A Note from a Journalist!

Mrs.Shailaja Pradeep Ganguly took up a trial class with Growing Young and that one hour of interaction was enough for her to trust us and join us! She has taught journalism & creative writing at Sophia College Open Classroom. She was on the General Body and preliminary selection committee of international films for children & young adults for the childrens’s film society. She has also produced Air India’s in flight India music for almost 7 years.Currently Mrs.Shailaja edits, translates ,writes & creates videos for Sri Chitrapur Math.Despite her packed schedule, she has always ensured to be regular to the sessions.She is truly an inspiring personality who has never stopped dreaming. Mrs.Shailaja has recently completed her intensive theatre workshop in acting with actor Neeraj Kabi, so rightly proving that 60 is just a milestone to unleash your creativity. Here she shares a little about herself and also her experience with us!

I, Me , Myself

Mrs.Shailaja Pradeep Ganguly

From an ignorant age when I thought that a female writer is called a ‘writeress’, I knew this is what I wanted to be. A guardian angel must have said “tathaastu” for my attempts at word craft, whether it was on paper or orally on stage, started bringing in laurels even before I passed out of school. I was declared Best Student of the college too and after a tiny bout of teaching began my real affair with the print medium when I joined the Times of India, Mumbai as a sub-editor with FEMINA. That was an exciting time because feminism was just touching Indian shores and FEMINA was telling every woman that she had the right to explore her individual potential and talent even as she balanced her roles as wife, daughter-in-law and mother. Alongside, I also taught creative writing in a long weekly session at a reputed College.

With Jaya Bachchan

With Gulzar Sahab

When I became Deputy Editor, I  began to create and present many interesting programmes for both Akashvani and black and white television on personalities, social and medical issues and the creative and performing arts. I also began anchoring programmes of classical music and dance and have held the mike for India’s finest vocal and instrumental artistes and crème de la crème dancers. My interest in physical fitness was rather rudely awakened by the cervical pain which began to bother me because of long hours at the typewriter in an air-conditioned office. When the topmost orthopaedic in town told me this was spondylitis and that I now had to be careful for life and would possibly have sudden ‘blackouts’, I knew it was time to take stock.

With Amitabh Bachan

Being an anti-pill person I learnt some physiotherapic moves from a friend in a Sports-hospital and also joined yoga classes. I was soon off the collar and have never had a blackout till date.  After shifting homes, while I continued with my daily yoga at home and with all other activities outside, I had to go freelance and become a care-giver for my husband who had developed certain physical disabilities. In that period, for several years I produced Air-India’s in-flight music for which I was script-writer and female anchor, under contract with HMV.

The pandemic year brought me three awards and a welcome introduction to ‘Growing Young’. I was declared Woman Icon of Navi Mumbai, felicitated for my achievements in Journalism and Creative Writing and given a prize for the best write-up on learning a skill in 2020 by a Senior-Citizen Welfare Group -Unmukt, Delhi. I still write, edit, anchor, but I was feeling an acute need to join an exercise group for a regular work-out. That is when, like a karmic signal, Growing Young suddenly popped out of a Facebook ad, I attended the free session and now, here I am, enjoying every minute of it !

Women Icon Award 2020

Growing Young

Cheerful faces, welcome smiles, warm greetings….Sunandha and Viji- the two fitness Gurus of ‘Growing Young’ definitely project both the exuberance and confidence which convince a new entrant that he or she has reached the right take-off point to get swift results from the resolution to work towards a more ‘obedient’ body.

In the hour that follows, the class is taken through four packed segments of expressing body language – through warm-ups, stretches using different aids like weights or a stick, aerobics, modified asanas and breathing techniques and to conclude – a little module of relaxation to leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and raring to go…

The best part of this pep-up routine is that one trainer watches every student as the other conducts the class. This ensures that each learner’s posture for a particular movement is perfect and also enables the instructor to tell anyone who is getting over-tired to take a tiny breather.

The bouquet of grateful “Thank-you”-s that appears on Whatsapp after every class is proof enough that this dynamic duo is destined to go places!

Shailaja Pradeep Ganguly
Shailaja Pradeep Ganguly

Retd Deputy Editor ,Femina

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

Live better as you age!

Live better as you age!

Exercise is an important part of nearly everyone’s everyday health. This is true for older adults, too. Experts say seniors should aim to be as active as possible. If you are an older adult, exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life.

It is safe for most adults older than 65 years of age to exercise. Even patients who have chronic illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis can exercise safely. In fact, many of these conditions are improved with exercise. If you are not sure if exercise is safe for you or if you are currently inactive, ask your doctor.

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure. Physical activity encompasses exercise, sports, and physical activities performed as part of daily living, occupation, leisure, or active transportation. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and that has as a final or intermediate objective for improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.

Physical activity is a protective factor for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer  and physical activity is associated with improved mental health, delay in the onset of dementia, and improved quality of life and wellbeing.

