The Flying Sikh : Milkha Singh

Milkha

Sardar Milkha Singh is the greatest living Sikh Athlete. Born in a family of modest means, joining the army and then discovering the penchant for running and winning is his life in summation. . He deservedly got an epithet named “Flying Sikh” from Pakistan General Ayub Khan. Till date (Until 2000 Sydney Olympics) the ‘Flying Sikh’ is the only Indian to have broken an Olympic record. Unfortunately, he was the fourth athlete to reset the mark and thus missed the bronze medal in the 400m event at the Rome Olympics in 1960.

For the man who won 77 of the 80 races he ran, Milkha Singh has no medals. It has been some years that ‘The Flying Sikh’ donated his sporting treasures to the nation. No personal souvenirs line his living room walls, no trophies sit on the mantle. Instead, the walls make do with pictures of the surgeon in America who saved his wife’s life and Havildar Bikram Singh, a Kargil martyr. “I have given permission that my medals be transferred from the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi to the sports museum in Patiala,” says the 72-year-old Singh. Strangely, the stadium gallery lined with many of India’s sporting talent does not have a single picture of Milkha Singh. In a country where great sportspersons are few and far between, India has a strange way of honouring its stars.

But Milkha Singh’s achievements can do without such testimony. “The people of this country remember me. I may have started dyeing my beard but I am recognised at airports, railway stations — anywhere. School textbooks have chapters on me, and somehow the sobriquet ‘The Flying Sikh’ has endured in people’s memory,” he says. Singh, however, has no complaints about the recognition given to him by the government. A Padma Shri and Arjuna Award winner, the legendary athlete who started his career on a Rs 10 wage went on to become director, sports, ministry of education in the Punjab government. “I have received more than I deserved.”

It was a hard uphill climb for the refugee from Muzaffargarh in west Pakistan. The Partition massacres of 1947 took the lives of his parents and Singh was rejected by the army thrice. He subsequently enrolled in the army’s electrical mechanical engineering branch in 1952 when his brother Malkhan Singh put in a word for him, and experienced his first sport outing at its athletics meet a fortnight later. “That was the first time I saw a ground bedecked with flags,” reminisces Singh. “I later participated in a crosscountry race with 300 to 400 jawans. And sat down after the first half mile before starting again — that was my first race.”

Determined to be the best and realising his talent as a sprinter, the jawan took to training five hours every day. Motivated by his coach Havildar Gurdev Singh, he left it to the elements to hone his craft — running on the hills, the sands of the Yamuna river, and against the speed of a metre gauge train. He says so intense was his training that very often he vomitted blood and would collapse in exhaustion.
Every morning Milkha Singh still goes for a jog by the Sukhna lake in Chandigarh. Most afternoons are spent playing golf and he uses the gym in his house regularly. “Discipline. You have to be disciplined if you want to be world class,” he says, “That’s what I tell my son Jeev. I give him the example of Tiger Woods, and hope he would bring the medal I couldn’t.” Jeev Milkha Singh, India’s best golfer, was recently awarded the Arjuna Award and is striving to make a mark on the international golf circuit. Whether he does manage to bring the sporting glory that eluded his father, is yet to be seen. Till then, it is a disappointment that Milkha Singh will never forget. Forty years on, that failure in Rome still haunts him. 1960. The Olympics at Rome.

After clocking a world record 45.8 seconds in one of the 400 metres preliminaries in France, Milkha Singh finished fourth in a photofinish in the Olympics final. The favourite for gold had missed the bronze. By a fraction… “Since it was a photofinish, the announcements were held up. The suspense was excruciating. I knew what my fatal error was: After running perilously fast in lane five, I slowed down at 250 metres. I could not cover the lost ground after that — and that cost me the race.” “After the death of my parents, that is my worst memory,” says Singh, “I kept crying for days.” Dejected by his defeat, he made up his mind to give up sport. It was after much persuasion that he took to athletics again. Two years later, Milkha Singh won two medals at the 1962 Asian Games. But by then his golden period was over.
It was between 1958 and 1960 that Milkha Singh saw the height of glory. From setting a new record in the 200 and 400 metres at the Cuttack National Games, he won two gold medals at the Asian Games at Tokyo. The lean Sikh went on to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, and was awarded the Helms trophy or being the best athlete in 1959.

