Tandorasti Bhareli Majeni Life…… During And Beyond The Lockdown For Our Seniors

The multi-talented and dynamic Dr. Danesh D. Chinoy is a leading Health and Wellness Coach, Sports Physiotherapist and Psychologist. He is also a prominent Facilitator, Educator and Administrator, Physiotherapist (Sports & Manual Therapy), Corporate Trainer and Psychologist. He is dedicated to guiding clients to succeed while inspiring an insatiable passion for learning and helping all to heal holistically and remain fighting fit for life. With a Doctorate in Sports Physiotherapy and a Masters in Psychology, Dr. Chinoy’s two-decades rich experience comprises handling international sports teams and tournaments, including the Davis Cup and Indo-Ethiopian Cricket League. The recipient of innumerable awards national and global awards, Dr. Chinoy has worked across continents in various roles and capacities on the UN and World Bank funded projects. He is now on a mission to serve society by empowering all to reach their peak performance.


Parsi Times is honoured and grateful to present Dr. Chinoy’s expert recommendations aimed at helping our community members, especially our seniors, to stay healthy and fit during the lockdown… and after!

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Wayne Fields said in his nursery rhyme, 

“The best six doctors anywhere and no one can deny it,
Are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend, if only you are willing,
Your mind they’ll ease, your will they’ll mend, and charge you not a shilling”.

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There is a lot of truth in the above quote for our very dear loving and sweet ‘dosas’ and ‘dosis’, as also for our ‘babas’ and ‘babies’. During these challenging times of lockdown and quarantine, it is even more imperative for us dikras and dikris to take care of our health and fitness, along with the health and fitness of our mamma and papa, bapawajis and bapaijis, mamawajis and mamijis. The blessing given to children to be a ‘ghardo doso’ comes with its own set of challenges in health and fitness.

The beginning of the end almost always starts with reducing activity and mobility. The ‘Corodo rupiya ni secret’ to a healthy and fit old age is movement and activity. While physicians and surgeons will add more and more years to your life; us physiotherapists are entrusted with the task of adding more and more life to all the years ahead! To chaalo, tayaar cho for a majeni life? 

A life much more and beyond our regular ‘Parsi Khavanu and Pivanu’, I invite all of you, my dear fellow Parsis, to join me in a journey to commit to our Tokham Kayani of strong health, fitness filled energy and vigour filled smiles. It doesn’t really matter what age you mention on your Adhar card, what matters is what age you feel within.

During my stint in rural Africa, I was fortunate to meet many men and women, who amazed me with their youthful fitness and soulful wisdom at eighty years and above. When I look back at our own Indian population and our community in particular, I used to wonder where did we go wrong or why are we failing to age with strength. The answer is not as simple as it may seem. One of the main culprits of the loosing battle is my own medical fraternity, who have yet not unraveled all the truths, and at times, have inadvertently followed with conviction, certain half-truths. 

So, let’s come back to our six best doctors and see how we can make the best of each one of them, as our first six steps of the journey during this lockdown period:

(I) SUNSHINE: There may be a lockdown for us to step out of our houses for our work, but certainly there is no lock down on Khorshed Yazad and Meher Yazad to enter our households and do their noble work! Afterall, our ancestors were a smart lot who had made it a farajiyat for each one of us to do our Khorshed-Meher Niyaish prayers daily under the Sun. Make sure to get in at least twenty minutes of sunshine a day. Stand on your balcony or the windows with the morning sunrays.

I suggest, in consultation with your family physician, get a home test done for Vitamin D levels and start a vitamin D tablet once a week for three months. Most of our community members above fifty have undetected low Vitamin D levels. Beyond the obvious improvements in wellbeing with improved mood and sleep, optimal vitamin D levels have been found to be of clinical benefit against cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, fractures and falls, autoimmune disease, influenza, and yes even Corona.

(II) WATER: We all know our bodies are primarily composed of water and obviously us Parsis are so attached to our Avan Mai! You must have heard over a dozen times the importance of eight glasses of water a day, but have you heard of the famous Dr. Masaru Emoto – the Japanese scientist who revolutionized the idea, that ‘our thoughts and intentions impact the physical realm’? He is one of the most important water researchers the world has known. For over 20 years, until his passing in 2014, he studied the scientific evidence of how the molecular structure in water transforms when it is exposed to human words, thoughts, sounds and intentions. 

