5 Reasons Why You Should Take Up Swimming Right Away

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Swimming is one of the best workouts that prove great to exercise your whole body.  Not only does it get your blood flowing and adrenaline pumping, but also helps build muscle due to the natural resistance of water. If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 5 great benefits of doing a couple of laps at the pool every day.

Benefit 1: It Builds More Than Muscle Strength

In addition to toning your muscles, swimming also builds cardiovascular strength. Even prolonging your life—swimming can cut down the risk of fatal episodes by about 50%!


Benefit 2: It Helps With Asthma

If you suffer from wheezing, you’ll be familiar with this dilemma: only exercise can help you with shortness of breath, but the very same shortness of breath makes exercise difficult.

Swimming, in addition to helping you lose weight, also gives you control over breathing—both great for an asthma sufferer.


Benefit 3: It Burns Calories Effectively

Swimming is considered a low-impact exercise.

While other low impact exercises burn calories too, none of them can do it on the same scale that swimming does. Swimming burns 30 to 50% more calories than other low-impact exercises like yoga and running.

Benefit #4: It’s Safe Even If You’re Pregnant

In all three trimesters, swimming is considered a safe form of exercise, even advisable. Women who swam in early and mid pregnancy stages were found to be less prone to premature deliveries and congenital defects.


Benefit #5: Work Your Entire Body

There’s no single way to swim: you can choose from freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, sidestroke and backstroke styles. Each works a different muscle group!


With these great benefits, it’s practically impossible to argue against taking up swimming right away!


5 Crucial Tips For Trail Running

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Running off road can be a great thing. It breaks the monotony of walking tracks and jogging parks, plus there’s no traffic like roads have. However, it’s a little tricky too.

Before you start your trail running routine, here are a couple of helpful tips.

Safety Is A Priority


Running on populated roads is relatively much safer. When you’re  running up a lonely mountain path, keep your phone handy in case of emergencies. Take your dog, if that’s an option, Or carry pepper spray.

Don’t let muggers and petty thieves take advantage of the lack of safe crowds.


It’s Okay To Run Less


You probably won’t run as much as you’re used to running, especially when you begin trail running. Instead of unwisely forcing yourself to run the same distance you run on other terrain, pace yourself.

You will find your own rhythm.


Eyes On Your Path!


Running and biking trails are usually on quite scenic paths near rivers, lakes, mountains and such. But when you’re on a run, keep your eyes on the path. You don’t want to trip and fall on your face just because you were taking in the awesome view!


Adjust Your Speed


Maintaining a constant pace even as the terrain keeps changing under your feet is not only unwise; you’ll end up hurting yourself. Instead, if your climbing up, slow down to accommodate the slope. If you’re running through a series of bumps that could twist an ankle, slow it down to walking pace.

There’s no competition; make safety your top priority.

Take Some Water


As a human being, there is only so much dehydration your body can handle. Do not overestimate your abilities, and carry water. You can take a bottle in your hands, carry a multi-bottle waist strap, or hydration pack with shoulder straps.


With these 5 tips, you can keep safe even as you run towards better health and fitness, off the beaten track!


4 Ways To Workout on the Way to Work

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Most of us spend considerably more time traveling to work and getting back home than we spend in the gym or doing some physical activity. Given our busy schedules, it’s easier to catch up on some exercise during the commute, than finding actual time to head to the gym!

Here are 4 simple exercises you can do home and work.

Calf Raises

Traveling by bus/train means a lot of waiting around. When you wait, stand on the tips of your toes. Then, slowly come back to a ‘feet on the ground’ position. Easy, but repeat for a 100 times and you’ll work your calves out—results will show up in a week or two!


Leg + Core Workout

This one is simple to describe, but a little tricky to execute.

Stand on one leg, and raise the other knee to your chest or as high as possible. Hold this position and balance to boost leg and core strength.



Crunches—The Commuter Version

On the seat of a bus, train or plane, keep your feet planted on the floor a hip-width apart. Start by contracting your lower abs. Now, round your lower back and try ‘moving’ your rib cage downwards towards your hips. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then repeat the whole process.

Crunches work your abs and boost your all-important core strength.


Chest Boosters

In a seated position, place your arms in your lap and interlock your fingers. Then, try to get your elbows to meet. Squeeze and contract your chest this way, to strengthen it over time.


Armed with these quick, easy exercises, you can transform all your commutes into mini-workouts. Imagine the (fitness) possibilities!


3 Easy Exercises When Working Out At Home

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Want to get fit, but going to the gym is not an option?

Here’s what you can do. These are 3 simple exercises that don’t need you to go to the gym, or even head out of your house for that matter. You’ll find basic instructions on how to perform these exercises here, as well as why they are good for you.

Exercise 1: The Farmer’s Walk

Hold heavy dumbbells in both hands ( or 2 buckets full of water), at your sides. Stand erect, and walk slowly, taking short steps along the way.

The farmer’s walk helps you strengthen your shoulder stabilizers, front deltoids (muscles on shoulders) and upper traps (muscles that go from neck to back).