Three years before the Indo-Pak war of 1965, Milkha Singh ran that one race which made President Ayub Khan christen him ‘The Flying Sikh.’ His defeat of Pakistan’s leading athlete and winner of the 100 metres gold at the Tokyo Asiad, Abdul Khaliq, earned him India’s bestknown sports sobriquet. “It has stuck since,” he adds.

Thirty six years later, Britain’s Ann Packer remembers him too. This time for his camaraderie. Jittery about her performance in the 800 metres against formidable French German and Hungarian athletes in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, Packer clearly remembered her encounter with Singh in the lift they shared on the day of her event. ‘Ann you vill win,’ she recounted Singh’s words to a The Sunday Times journalist at her home in Cheshire recently. And vin she did. Packer clocked 2min 1.1 sec and set a new world record. Singh was among the first to congratulate her.

There are many who still congratulate Milkha Singh. “Sirji, I remember seeing you when I was a young recruit in the army,” said Gairwar Singh as he chanced upon the former athlete getting into his car outside the Chandigarh Golf Club. Elated that Singh stops to shake hands with him, Gairwar Singh — now a driver with a transport company in Delhi — tells him about his interest in wrestling. “It is appreciation from the people that helps me go ahead at this age,” Singh had earlier said at his home in Sector 8, Chandigarh. With two of his daughters married and one away in the United States, and his son travelling around the world regularly — Singh says he enjoys the tranquility. Last year, he adopted the seven-year-old son of Havildar Bikram Singh who died in the Battle for Tiger Hill. The child is at a boarding school and Singh has taken on the responsibility of bringing him up.

“We owe it to those who have died for the honour of our country,” he says, “Unlike our cricketers who have sold our country.” Deeply disappointed with these ambassadors of India’s most popular game, he firmly believes the guilty should be punished. “They cannot mock the aspirations of an entire nation,” says Singh surveying the debris of many a fallen sporting icon.

Fate! Can You Choose It!

Fate

Do you follow logic or your heart? Are you confused or afraid about what you want in life? Are you thinking of a big house, money, saving lives, etc? Many people in the world never get what they want due to this confusing war between heart and mind.

Find out what you want in life. This is the hardest question. We always have a choice; follow our parents’ footsteps, or decide what we want for ourselves, it is hard and simple all at the same time, how? When we are young we say “I want to be a fireman, policeman, doctor” but as we grow older, the fate is changing already, paths are colliding, our minds are thinking to much on what is important, these days “happiness, money, commitments” but we never have time to plan our own paths, finding that one thing that will make us all eternally happy, sit down, read a paper, search the internet, find something that screams out to your personality, something that will make you cry happy tears and plan that path, that fate, your new life.

Set your goals. Every life has a plan, but our schedules are always so booked, even if you want to do a certain task of volunteering it messes up plans with friends or family. When you want to schedule the goals and set them out, you need to find a calming place to relax your own mind, in the park, in your bedroom, even with music that relaxes you will be beneficial for you to find a way to focus on what you want, then just write, type and plan, remember to add dates where you can find a set target to be able to knock down the goal and move forward down your path.

Don’t let obstructions stand in your way. We have many distractions in life. They could be time consuming work, homework, people literally standing in your way, family or friends dragging you down or not believing in you. All you need to do is improvise. How can you handle being put down and still move forward? How can you keep up with your work and still plan your path? Firstly, don’t let anyone drag you down, those who aren’t there for you do not deserve to be in your life. You need people who stand beside you, not behind or in front, but by your side, ready to help you take on any more distractions, true friends, family will believe in your because you are a loved one, a son/daughter, no matter what, unless you are brought up in the torn family where love is not available, but you can easily find people to take there place, a teacher or group of believing friends. Second, work is easy, the planning is hard, easily find the time to do both, multi-task, hard to learn but if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish a lot, ask for help, friends, family, let them do a bit of work, gives you a break and time to relax the mind and open to new ideas.

