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october 2012

MEN at 40!

Ali Faraaz
While some men at 40 enjoy long runs and good health, a lot of men feel as though their best years are behind them. At this age, most men experienced a steady drop in testosterone (the male hormone) with which come lethargy, depression, decreased stamina and fat gain. Increasing your testosterone through natural means should be a priority.
A good diet and a good workout programme should and would correct the drop in the male hormone.A good nutritional programme is also vital at this age, as your body needs ample amount of quality food to combat the ageing process. Stick to natural foods and avoid any and all processed foods. Eat organic foods, as around this age it becomes tougher for your body to remove residual pesticides from vegetables or foods. Think of your body as a Ferrari engine: You wouldn’t put kerosene in a Ferrari engine! The same applies to your body: Good quality natural food is like highoctane fuel, whereas junk and oily food is akin to kerosene.

Nutritional Needs
Few of us understand the impact of nutrition on ageing bodies. While the occasional pakodas and samosas are fine, the bulk of our daily nutritional needs gets neglected. A few basic additions will help your body function at its peak, regardless of how tough the years have been.

Go for Fish:
Eating salmon and other fatty fish is proven to fight ageing. The Omega - 3s in fish also keep your heart healthy and help your brain fight depression, not to mention fish is one of the best sources of protein. Make it a cornerstone of your diet.

Eat slow digesting carbs
Slow carbs require more energy to process. This means that you are burning MORE calories simply by digesting the food you ate! As slow carbs take longer for the body to digest, they release sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate. This in turn slows down the insulin release, which not only decreases fat storage but also prevents diabetes. Examples of slow digesting carbs are fruits and vegetables, most legumes and whole grains.

Fruits and Vegetables
Eating 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day may lower your risk of developing diseases associated with ageing. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and nutrients that contribute towards optimal health. They also contain antioxidants, which help you get rid of the free radicals that accumulate in your body.

Vitamin D and Calcium
These play an important part around the age of 40, as bones lose density. Supplying your body with them in adequate amounts is essential. You can get your fix by adding dairy products like milk and cheese in your diet and spend 30 minutes in sunlight everyday.

Avoid salt
Salt in excess is linked to high blood pressure, cardiac ailments, and water retention, especially after 40 years. Refrain from adding too much salt to your food.

Take a multivitamin
Vitamins and minerals are more essential to stay fit in the middle age. Try getting as much as you can through natural foods. The other option is to supplement with a multivitamin tablet.

Avoid bad fat
The types of fat you eat really matter. Bad fats increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, while good fats protect your heart and support overall health. Fats such as omega-3 fats are essential for physical and emotional health. Eat peanuts, almonds and olive oil. Avoid fried food, fast food and excessive animal fat to keep your waistline trim.

If you really must, then drink the right alcohol
Drinking wine is shown to have some benefits, whereas excess of other types can lead to weight, heart and liver issues. Stick to 1-2 glasses of white or red wine or 2 glasses of beer or 1-2 small drinks a week only, to avoid unwanted effects of alcohol.

Mixing medicine and food
A lot of men don’t realize how food affects the absorption of certain medication. Consult your doctor about the foods you need to avoid and those that suit your medication.

Exercise Needs
The forties are also the age when most men focus more on their work and not enough on their waistline. Belly fat is an obvious outcome at this age. This is tied to an increased production of cortisol - the stress hormone. The same combined with other hormonal factors like low testosterone leads to the inflammation of fat cells and expansion of tissues to create fat where you want it least - around the middle!
  • Must do 30 minutes: Men NEED to exercise at least 30 minutes a day to remain healthy. It promotes cardiac health and reduces stress. Moderate exercise works towards producing the right balance of hormones in your system while reducing stress hormones.
  • Don’t fear weights:A moderate weight training routine is proven to be just as effective at weight loss as cardio. Weight training increases testosterone and is also proven to boost metabolism, which in turn helps you burn more fat. The benefits are a smaller waist, tonebody and increased libido!

Tips from my battles

  • Eat small healthy meals
  • Avoid fried foods
  • Start with daily walks
  • Check your weight once in 15 days
  • Walk, gym, dance or do yoga to shed kilos
  • Try different routines
  • Don’t overeat or go on drastic diets
  • Fine tune and make healthy choices of food and lifestyle
  • Be happy

Weight No More…!
Vancouver-based radio jockey Rajesh Mansukhani is a bollywood insider, famous for his show “Mumbai Raj”. Talking of his battle of the middle and then the middle age, back from his days in Mumbai, Rajesh observes, “It just shot up in a short span!”

The story as he narrates:
Going from being lean in school to fat and obese in college, was nothing to be proud of; there were bouts of depression and at a certain point the ‘bottle’ became my only companion. Late night parties, uncontrolled drinking, and no thinking, just allowed more room for the flab to settle around the waist. Junk and junk is all that I fed my body. It showed up first on my face and then the whole body!

After college, when social circles begin to expand and your friend’s friends become your friends, there’s no way anything else becomes more important than partying, alcohol, living on the edge kind of hysteria. Weight is the last thing on your mind. It creeps up and befriends you in no time!

In my late twenties, I decided to QUIT alcohol and found myself drawn towards books and spirituality. But that was short-lived. Once the weight was lost, I seemed to spring back into a much unhealthier routine—work, deadlines, eating at odd hours and no workouts. And the weight was all back!

Losing weight is difficult in itself and at 40 it gets worse! There is less motivation, the belly fat is the worst to get rid of, and the metabolic rate totally does not cooperate to help lose all that is gained. Ask me and I will say, it’s not like wine that life tastes better when we grow old!
Ali Faraaz is Fitness Consultant & Director, Nutrition Freak, Hyderabad.