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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Workout the Stress

After media blizzard of Shah Rukh Khan's 6-pack workout for the stunning 'Darde Ishq' number in Om Shanti Om, there has been a craze for workouts amongst not only the stars but also the youth all over. Here I'm not intending to discuss the 6-pack workout, which is designed to help you develop your abdominal muscles. Nor am I going to elaborate other Performance-workouts which are primarily designed for the fitness of film-stars, sports-persons, dancers and so on, for them keep fit and perform better. This piece is essentially addressed to all persons, in whatever profession or whatever age, the owners of the incredible machine called the human body.

Most machines don't improve with use. Old pickup trucks don't gradually become Ferraris just by driving them fast, and a pocket calculator won't change into a super computer by crunching lots of numbers. The human body is different. The more that people use their muscles, the stronger they become. And unused muscles do not remain preserved, the neglect causes them to waste away. Heavy use doesn't wear muscles out, instead they grow bigger and stronger.

Exercise can alleviate stress and improve mood. When anxiety takes its toll on the body and mind, rather than turning to rage, remember the stress-reducing benefits of physical activity and determine what best suits you. In a new survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, roughly three-quarters of respondents said they experienced physical and psychological symptoms of stress. Many reported suffering from fatigue, muscle tension and headaches, as well as from irritability, nervousness and anger. Stress also interfered with personal and professional lives; about 45% said that stress negatively affected a relationship with a spouse or partner and detracted from job satisfaction. Physical activity, experts say, has the ability to counteract stress at its source. A 2005 study in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that symptoms of depression and bad moods were mitigated after just 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill at 60% to 70% of an individual's maximum heart rate. Studies have also shown that exercise can improve psychological resistance to stressful situations. Swimming, biking or brisk walking are excellent low-impact, beginner exercises that will yield physical and mental benefits. Cross-training, or varying a workout with different activities like weight lifting and resistance exercises, prevents both boredom and injury. It's also important, however, to avoid over-exertion, since fatigue taxes the body and can depress your mood.

To further reduce stress, think creatively about exercise options and choose a personally fulfilling activity instead of resorting to the same three machines at the gym. Try rock-climbing if you enjoy achieving a set goal, a dance class if music is your passion or a few hours at the swimming pool if your second calling is swimming. The idea is to practice a form of exercise you find engaging. With stress, you're either worrying about something that may happen or obsessing about something that already has. If instead you're present in the moment, it's a lot harder to be stressed out. And that is when you workout the stress.


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