International Men’s Day, an occasion to honour men for their contribution towards nation, society and families. There are men guarding us at our borders as soldiers, ensuring our safety and security as police personnel, saving lives as doctors and other medical personnel in hospitals, men working as security guards, working as cleaning staff, daily labourers and in various other professions, this is the day to say a ‘Thank you’ to them. But, what about men’s health and fitness? What about their wellbeing?
On the occasion of International Men’s Day, The CSR Journal takes a look at the best yoga asanas and gym exercises which benefit men and help in keeping them fit and healthy.
Gurugram-based Yoga Wellness Instructor and Yoga Therapist Sanghamitra Das opens up to The CSR Journal suggesting the best asanas for men’s health and wellbeing, while Mumbai-based gym trainer and fitness coach Mandar Pramod Ravte recommends the kind of workout required to enhance men’s fitness and overall health.
Best Yoga asanas for men
Sanghamitra Das, who has 13 years of experience in the fitness industry, suggests the following asanas for men:
Asana to enhance fertility
“Men are more prone to heart attacks at a younger age as compared to women. The reasons maybe stress, smoking, obesity and also hitting the gym without proper guidance from trainer. The first asana that I will suggest, is something that will enhance fertility and helps beat stress, anxiety and keeps heart healthy. It’s called Viparita Karani. This is an intermediate posture which needs at least three months of practice before it starts yielding benefits. This is a very beneficial asana and improves fertility in both men and women.
However, if anybody is unable to perform this, I will suggest a couple of modifications, the first being Uthana Pada Asana and Ardha Halasana. Uthana Pada Asana helps in toning and strengthening the pelvis, hips, lower back, abdomen, legs and perineum muscles. This is ideal for weight loss in the lower abdomen, thighs and hips. This asana is ideal for your lower abs.
In Ardha Halasana you just have to lie down and slowly raise your both legs in 90 degree angle, you can also take wall support if you are new to this asana or have a higher body weight. This is very good for fertility. However heart patients, those having hypertension or battling cervical spondylosis or operative phase of hernia, they should stay away from this asana.,” Sanghamitra told The CSR Journal.
Focus, balance and concentration at workplace
For Focus, balance and concentration at workplace, the Yoga expert suggests asanas like Vrikshasana or Tree Pose and Tadasana (Palm Tree Pose). She saidm “Both are standing postures. In Tadasana, you have to stand on your toe and focus at a point with both hands raised above. In Vrikshasana, you have to stand on one feet with both hands folded in a Namaste above your head, thus resembling a tree. Both are easy to perform.”
“The abovementioned asanas help maintain body balance, enhances flexibility of the spine and battles back pain. People who drive for longer hours or sit for long hours in front of a computer at office, they get back pain, which is healed by Tadasana. Setu Bandha Asana is also another solution for back pain,” she added.
Strengthening core muscles
“Vrikshasana improves coordination of the body and mind. This posture also strengthens the thigh and the calf muscles. Calf muscles are very vital for blood circulation in our body and are also called ‘second heart’. Our core muscles like abdominal muscles, gluteal muscles, calf muscles, it is very important to keep them strong.
Vrikshasana also helps in developing concentration and focus. Even children can perform this asana. It is okay to take wall support while learning this asana,” she informed.
Obesity and belly fat
The Yoga therapist also recommends asanas for reducing obesity and belly fat.
“Setu Bandha Asana or the Bridge Pose works like magic for obesity, belly fat as well as for back pain. This helps reduce abdominal fat while fighting back pain. However, anyone having cervical spondylosis should avoid rising very high, they should raise their waist only slightly.
Another excellent asana for reducing belly fat is the Noukasana or Boat Pose, where you lie down and raise your upper and lower body simultaneously holding it at 45 degrees. Beginners can try learning this asana by raising one leg at a time instead of both legs. However, anyone with back pain or abdominal issues should avoid performing this asana because it puts pressure on the lumber region and abdominal muscles in order to reduce belly fat,” Sanghamitra shared.
Anxiety, fatigue, high blood pressure, heart health
For men having anxiety issues, a high BP, fatigue or heart problem, Sanghamitra suggests the Shavasana.
“Shavasana or Corpse Pose is just lying flat with 1-1.5 ft distance between your two feet and hands at least 6 inches away from your body. This asana helps to remove fatigue from the body and is beneficial for people with high blood pressure and cardiac diseases. It also helps people battling neurosis. One can focus their body parts and breathing while performing this asana. This is the easiest of all asanas and anybody can do it. However, anybody battling depression should strictly avoid this,” she said.
