and have the onus of traditional family responsibilities find it very difficult to maintain personal time and space. I often struggle to take care of myself outside official work hours, so I can only imagine what it must be like for women with families.

Women are also often at the mercy of rapid hormonal changes which lead to dramatic fluctuation in mood and physical weakness. The best way to manage it is through exercise, but it can turn out to be a chicken and egg situation especially if one loses the habit of staying fit. Breaking this cycle is very important and it’s critical for women to support each other as we share similar struggles. In India, social stigma makes it hard for women to talk publicly about health issues so I advocate that women look out for and motivate one another.

We are all highly exposed to junk food. It’s convenient and easily available. It’s everywhere. You are on the road all the time because of your work commitments.  What is your advice to help fight the urge of consuming unhealthy food?

I truly believe that if we learn to listen to our bodies it will tell us what it requires. This does not mean indulging in junk food due to impulsive cravings. It means finding a fitness regime and allowing your body to dictate what it needs within that state. It’s quite likely that your own body will prefer to eat an orange over a chocolate bar if you’re in optimum physical condition, which of course leads to larger degree of serenity within the mind. So again, regular exercise is the key.

Let us in on some new fitness mantras that you have learnt from your cricketer friends?

“You don’t get to a hundred, without thinking about it first”

“There is no substitute for hard work”

“Keeping the mood light off the field, leads to the best work on the field”

At such a young age, you have already achieved so many milestones in your career and personal life. What is your plan for the coming five years?

The one thing that my journey has taught me, that it is important to plan less and go with the flow in life. I am very proud of how far I have come. Our journeys are very personal and should not be judged based on societal pressures. Although, this is the way a modern society often functions, it is the cause of stress, anxiety and depression which kill the human spirit. I hope to continue building my life over the next five years and find joy intrinsically in everything I do.

We know you struggled with various health issues. Tell us about how you overcame arthritis, especially considering how many of us would use that as an excuse to not be active.

When I was diagnosed with ‘juvenile arthritis’ at a young age, I was extremely deflated by the doctor’s prognosis. After succumbing to their advice for a few years on giving up dance, I came back to Bharatanatyam with determination despite my injuries. I also happened to excel more than before. I had trouble with my knees and repeated torn ligaments in my ankles but willpower and discipline enabled me to overcome physical pain and the practice of ‘listening to my body’ allowed me to rehabilitate struggling joints and muscles. Perhaps the more difficult health issue for me, is auto immunity. I suffer from two auto immune conditions which have hindered my work and challenged my ability to stay strong for many years now. It is an ongoing battle that I hope I can overcome from within. Increasing my level of discipline when it comes to ‘Movement Meditation’ and yoga is going to be a key part of my health recovery.

Pallavi Sharda is an Australian-Indian actress and a trained Bharatanatyam dancer

Mirror Mirror On The Wall…

Every year, on the 8th of March, the world makes time to acknowledge and celebrate what women aspire to, struggle toward and amazingly achieve every single day of their lives. The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day is #BEBOLDFORCHANGE. This theme resonates with women from all walks of life. It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

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Women face countless challenges every single day but the one I would like to focus on today is a universal challenge that cuts across ethnicities, communities and age groups: Body image – the immense pressure on women to only look a certain, so called, “acceptable way.” Body image is how we see ourselves in a mirror or picture ourselves in our mind.

Body image is a major factor in self-esteem and towards feeling confident and bold! It is not just the way you look but is also the way you think and feel about yourself as a person. The effects of body image on self-esteem can be especially powerful during the teenage years, setting unrealistic and impractical standards.

There are certainly some very direct messages associated with body weight in the media. Celebrities, fashion models and show hosts are often seen as role models, especially by teenagers. These concerns about appearance have existed since time immemorial as have measures to titivate ourselves. However, what has changed today is how media and social media produce unattainable, filtered imagery especially focused at women that drives home the message of inadequacy and the need for improvement.