Always believe in yourself. These days people drag you down, but life is about enduring, do not let the negative take over your mind, you can be strong without them, you can stand in a circle alone and still know that there is someone believing in you, YOU, so longs as you believe in yourself, you can go through any obstacle in your path just to gain what you need in life, our path is not a want it is a need due to finding your internal and eternal happiness, imagine finally, your goal was to graduate as a biophysicist, and when you get given the document, you feel your heart and mind fulfilled, and then you plan some more known you can go further, the sky isn’t the limit, you can go further, the galaxy is vast. You will find supporters and believers during your travels.
Accomplish greatness you need. All steps can lead you to the path you choose, it isn’t all straight through, it is narrow, curved, thick and heavy with a lot of obstacles in the way, emotional and physical, but as humans we have the capacity to push and break through anything that is thrown at us, make our mind, body and soul complete with the happiness we all rightfully deserve, and nobody can take it away, nobody can tell us what we are meant to be, we are our own person, our heart beats in our own chest, not those who do not believe, we are the only one who believes in us when others don’t. Go forward, break through the barriers and good luck!

Say No To Excess Alchohol (Use Anti-Craving Medicines) : Part 2

Alchohol - II
Follow up with your doctor to report your progress. If you are doing well, s/he may want you to wean off the medication, or based on your feedback, may extend the prescription. If you’re not satisfied with the results or are suffering side effects, you may wish to consider changing the dose or using another anti-craving medicine.
Don’t be ashamed if you end up on the medication indefinitely. Just like diabetes, alcoholism is a chronic, often progressive, long-term disease which often requires pharmacological intervention. Now that scientists are beginning to decode the brain’s addictive pathways, they finally have a way to address receptors that result in craving.
Continue to integrate other important strategies into your program, particularly as you dose down from any medication. This includes nutrition, diet, exercise, dietary supplements, and positive visualization–to help maintain your healthy new lifestyle.
A number of medications are prescribed for alcohol craving and cessation. You can find a great deal of information at pharmacology websites, but do a search online for the “PI” (prescribing information) sheet for each one and you’ll find much more detail before speaking with your doctor. The medications most often prescribed to control craving typically include: Acamprosate, Baclofen, Naltrexone, Ondansetron, Revia, Rimonabant, Topiramate and Vivitrol.
Reward yourself for your accomplishments. Treat yourself when you reach a sobriety milestone (one day, one week, 30 days, three months, one year, etc.) And remember to not give up if you relapse. The road to recovery is not always straight and narrow.
Spirituality is often a very important component in achieving sobriety. In fact, it has been documented in clinical studies to be helpful for those who struggle with addiction. Whether you continue to follow a traditional religion or choose to explore new paths of enlightenment, the reflection and self awareness that result can be very powerful and meaningful in your quest for newfound health.
If you don’t have immediate or easy access to a medical library, search Google Scholar to find excellent abstracts from clinical journals about the medication/s in which you are interested.
Alternative treatments have become increasingly popular in addressing alcoholism. Do some research and consider adding acupuncture, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), hypnotherapy, therapeutic massage, or other approaches.
Subscribe to online blogs, newsletters and websites that push information out about new developments in addiction research. It’s important you become an advocate in your own health plan. Often patients are as well informed about new developments as the physicians who treat them!
Don’t assume a “magic pill” will fix your drinking problem. Alcohol dependence is a serious and complex health condition. Medication can be enormously helpful in eliminating physical craving, but you must still address the underlying reasons that cause you to drink. Here’s where the real work begins and it’s a wonderful opportunity to turn your life around. But if you expect to find salvation in a prescription, you may be sorely disappointed.
Some people shy away from visiting their doctors and simply order anti-craving medication from online pharmacies. You must be careful because many of these drugs are powerful and may have serious side effects or can interact with medications you are currently taking. In addition, you can’t be sure of the reputation of the pharmacy from whom you are ordering or the quality of the product they send you. It is prudent to undergo a program with the care and counseling of a qualified health care provider and to purchase medication from a trusted source.
Be prepared: your physicians may reject any proposal to prescribe medication. Remember that the average doctor receives approximately 12 hours of training in addiction treatment during his or her medical schooling; some are poorly prepared to deal with this difficult health concern. You must be proactive and find someone to help you. If your doctor turns you away, insist on a referral and do not give up until you find someone who is willing to work with you
Cravings come out of the blue, sometimes months or years later. Be prepared for them. Moments of stress, hunger or sleep deprivation may contribute to these urges. Have a strategy in place, a friend to call, or some plan of action when and if a craving hits
Incredibly, some people find their plans for new found sobriety are sabotaged right at home. Partners may fear losing a drinking buddy or control over a mate. Resentment may crop up. Relationships change. Be prepared for this beforehand and address it if you think it will be a problem. You will need support from all sectors during this very important time.

