My Journey with Growing Young

Mrs.Savithri Natarajan,Mumbai

I’m Savithri Natarajan,a retired teacher, living in Mumbai. I have four grand children. I dislike being idle even for a minute. Since the cooking is done by my daughter’s in law, I don’t have much to do around the house. Reading is my passion. Stitching is a very engaging activity I involve myself in for at least three hours everyday. My grandchildren provide me with plenty of diversion each day.

            I’ve been active always. Since I worked as a commissioned NCC officer exercise has always been a part of my days. After four years of working as tutor in English in holy cross college Trichy, I got married and started life anew in Mumbai.

               I started working as a lecturer in a junior college in Mumbai.  Local train travel is a part of all working people In Mumbai, which means climbing 55 stairs ten times (changing trains) everyday and running (literally) to catch trains.  Apart from the house work, college work and taking care of my children, I committed myself to 20 to 30 minutes yoga and half an hour’s walk everyday.

Mrs.Savithri Natarajan,Mumbai

                  After I lost my husband I lost interest in everything. Stopped exercise, stopped taking medicines and even stopped reading.  When I was going through a ‘what is the use of’ mind set andI had lost interest in all activities. The Covid lockdown added to the depression. There seemed to be only darkness even at the end of the tunnel.

         My son and daughter-in-law (who is a close friend of Viji Balaji and Sunandha Sampath ) insisted that I should join their ‘Growing Young’ online fitness program for senior citizens. I had already attended their In-Person classes conducted for senior citizens at Purva Panorama Apartment, Bangalore. That was a totally different league. I was mentally on top of the world. The ladies in the group were all friends and the classes were an occasion to meet all my friends at the same place and the exercises were fun.

           So I was doubtful about online classes. How can one do exercise online? But my children wouldn’t let me sit back. So I joined the classes.

              Sunandha and Viji are wonderful, caring task masters. They know what they are doing. During the online session, they check what we do and call out the corrections. They ensure that we do the exercises in the correct way. Seemingly simple exercises! But before long, I noticed that I was getting more flexible.

                  I am a patient of rheumatoid arthritis. I used it as an excuse to avoid sitting on the floor, squatting and standing for a long time. After several sessions, I noticed that I could stand for longer periods, I could squat and do other things I thought I’ll never be able to do. There is a sense of well being and enthusiasm to exercise. And these classes inspired me to start my exercise routine again.

                 Thanks to these two enthusiastic youngsters I’m back on track. Daily exercise has become a part of my days. And online classes are fun. We focus on ourselves without any distractions. No looking at your neighbour to see how she is doing. The classes are a boon to me. I wish Sunandha and Viji more and more success in their efforts to make senior citizens young. Long live Growing Young Online Fitness  Program For Seniors!

Mrs.Savithri Natarajan<br>
Mrs.Savithri Natarajan

MA MPhil (Eng)
Retired Selection Grade Lecturer


Photo by Edu Carvalho on

Ageing, a beautiful period of our human life, poses some unique challenges. Due to several reasons like lack of independence, frailty, illness, separation, isolation, and simply due to their age, among other reasons, older people are at disproportionately higher risk of suffering from mental health problems.

It is estimated that more than 20%, aged 60 and above have some mental health problem, especially depression, anxiety and other psychological problems, which results in severe disability and severe reduction in quality of life.

What is further noteworthy for all age groups, but especially so for the older adults, is that physical health has an impact on mental health just like mental health has an impact on physical health. Therefore, along with a continued focus on extending their life expectancy, it is also necessary to understand the strategies to maintain sound mental health and wellbeing in older adults.

In Asian and non Asian countries, older adults who exercise regularly have lower rates of getting any kind of mental illness It is shown in multiple studies that  people who exercise regularly, develop a new sense of identity with higher self esteem, sense of better well being and good quality of life. There are various hypothesis- physiological. psychological, inflammatory related to the effect of PA on mental health

Moreover, exercise also helps in treating anxiety and depression Physical activity is considered to be as effective a treatment as psychotherapy or medications. When exercise was used as a method of intervention, sleep quality improved significantly in the form of lesser time to sleep and more refreshing deep sleep.

Many people believe that with growing age, the exercise loses its effect. Hence, there is no need for elderly people to strain their bodies. Exercise benefits mental health at every age.

Benefits of physical activity in elders:

  • Helps you to sleep better
  • Helps to Maintain the Level of Chemicals in Brain which in turn helps in overall well being
  • Boosts energy level and fight fatigue
  • Makes you happier and boosts positivity by the release of happy hormones
  • Reduces the risk of developing dementia

Overall, multiple studies using various physical exercise intervention have uniformly shown that mental health substantially improves with adequate physical activity. So, why not you try it and take care of your mental health? Age can’t stop you!!  

Dr.Pradeep Palaniappan
Dr.Pradeep Palaniappan

Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, PSG Institute of Medical Science and Research (PSG IMSR),

Physical activity During pandemic

wake up and workout title on light box surface surrounded by colorful sport equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant millions of people around the world are adjusting to life indoors. Encouraging or mandating that people should remain within their homes with discontinued daily life activities may unintentionally increase sedentary behavior, decrease general physical activity, and inflict negative health consequences.  A sedentary behavior with high levels of sitting time and low levels of physical activity are associated with decreased cardio pulmonary fitness, muscle atrophy, insulin sensitivity and deleterious effects on mood.

Your exercise and walking routine might be affected or you might not feel comfortable going out, that doesn’t mean you should stop sweating. In fact, working out might be one of the best ways you can pass time while you’re self-quarantined. Continuing to exercise and maintain fitness is crucial during this hard time.

Particularly, physical activity during aging may have positive effects on the adaptive immune system. It helps us to maintain the bone and muscle strength. It encourages the metabolism and digestive health. Physical activity also has a major role in mental health and cognitive function because exercise has positive effects in preventing and alleviating depressive symptoms, lessening anxiety, improving learning, and is beneficial for cognitive functioning in older adults. 

Even with the restrictions of limited space or lack of special equipment, reaching the WHO recommendations of 150 min of moderate-intensity or 75 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week is still achievable even at home during self-isolation. For additional health benefits, 300 min of moderate-intensity or 150 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week is recommended. A combination of muscle-strengthening exercises for the major muscle groups, walking, stair climbing, and performing household tasks, is recommended to maintain physical activity during the corona virus crisis. 

To increase motivation for physical activity, internet-delivered interventions through the computer or mobile phone, or self-monitoring through diaries or phone apps, are viable tools for exercise motivation. Also, one can follow an online exercise class, available on different media platforms. While exercise is safe for most individuals, the elderly and those who are susceptible to cardiovascular or other complications should consult health providers before starting a new exercise regime.

Viji Balaji <sub>Masters in physiotherapy,Msc psychology</sub>
Viji Balaji Masters in physiotherapy,Msc psychology

Founder,Growing young
Seniors Wellness Coach