Where to begin with fitness? All of us want to be fit but struggle with the how’s?? The simplest starting point could be the posture.
The idea is simple: Spend one month to perfect your posture. Agree this is not as attractive or sexy as the bigger goals to have flat washboard abs or an ideal bikini body but poor posture is often the small factor that effects the bigger overall well being, performance and confidence.
Posture is the Core- In India, the yogis have known and practiced this for generations as what we now call “mountain pose.” In which you stand erect with your feet together and arms at your sides or hands folded into a ‘ namaste’ in front of you, and preferably close your eyes . After a while you can feel your body swaying in an attempt to maintain balance. That is the natural corrective programming of our body to correct the posture, that we silence over time.
Easy corrective techniques for good posture
1. Duct tape yourself– Find a roll of duct tape. Remove your shirt, stand straight and upright, have a friend apply a strip of tape down your spine—from the base of the neck to your lower back. Then apply two other pieces of tape from the top of each shoulder to the middle of your back. When finished, it will look like an upside-down peace sign.
Now wear your shirt back on and start your day—working at the computer, driving your car, partying, doing household chores, playing at the field, whatever, wherever. But, every time you start to hunch or slouch, the tug of the tape will remind you to stand taller or sit straighter while gently pulling you back into alignment. In case of men with hairy backs this could feel more than a tug 😉
If an athlete’s posture is really bad the duct tape method is an effective way to help correct it. Wearing duct tape for a week or month should do the trick.
In case the tape comes off real quick it just goes to show how much you slouch and should be replaced immediately. For a sportsperson this maybe difficult on routine days but is an effective way to maintain body discipline on your rest schedules.
The goal is to go through an entire day without feeling the tape on your back.
2. Exercise- Professionals will still have to do their scheduled workouts and sessions but having a strong core of endurance muscles helps sit taller, stand straighter and run better. Even on the field whatever your sport you will feel the difference of a good posture.
3. Water and Diet- A balanced diet and regular intake of water is a must for good health, this is something we all know of but water or diet effects our posture was something we don’t really relate. But of course, dehydration or a deficient diet lead to fatigue which in turn leads to poor posture.
Posture affects more than you imagine and should be a first-line of treatment if your performance is slipping. If you’re experiencing chronic pain or are continually disappointed in your performance even after focused training, have a physical therapist or other expert evaluate your posture. Few athletes think to do it, but it should be foundational. The adjustments you make to your posture will make a noticeable performance and comfort difference. You could even try to video yourself while training to analyze your posture by yourself.
If a simple hug has the power to comfort people and restore their self confidence, then adjusting your posture could be the self hug you need to win.
DO NOT take your dismissal out on the cricket bat once you get in the change rooms.
DO NOT use your cricket bat against cheap hard cricket balls, this will damage the bat.
DO NOT leave your cricket bat in the hot boot of a car. This is one of the worst things you can do especially in hot summer months when cricket is played. Both heat and humidity can dry out a bat.
DO NOT expose your cricket bat to excessive moisture or rain. Always dry your bat immediately if it does get wet. (To minimise absorption through the toe of the bat feel free to give this area a light coat of varnish.)
DO NOT OVER OIL your cricket bat. Less is best when it comes to oiling. Specialized cricket bat oils or raw Linseed Oil works best. About 1 teaspoon is enough for 1 coat that covers the toe, face and edges. Do not oil the whole bat.
DO NOT try to discover the aerodynamic capabilities of your cricket bat after a dismissal. Cricket bats were not designed to fly and throwing your bat is one of the silliest things you can do to it. We have never known a cricket bat to be responsible for a dismissal anyway!
DO take care of your cricket bat.
DO prepare and Run your cricket bat in correctly.
DO oil your cricket bat regularly (a very, very light coating once every few months).
DO store the cricket bat in a cool dry location away from excessive heat or moisture.
DO inspect the bat regularly for damages and repair promptly.
DO store your cricket bat in a horizontal position always.
And ….. DO go out and make runs with it!
[mark style=”paragraph” color=””]Wasim had to face a battle with diabetes when he was diagnosed with the disease in 1997.
The news had a terrible impact on him as he was only 29 at that time. He was really down and depressed after the news. However, like the fighter he is, he won this battle.
Wasim had once commented on this issue:
“I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997. I was only 29 years old. I thought my life was gone — no more cricket. But, my wife gave me mental strength. It’s just mental discipline. Temptations are there. I feel like having biryani every night — naans and kulchas, and niharis. But I avoid it.”
“I will eat in moderation and now my brain has programmed itself in a way that if I eat slightly more, I start feeling like I’m bloating. I feel I’m going to throw up. So with mind discipline you can do anything. It’s tough to start off with it but once you start feeling healthy, everything works for you then. Health is everything.”. [/mark]
However being the fighter he is, he made a lot of changes to his food habits and programmed an exercise schedule for him to stay fit.
The diet and lifestyle changes made by him to live and perform better are as below:
1. DIET CHANGES
To cut out and reduce a lot of heavy stuff from his food, including high carb food and oily stuff. Also, increase the proportion of vegetables and salad in his diet to ensure he felt full and stop food cravings.