Say No To Excess Alchohol (Use Anti-Craving Medicines) : Part 1

Alchohol - I
A new family of drugs is now available to treat alcoholism, just as physicians began treating depression with medication a decades ago[1]. Several anti-craving meds have been introduced and will radically change the way physicians help their patients. These drugs typically work on mid-brain receptors to ease withdrawal, blunt craving and dull the euphoria associated drinking. When used in conjunction with a comprehensive program of counseling, nutrition and support, they can be very effective. Some medications, like Naltrexone and Acamprosate, are approved by the FDA for this purpose. Others, like Topiramate, Rimonabant, or Baclofen are prescribed off label to help patients begin a program of alcohol cessation.
Do an honest self assessment about your drinking. Consider using the “C.A.G.E.” assessment. C: Have you ever felt you needed to cut down on your drinking? A: Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking? G: Have you ever felt guilty about drinking? E: Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (eye opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you probably need to seek help. Other signs of alcohol addiction include the inability to control how much you drink, withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness or anxiety if you stop drinking, sleep disruptions and physical symptoms such as fluid buildup, poor wound healing and gastrointestinal bleeding. The sooner you seek treatment, the better.
Research anti-craving medications because this approach is relatively new to many health care providers. Ultimately, you will want to work in partnership with your clinician in determining which medicine is most appropriate based on your health status, possible drug interactions, side effects, and other factors. Review as much information as possible about each of the anti-craving medications you can find, including clinical studies regarding their use and efficacy. Search online magazine and newspaper articles about their use, effectiveness and side effects. Do not base your opinion on the experience of other individuals, but collect as much comprehensive information as you can before visiting your doctor. Depending on the physician you visit, you may be more knowledgeable about the specific medication in which you are interested.
Make your appointment. Treatment for alcoholism does not require a highly skilled addiction specialist, but it is helpful to have a trusted health care provider who will listen to you. Seek someone you are comfortable with and whom you believe will respect your wishes. Patients often prefer to see a doctor outside of their normal caregiver. If this is the case, you may wish to consider visiting a mental health practitioner because they are often more comfortable prescribing medications to treat addiction. Whomever you see, be honest about your health situation, but understand the information–unless otherwise indicated–will be noted in your medical records.
Expect a knowledgeable doctor to run any number of tests, which may include a physical exam, a GGT (blood chemistry test to evaluate liver function), a CDT (a more sensitive blood test) and an evaluation for signs of complications due to alcohol consumption such as abdominal pain, heart problems, withdrawal or cirrhosis.
Be prepared to receive a referral for individual counseling or group-based meetings to be done in conjunction with therapy. Support is a critical part of the process. If you are unwilling to visit a local therapist or a 12-step group, consider visiting an online alcohol recovery forum, where you may participate anonymously. If possible, find someone who is starting a similar regimen and “buddy up”. This can be enormously therapeutic.
Consider accepting a short term prescription for a benzodiazepine such as Valium or Ativan if your doctor feels it is necessary. It is often helpful for late stage alcoholics to manage withdrawal symptoms. Your physician should first screen for the presence of other medications to avoid interactions such as over-sedation.
Follow the directions for your medications carefully and report any disturbing side effects at once. If you are overly sensitive to the medication, you may have to reduce the initial dosing to minimize unwanted effects. Read the material provided with your medicine for all potential side effects, even those your physician may not have mentioned. Monitor your health closely.
Try and create as successful an environment as possible. Remove all alcohol from your house. Encourage the support of partners or others in the home and emphasize the importance of this endeavor if they are not already aware of it. If necessary, do not attend social functions early on if you feel they will provide too much temptation. Stay away from associates with whom you normally drink. Enroll in evening classes, join a volunteer group, or partake in other activities that will keep you busy. Many people report the “witching hours” between 5 and 8 p.m. to be the most difficult. If that is the case for you, try and change your schedule, at least early on, so you are preoccupied during those hours.
Consider medication as only *one part* of an important, multi-faceted therapy. At this time, you should also be focusing on restoring your body’s mental, emotional and physical health. If you do not exercise regularly, this is an excellent opportunity to begin, as you will occupy time once filled drinking, while you promote the release of endorphins and lift depression. Improve your diet by increasing whole grains, vegetables and fruits and reduce sugar, which will further curb your craving for alcohol. Drink lots of water. Begin a program of improved dietary supplementation, focusing on vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs that will help restore, rejuvenate and maintain a healthy, alcohol-free lifestyle. Save time each day for relaxation, positive visualization, self-hypnosis, and other helpful strategies to reprogram behavior. Focus on eliminating drinking triggers and look into the future to “see” the healthy individual you will become.