Exercise 2: Press-Ups

Also known as push ups, this is the most popular exercise for a reason. It is simple: you simply lie face down on the floor, and then lift yourself off it propping yourself up on your palms, which you place on the floor a shoulder length apart.

Press ups develop chest muscles and strengthen your body’s core.


Exercise 3: Crunches

Lie on your back, with your legs bent at the knee. Then, with your back planted firmly on the floor, lift your shoulders off the floor, until you feel your abs tighten. Then, return to the starting position.

Crunches strengthen your abdominal muscles and, by extension, your core.



5 Muscle Groups You Probably Ignore During Workouts

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Think you know all there was to exercising in the gym? Take a look, we’ve put together a list of the muscle groups that are generally forgotten in the context of working out. Read through, and make sure you’re working out all the muscles – equally!



These muscles extend diagonally from just under your chest muscles to the pelvic region.

If you want abs and are only performing crunches to achieve them, reconsider your routine. You’ll need to exercise your obliques if you want the shredded abs look.




Since they play a crucial part in any lifting exercise, you might ignore forearm-specific exercises at the gym. However, to get stronger forearm extensors, you’ll need to attack them with reverse bicep curls.

The bonus: as your forearms get stronger, you’ll see that your lifting abilities improve as well.


Anterior Tibialis


Failing to exercise this muscle often causes discomfort in the shins, or shin splints in more extreme cases. To exercise your anterior tibialis, sit on a chair. With your heels planted on the ground, raise the front of the foot off the floor for about 20-30 reps.



Gluteus Medius and Minimus


Most people assume that the ‘glutes’ are just the gluteus maximus, and only exercise this muscle. However, the gluteus medius and minimus are essential to keeping your pelvis stable, especially when you stand on one leg.




Squats, lunges and deadlifts tend to target the quads more effectively than the hamstrings. Try prone hamstring curl machines, or standing leg curl machines.


Make sure you catch these vital muscles on your workouts from now on, and your body will be all the better for it.


8 Workouts That Are Great For Women

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Continuing our run-up to International Women’s Day (the 8th of this month), this is the last of our 8-series. Today, we take a look at 8 simple workouts that can tone your muscles and help you look good in everything from saris to swimsuits!

Workout 1: Pushups

It gives your entire body a good workout, tightens all the right areas, and burns a lot of calories.

On all fours with your hands slightly wider apart than shoulder width, lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Then push yourself up to your starting position, and repeat.


Workout 2: HIIT Training

This isn’t a workout per se, but a way to modify workouts for maximum effect in a shorter time. Whatever the exercise you choose, here’s how to do interval training: Alternate between short bursts of full-intensity activity, and doing the same activity at a relaxed pace/intensity.

HIIT burns much more calories than slow endurance training.

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Workout 3: Step Ups

The recipe for toned, stronger legs that look great in skirts and fitted pants.

Place one foot on a stool or bench, or some raised platform. Now ‘step’ onto the bench. Then come back to your starting position. Now repeat and alternate legs.


Workout 4: Bridges

If you have frequent mild issues with back pain, bridges can help with that—although for heavier pain, you’re better off seeing a doctor.

To perform a bridge, lie on your back with knees bent so that your feet are on the ground. Now raise your hips so that there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Then bring your hips back down slowly.


Workout 5: Side Planks

A variation on the normal plank, these are designed to exercise muscles that the usual ab exercises (like crunches) cannot help.

Lie on your side with knees straight, and prop yourself on the elbow under your body. Now, slowly lift your hips off the ground and hold this position for a while. Then lower your hips and repeat.


Workout 6: Plies (Ballet Move)

If you’ve always wanted to have the legs of a dancer, plies should be a part of your daily workout routine.

With feet wider than shoulder width and toes pointed outwards, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. If you can’t do this, lower your body as far down as your thigh muscles will allow you. Then return to the starting position.


Workout 7: Single Leg Deadlifts

With a light dumbbell in each hand, bend one knee, and lift this lower leg behind you so that your shin is parallel to the floor. Then, bend forward at your hip and lower your body as far as possible. Then, push your body back to the first position, using your glutes.

It’s a little complex, but well worth the effort.


Workout 8: ‘Superman’ Planks

This is a modified plank. On the all fours position, extend one arm forward (man of Steel-style) even as you raise your hips off the ground.



These workouts are designed to tone your legs, glutes, and chest, and strengthen your core. Include these in your workout to look better and feel more confident every day—happy International Women’s Day!


Workout @ Work: 4 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk

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Modern life, especially when we work, revolves around sitting. We work sitting at our desks, we travel seated on cars, buses and trains, and when we get home, we… that’s right, we sit on the couch to unwind and relax.

We need to get up off those chairs, and start moving. Here are 5 simple exercises you can pull off right at your workspace!

Exercise 1: Pushups At The Desk

Teammates left the room for a quick meeting?

Time for desk push ups, where you place your hands a shoulder width apart on the edge of your desk. Then, leaning against your desk, do what you would in a normal pushup.


Exercise 2: Punching An Invisible Opponent

Rock from foot to foot in this fun exercise, and alternatingly punch to the left and right. Don’t fully extend your arms, though; you might end up hurting your elbows that way.