You Can Stop the Clock

Despite all the anti-aging products pushed on us, it’s inevitable that we will get older. However, some of the things we lose as we age can actually be prevented by doing following exercises.

Aerobic and Endurance Exercises 

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Sports activities
  • climbing stairs/hills

Strength and Resistance Training

  • Lifting weights
  • Using a resistance band
  • Doing body-weight exercises

Stretching and Flexibility Exercises

  • stretching
  • yoga

Balance Retraining

  • Standing on one foot.
  • Walking heel-to-toe.
  • Balance retraining exercises

How often should I exercise?

According to WHO, Seniors aged 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) every week. That averages out to about 30 minutes on most days of the week. Or you should get 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as jogging) each week. You should also do strength training at least 2 days a week. You can work on balance and flexibility every day.

Over -exercising can lead to exhaustion and injury that can take longer to heal for older adults. So, seniors should take precautions to not over exercise which can result in negative outcomes.

Tips to do Exercise

  • Clothing – Wear loose, comfortable clothing and well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Your shoes should have good arch support, and an elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock. Make sure the shoes are made for the type of physical activity you’ll be using them for. Shoes are specially designed for walking, running, tennis, or dancing, for example.
  • Pace yourself -If you are not already active, begin slowly. Start with exercises that you are already comfortable doing. Starting slowly makes it less likely that you will injure yourself. Starting slowly also helps prevent soreness.
  • Wait to exercise -Exercise is only good for you if you are feeling well. Wait to exercise until you feel better if you have a cold, the flu or another illness. If you miss exercise for more than 2 weeks, be sure to start slowly again
  • Stay Hydrated – Replenish your body’s fluids following a workout by drinking plenty of water.
  • Professional Guidance – Exercise classes in group settings that are supervised by trained professionals are ideal for those with specific limitations. Professionals can offer real-time modifications of each move, and they can develop and/or recommend entire regimens for specific improvements despite one’s unique challenges.
Viji Balaji<br>
Viji Balaji

Masters in Physiotherapy
Co founder,Growing Young
Seniors wellness coach

Myth buster; Elderly and exercise!

There are many old beliefs that could prevent older adults from taking advantage of the many benefits of remaining physically active. We are going to bust few myths surrounding exercise and the elderly in this article.


The loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) with age in humans is well documented. A primary factor in sarcopenia is disuse of skeletal muscle, resulting in atrophy. The consequences of sarcopenia can be extensive if you are inactive at this age.  Experts assure us that seniors who have led a sedentary lifestyle can benefit from beginning a regular program of fitness activities, even if they start at age 65, 70, 80 or older.


Studies show that exercising helps with arthritis pain. Doing daily flexibility exercises helps maintain essential range of motion. Stretching exercises for arthritis can be safely performed every day, but strengthening exercises should be limited to 3 days a week, include knee-strengthening exercises. Exercise increases our muscle mass, which reduces pain and improves function.


The health benefits associated with exercise include favorable changes in lipid profile, blood pressure, and body composition. Aerobic training reduces resting blood pressure in hypertensive young persons; this effect has been noticed in older hypertensive adults as well.


Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics, chair yoga. This will help increase range of motion, improve muscle tone and flexibility and promote cardiovascular health.


Mentally stimulating activities such as reading, crafts and puzzles  all build connections in the brain that protect our thinking and memory. Yet experts say that exercising our bodies is most likely the top factor in maintaining brain health. “Good for the heart = good for the brain” is a motto to remember.


Walking is a great way to exercise. But it’s only, we might say, the first step. A complete exercise program for seniors should include aerobic activities, muscle strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or using a resistance band; flexibility exercises such as stretches or yoga; and exercises that improve our sense of balance.


Exercising at home is fine, but working out with others can be much more motivating.  You will find exercise classes for seniors of every fitness level — including those who have never exercised before. There are modified exercise classes for older people.

Viji Balaji
Viji Balaji

Masters in Physiotherapy,Msc Psychology
C0-Founder,Growing Young
Senior wellness coach

Breathe Better!

Your lungs are part of your respiratory system, a group of organs and tissues that work together to help you breathe. Your lungs are amazing and incredibly hard-working organs. But they are not immune to Ageing. As you age, so do your lungs, and it’s helpful to understand how your lungs change and what’s natural.

Did you know that your lungs actually have no muscles? They expand to draw in air and contract to expel air with the help of your diaphragm, a strong wall of muscle that separates your chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. Your ribs are bones that support and protect your chest cavity. They move slightly to help your lungs expand and contract. So, your lungs, muscles and bones work together as you breathe.

There are several body changes that happen as you get older that may cause a decline in lung capacity. The diaphragm can become weaker, the ribcage bones can become thinner and the alveoli, the air sacs in the lungs can lose their shape. These changes can result in symptoms such as tiredness and shortness of the breath.

Ways to protect your lungs

There are several simple ways to protect your lungs and maintain better lung function throughout your life.