Rape : How To Be Careful : Part I

Rape - I
Rape is a horrible thing to experience. Once it happens to you, you don’t want to tell anyone, because you are afraid. Or you think people will think less of you after you tell them. While these attacks are not the fault of the victim, you can take some precautionary measures to keep yourself safe.
Trust your instincts. Don’t underestimate your own judgment. If you feel uncomfortable in someone’s company, avoid being secluded with them and be firm if coercion is attempted. Attackers will more often prey on people who look vulnerable and seem easily manipulated.
Bring a friend if you are going to a party or other event in a strange place. If you can’t bring someone you know, give a friend your phone number and expected time you’ll be home, and tell him or her that you’ll check in.
Keep an eye on your drink. Date rapists can lace drinks with flavorless chemicals. Don’t go back to a drink if you’ve left it unattended, and don’t accept an open drink from a stranger (unless you saw it made at the bar or similar).
Walk with a friend if possible, especially if you’re walking at night or in a remote location. If you’re going on a jog, bring a companion.
Stay alert by avoiding headphones (which impair your ability to hear ambient sounds), or hats that block your peripheral vision. Be aware of people in the area, ahead and behind you.
Stick to populated, well-lit areas if you need to walk alone. Avoid poorly lit areas, or areas with minimal escape routes.
Carry pepper spray or a similar item for emergency self-defense.
Learn basic self-defense moves. Preparing yourself for a potential attack allows you to react better when faced with the fear and stress of the situation.
Move with confidence. Someone who looks purposeful and physically capable is a less appealing target.
Confront a pursuer. If you know that someone is following you, turn and ask them the time. Get a good look at their face and overall appearance. Attackers prefer to target victims who haven’t seen their face.
Struggle and yell if attacked.
Understand that rape isn’t just committed by strangers, but by friends, relatives, and even colleagues, as well. Often victims will know and possibly trust their rapist prior to the offense.

Periods!! No Issues For Teen Girls : Follow Me

Periods
Sooner or later, every girl gets her period. Learn about how to be ready for your first period or just for your period in general!
Find out as much information as you can about your period. The library has many magazines and books, and websites and counselors will be happy to help you too.
Go on to pad/tampon websites because they might have free samples. You may need to ask your parents and they should be fine with it because after all, it’s free! Also do research. Most pad/tampon websites tell you about their products so learn which ones sound good. If you can, avoid buying pads or tampons until you have samples so that way, if they’re crummy, you didn’t waste any money on them.
Keep at least one pad or tampon in all of your purses, book bags, locker, lunch bags, etc… Because you or a friend could start and it isn’t very fun to have blood-stained panties.
Get used to your cycle. When you are still irregular, it might help to wear panty liners every day so if you start it doesn’t leak through anything. Mark a calendar so you can track your days but make it private. (Maybe, a little dot on the days in your calendar so it can be discrete and useful at the same time)
Use period panties that are meant for periods. Regular panties don’t give the protection needed during periods.
If you feel somewhat moody or emotional right before or during your period-that is normal. It is called PMS.
If your period catches you by surprise at school, wipe yourself as best as you can. Ask your teacher if you can go to the school nurse or guidance counselor. If there is no school nurse ask your teacher (if she is female) if she has a spare pad.
Remember, when your period first starts, it is almost 100% that it will be irregular. Do not worry or think you have some serious condition. It’s all part of the cycle. Be ready for cramping and/or stomach aches too. But if you really do think you have a problem, find a doctor or a trusted adult.
Ask any questions you have because it is totally okay to ask questions.
Always keep an extra pair of shorts/trousers in your locker/bag just in case of an emergency.
If you want, waste some. Not all of them, but a few. Do those tests they do on T.V. where you pour water with food coloring on the pad and see how much water it can take. Put a tampon in a cup of water and watch it expand. Quite frankly, it can be fun. Those ways you can test which absorbency really are super. Like take 2 different brands of super flow pads and put the same amount of water in and see if one holds more. (Valuable information for when you start so if you are really heavy you can decide which will let you leak and which won’t.)
Talk to your mother: sure, it’ll be awkward, but remember, she’s been through this too!
Try to take painkillers or Ibuprofen-(check with your doctor)-if your stomach ache gets beyond bearable.
Always keep a Tide to Go Stick with you just in case if your period catches you by surprise (or not) and you leak.
Never leave your tampon inside of you for more than 8 hours. If you leave it in longer than that you have a greater risk of catching Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), it is rare, but sometimes deadly.
If you get some blood on your clothes or sheets, always use cold water not hot. Hot water can set the stain. Rub fresh stains with some salt, as it absorbs the blood. If you have hydrogen peroxide adds it to the cold water and let it soak. It is best to do this when the stain is fresh.
Always wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon or putting on a pad. (You don’t have to, but it’s better if you do)
Around the time you enter middle school, start carrying around a few pads (tampons are not recommended for your first period, wait till it becomes regular) so that you won’t be caught off guard.

