The “Fitness with Fun” program an UDHAVI initiative supported by SPARRC Institute of Fitness on 25th March 2019, truly lived up to its name -- it sparkled with the laughter and enthusiasm of the participants – to say “elderly or senior citizen” participants would seem an anachronism.
In keeping with its mission of “life is for living and living should be a joy”, UDHAVI organised a program for senior citizens emphasising the need to do exercise and be active both mentally and physically. The program was held at SPARRC’s premises in Alwarpet, Chennai.
The program started with the beautiful rendering of the invocation song by our Core group member Mr. Srikumar invoking Lord Ganesha for the success of the program.
Announcing the next program of Quiz brought smiles on the faces of the participants. Our Core group member Jayashree the quiz master for the evening, had the audience fascinated flashing brain teasers handpicked from different subjects. It brought out a lot of enthusiasm to identify and win the prizes.
Then the aisle was cleared for the arrival of the star of the evening whose identity had not been revealed. There was palpable excitement and all heads were turned towards the door way with expectation writ large on the faces for the arrival of the hero. The door opened to let the custodian in first. The hero, carried for better view, passed through the aisle like a Zen Master, unperturbed and undistracted by all those present. Johnny, the Therapy Dog had arrived with his owner Ms. Shilpa Raghavan and his handler Mr. Aswin. There was a lot of curiosity about his presence and his role in health of people. Ms. Shilpa explained in detail that therapy dogs play a big role in bringing comfort and companionship to not only the elderly but also anyone who is undergoing stress and needs someone to nuzzle without being judged or commented upon. Johnny enjoyed being caressed by some of the beneficiaries and totally relaxed in an alien atmosphere.
Johnny demonstrated by his presence the importance of companionship, compassion, unconditional love and interaction in all our lives. Health markers improve considerably with just these demonstrations of care. Johnny brought to our attention the need for human beings to be human - sadly lacking in these fast paced times.
It was now time to pay attention to Fitness after all this fun - you need to be fit to have fun. Dr. Kannan Pugazendi, who runs SPARRC is a sports doctor of repute and advices many famous sports personalities. His unwavering interest and concern for the physical fitness of the elderly cannot be over emphasised. He breaks down fitness to simple ways that are easily understood and as easily practiced. In his inimitable way, he had the audience engrossed in his talk as he gave few tips that can be practiced by everyone wherever they are, sitting or standing. It cannot get easier!
- He strongly advised that we gargle as it exercises the mouth. He also suggested that we run our tongue inside our mouth – first in anti- clockwise and then clockwise direction a few times every day. This helps enhance memory as tongue is connected to the brain.
- Cover the ears with hands and tap the sides of the head with index and middle finger to strengthen hearing.
- Clap hands, rub the back of the hands with each other, join the tips of the fingers and tap, tap the web between thumb and index finger with each other, interlock the fingers and twist them.
- While getting up from a chair, move to the edge of the chair, turn to the side of the leg which is stronger and get up. This way you don’t lean forward.
- To balance the left and right brain, stand on one leg, lifting the other a few inches above the ground. Hold for a few count and repeat with the other leg. To start with lift only to the height you can balance and are comfortable. Always practice near a wall
It was a great evening with everyone going back having enjoyed themselves and learning the simple ways to keep fit.
Mrs. Meena Bedi gave the vote of thanks. Mrs. Sabita Radhakrishna thanked all those who helped make this wonderful evening possible. It was my pleasure to compere for this evening.
How would you describe an average Tambram elderly lady – “slightly stooped in a Chinnalam pattu or Chungudi sari, doing the rounds of temples in the neighbourhood, attending Kathakalakshebam and free Kutcheries.”
You cannot get it more wrong!!
Meet nonagenarian Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam, a beneficiary of UDHAVI fondly called Kamakshi Patti in Besant Nagar neighbourhoold. She recently received an award given by the Federation of Senior Citizens’ Association of Tamil Nadu from the Governor of Tamil Nadu Sri.Banwarilal Purohit. UDHAVI was happy to honour its distinguished beneficiary at its recent event for senior citizens.
Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam can be the poster girl for our Prime Minister’s pet project “Swatch Bharat”. A walk down Besant Avenue will shock and awe us! Surely this cannot be the Chennai we are all accustomed to! There is no litter, the road is well laid and without pot holes and on the side of the road there is a street garden well maintained and marked by a net wall. All thanks to Mrs.Kamakshi Subramaniam’s singular effort. She is the benevolent Jhansi Ki Rani and also a nightmare for the employees of Besant Nagar Corporation office. She stays active and healthy continuing to do what she is so good at – getting the corporation to do their job.
Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam is the co-founder of SPARK. Founded in 2012, SPARK helps citizens tackle civic problems head on by approaching the right officials, lodging complaints with evidence, follow up at regular intervals, and ensuring that it is solved. Their persistence and commitment has ensured the resolution of many civic issues in areas like Adyar and Besant Nagar, under Zone 13 of GCC.
Affable and always with a smile she defies age. When we first visited her apartment, she received the Udhavi volunteers at the door step neatly dressed and with a warm smile. The house was spick and span. When I went in with her to the kitchen to help her make coffee she took my breath away – it was one of the most efficiently organized kitchens I have seen.
Mrs. Kamakshi once requested UDHAVI to help her reach station as she felt she may require assistance to walk the platform and board the train. Our Core Member Sudesh who assisted her, jokingly remarked later that she had to run to keep pace with Mrs. Kamakshi.
Mrs. Kamakshi Subramaniam “ignores” time … does not let it dampen her spirit or enthusiasm as every passing year adds to her age. She firmly believes that time does not have to leave unfavourable marks on your attitude. She proves Einstein right … Time is relative and not absolute.
We need more “Kamakshis” to embody Shakthi for women’s empowerment. We at UDHAVI wish her many more years of service to society.