Staying Fit During the Lockdown with Urmi Kothari

The fitness coach gives us some dope on working out at home during a LIVE session on Instagram.

Suman Mahfuz Quazi

At any given point of time in our lives, many of us have thought about giving fitness a shot. Everyone has different reasons—some, do it to lose weight, others to build strength or because they were just diagnosed with PCOD, while many more are spending hours daydreaming about a better, fitter body. It all stops short at the question: Where to begin?

“Start anywhere,” says Urmi Kothari, fitness coach and founder of Kinetic Living, a holistic fitness service, and now, an eponymous app. Kothari’s fitness mantra in a word is, “simple”. “The issue is that everyone makes fitness complicated. So, when I suggest simple and doable exercises, people are shocked. They doubt and wonder if it is possible,” she tells us during a Live chat on Instagram.

Kothari gave a 15-minute workout demo, followed by a live QnA as part of LF’s online Live series, Digital Dialogue on Instagram. Digital Dialogue is a series where we bring in experts from various fields for freewheeling conversations, educational demos and fun sessions, spanning everything from mental health to food. 

Kothari’s take on fitness and working out is hinged on making it a part of your lifestyle, rather than a daily task to tick off your to-do list. “If you focus on looking good or losing weight, you’ll either drop out because you have achieved that goal, or because you are not seeing the results you want to. That is why it is important to not look at fitness myopically and set smaller goals,” she said in response to a question about staying motivated to work out, and especially for newbies who’ve taken up fitness during the nationwide lockdown, which is now well into its fourth phase. “Let’s say for example, you begin with Pilates. I would suggest that you give it at least two weeks before you decide that it isn’t for you or you don’t like it,” she adds, speaking about the importance of giving yourself time with working out. 

Elaborating on the impact of Covid-19 on the fitness industry, seeing that gyms were among the first public places to down their shutters, Kothari told us, “This period has been challenging for fitness ventures that have invested money in real estate, like a physical gym or studio. But on the other hand, it has also urged many to take online classes and sessions more seriously. Today, because of this situation, I can train people from any part of the world. So, in a way, it has also opened up opportunities.”

What are some simple exercises you can begin with?

“The most important thing to keep in mind here, is that strength and mobility, are key,” asserts Kothari, adding that our hamstrings, knees, ankles, shoulders and lower back tend to get knotted, so it is important to mobilise all of these joints first, before you begin working out.

Urmi Kothari shares some easy exercises to build core strength:

  • Start with putting your hands behind your head or take the support of a wall. Then swing your legs backwards and forward and repeat this 10 times for each leg.
  • Next, place your hands behind your head and move your hip in big circles. Keeping your hands behind your head, helps with shoulder mobility.  
  • This can be followed by a few repetitions of the standing cat stretch, where you exhale, and simultaneously pull your belly in toward your spine, bending your knees and rounding your back with your hands stretched forward and away from your body. 
  • Follow this up by placing the tip of your palm on your shoulders and rotate them in big circles as you breath in and breathe out.
  • Place your palms on the rib cage and breathe into your belly. As you breathe out, you can feel your rib cage expand. Make sure to keep your shoulders straight and not to raise them. Breathing right is important, because breath is our constant source of energy. A few breathing exercises, as such, can go a long way. 
  • Move on to simple strength building exercises. Begin by resting your back against the wall and lower yourself as if you’re sitting on a chair. Hold the position for 30 seconds. This helps strengthen your thighs and is good for people with knee problems.
  • For your glutes, core and lower back, lie down on your back keeping a little distance between your thighs and raise your butt up. You can either hold the position for a minute or do quick repetitions by moving your bottom up and down. This is a good exercise to counter all the damage done to your body by sitting down for hours. 
  • Use a box or a chair, place your palms flat on it and use it for support while kneeling and bring your shoulders all the way down. Alternately, you can use the box for support and do a plank. These help strengthen the upper body. 

I have just started working out. What do I need to keep in mind?

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself. Begin with something simple, be it easy strength and core exercises, as mentioned above, or any other fitness form of your choice.
  2. Give yourself two weeks of practice before you consider quitting.
  3. If you’re just starting out, you need not work out on all seven days. Exercise on three days of the week and on other days, increase physical activity by taking up household chores or using the stairs instead of the elevator. 
  4. It is advisable to sign up with a teacher or trainer in the beginning to help work on posture and prevent injury.

If this has motivated you, and you need a little more direction, check out the IGTV version of our live chat with Kothari. 

To know more about these series and upcoming sessions, check us out on Instagram. Plus, you can catch all previous episodes on LF’s Instagram handle by going to the IGTV segment of our page. 

Images: Urmi Kothari


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