Eating disorders are often, though not always and not directly, related to negative body image. We feel the pressure to change ourselves, to diet away our natural curves, exercise compulsively and use cosmetic enhancements to feel acceptable.

In the 21st century, beauty surpasses the demand to be intelligent, witty, charming, accomplished or athletic. And it is a rigidly conforming beautiful – Barbie doll perfect, straight hair, perfect skin, hourglass figure, chiclet teeth, there is no room for diversity here.

While young women are striving to attain perfection, older women are desperate to reverse the clock at any cost! This has led to unprecedented increase in appearance misperception disorders including eating disorders, depression, loss of self-esteem and social avoidance behaviours etc.

According to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, a staggering 89 per cent of Australian women are opting to cancel plans, job interviews or other important engagements simply because of how they look.

Despite the alarming statistics, there is a push by women to break the concept of beauty norms. More than 70 percent of women want the media to portray a more diverse range of physical appearance, age, race, shape and size in advertising and marketing.

Therefore, ‘need of the hour’ is to empower each other – increasing body-confidence education, driving meaningful conversations around the pressures women and girls face, and advocate for change in media depictions.

Let us stop judging ourselves and others on the merits of conforming beauty ideals and to start building a sisterhood of positive body image and self-esteem. Let us remind ourselves, every woman is uniquely beautiful (genetically) and let’s celebrate that uniqueness together on this special day.

Indeed, the time has come to be bold and be the change we want to see in the world!

Tips for cultivating a positive body image

1.      The next time we meet a friend, let’s not start with a compliment on how thin or pretty they look.

2.      We should watch what we say in front of our young children. Saying things like “Am I looking fat in this? Do my hips look huge?” etc. reinforce stereotypes and poor body image.

3.      Let us not treat food like it’s our enemy and go on fad diets or excessive indulgence.

4.      Food is a necessity and a pleasure & must be treated with respect and moderation.

5.      Let us not view models or actresses as icons or instruments of objectification, but instead respect and discuss their talent as women making a mark in their field.

6.      Let us discuss and perpetuate role models in fields not related to glamour or media. It is a slow process but a rewarding one!

7.      Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honour it. Respect it. Fuel it!


About the Author

Dr. Aparna Santhanam (MD, DNB) is a well-known dermatologist, cosmetologist, and hair and wellness expert working in the field of beauty, health and wellness for more than fifteen years. She is a practicing dermatologist, strategic consultant, wellness expert, a writer, and noted speaker apart from being actively involved in social development and women’s issues. She can be reached at dr.aparnasanthanam@gmail.com

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Wellness Bytes by Ravi Krishnan, Co-Founder and CEO, Stepathlon

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What’s your story?

I was born in Chennai, India. My parents, both doctors, migrated to Australia when I was a baby. Schooled in Melbourne, my university degree in Law and Commerce paved the way for me to enter the world of commercial marketing of sports.

I have always had a keen interest in sports and fitness, so once I decided to turn entrepreneur, starting Stepathlon was a natural progression.

Stepathlon is a unique mass participation corporate initiative that motivates individuals to take 10,000 steps a day. This philosophy dates back to 1960s Japan where this was prescribed as the minimum amount of physical activity required for an active and healthy life. This has since been backed by various global health authorities like the WHO and the American Heart Foundation.

I thought the concept was highly relevant given the increasing pace of urbanisation and the fact that our lifestyles today are minimising movement, we need to increase both incidental and focused movement to improve overall fitness.

What does corporate health mean to you?

The World Economic Forum has listed health as one of the top 10 global concerns for 2015. This highlights a burning need to establish a fourth bottom line as a business objective, in addition to the triple bottom line (environmental, HR and financial) approach already followed by many companies. Employee health and wellbeing is becoming a key parameter that will define the success of an organisation.

