it on the festive season's excesses or on the onset of winter,
but this is the time of the year that many people tend to let
up a bit on their exercise and diet regimes. And sooner than later,
it shows. The first sign usually is a podgier waistline, which,
if left unchecked, can quickly become a full-blown paunch. Worse,
multi-layered winter clothing can camouflage that blimp, working
as another disincentive to work it off.
So, how do you keep your middle in shape?
The answer as usual is simple: work out regularly and eat sensibly.
But the problem with keeping waistlines toned and trim is that
the exercises for abdominals (crunches, crunches, crunches) can
be monotonous and boring.
The trick is in infusing a bit of variety
to your tummy workout. Dump the boring old crunches and sit-ups
and jazz up your AB routine with some new workouts. Here are two
that you could add to your repertoire. The first one is 'The Twist'.
For the twist, you'll need a barbell without weights or a long
wooden pole or aluminium rod if the barbell seems too heavy. Here's
how you do it. Stand with your feet a bit more than shoulder-width
apart and the rod across the back of your shoulders, supported
by your hands, as in the illustration. Now, without moving your
lower body, twist your torso slowly to the right; hold for a couple
of seconds before coming back to the starting position. Now do
the same movement, but this time to the left. Keep the movement
smooth and slow and your head up. The movement should be from
your hips. This exercise primarily works out your obliques (sides
of the waist). Do 25-30 reps (count a twist to the left and a
twist to the right together as one rep) per set and three sets
per session. You can easily do this exercise thrice a week.
The second exercise is a slight variation
on the common crunch. Let's call it 'The Sole Tweak' because it
involves the undersides of your feet. Lie with your back down
on a mat and your knees bent but the soles of your feet facing
each other. Now, slowly raise your head and shoulders by curling
them forward like you would in an ordinary crunch; hold in this
position for a couple of seconds before lowering your body back
to the starting position. That's one rep. Try to do 15-20 reps
per set and three sets per session.
Remember though that crunches alone can't
shed the flab around your middle. You've also got to eat sensibly
and burn calories by training your entire body via cardiovascular
exercises like jogging, cycling or walking.
all about that crucial presentation you had to prepare? Missed
your boss' birthday bash for the simple reason that you could
remember neither the time nor the place (nor indeed, the fact
that it was his birthday)? Lapses in memory aren't just a source
of embarassment; they could hurt your career.
What it is: Memory loss is the inability
to remember specific things. It is unusual forgetfulness that
can be caused by brain damage. While mild memory-loss problems
can occur in healthy adults, they can sometimes be a sign of a
temporary problem, called delirium, or a persistent problem, called
What causes it: While memory loss is inevitable
over the years, some factors like disease (Alzheimer's, depression
or a stroke that disrupts blood supply to the brain ), injury,
severe emotional trauma, alcoholism, stress, the side effects
of medication (tranquilizers, typically), lack of sleep, seizures,
infections and thyroid deficiency can accelerate the process.
According to Dr Mukul Verma, Senior Consultant, Neurology, Indraprastha
Apollo Hospital, Delhi, depression, not aging, is the most common
cause of memory loss. He says people whose diet lacks eggs, milk
(and dairy products) and meat are more prone to memory loss than
others because of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Treatments: They can be as simple as using
cognitive exercises and mind games. Some treatments involve the
consumption of vitamins (especially B12) and minerals. Medication
schedules should be written down to avoid dependence on memory.
Reality orientation, like supplying familiar music, objects or
photos, is also recommended. As far as alternative therapies (this
magazine doesn't believe in them) go, wearing a rudraksha or a
pyramid shaped cap (for at least half an hour everyday) may help.
Brahmi, an ayurvedic brain tonic, and regular yoga (sirshasana
and gyaan mudra) may provide relief too.
The new iPod
that we didn't say Video iPod, like some newbie tech writers have.
These days, all iPods (barring the Nano) can play videos; the
new iPod has a wider (2.5" if measured diagonally) LCD screen
and if you buy the 60gb model for Rs 29,400 (instead of the $399,
Rs 17,955, you would pay for it in the us), you can watch up to
150 hours of video. The downside, apart from a low battery life
if you play video (90-120 minutes), is that you cannot download
anything from iTunes (yet to be launched in India), not those
episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives that it currently sells.
Still it is black (and black is, er, the new black) and thin (half
the thickness of the old iPod), and it is obviously something
Steve Jobs believes in-enough reasons to acquire one for most
For The Eyes
on the subject of personal music players, imagine the ultimate
one-upmanship question: Does your mp3 player offer UV protection?
Well, in a recipe that spells dropped catches (in cricket, silly,
and we'll come to the reason in a jiffy), Oakley (here's the reason:
it is the most preferred eye-wear among cricketers), has integrated
a 1gb flash mp3 player into a pair of sunglasses. It is called
the Thump and can be found at all those places that retail stuff
that isn't supposed to be retailed in India. It weighs in at a
rather heavy $499 (Rs 22,455 at the day's exchange rates), and
Indian opticians are not too sure that Oakley will launch it in
India. Still, Rs 22,455 is a small price to pay for coolness.
Yet Another Browser
needs another browser? There's Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera,
Safari (if you are a Macmaniac), even Netscape. Well, apparently
a bunch of developers in the us do need another browser; the result
is Flock, an open-source community developed browser (a la Firefox).
The browser (free, obviously) is still in the 'Developer Beta'
stage, which means that you either have to be a whiz or suicidal
to try it (well, not quite but it's not quite ready yet). Now,
it does have some rather nice features such as integrated blogging
and photo-sharing services. Then, it did seriously slow down the
computer we were trying it on. Download from www.flock.com.
More Motion Video
provenance of this product is a giveaway. Come on, how many companies
you know will name their products thus? This one is from Korean
consumer electronics giant Samsung (and, to be fair, we are big
admirers of everything about Samsung products but the name). It
is an mp3 player that can also play videos, and by that we mean
regular mpeg-4 video files (one of the most common formats for
video files; to play such files on the iPod, in contrast, you
would have to convert them using Quicktime Pro). In terms of storage,
the yj-h70 is a distant second to iPod, its 6gb comparing very
unfavourably with the Apple machine's 60gb or 30gb. Then, if you
want to be different, this may be just the thing. Price: Rs 18,400;
yp-t8, 1gb for Rs 14,900 is also available.