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Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated

The extended lockdown on account of the Covid-19 pandemic stretched the resilience of mind and body of all of us mortal souls to the limits. Those of us who habitually and consciously have been nursing ourselves appeared to sail through while others were seen struggling to keep their equilibrium with every passing week of remaining shackled at home. This makes one wonder whether we have learnt a lesson from all this!

(With Inputs From Student Correspondent Sumeir Bhatia)

The hundreds of cheerful young and not so young bicycle riders that morning and evening walkers see around them are reminiscent of times when the city used to be swarmed with the eco friendly pedal machines. Most students cycled to school, college and university, and so did many office goers. Many even walked down. The cycle rickshaw and good old CTU bus were largely the only means of public transport. Owning a private scooter, motorcycle or car was an exception, and not a norm as it is today.

So, seeing so many bicycles on the road, even if for brief periods in the morning and evening hours, definitely gives us a good feeling. But then apprehensions also begin to appear in the mind whether this sight is too good to last. Quality bicycles have no doubt vanished from the racks at all reputed dealerships, but then the reason could be that educational institutions are closed and a large number of office goers are working from home, hence they have more time to themselves and less burden on their minds. It is also being described in some quarters a temporary fad, more of a lifestyle statement by new entrants rather than a firm commitment to cycling as a way of life.

On the other hand, with gymnasiums continuing to remain locked down, frustrated regulars have cleaned up the limited stocks of basic muscle toning equipment like dumbbells, weights and bars, benches, resistance bands, etc available with fitness equipment dealers. talked to a wide cross section of residents in the tricity to know what they have been up to these past few weeks to keep themselves bodily and mentally agile. Not surprisingly, a large number of respondents have either bought themselves bicycles after long years of layoff, or indulged themselves by upgrading to hi-end lifestyle offerings from international brands like Scott Scale and BMW. Many, including some doctors, have purchased basic gym equipments to work out at home. Yoga is the time tested nirvana for others, especially among the ladies.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Breezy Ride: Chitranjan Agarwal On One Of His Bikes

Among our friends who have bought snazzy pedal machines is an avid and breezy cyclist Chitranjan Agarwal, who has been pedalling away to glory since 2006 when on medical advice he shifted from running to cycling. The experienced chartered accountant, already had two good bicycles, but indulged himself more by buying a dream bicycle from the stable of Swiss maker Scott Scale. He considers himself lucky to have been able to buy the bicycle of his choice in early June a week before hi-end bikes started flying off the racks.

The bicycle mania did not remain confined to him alone. Several of his friends, inspired by him, bought themselves hi-end bikes as well.

Chatty to his friends, Chitranjan estimates that about 30% of the people who have bought new bikes for themselves during this period are new to the fun and fitness activity, which, he feels, is a good sign. He is hopeful that the trend will continue.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Riding Light: BMW Graphite Bike Owned By Apurva Goswamy

Microbiologist by training and a highly successful entrepreneur, the suave Apurva Goswamy, has always loved the good things in life. Already maintaining a well-equipped gym in his residence, he was inspired to broaden the means for remaining fit and fine and include cycling in his daily routine. He scouted around offline and online for a good but light weight bike and his search after much effort (whatever he liked was sold out) ended when a BMW graphite bike which impressed him was available.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

First Bike After Teens: Ravibir S Grewal

Entrepreneur-Agriculturist and former Chandigarh Golf Club President Ravibir Singh Grewal, who besides playing golf used to indulge in light exercises at home to keep fit, has also brought himself a nice bike. He and his golfer friends have in fact formed a whatsapp group. Depending on each group member’s availability and convenience they go out cycling together in the morning and evening. “I have brought a bicycle after ages ever since I was very young,” says Ravibir adding, “I am feeling great regularly going out cycling with my friends.”

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Cycling Is Way Of Life: Manpreet Grewal With One Of His Carbon Fiber Bikes

One of the members of the group and an avid enthusiast who has cycled across many countries, Manpreet Grewal, adds, “the group was started by prominent builder IS Dhillon with the intent to participate in a sport for exercise where we could maintain physical distancing while meeting friends. The 15-odd active members in the group come from all walks of life like chartered accountants, lawyers, businessmen, etc. There are a few NRIs in the group as well.

“We ride early morning or late evening to avoid the heat. A ride could be anywhere between 18 to 40 kms, and could take around 45 minutes to 2 hours. Usually the rides on the weekends are longer,” Manpreet, President & CEO of tax, accounting and consulting firm GFI, explains. 

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, LifeinchdLong Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Ram Parkash Singh, And Family Bikes Lined Up

Another member of the group, businessman Ram Parkash Singh says their family of four has recently invested in four bicycles and the family goes for cycling daily.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Bonding Together: Aman Bambah, Raman Gill & IS Dhillon

Doctors Sachin Mittal, a well known endocrinologist, and Ravi Kumar Garg, a paediatric surgeon, also say they cycle regularly to keep fit in mind and body. Both have also bought basic muscle-toning gym equipments like dumbbells, weights and benches to add punch to their fitness regimes.  