Personally, it is also important to recognise that we spend too much time working, commuting and dealing with office matters after hours. Therefore it is critical that employees take more responsibility for the health of their employees. This will deliver better bottom lines and happier human beings.

How can poor corporate health be detrimental to the growth of the company?

There are many studies and reports that show us exactly how much of an impact poor employee health has on a company’s bottom line. Human Capital is a company’s biggest asset/resource and a healthy workforce is an integral part of running a productive and profitable business. A Global survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer reported that unplanned, or unscheduled, absence costs employers 8.7% of their payroll. Organisations with highly effective wellness programmes reportedly displayed significantly lower voluntary attrition than those who do not have similar initiatives which have in turn impacted health care costs, company morale, leadership and overall productivity – both quantitative and qualitative.

Are companies today doing enough to promote corporate health among employees?

I think many companies simply ‘box tick’. For example, I often hear them say, “We have a gym”. There’s a study that found that corporate gyms have only 2-3% usage! Companies need to first address the 3 As – Assessment, Awareness and Action. The last one is very important. If we don’t catalyse sustainable, behavioural change, then nothing changes.

Should HR be the primary function responsible to initiate for initiating such corporate wellness programmes?

While HR plays an extremely important role in initiating and administrating a programme like ours, we believe that the decision to get active needs to permeate from the top leadership down throughout the entire organisation.

Stepathlon has had 290 CEOs and 594 CXOs participate in our employee wellness program. The involvement of the leadership is imperative in ensuring the success of a programme like ours. They, along with the corporate communications team, can drive the message of wellbeing within the organisation. This way the movement can be lead from the front and easily becomes a part of the culture of the company.

What role can the upper management play to improve corporate health in the long run?

Senior management can build real bridges that allow for deep, meaningful programmes to be run. They can get involved themselves in order to set an example for the company and its employees. By leading the “Movement for Movement”, it becomes easy to inculcate a culture of wellbeing and positivity within the organisation that ultimately leads to employees feeling valued and well take care of.

What excites you most about your industry?

The fact that we can ‘do good by doing good’ is a major motivator – that Stepathlon is a ‘virtual race’ which goes beyond boundaries allows us to positively impact lives across the globe. The wellness industry needs to create relevant, effective, sustainable solutions. Understanding the challenges that people face, the answers we can provide, the various tangible, qualitative and quantitative benefits, these are all motivators.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Sometimes you are better off being smart rather than being right.

What have you learnt that blew you away?

That Warren Buffett made 99% of his wealth after he turned 50!!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

I would have become an entrepreneur in my mid-30s rather than in the mid-40s.

Who inspires you?

Anand Mahindra, the Chairman and MD of the Mahindra Group

How do you motivate yourself?

One of the ways to keep myself motivated it to set myself goals. These goal setting strategies apply to my health and well-being, my work, as a father and generally as a person. I think we need to have goals in order to achieve our potential. We also need to reward ourselves along the way and recognise when we do something positive. We need to realise that sometimes we don’t always achieve our goals and we need to reset and refocus. I also find the motivation from people – my favourite athletes, corporates and my colleagues who inspire me every day. If you have a positive outlook you can find motivation in many places. One person who motivates me daily is my daughter who provides me with great purposes both specific to her and symbolically as a symbol of our future.

How do you unwind?

Swimming, working out, walking and reading.

How do you maintain the balance between your personal life and working life?

Balance is something that comes through awareness and it is something that I constantly try to achieve in my work and personal life. As an entrepreneur, especially for an organisation that is in the early stages, it is sometimes hard to maintain this balance as there is constant pressure to keep working to make your business succeed.

Having said that, I am a firm advocate of the belief that we need to take frequent breaks to re-energise, strategise and refocus in order to achieve dynamic work and personal goals.  In my personal life, I try and maintain balance in what I eat, with respect to exercise and also with respect to sleep. Each one of these aspects is critical in keeping me in shape to achieve my professional and personal goals. Spending time with loved ones is also essential to nurturing relationships and a great way to nourish the soul and to gain perspective. Spending quality time with my daughter is my greatest stress buster.