The extraordinary life work of Dr. Emoto is documented in the New York Times Bestseller, ‘The Hidden Messages In Water’. In his book, Dr. Emoto demonstrates how water, exposed to loving, benevolent, and compassionate human intention, results in aesthetically pleasing physical molecular formations in the water, while water exposed to fearful and discordant human intentions results in disconnected, disfigured, and ‘unpleasant’ physical molecular formations. He did this through Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology and high-speed photographs. Charge the water you drink with Humata of strength and well-being. If you all express interest to know more about this exciting research and its implications on how to incorporate its finding for our health and well-being, we can have a separate article on this in future. 

(III) REST: Sleep should be a priority and not a luxury, but I am sure rest and sleep are the least of your concerns during this lockdown and may be many amongst you may be getting an overdose of it too. Remember, too much of anything may prove too good for your good!

(IV) FRESH AIR: The one positive from this lockdown is the breath of fresh air that ‘aapri Mumbai’ reclaimed. Practice relaxed and deep breathing meditation at least ten to fifteen minutes a day, in a place of solitude, with meditative peace, preferably in front of the house divo. This will release the stress and activate the parasympathetic system, which works as an antidote to stress. It actually reduces objective measures of stress such as elevated heart rate and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. The best way to understand and practice deep breathing is breathing through the stomach as a baby and allowing the stomach to naturally rise and fall with every breath. Another way of doing it is praying one Ashem Vohu slowly while breathing in and praying one Yatha Ahu Vairyo slowly while breathing out.

(V) EXERCISE: The benefits of exercise are numerous – stress relief, improved mood, it is protective against depression, stronger muscles and bones, a more robust immune system, healthier weight and a higher metabolism, keeps blood sugars in check and insulin working well, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, helps the body detox, and so on. Something is always better than nothing – start small, with attainable goals, and work up from there, as you get stronger. Don’t let an all-or-nothing mentality rob you of doing what you can manage each day or week, starting now. Any count-based exercise might just prove boring after sometime. The best way to counter this is to use music and beats to keep track of exercise. 

There is a growing body of scientific work addressing the positive effects that music can have on physical exercise; such effects are often magnified in the case of older adults. Music can be used to mentally prime an individual before they start exercising – perhaps by reminding them of good times from their younger years, function as a rhythmic cue during exercise or aid post-workout recovery. Hundreds of studies in this area have revealed many ways in which music can positively influence the exercise regime. Music makes you move it so that you never lose it! 

(VI) DIET AND NUTRITION: I could speak on the importance and sustenance of a healthy dietary lifestyle for ages. A rule of thumb to follow for a healthy diet would be to eat more of the stuff that grows on plants, rather than eat those stuff that are made in plants! I see increasingly us Bawas adopting the SAD diet (the Standard American Diet) which is a recipe for disaster. Please do away with MRP – i.e. ‘Meat and milk products’, ‘Refined products’ and ‘Processed products’. 

I know I have opened a Pandoras box by advocating against milk, when through your life you have been told milk is good for bones and teeth, milk is a complete protein/food, etc. The truth is, milk is a white poison, the sooner you accept this, the better will be your over all health. The fact remains, milk consumption leads to weaker bones. This is established in the scientific community but the Dairy lobby wants you to believe otherwise. The choice is yours. In future, I may dedicate an article solely on the myths and facts of the dairy industry and milk as food. There are many sources of natural calcium available to us in nuts, seeds and greens. If you choose to have your food as medicine, you will not be forced to have medicine as food! 

I have come across a few conscientious Parsi dieticians who are helping many of our community members to have tasty and healthy Parsi dishes minus the MRP. Use this lockdown as the perfect time to reprogram our taste buds to a healthier dhansak and curry chawal. The key is to reduce the chronic inflammation in the body and with it, all the risks associated with chronic ailments. 

