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Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust, Kochi

Karate Kids!

Karate Kids! Participants of the KVS Regional Taekwondo Competition held at KV No.2, Calicut. KV Port Trust bagged two gold and one bronze.

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Yoga for health

KV Port Trust joins in the celebration of International Yoga Day.
(Click on the photo for more pictures.)

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Tips for a healthy heart

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco
Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by narrowing your blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called “social smoking” — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don’t do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week
Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.

Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits, so if you can’t meet those guidelines, don’t give up. You can even break up your workout time into 10-minute sessions.

And remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.

Major sources of saturated fat include:

  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Coconut and palm oils

Sources of trans fat include:

  • Deep-fried fast foods
  • Bakery products
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Margarines
  • Crackers

Look at the label for the term “partially hydrogenated” to avoid trans fat.

Heart-healthy eating isn’t all about cutting back, though. Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease, but also may help prevent cancer.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.

4. Maintain a healthy weight
As you put on weight in adulthood, your weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have:

Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)

Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)

Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.

5. Get regular health screenings
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren’t ideal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.

Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren’t optimal or if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.

Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, you may want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to your doctor about when you should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on your risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend first testing you for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retesting every three to five years.

[http://www.mayoclinic.com]

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Why Exercising Is Important

Have you ever heard the expression “use it or lose it”? It’s true! If you don’t use your body, you will surely lose it. Your muscles will become flabby and weak. Your heart and lungs won’t function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking!


Helps Prevent Diseases

Our bodies were meant to move — they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.


Improves Stamina

When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise involves continuous and rhythmic physical motion, such as walking and bicycling. It improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work. As your conditioning level improves, your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner from strenuous activity.


Strengthens and Tones

Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too!


Enhances Flexibility

Stretching exercises are also important for good posture. They keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. If you have stiff, tense areas, such as the upper back or neck, performing specific stretches can help “loosen” those muscles, helping you feel more relaxed.


Controls Weight

Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It’s as simple as that.


Improves Quality of Life

Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will discover many more reasons why exercise is so important to improving the quality of your life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods, and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life.


How Often Should I Exercise?

The benefits of any exercise program will diminish if it’s disrupted too frequently. A “stop-start” routine is not only ineffective, but can cause injuries. Being consistent with exercise, therefore, is probably the most important factor in achieving desired results.

People often assume that more is better. Wrong! Doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis will have deleterious effects, such as muscle/tendon strains, loss of lean tissue, and fitness-level plateaus.

If you are a beginner, start off slower than you think you should. Three days per week is realistic, safe and effective. If you are experienced, do cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises such as walking, jogging and bicycling for no more than 200 minutes per week with no more than 60 minutes per session.

Weight training should be done no more than three times per week targeting the same muscle groups. Exercise the same muscle groups on non-consecutive days because muscles need adequate time to recover and cannot be effectively trained if they are tired or sore.

Many people forget to stretch or make the excuse that they don’t have the time. Flexibility is important, so make the time! Stretching can be done every day, but stick to a minimum of three times per week in order to reap the benefits. When the body is warmed up, such as after a workout session, perform five to 10 stretches that target the major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds.


[From http://www.healthdiscovery.net/articles/exercise_importa.htm%5D

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How To Beat Stress

All of us are aware of the word ‘stress’ and even have a personal view of what it actually is. For employed people, it means work overload, deadlines and pressures. For school going kids, it means having to cover too much syllabus, in too less time. Like this, each and every person has a different meaning, as far as stress is concerned, but nobody knows what it exactly is. Stress is nothing but, the mental and emotional strain a person undergoes because of some pressures present in the outside world. The usual responses or reactions to it are tension, anxiety, irritability, bad temper, lack of concentration, headache, insomnia, etc.


What is Stress Management?

Stress is an inherent part of the life of every individual, right from school going kids to retiring servicemen. It is impossible to live throughout your life without being introduced to stress, unless and until you have decided to renounce the world and become an ascetic. However, what we have to learn is coping with stress, through various stress reduction techniques, in other words stress management techniques. These techniques basically teach you how to be happy and enjoy life, even amidst tensions, and help you in relieving stress.


Stress Management Techniques

The first and the foremost thing to do for relieving stress, is to know that you are under stress. Signs like muscle tension, sweaty palms, high blood pressure, constant headaches, insomnia, fidgeting, rapid breathing and forgetting things, all indicate that you are undergoing stress. The next step is to accept the fact and make some small changes in your life that will help you in coping with it. The stress management techniques provided below will help you in dealing with the problem, before it gets out of control.


Learn to Say No

You meet so many people in a day that demand your attention. You have to recognize the important from the unimportant ones and learn to say NO. It is not necessary to go at every party and accept every dinner invitation. Take out sometime time for yourself. Sit at home or go to any place that will help you relax.


Take a Break

Your office or your home will not stop functioning if you take off a single day for yourself. You need to get away from all the things that give you stress and spend time on the things that give you happiness. For example – if you are a book lover, take an off from office, go to your nearest bookstore, buy a novel of your favorite author and spend the entire day lazing around the house, reading the book.


Eat Properly

Remember the adage ‘Healthy Mind resides in a Healthy Body’. A good diet will help you in dealing with stress, in a much better way. However, don’t binge on high calorie food. Have more vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc in your diet. And, please don’t skip your breakfast. It keeps you energized throughout the day.


Exercise

One of the best ways to beat stress is to exercise. Not only does it reward you with a healthy and fit body, it also helps you let off the steam. Next time, if you are getting too much irritated over something or somebody, go for a jog. I am sure that even a 15 min run will help you feel much better.


Differentiate Between Office and Home

Successful people and happy people are those who know how to differentiate between professional life and personal life. The problems of one should not affect the other. When you go to home from office, leave your worries behind. After you get back to home, spend time with family, watch TV, listen to music or do anything you like, but don’t think about office.


Set a Worry Time

Keep a worry time for yourself. Set a day of the week and a particular time of that day (say 7 to 8 pm) when you will worry and till that day and time comes, don’t think about the problems that have been hogging you.


Other Techniques

Going for a body massage, indulging in your favorite hobby, talking about your problems to someone close to you, meditation, etc are some of the other ways through which you can beat the stress and stay healthy as well as happy.

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Shampoo was invented in India, not the commercial liquid ones but the method by use of herbs. The word 'shampoo' itself has been derived from the Sanskrit word champu, which means to massage.

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Book Highlight



Told in diary form by an irresistible heroine, this playful and perceptive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the May Bird trilogy sparkles with science, myth, magic, and the strange beauty of the everyday marvels we sometimes forget to notice.

Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.

Book info & cover courtesy: goodreads.com