NCR’s ‘very poor’ air quality shifts focus back to indoor workouts: Amid pollution, focus on yoga and avoid HIIT, suggest experts

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As NCR’s air quality remains ‘very poor’, experts suggest giving outdoor workouts a break. They also advise foregoing HIIT exercises for the time being, and focusing on routines that require less oxygen consumption. From basic yoga poses to training at home with basic equipment, here’s how to remain physically active indoors under the prevailing circumstances. ‘Focus on workouts that require less oxygen consumption, like yoga and Tai Chi’
Given the current air quality, it is not advisable to keep exercising outdoors or go for HIIT workouts, say experts. “Yet, if one stays indoors, they continue a sedentary lifestyle, mobility is reduced and aches and pains resume. Therefore, it is important to do exercises which are yoga-based to keep flexibility intact. These exercises are less intensive, can be done indoors and require less oxygen consumption as compared to cardio workouts. An aerobic exercise schedule, such as Tai Chi or yoga, is ideal right now. Also, keep your nebulizers and inhalers handy when working out and use them preemptively if needed,” shares Dr Gurinder Bedi, Director, Orthopedic, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.

Supermodel and certified yoga practitioner Amit Ranjan, says, “I would strongly recommend naadi shodhan pranayama and shatt karma, that is jal niti, sutra niti and netra prakshalan (for burning sensation in the eyes) under the guidance of a guru. Also, if one cannot afford air purifiers, then surround yourself with indoor plants like snake plants.” He advises poses to keep up your fitness and flexibility levels, “Cat and cow, cobra pose, downward facing dog, upward facing dog, triangle pose variations, warrior pose, chair pose and sun salutations can be performed indoors.”
‘Switch to options that are available at home’
Fitness experts say that one can adapt their outdoor workouts to an indoor setting, using whatever is available at hand. Using your body weight or equipment that is available at home, like bands, one can do basic yoga asanas and exercises. Viren Barman, Nutritionist, Strength Coach and Mr India 2016, first runner-up, shares, “One can do exercises like skipping. If you are used to running outdoors, you can switch to indoor cardio training and refer to various online cardio workouts available for free. As for strength training, everything that you are doing at the gym can be done at home, though the equipment will be limited to what’s available at home. Let’s say that you only have a pair of dumbbells, you can perform various exercises with them, though you cannot do as many variations as you would on a machine in the gym. If you don’t have dumbbells, you can work out using just your bodyweight or a heavy object like a bag loaded with books as a makeshift dumbbell.”

Annu Marbaniang, a fitness trainer, lists things that one can do at home. “Treadmills, indoor cycles and skipping ropes are a great alternative. Cross-training allows you to challenge your body in a new manner to maintain overall fitness and stay mentally healthy. Skipping rope is affordable and doesn’t require much space. Strength training is one of the best cross-training options for runners and athletes, in general. It can be done at home using your own body weight, free weights or bands to add resistance and increase the intensity,” she explains.

‘Increase protein intake, create a designated workout area at home to keep going’

Ashishh Gupta, Director, Gold’s Gym, Gurgaon, shares tips for those not suffering from any form of breathing issues. “Increase protein intake and limit carbs. Keep sipping on water, as many tend to ignore their water intake in winters. If you don’t have any knee issues, then you can work out on stairs. Please use a good fitness band to monitor your heart rate.”

Maintaining an exercise routine at home or in a hotel room can seem more like a ‘should do’ than a ‘want to’, says Anvita Agarwal, Health Coach at Gold’s Gym. “So, create a home workout area. If you have space available, designate an area of your home to exercise and keep your equipment handy. Try using resistance bands, water bottles, or your own body weight to perform resistance exercises. Planning is key to developing and maintaining an exercise routine. When making an exercise plan, consider any ongoing health concerns,” she suggests.