For all of you struggling with Diabetes, a 21-day challenge of an MRP free diet and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results. I understand it seems near impossible for us Parsis and particularly after decades of MRP diet to quit, but I can help and guide those of you interested in a step by step manner. Everything is a matter of choice and priorities. 

So now all our dikras and dikris know where to begin to help our senior family members to a better health, one key component needs to be added, and that is love and connect. This lockdown provides us all a wonderful blessing in disguise to connect with our family and spend more quality time. If you are a senior citizen and by yourself, use this time to rediscover yourself, after all these years, and challenge yourself to just one area of improvement and added activity a day. By the end of the lockdown, people meeting you should be complimenting you by asking you where had you been! Just be a bit extra aware of your surrounding environment to make sure there are no accidental accidents. Always keep the ‘josh’ in your ‘hosh’ and never loose your ‘hosh’ in your ‘josh’!

Remember, aging is the only way to a long life. So rather make it a healthy aging for a strong and healthy, long life. Please feel free to write to me with your questions, feedback and suggestions in the journey that has just begun!

Tandorasti and Ushta Te!!!

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Chair Exercises For Seniors

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The following are a few simple and safe exercises to be performed by our seniors, in the safety and comfort of their chairs, with some good music in the background. Kindly note that although these are extremely safe and simple, exercises for the seniors with least chances of injuries, the writer suggests clearance from their individual family physicians based on their individual health conditions. The presence of a care-taker is recommended for added safety and precaution

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1. Neck Stretch

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight, and slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold this position while gradually extending your left arm down and to the side.
  • You should feel a stretch on the left side of your neck.
  • Release, and repeat on the other side.
  • Perform two to five repetitions per side. This stretch will warm up your neck and the group of muscles at the top of your back, and get you ready for arm exercises.

 

2. Shoulder Circles

HOW TO PERFORM

  • In a seated position, place your fingertips on your shoulders.
  • Circle your shoulders forward for fifteen repetitions.
  • Reverse the movement, and circle backward for fifteen repetitions.
  • This exercise will warm up your shoulder muscles and reduce the risk of strain.

 

3. Bicep Curls

HOW TO PERFORM

  • For a simple bicep curl you can take anywhere, all you need is a set of resistance bands.
  • Start by choosing your resistance level, from X-light to X-heavy, and then place your feet on the resistance band, shoulder width apart.
  • Grab the handles of your bands, palm upward, and curl your hands up to your shoulders.
  • Remember to keep your elbows at your sides, and then slowly lower the bands.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10. Small, lightweight,
    dumbbells will also work great.

 

4. Seated Row

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit on the edge of your seat with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold your arms in front of you, with your thumbs pointed toward the ceiling and your elbows slightly bent.
  • Draw your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, until your upper arms are in line with your body.
  • Extend your arms again, and repeat eight to ten times.
  • Once you build up more strength, try wearing wrist weights to make it more challenging. This exercise strengthens your shoulders, chest, and upper back while placing little stress on your joints.

 

5. Shoulder Rolls

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit tall with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, and slowly rotate your shoulders in a circle—back, down, forward, and back to the top.
  • When you reach the top, reverse the movement.
  • Roll your shoulders forward, down, back, and to the top again.
  • Perform ten repetitions in each direction, for a total of twenty reps. This movement engages your shoulders and trapezius muscles, which are essential for lifting and carrying objects.

 

6. Toe Taps

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Bend your toes toward the ceiling and back to the floor.
  • To increase the difficulty of this exercise, sit on the edge of your seat with your legs straight.
  • Keep your heels on the ground as you bend your toes upward and then back down.
  • This variation increases the range of motion. Perform eight to ten repetitions to strengthen your calves and the muscles running alongside your shins.You use these muscles to climb stairs and perform daily activities.

 

7. Knee Lifts

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight with your feet flat.
  • Slowly lift your right knee toward your chest, and then lower your foot back to the floor.
  • Repeat with your left leg.
  • Perform ten repetitions per leg, for a total of twenty reps.
  • For an added challenge, pause for a
  • five-count at the top of the movement. This exercise strengthens your quads, which is the largest muscle group in your body. You use your quads in nearly everything you do, and strengthening them will make you feel stronger overall. As you build strength, consider enhancing your workout by using ankle weights for added resistance.