Just don’t use this as an opportunity to settle a workplace score!


Exercise 3: Jump Squats

10 jump squats would burn more calories than any other exercise on this list. They seem deceptively simple—you jump, land, go into a squat, and repeat—but are pretty tough to execute.


Exercise 4: Hamstring Curls

To do a hamstring curl, simply lift one leg behind your back, bending it at the knee. Raise your foot towards your rear. Make sure nobody‘s behind you, or you might end up kicking someone!


With only a few moments—and little to no equipment—required for these exercises, you can prevent that sedentary lifestyle from creeping up on your health!


5 Scientific Ways To Lose Weight, Aside From Starving And Exercise

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“Starvation and exercise are too much; I just wish there was some way to lose weight without having to run around or completely avoiding the food I love!”

Have you ever felt this way? Then read on, as SoH takes a look at the various ways of losing weight that aren’t dieting or exercise!

Method 1: Drink Water Regularly

Especially if you make it a habit to gulp some down before meals, water can help you lose weight. The details: drink half a liter of water before every meal; this reduces your appetite, helping you lose weight.


Method 2: Put That Phone Away!

And your tablet, and your iPad, and your laptop… every electronic distraction makes you lose track of how much you’re eating. If you don’t switch these off, you can eat up to 10% more than you would normally.


Method 3: Cut Out The Colas

Arguably the one worst item on diets today, sugary and aerated ‘cold drinks’ load up a massific number of calories. Avoid these, and you’ll see a huge difference.


Method 4: Sleep Better

Inadequate sleep and too much stress can wreak havoc on your health. Regular sleep ensures the supply of hormones ghrelin and leptin, while stress produces cortisol. All 3 hormones increase your appetite.


Method 5: Eat More Proteins

Whether you get them from daal, murgh (chicken), eggs or healthy nuts, proteins are a great way to lose weight. They can reduce calorie consumption per day by 441 as much as calories, boosting weight loss.


All these hacks are easy, simple ways to lose weight. A healthy diet and exercise may be the most straightforward path to fitness, but these methods can help just as well!


5 Reasons Why You Should Do Jumping Jacks Every Day

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You might have tried them when you were a kid, or if you were an athlete in school or college. However, did you know throwing on a pair of comfy shoes and jumping up and down would help with your heart health today?

Whether you’re slim and trying to improve fitness, or are looking to lose some weight, this super-effective calisthenics exercise can help you out.

Reason #1: Boost Bone Strength

By exercising your muscle and bone joints, you train your body and build bone strength. As a bonus, you reduce your risk of osteoporosis.


Reason #2: It’s Good For Your Heart

Jumping jacks are a great cardio exercise, which means that they increase your heart rate whenever you perform them. This keeps your heart in healthy working condition.


Reason #3: You’ll Start Moving Better

Jumping jacks require you to exercise a certain amount of skill. As you coordinate your arms and legs in sync with jumping movements, you develop better balance, posture and timing.

Reason #4: Builds Core Muscles

Every time you perform jumping jacks, you exercise your calf muscles, your abs, and delts (deltoids, or your shoulder muscles). This builds strength, and helps tone your body.

Reason #5: You Lose Weight

Oh yes, you do! Jumping jacks bump up your heart rate, which makes you burn more calories, and reduce fat. Breathing hard enhances this effect.

Close-up of woman's feet on scale

Close-up of woman’s feet on scale

Whether you do them for fun, to keep fit, or to lose weight, jumping jacks are a great choice. Try this routine everyday for a new and fitter you.


Running Isn’t Always the Best Option

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While running is a great exercise, it may not be the greatest choice in certain situations.

If you are in one of these situations, consider putting aside your jogging shoes. Learn how to spot these situations, and steer clear of running if you do.

Reason 1: It Can’t Counter A Bad Diet

Running is a great way to lose weight, but only when it is paired with a great diet. You can’t eat unhealthy and expect to drop kilos. If you are only running to counter an unhealthy eating habit, try a suitable healthy diet; then, even lighter exercise will do.fruit-salad-with-avocado-and-tomato_1301-7690

Reason 2: Running Isn’t Always Good For Weight Loss

When you go on a well-intended calorie deficit diet, you actually tend to lose muscle mass rather than fat. Cortisol, a hormone you secrete when running, tends to store fat and cannibalize muscle.

Reason 3: Testosterone Takes A Hit

Long daily training regimens can cause you to lose testosterone, and decrease the testosterone:cortisol ratio. When running, do not regularly overexert yourself: this is the result.

Reason 4: Hunger Is Likely

On traditional fat loss diets coupled with running programs, you are bound to get hungry. Hunger has laid waste to many such routines. If you tend to binge-eat when craving food, these routines are not for you!


Reason 5: The Niggling Risk Of Injury

37% to 56% of all non-competitive runners tend to get injuries. If that’s something that you don’t look forward to at all, maybe you should go for low-impact exercises like walking.


You’ll see that most of these are reasons to run carefully, not avoid running altogether. Exercise caution the next time you consider running, and you’ll do so without the nasty side effects just talked about.


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