My Drugs That I Love

Now that I have caught your attention to this article, please do read further.

To “Just Say No” to drugs and alcohol, one must have a reason and that reason must be that there are more interesting, and productive activities to choose from. It also helps to have an answer to peers who may offer these substances to you.

Be strong as sometimes you may have to lie about how much drugs you have had that night, e.g: “I have already had far too much tonight”, or, “Sorry dude, it doesn’t agree with my chest, I get really bad asthma”. When declining the offer keep strong but calm, if you become too abrasive to the dealer there could be consequences, for they are most likely interpreting your decline differently than your meaning. Keep in mind, people who offer you drugs, are most likely on drugs.

Realize that abusing drugs may lead to devastating events in people’s lives. These could include prison, homelessness, serious medical problems such as an overproduction of serotonin and even death.

Think about what other things in life you can achieve such as activities that are more fulfilling than drugs. Maybe investing in a career, or practicing an instrument. Drugs can destroy family ties, so spend time strengthening bonds with your family and friends.

Examine all activities broadly, to help you Discover What You Really Want from a New Career. Think about the compliments received from utilizing your skills, the rewards of pursuing an interesting career, or how much your new found self-esteem really means to you. Write down your goals and tick each goal as you achieve it. Don’t set your goals too high, make sure they are reasonable, or you will just set yourself up for failure.

Compare the results, long term and short term, of your new lifestyle. If you were taking drugs, the results would never be as good.

Realize that enjoying life and pursuing new interests is more satisfying and EASIER (long term anyway) than abusing drugs.

Prepare yourself for occasions where strangers may offer drugs to you. It could be a street corner or a party. By now, you should be able to tell the person why you choose to refuse or chose not to participate in what they are offering. If in a moment of weakness you choose to try drugs again, first, think it through very carefully. Second, make sure you are in a safe environment with people you love and trust.

Try to associate with people who do not use drugs, and avoid situations where they will be used and given to you. Try immersing yourself in activities that are made more difficult by drugs, such as driving, talking on the phone, learning something new, or jogging.

Have a good friend who you can talk to about any situation where you are tempted to take drugs. This will help you be more accountable, and it should provide you with positive feedback from someone who genuinely cares about you.

Remember that the future is full of promise and abusing drugs might rob you of those beautiful things in life.

Look at the list of people who have been destroyed, even killed, by drugs. Just because many Rock Stars, actors or friends use them doesn’t make them cool; you must make your own decisions. For every star who looks cool taking drugs, there is one who is in rehab, or has died.

Forgive yourself if you feel you made a mistake by trying drugs. If you don’t make mistakes in life, how will you learn? Accept your mistakes and don’t be hypocritical when you see people around you making the same mistakes. The thing that matters is what lies ahead of you, not what is in your past. [Leave the Past Behind]. The past has taught you a valuable lesson. Learning from your mistakes has made you a stronger person today.

Just say NO. Make sure you are firm and strong. If you come across as weak the person following you will latch on.

Walk away. Try and lose them if at all possible. Find a crowded location or look for somewhere you can find someone responsible and reputable. If you’re in school, find a teacher.

Tell an adult about it. Make sure that you alert the appropriate person about the encounter. Give all the details you can.