What are the main benefits of participating in a programme like Stepathlon?

Time-saving and time-wasting technologies have led to a decline in physical activity. The resulting sedentary lifestyles have been shown to contribute to 35 chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stress and depression.

Stepathlon is a WIN – WIN initiative for both the employers and the employees regardless of age, gender, designation, location, fitness levels or physical abilities.

It is a simple, fun and relevant solution to maintain and establish a healthier and happier life, by mitigating time, space and money constraints. There is no need for a costly gym membership or equipment, expensive special clothes or shoes.  You can simply incorporate incidental movement into your daily life in the form of running, cycling, dancing, playing with your kids or even walking your dog (pets are great stress busters).

In addition to being provided with a pedometer, Stepathletes also receive weekly tips and recipes on healthy eating and overall wellbeing. We have created a holistic ecosystem that encourages them to make small changes to their habits and diet.  This way Stepathletes are not only improving their own lives but they are educating their family members and friends as well.

What makes Stepathlon different from other fitness programs?

Stepathlon is a game changer that is inspiring and empowering people to live fitter, healthier, and more productive lives. We are disrupting the way people perceive wellbeing. The simple, fun and relevant model helps mitigate the time, space and money excuses that people give not to be active making it a win-win solution for both employers and employees. It leads to higher productivity, reduced absenteeism, better health and a happier community.

Tips for buying packaged food in a balanced lifestyle

A study by Rosemary Marchese

Physiotherapist, Fitness Author and International Speaker

With all the ‘eat this’ and ‘don’t eat this’ advice by every self-proclaimed expert in nutrition that’s out there, it’s easy to understand the confusion surrounding healthy eating. Let’s face it, not even the experts agree! In the quest for a ‘balanced’ approach to life, it’s sometimes necessary to reach for the packaged food items without feeling like you are heading to the jury for trial.

I know, as a busy mom of three active kids, that it’s important for my family to be healthy most of the time. Those times when I do pick up a ‘packet of food’, I like to keep my decision-making strategy pretty simple. While it’s great to have some treats from time-to-time there are ways to try to have, what I would call, a ‘better quality treat’ than to consume something that barely resembles food at all when broken down.

The list below has been derived to give you a guide for those days that you do need to go for a quick and convenient option. It’s highly unlikely that any packaged food will be able to tick all the recommendations below but at least when you’re informed, you are making the decision that is right for you.

7 tips for buying packaged food while trying to keep things relatively ‘healthy’:

1. Watch for added sugar

If sugar is listed high on the ingredient list then it’s likely the stuff is packed with sugar. Sugar is generally used to sweeten and help gives flavour to packaged food, especially if it claims to be low fat.

2. Beware of ‘organic’

Hear me out. I love organic produce but when it comes to packaged stuff I am a little more skeptical. For example, if there’ a chocolate biscuit made of ‘organic flour’ then it’s still a biscuit. While you may still decide to eat the biscuit (which is fine from time to time) I would encourage you to check the ingredients to see what they are NOT telling you.

3. Minimise the added nasties

Watch for nasties such as vegetable gum and food acids. Vegetable gum is a food thickener often added to our treats, such as icy poles. When it’s added to a beverage the fluid is absorbed and makes it thicken. It continues to hold water even during digestion, which may decrease the water available to the body.

Food acids are also often added to food. For example, food acid (330) is a citric acid found naturally in fruit and vegetables. Commercially, it’s used as a preservative. You do find it in juices and in lots of fruits and vegetables but in packaged food there is a catch – it’s produced from sugar, not fruit.

4. Avoid ‘foods’ with ingredients you don’t know!

Rather than trying to remember what’s what in the ingredient list, I recommend staying away from products with ingredients that seem completely foreign to you. It’s likely that they are nasty chemicals that can’t be doing anything good for you!