Will power for quitting smoking
The Yoga Wellness Instructor also suggests asanas which will enhance mental strength and will power for men who want to quit smoking but are unable to do so.
She said, “People who are addicted to smoking, if they are willing to quit it, what they need are strength of mind and will power. There are certain asanas which help boost our will power. These are Vrikshasana and Tadasana and breathing practice and pranayamas. This is because, a person who can control their breath, is capable of controlling their mind. Kapalabhati is a breathing practice. It is a ‘shuddhi kriya’ which benefits us by improving our lung capacity and instantly relaxes the mind, thus enhancing our productivity at workplace. However, people with high blood pressure or cardiac problems have to perform this only under proper guidance. People with acidity or back pain problem should avoid this.
If a person is having disturbed sleep, the yoga coach suggests Bhramari Prnayama right before going to bed. “Bhramari pranayama helps battle high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, anger, tension etc. This is most beneficial when performed before bedtime because it helps in giving sound sleep,” shared the Gurugram-based Yoga instructor.
However, she shares a piece of warning before signing off, “All the abovementioned asanas should be performed under the guidance of trained experts only. Don’t try doing these on your own by watching social media videos, because that will not give the results and you might end up injuring yourself.”
Best gym workouts for men
Mandar Pramod Ravte, trainer and fitness coach at Ayra Fitness Zone Mira Road, near Mumbai suggests the best gym workouts for men’s fitness, weight loss, weight gain, muscle building, abs etc.
“If a person is a fresher at the gym and has not done any workout before, we make them perform some cardio exercises in the beginning. First, we check the person’s body weight and body fat. After a few days, we begin with abs workout like half crunches and full crunches, then leg raise, mountain climbers, Russian Twist etc. Half crunches are done for upper abs, for people who have higher belly fat. There are 3-4 variations of crunches, each of which are done in three sets,” Mandar told The CSR Journal.
For gaining weight
If a person starts hitting the gym with the aim of gaining weight, then first he should do some warm up exercises, suggests the 25-year-old trainer.
“This will be followed by push-ups, then pull-ups, after he will be given dumbbells. First we begin with light weight dumbbells like 2.5-3 kg. First we make him perform dumbbell press on a flat bench, then decline dumbbell press and then gradually work towards improving his back muscles. After that we work on building biceps with dumbbell curl and cable curl. Then there are workouts for triceps building like cable pull down. Then we work on the shoulders and legs. For shoulders I would suggest overhead dumbbell press and front rest. For legs there are squats and leg extension,” he said.
Warning for freshers
However, the fitness expert also warns that people hitting the gym should do only light training in the beginning. “This way, they will not experience any kind of body pain the following day. Some people, who do the mistake of working out too much on the first day, often suffer from body pain the next day. Some even get fever. This is why light training is a must for beginners,” he explained.
Follow diet plan
“A person working out at the gym should also follow a diet chart given by their trainer or dietitian for best results. This chart varies from person to person depending upon their height, weight, age, food preferences, like veg, non-veg etc. The chart also depends upon what is the person’s goal like weight loss, weight gain, muscle building etc,” informed the gym trainer.
For heart patients
“Heart patients should avoid doing excessive cardio exercises and especially treadmill,” suggests the trainer. “A heart patient should only walk on the treadmill and never run. Also, while making a heart patient workout at the gym, the trainer should ask whether the person is having any difficulty in breathing or experiencing pain in the chest. Also, light weight training is recommended for heart patients,” he explained.
Recently celebrities like comedian Raju Srivastava (58) and television actor Siddhaanth Vir Surryavanshi (46) collapsed while working out at the gym, eventually leading to their death. Quizzed on the same, the gym trainer replied, “There can be several reasons behind this, like some medicine or supplement which doesn’t suit a person and he is consuming it without consulting doctor or trainer. Apart from that, if a person is feeling stressed and goes to the gym to workout, then there is inadequate blood supply to his/her heart which can lead to a heart attack.”
If you are a smoker and hitting the gym for building your body, losing or gaining weight or for some other goal, then you will get less benefit than non-smokers.
“There are people who like to have a smoke before entering the gym and then there are people who light a cigarette after coming out of the gym. If you are smoking before entering the gym, then your body will tend to exhaust quickly. People who smoke after workout, often experience breathing problem and it also affects their body. So, it is better to quit smoking if you are hitting the gym with a goal,” signed off the fitness coach.