 

 

8. Tummy Twists for Abs

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Hold your arms at a ninety-degree angle with your elbows at your sides and your forearms extended in front of you.
  • Rotate your upper torso to the left through a full range of motion.
  • Keep your lower body still, and brace your core by imagining you’re sucking your belly button toward your spine.
  • Return to the middle and twist to the right. Perform ten repetitions on each side, for a total of twenty. This exercise strengthens your obliques, abdominal muscles used for trunk rotation, and will help you maintain good posture. Also, check out the best back braces to improve poor posture.

 

9. Captain’s Chair

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Be sure your chair is sturdy.
  • Sit up straight and grasp the edges of your seat.
  • Slowly lift your feet off the floor.
  • Move your knees toward your chest.
  • Squeeze your abs at the top, and slowly lower your feet back to the floor.
  • Don’t try to move past a comfortable position.
  • If you can only raise your feet a few inches off the floor, that’s fine. This exercise will strengthen your abs and other core muscles, such as your glutes.

 

10. Seated Jumping Jacks

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight, on the edge of your seat.
  • Extend your arms to the sides and then above your head, as you would with
  • a normal jumping jack.
  • Return them to your sides before raising them again.
  • Start slow, and then increase your speed until you’re moving your arms as fast as you can.
  • Perform three sets of twenty repetitions. If you’re exercising in a chair with arms, be careful that you don’t strike the armrests during the movement.

 

 

11. Skater Switch

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sitting on the edge of your chair, bend your right knee and place your toe on the floor.
  • Extend your left leg straight out to the side with your toes pointed.
  • Extend your arms straight in front of you, and bend forward.
  • Reach your left arm to the insole of your right foot, raising your right arm behind your body and twisting at your waist.
  • Return your arms in front of you, and straighten your back.
  • Repeat this action ten times, and then switch your legs and reverse the movement for another ten reps. For added difficulty, alternate left and right, quickly changing your leg position between reps.

 

12. Chair Running

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit with your legs extended, toes pointed, and arms bent by your sides.
  • Lean back slightly so that your shoulder blades barely touch the back of your chair.
  • Gently lift your feet from the floor.
  • Pull one knee toward you while the other is extended, and then switch, mimicking a running motion. If necessary, grip the armrests or sides of your seat for balance.

 

13. Seated Tap Dance

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit with your knees bent and your toes resting lightly on the floor.
  • Extend one leg, and gently tap your heel on the ground.
  • With your leg still extended, point your toes and tap them to the floor.
  • Flex your foot, and tap your heel again.
  • Return to the starting position, and repeat with the opposite leg. Perform the “tap dancing” for three to five minutes. Set a timer, and try to go a little longer each time you exercise.

 

 

14. Seated Forward Bend

HOW TO PERFORM

  • This movement stretches your lower and upper back.
  • Widen your legs, and place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Slowly lean forward, dropping your torso toward your thighs.
  • Relax your neck, and lower your hands toward your feet. When you feel a stretch, hold the position for thirty seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat three times.

 

15. Knee to Chest

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight with your left foot firmly on the ground.
  • Grasp the back of your right knee, and slowly pull it toward your chest until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold the position for thirty seconds, and then repeat with your left leg.
  • Perform three reps per side. This exercise stretches your hamstrings and glutes—big muscles that need to be flexible to prevent injury.

 

16. Ankle Rotations

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit up straight, and rest your ankle on the opposite knee.
  • Rotate your ankle in circles.
  • Perform ten rotations clockwise and ten rotations counterclockwise.
  • Point your toes for an additional stretch.

 

17. Sit and Reach

HOW TO PERFORM

  • Sit with your knees together and your back straight.
  • Extend one arm straight toward the ceiling.
  • Stretch your body upward, feeling the stretch along your torso.
  • Look toward your hand to get a stretch in your neck and shoulders.
  • Hold the position for five to ten seconds, and then switch to the other side.
  • Repeat three times per side.

 

Dr. Danesh Chinoy
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