Fitness trainer Shwetambari Shetty’s new book is an appeal and guide to bring more functionality to our daily movement
Shwetambari Shetty has been pacing her room for the entirety of this phone interview with MetroPlus. It is part of the fitness trainer’s motto to bring more beneficial movement and activity into life, and that is the subject of her latest book, Get Moving! (Penguin Random House).
Get Moving! is staunchly for beginners. It is a foray into different aspects of fitness, which includes 15-minute daily workouts revolving around strength, mobility, flexibility and so on. Separate chapters introduce how to work on cardio, muscle gain and the right nutrition needed for each. “The book was to help people start being more active, given how sedentary our lives have become,” says Shwetambari, who currently works with Cure Fit and has been training for almost a decade. This movement, she emphasises, need not necessarily come from a dedicated gym membership, but just by a concentrated effort to increase your activity levels even while going about your daily work.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Get Moving! seems like a beginner’s guide to fitness. Was that the idea?
I wanted to introduce how basic movements can be more functional. Your body has certain functionalities. So this book is about letting your body move the way it is designed to move. You don’t have to go to the gym five times a week for that. Just 15 minutes of focussed activity daily can help you increase your longevity. Of course, the pandemic forced a lot of us to do more work around the house.
What are these basic movements that you refer to, that we can make more functional?
I come from a village where we knew nothing about exercise until a few decades ago. Still, my ancestors would be very active. Even today, when my mom sits down to do some work, like picking something out from the lower shelf of the fridge, she won’t bend down. Instead, she will do a deep squat, which is such a high range of mobility. It makes your ankles, your joints stronger. You can remain that active even with desk jobs. For every two hours of sitting down in front of your laptop, get up and walk for 10 minutes, and trust me, by the end of the day, you easily hit 8,000 steps. Walk while you’re on a call. Make those trips to the washroom longer by walking more on the way to and back from the pot.
How important is it to track your level of activity?
If you are someone who is already pretty active, you get to know how many steps you have taken without tracking it. But if we have jobs which require us to sit in front of desks for a long time — if that’s our lifestyle — it is important to start tracking using apps and smart watches. People with 9-to-5 desk jobs get about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. I gave my parents a smartwatch and they clocked about 15,000 steps — at that age, at 68 and 74. Compared to that, our bodies are hibernating!
To move more seems like a simple idea. What is the most common excuse you hear against it?
One is that people ask if they really need the exercise. Until a few years ago, people looked at working out as something you needed to lose weight, or to combat a lifestyle disease. But now that has changed, we know we need it to age gracefully.
Another excuse I hear is that they don’t have the time for it, which is debatable. It’s based on how much you want to do it. I started my physical activity from day four of my post-partum. It was as simple as starting to walk again, but my body felt good because of it. And if I feel good, so will my child.
Catch Shwetambari Shettty’s Instagram Live with us, @thehindumetroplus, on October 7, 6 pm.