Call the police or an authoritative person. This step is the one to take if your encounter is outside a school. It is important, however, to perform step 2 before starting to call police. If they hear you, they may become angry or violent.

Avoid further encounters. You should avoid the person who offered drugs at all costs. It would also be advisable to avoid the place where you were encountered.

State a fact, say No thanks! My parents would ground me for life!…

Swimming : The Fitness Excercise Part – II

Purchase appropriate equipment. You shouldn’t need to spend too much on swimming gear. You will need a good swimsuit––for women, this should be one piece. For men, choose swimming pants that cling, not board shorts or any other type of shorts. If you try to kick wearing flappy swimming gear, you’ll find it tends to affect your kick and can lead to bad kicking habits that only make use of the lower part of the leg. Goggles are also essential for most pools if your eyes are affected badly by chlorine (few people can swim regularly in chlorinated water without goggles on). Other items you might like to buy, hire or borrow include:

  • Flippers/fins for increased speed (some swimming pools provide these free of charge)
  • Hand paddles for correcting alignment and providing propulsion (water gloves are another possibility)
  • Kickboard for holding onto when doing kicking-only laps (some swimming pools provide these free of charge)
  • Some people like to use nose and ear plugs to prevent water going in
  • Water dumbbells for adding resistance for strength training
  • Swimming noodle for tucking under your arms and increasing your buoyancy
  • A swimming cap––although not essential (unless the swimming pool management requires it), it helps to streamline you and can protect hair to a small extent
  • Swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner––again not essential but regular swimmers find that such hair care products can prevent drying out and greening of hair due to the chlorine
  • Towel; while any towel will probably do, some swimmers prefer super-absorbent towels and perhaps a small wipe-down towel for when you jump out of the pool or take a quick bathroom break before hopping back in
  • A water bottle might be handy for fresh water to drink.

Plan to swim regularly. Fitness benefits will only come from regular swimming. While the most benefits will probably result from swimming two to three times a week, even once weekly swims should help to improve your fitness levels. Choose a consistent schedule that you know you’ll be able to meet each week and mark it in your calendar.

Decide on the type of swimming you’ll do dependent on the fitness and strength needs you want to enhance. Choose your swimming strokes according to what you enjoy (an important motivation for staying fit), what you’re able to do efficiently and what brings you the benefits you’re after by way of fitness. For most fitness swimmers, a combination of strokes tends to be the most interesting and useful approach, but it’s not unusual either for some fitness swimmers to prefer one type of stroke over all others. It really depends on your own comfort and needs, acknowledging that the best overall body workout will come from a combination of swimming strokes. Different swimming strokes convey different benefits for your body:

  • Freestyle or front crawl: This is the most popular competitive swimming stroke and if you’re good at it, you can go quite fast. It’s good for stretching your entire body, in particular your shoulders and back, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. But for those with weak arm muscles, it can feel like enormously hard work. Persist though, as this is a good all-round, efficient stroke and it just feels good to go through the water quickly once you’ve built up your speed.
  • Breaststroke: While some say this stroke is the hardest to perform well, it can actually feel very relaxing and easy to do because you get to control the pace and still benefit from it as a workout. It’s a good stroke for in between the faster swimming laps, when you want to keep going but at a slower pace. It’s the ideal stroke for developing all-body strength and increasing your endurance and has the same benefits as freestyle, with the added extra of working out your thighs and pectorals. Be aware that breaststroke may exacerbate existing neck, back or knee pain/injuries––if this is an issue for you, avoid using this stroke until you feel stronger and have the all-clear from your health care specialist.
  • Backstroke or back crawl: This stroke is good for extending your back and shoulder muscles (helping to improve your posture) and for those who like to breathe the whole time they swim, this stroke is perfect! You get to do a lot of staring at the ceiling, so hopefully it’s an interesting one. When doing backstroke, be sure to choose markers above you that indicate you’re nearing the end––it can be really painful banging into the edge of the pool at a fast pace.
  • Sidestroke: This stroke is not very taxing, and is actually intended as a rescue stroke, enabling someone to be able to hold an injured person while swimming them back to shore. It’s a good one to include in a mix of swim strokes, especially if you’re aiming for distance in your swims.
  • Other stroke styles: Butterfly is another possibility, as is “dog paddle”. The former is hard to learn and to physically exhausting to maintain, while the latter is so simple it can soon bore you. However, as part of a mix of laps, these two swimming strokes can be a good way to vary the routine. And to endear you more toward the butterfly stroke, it’s a real calorie burner, burning up about 800 calories an hour!
  • Kickboard laps: These laps are to help strengthen your kick strokes. They can be a fairly restful break in between the harder, faster laps without a kickboard. They’re also a very graceful way to get you started in fitness swimming, as you can do quite a few kickboard laps before feeling too worn out.