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, LifeinchdBiking & Gymming For Fitness: Dr Ravi K Garg 

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Family Workout Time: Dr Sachin Mittal

Shares Dr Mittal, “I have purchased dumbbells of all weight categories up to 10 kgs, two pairs of gym gloves, a bench for doing exercises like bench press, etc., yoga mats, some plates for doing weights, resistance bands and a rod. I have realised that working out at home is much better than going to the gym if one can ensure regularity and discipline in following a complete exercise schedule. Make it a habit. It saves time spent in travelling to a gym.”

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Making Do Till Gyms Open: Ikrabdeep Singh

Young Ikrabdeep Singh Ghai, direly missing his regular workout in the gym, has been taking regular workout classes from his personal trainer on whatsapp after it became clear that tackling the pandemic will be a long haul. “I was not feeling good at all not being able to work out in the gym. It was impacting not only my body but also having a bearing on the state of my mind. I am feeling much better, but still eager to return to the gym as soon as it is permitted to open,” he says.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Fitness Can’t Wait: AP Singh

Rotarian AP Singh, former President of Rotary Club Chandigarh who runs a customised furniture manufacturing business in Mohali, is finding it difficult to stay away from a gym, which he and his wife have patronised without a break for five long years.

“Closing of gyms has created problems. I and my wife used to go regularly to the gym at PCA Mohali, in fact for the last five years without break. It was an essential part of our lives. During the lockdown we used to walk on the terrace and climb up and down the stairs for cardio exercises. In addition, we used to do body squats, crunches, stretches, push ups, etc. But if you ask me, we miss working out on the machines and weights in the gym. We miss the gym environment and meeting gym buddies.

“However, since it is going to be a long haul, we have constructed an area for home gym and spa on the top floor of our house in Mohali. We have kept provision for a treadmill, cross trainer, multi gym, bench, etc., plus a steam cabinet cum shower and a jacuzzi. We are in the process of identifying equipment for the new area,” Singh informs.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Has Brought The Gym Home: Sukhmani Cheema

Sukhmani Cheema, a local fitness enthusiast who has borrowed some gym equipment from a friend who runs a gym to continue with her workouts, is emphatic in saying, “I actually prefer the gym for motivation the trainer and people around me provide. At home you can give up in 10 minutes or on days not work out at all. In the gym you are pushed and motivated to try and reach your peak,” She is more than eager to hit the gym again.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Nothing Like A Gym: Karanbir Singh

Prominent student leader Karanbir Singh Kanu, who maintains a well equipped gym at home, also feels that there can be no substitute for working out in a gym environment because of the energetic vibes it provides. Also, there are too many distractions at home which hinder a vigorous workout. 

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Soul Food: Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora

Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, Executive Director, Punjab State Council for Science & Technology, and Dr Saloni Mehta, a well known radiologist, are wedded to practising yoga as a means to cleanse their mind, body and soul. They vouch for it helping them in keeping calm, composed and in high spirits even during the most difficult phase of the lockdown on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sharing her experience during the pandemic, Dr Arora, says, “I have been doing yoga for years. In lockdown period, I truly experienced yoga as soul food.  As the option of stepping out of the house was not available, the usual rush of doing works in a certain sequence vanished during this period. In the absence of such distractions, every morning, there was a childlike pull from within to spread my yoga mat, sit on it and like a mystic, wait for the signals of body.

“I would allow my body to go into any yoga asana that came from within. Thus, my greatest discovery during lockdown was a unique yoga form (a combination of pranayams i.e. breathing right till diaphragm and shaaririk mudras i.e. body postures) that evolved as ‘my own signature style’. This, without fail, completely dissipated the negative energy, confusion or fears that arose about Covid or any other situation on daily basis. I think my love for yoga,  and daily practice of it, without any pressure to do it, kept me absolutely joyous . I experienced myself as ‘Infinite Being’ that I truly am,” she gushes.

Long Pedal, Pump-At-Home & Soul Food Keep Folks Motivated, Lifeinchd

Picture Perfect: Dr Saloni Mehta

Dr Mehta adds, “So, basically I had to maintain a balance between my hospital duties amongst all the risk of contracting Covid and at the same time managing home without any house help. Maintaining my sanity and immunity in these times undoubtedly attained importance like never before.

“An early morning yoga schedule at least 5-6 days a week helped me sail smoothly through all my duties towards society, family and myself. I was absolutely convinced that I may not be able to control the whole world, but I can learn to control my inner self through the practice of yoga. Yoga taught me that the body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness.”

Earlier accustomed to running and training on the crossfit as a means to keep fit, Dr Saloni Mehta has been zealously practising yoga for the last nine months and has mastered the most difficult of the asanas.

For fitness tips, readers can follow Chandigarh’s very own and highly sought after fitness, nutrition and body sculpting expert Nidhi Mohan Kamal, currently based out of New Delhi, on Instagram and YouTube.

Following are some links:  by APR Media House is an enjoyable digital reading startup, which keeps you abreast of the latest meaningful happenings of interest to large sections of folks in Chandigarh tricity, and expats from the region. It has been promoted by a public spirited senior journalist and media consultant with a view to encourage good quality and healthy journalism, a dire need of the times.

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