Wasim commented on his diet changes:
“In Urdu-Hindi we say ‘kam khao to zindagi lambi jayegi’ (eat less and you’ll live longer). He cultivated this habit.
For example, I don’t eat bread at night because there are more carbs in it. If I feel like it, I’ll have half a roti. I’ll have a chicken tikka, but I’ll have a massive bowl of salad.”
“And then I check my sugar levels. I’ve trained my mind. I love my steaks, but I just eat less, at home or otherwise. Before lunch, I eat a bowl of stir fried vegetables so my stomach is more or less full. And then I’ll have a little of whatever else is there. So that’s the sort of technique I’ve used to train myself.”
“I do the same thing wherever I am. I can have something before the meal — something healthy, something non-sugary¸ maybe a fruit.
Wasim also incorporated regular exercise as part of his daily schedule to keep burning the calories and avoiding weight gain. He commented on his exercise schedule after the diagnosis:
“Exercise for diabetics is most essential. In our culture, we were told diabetics get tired. But why? Because their sugar levels are not in control. When your sugar is not in control, your muscles are not getting the right amount of glucose. That’s why you feel weak.”
“I’ve proved it wrong. I’ve played cricket for ten years in the national cricket and I’ve been running around these last ten years day in and day out, exercising every day twice a day. Exercise is very crucial, and regularly checking sugar levels when under stress, when not well, if you’re too happy — it fluctuates.”
3. LIFESTYLE CHANGES
“If it’s [sugar level] a bit high after dinner, then I go for a half-hour walk and when I come back and check, I see it’s gone down. If you’ve got to go for a job at 9 am, get up at 6.30 am, sleep early. In our culture, we don’t sleep early. I eat by 7.30-8 pm. I sleep by 10.30-11 pm. Wake up at 6 am with my kids and then go for my run.”
“So, these small details are what you need to learn yourself. I’ve never let it hamper my playing. I got diagnosed in 1997 and retired in 2003 and I got 200-plus wickets in one-day and in test cricket after being diagnosed. I’ve not tired still.”
An inspiration for the next generation of sportsmen and commoners alike
Wasim has also raised awareness amongst the common public facing diabetes about the importance of diet, exercise and discipline to fight the ailment. Hope that more people can become aware of ways to fight against this illness and lead a happy and balanced life.
The epic career of Akram, even after being diagnosed with diabetes, suggests that a man can do whatever he wants, provided he possesses the will to really do it.
Making of the Afghan Cricket Team in the refugee camps of Pakistan
Even though the roots of cricket go back to the 1800’s in Afghanistan, when it was played by British soldiers in Kabul, the game didn’t catch on at that time. Later, the long-war affected every sector in Afghanistan, including sports.
If you hail from a country which was war torn, had no government for the first half of your lives, I guess it couldn’t get tougher for you to choose a sporting profession and something which the Taliban had prohibited the Afghan people from doing. In the fight for survival to even think of sports is deemed as betrayal. Despite the Taliban, deaths, bombs and poverty, a few boys, Taj, Karim and Raees, teenagers or younger, decided they wanted to be cricketers. They planned to form the Afghanistan Cricket Board, field a national team and win the World Cup. When you understand their background this was nothing short of a miracle.
They’d been inspired by crackly television images of Pakistan winning the 1992 World Cup, when they beat New Zealand and England in the semifinal and final.
All along the way they have met with various roadblocks- But they stayed undeterred, most staying as refugees in refugee camps in Pakistan. The craze that cricket has in Pakistan induced them into getting closer to the game. Eventually most of them learnt the game, its technicalities, do’s and don’ts in those refugee camps.
What the refugees in Kacha Garhi faced was indeed a world away. Their parents forbade them to play – they were required to work all day for a pittance to help sustain their families.
But they snuck around and persevered. They fashioned a bat from tree bark and played with a tape wrapped tennis ball. The tape helps the ball skid of the pitch and also makes it act a bit similar to the expensive leather balls which these kids could never access.
Amazingly they improved enough to be able to play in a league competition in Peshawar, again without their parents’ knowledge. They were joined by a few others, notably Allah Dad.
They were among some of the young cricket visionaries, who faced a lot of danger taking their game back home, negotiating with the Afghanistan Olympic Committee and then the Taliban, which initially banned cricket.The cricketers eventually received a dispensation to play, but only if they wore full Afghan attire, grew their beards out and prayed five times a day.They wanted to hold trials, but couldn’t find a suitable venue – the stadium in Kabul was used for weekly public floggings, amputations and other punishment.
Amazingly, cricket gradually took hold and the tiny pool of cricketers grew.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995 and become an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001 and member of the Asian Cricket Council in 2003.
Afghanistan Ranked 19th in International T-20 cricket as of 7 January 2017 ahead of full members Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
With the game Afghan people have found a reason to unite, forget all the problems, stress and pressures. To live, breathe, throw their arms in the air, celebrate, wave their national flag with that much more pride, walk in front of any other cricket playing nation and proudly announce being an Afghanistan cricket team fan.
This is the story of true determination, to keep going despite the road blocks and not let your present determine your future. A passion for sports performance- JAZBA.