Get started. Push yourself to do a lap of your favorite stroke to begin with and see how it feels. If it’s okay and you think you can do more, keep going until it’s too difficult. If it proves too hard to complete even a single lap at the beginning, do what you can and take rest breaks as often as needed––in fact, deliberately build in some rest breaks, as well as allowing yourself unscheduled ones. This isn’t a competition––building up your strength and endurance will take time but you will also find that with regular workouts, you’ll improve quickly. The idea is to try and swim for 10 minutes the first few visits and to gradually build up to 30 minutes each visit. When you’re comfortable at that level, 45 to 60 minute swims can then be considered, depending on what time you have available and how much you feel additional time is benefiting you.

  • If you’re in really poor shape, swimming might not be the ideal way to begin. There is no harm in starting slowly and building up––simply walking or jogging in chest-high water can be a good way to begin your fitness in the water. Walk forward and backward, as well as from side to side. As you do so, swing your arms.
  • Don’t be surprised if the first few laps feel really hard at first. Keep pushing yourself because soon enough they will seem easier, allowing you to push through to the next few laps and so on.
  • Use the kickboard to help you get started and remain motivated––you’ll be buoyed up and you won’t have to work as hard to begin with.
  • Regularly increase the amount you’re doing each week––it’s a good idea to push yourself just beyond what you think you can do each time.
  • Learn to keep a record in your mind as to how many laps you’ve done––good for your memory and vital to ensure you’re not under- or over-doing the laps.
  • Consider water workout methods as a complementary to your swimming.

Plan fitness workout routines. Initially, you’ll want to get into a rhythm of turning up regularly and getting moving. However, within a short space of time, it’s important to establish a routine. Rather than simply lapping up and down the pool without a focus, develop a workout plan that gives you something to work towards and beyond, focusing on the fitness and speed you’re trying to achieve. There are many possible workout programs, and what you choose is dependent on which strokes you like and will be of benefit to you. Some pools will provide suggested workout programs––if you can’t see any (often placed on laminated sheets or on the wall), ask at the counter for suggestions. Other sources of workout plans include reputable swimming sites online and swimming workout books which you can borrow from the library or purchase.

  • When selecting a fitness plan, focus on what it will do for you. Do you want to increase your speed, improve your endurance or simply unbend that permanently knotted shoulder area?
  • A very basic starter routine would be something like: 2 x laps freestyle; 2 x laps backstroke; 2 x laps breaststroke; 2 x laps with kickboard; 2 x laps freestyle; then do a swim-down. This would provide a complete body workout at an easy pace which can be doubled, tripled, etc., as you improve over time. It can also be easily varied to accommodate preferred strokes or strokes that are having a clear benefit for your fitness.
  • Change the workout routine when it becomes clear that the existing one has outlived its usefulness, namely when what you’re doing feels “too easy.”
  • Consider asking fellow swimmers what their approaches to fitness swim workouts are. They might have some great tips for you.

 

Swimming : The Fitness Excercise Part – I

Among many benefits, swimming for fitness can improve your sleep patterns, lower your cholesterol levels, improve digestion and keep you well toned. Swimming can also build cardio-respiratory fitness and muscle mass, help those suffering from asthma or arthritis, help you to lose weight and be used for injury rehabilitation. And for those worn out by constant interruptions, you can’t swim with iPods, cellphones or any other electronic gadget, leaving you to your own thoughts and improving your mental clarity. Swimming for fitness is something that’s ideal for a wide group of people––water buoyancy is very forgiving of weight, injury and weakness in the human body, offering a low-impact exercise choice. Moreover, the gentle but effective resistance provided by water (12 times the resistance of air) can provide an all-round workout without the same level of exhaustion or pain that might accompany fitness exercises performed out of water. If you have easy access to a suitable pool or swimming area, then staying fit by swimming might be an ideal choice for you.