Almost everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to get more fit! But with life, work, studies and other commitments – our fitness dreams fall by the wayside. But believe it or not, exercise can be sustained even when life is crazy busy! We spoke to Nike+ Training Club elevated trainer Urmi Kothari and got simple tips and tricks to stay fit during the dreaded exam season!
1) I get terrible tension and stress headaches during exams. Any exercises that can help me deal with them without having to resort to painkillers?
Chances are that while you’re studying, you’re looking down at your book and sitting in different positions. So first of all, try to be aware of your posture since a stiff neck, back and shoulders can cause headaches. To relieve this tension you can do short Get Focused workouts from the Nike+ Training Club (NTC) app like the Dynamic Yoga workouts that focus on stretching, or are yoga-based for adequate strength as well as relaxation. These light workouts are quick and will mobilize your joints and warm up your muscles to set the pace of your study - you will breathe better and hence have less headaches.
2) Between studies and my other daily commitments, I don't get more than 15-20 minutes a day for exercise. Please suggest the best way to make use of that time.
You could fit in a quick run just after getting out of bed. A good 20-minute run will kickstart your metabolism, and running outdoors will get you some sun and fresh air which is the perfect antidote to staying indoors due to exam prep hours.
Also check out the NTC app which has many short workouts in the ‘Get Focused' section. Zoom in 5, Core Stability workout, Alpha Abs, Leaner Legs and Metabolic Hit are some of my favourites!
3) I want to start working out, but I’m afraid I’ll be sore, and I can’t afford that with exams coming up. How can I prevent/ tackle the soreness?
Always do enough stretches after your workout. Also, if you’re sore the next day, don’t NOT move. You must do light stretching as it increases blood circulation and improves muscle recovery. Also, don’t try hardcore workouts during exams if you aren’t used to them, since your sleep patterns may be erratic due to exam prep which can hamper recovery from a very intense workout. Don’t forget to eat protein for better muscle synthesis.
4) What exercises do you suggest for destressing?
I do a Cardio Killer or Cardio Burst workout from the Get Focused section of the NTC app, and then do a yoga-based workout to calm my nerves. I also sometimes just go for the Advanced Dynamic Yoga workout that is challenging, but the focus on breathing really helps me to zone out from the world.
Some of my other favourites are Cardio Hustle and Fresh HIT. They’re not intense but still work the whole body. So if you’re not a yoga girl, try these.
5) Are there any exercises I can do which could possibly reduce my dependence on coffee during exam time?
Exercise has the ability to regulate our sleep because it regulates our breathing patterns. Coffee will only disrupt this cycle, especially when consumed after 4 pm. An apple can help you keep awake just as well!
If you’re burning the midnight oil, substitute your coffee with green tea, lemon water infused with mint leaves and cucumber, or a flavoured herbal tea. Do some breathing exercises to wake your body up in the morning and in the early evening.
6) I made a new year’s resolution to start exercising no matter what else is going on in my life… but I don’t know where to start?
The trick is to decide on one thing and then go ahead and #JUSTDOIT!!! Check out the 21 Days of #BetterForIt program at nike.com/Women, which is a great way to get you started. A simple 5-question quiz can help you identify your commitment level and choose either a 3, 4, or 6-days a week program. Your emphasis is not to nail every workout BUT TO BE CONSISTENT and make it a HABIT.
Your second phase should be to increase the frequency of workouts in the week and THEN increase duration of workouts to more than 30 min. Once you start seeing your increased energy, stamina, muscle definition and more… you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner!
About Urmi Kothari
Urmi has been an athlete since she was 13 years old and loves engaging in activities that challenge her physically and mentally. Before she became a trainer, she was a fitness and sports enthusiast. After her MBA, she wanted to do something that would help her discover more about herself. She took a calculated risk, quit her job and professionally pursued training and dance. Urmi’s fitness mantra is “Getting fitter by moving the body as a unit”. She believes fitness should energize you and make you discover yourself and your capabilities. You can follow her on Instagram.
* This is a sponsored post for Nike. Download the Nike+ Training Club app and get working out NOW – no excuses! With training programmes for the newbie, the expert and the fitness fanatic, the app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.