5. Be aware of heavily processed seed oils

While this is an area needing further research it’s not a bad idea to steer clear of food items packed with seed oils. Often these are cheaper and nastier options for food companies to include than better quality ingredients.

6. Know your brands

Once you have done a bit of research into your packaged food choices it’s a good idea to know your brands well. That way you can make informed decisions about what you are willing to compromise on and what you are not.

7. Make your decision, enjoy and move on

This one is most important to me. If I decide to have some chocolate (which I do!) then I am doing that fully aware of what I am eating and allow myself that. I savour it, enjoy it and move on. I don’t need to announce it to the world nor go on a 40km run the next day to punish myself. I literally just ‘move on’.

It’s all about balance. In fact, I often refer to a life-blend. We can’t go for a 50-50 when it comes to healthy and unhealthy eating. It needs to be weighted much more in favour of healthy eating to be prioritising our health. But let’s be realistic…if you do need to go for a quick option, make sure you are aware of it’s ingredients and are making a conscious decision that you are okay with.

5 Power Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

A study by Angela Cudger

Women are powerful nurturers and can naturally worry over many things. But two words always make most of us uneasy: Breast Cancer. Many people are related to or know of someone touched by the disease. While the prevalence of all cancer types are on the rise globally, breast cancer has taken a leap in recent years and the numbers continue to climb.

Globally, breast cancer now represents one in four of all cancers in women. Statistics show that about 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop it over the course of their lifetime. In India, it accounts for 25% to 32% of all female cancers in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, etc.

While the stats look depressing, there is also great news. Advancements in breast cancer treatment are growing every day. Plus, there are many ways to it. Here are five powerful ways to prevent breast cancer and stay ahead while staying healthy. Remember that not all of these apply to everyone, but when used together, can keep the risk of breast cancer to a minimum.

  1. Quit smoking and minimise alcohol use. These two things are major culprits for increasing your risk. Coupled with lowering your quality of life and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 cancers – including breast cancer, smoking causes poor oral health and wrinkles. A great incentive to ditch the habit for good!
  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Research shows that keeping the system flushed out with proper hydration not only aids in faster tissue regeneration but gets rid of cells that could aid in spreading cancer. This prevents those harmful cells from taking root and spreading throughout the body. Women should aim for 0.5 ounces of fresh water for every pound of current body weight per day. For some, this may seem like quite a bit. But the body will quickly get used to it. Start drinking daily!
  1. Go sweat! Exercising regularly is the key to keeping the heart and lungs healthy. Sweating allows the body to rid itself of toxins through the skin. Women that are physically active for 30 minutes a day automatically have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check. A great workout doesn’t have to be boring or strenuous. Try a rebounder or small trampoline. Just 7 minutes of low impact jumping will allow the body to move lymph fluid in a way that could prevent all forms of cancer while detoxing the entire system. It’s time to get moving!
  1. Know your family history. Breast cancer prevention is all about being in the know. Women with a significant family history of cancer should take specific steps to protect themselves. It’s important to know the details of your family history. You may be at high risk if you have a mother or sister who has developed breast or ovarian cancer in the past (especially at an early age) or if you have more than one family member (including males) who has developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer. Your doctor or a genetics counselor can help you identify the risks and better understand your family history of this disease.
  1. Get proper screening. Breast cancer screening with mammography saves lives. This is the best option for finding and treating cancer early. Regular mammograms can begin at age 40. Although clinical breast exams and self-exams are not recommended, you should be familiar with your breasts and notify your doctor if you notice any changes in how they look or feel.

Below are some specific recommendations that vary by age:

Age 40 – 44 : You can choose to begin yearly mammograms. It is important to talk to a doctor about the risk and benefits of mammograms at these ages.

Age 45 – 54 : Mammograms are recommended every year.

Age 55 or over : Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year.