  • Don’t Smoke- Smoking damages your lungs.
  • Regular Breathing Exercise – Can improve the lung capacity.
  • Get Up – Lying down for a long time allow mucus to settle down in your lungs.
  • Watch Your Weight – Abdominal fat can affect the diaphragm’s ability to fully expand the lungs.

Right way to do Breathing exercise

  • Spine in Straight and neutral position – While doing the deep breathing exercises it is important to sit or stand straight to do the breathing in full capacity.
  • Shoulder Down and Back –Allows your lungs to work at peak performance.
  • Do not hold your Breath – Breath in deeply and Breath out completely.
  • Work the Right Muscle – Keep other body muscles in a relaxed position and target only the chest muscle.
  • Breathe in slowly – while breathing in the air it should be in a slow and gradual manner so that you can breathe in deeply.
  • Don’t exert yourself – If you are a beginner, gradually increase your breathing capacity.

Changes are natural! But we can keep it in a gradual and subtle manner by taking a good care of it. Breathe better!

Viji Balaji
Viji Balaji

Masters in Physiotherapy,MSc Psychology
Co Founder,Growing Young
Senior wellness coach

Age is Just a Number

Physical activity is important no matter how old you are. Whether you are ten years old or seventy years old, you can reap the benefits of exercising. One way I choose to exercise is by playing tennis. Almost 60 million men and women play this sport. It is one of the most popular sports in the world. I started playing tennis when I was eleven years old and now I am a collegiate athlete and a part time coach. 

As a part time coach, I see people of various ages playing the sport of tennis. One of the things that surprised me the most was watching how dedicated some of the senior citizens were. Everyday at 9 am sharp, a group of ladies would come out and play tennis competitively. They would play a full match, and scrimmage against each other. They only called this a “team practice”. Over the weekends, in season, these same ladies play matches against people from other clubs. They do these matches for months during their season and then go play people from other states. Their determination and competitive spirit is truly astonishing. They compete as well as an athlete in college would. They are also incredibly fit and mobile. 

I play in a class every Thursday night, with people of various ages and skill levels. The age range in that class went from 20 to 55. However, one day I met Mike, a 75 year old who joined the class. He was just as competitive and energetic as everyone else in the class. He could match and compete head to head with the youngest person in that class. When I asked him about his mindset, he said all he wanted to do was to be fit and do some form of physical activity. It’s such a simple goal, however, he is still having fun while being competitive. It is the will to get out of the house and do something that makes them so great. They are committed to it and they love it and that’s what makes it fun for everyone. 

In short, no matter how old you are, physical activity is important and essential to life because it has numerous benefits. Tennis is one of the ways I see people of all ages come together and compete hard. However, you can get creative and do workouts online with friends, or follow fitness influencers. In this day and age there are so many different ways to get up and get active! 

Shreyaa Mukund
Shreyaa Mukund

Case Western Reserve University – Class of 2022 
B.A. in Psychology and French, College of Arts and Sciences 
NCAA Division 3 Collegiate Athlete 

Is there a secret potion to grow young? -Living life beyond years

“You should run your life not by calendar but how you feel, and what are your interests, dreams and ambitions.” -John Glenn, the oldest person to board US space shuttle at the age of 77!

While 60 maybe an official age for retirement, more and more senior citizens consider it as a milestone to live life  the fullest , overhaul their fitness routine, give wings to their passion, unleash their creativity and sometimes even start a new career. Gone are those days when seniors are often related to creaky joints, sleepless nights, a wardrobe full of medicines. There seems to be a radical shift in the thought process of seniors and their care givers and more and more importance is given to independent living.

More people than before recognize the importance and possibility of retaining vitality through the lifespan. Today’s baby boomers is less inclined than past generation to accept limitation imposed by ageist stereotypes. In today’s scenario, we see many seniors living alone which has changed the expectation regarding functional independence. While there is a radical shift in the thought process, it still remains insufficient.

According to the United Nations Population Fund &HelpAge India, the population of senior citizens would increase to 173 million by 2026, which is about 20% of our population. The health span of this sizable population is a raising concern.

While aging process is largely determined by genetic factors many studies are right now proving that it  is heavily influenced by lifestyle factors like diet and exercise. While the fact that active living enhances the quality of life, it is sad to note that only 1/3 to ¼ of the geriatric population actually exercise to meet the criteria. Majority of people 65+ do not engage in physical activity at a level necessary to receive health benefit.

But the best part is it is never too late. Studies have proved that many non-athletes are also ageing with amazing vitality and demonstrate that simply staying fully engaged in life offers the opportunity for vitality, meaning and purpose.

Life is not just about reaching milestones , it is about living the moment. Given our responsibilities, we tend to oversee the happiness in each moment. But now is the time for you to sit back, cherish every moment that comes in your way and live life to the fullest. And to do this, all you have to do is stay active and exercise a little bit regularly.

Yes, active ageing is the secret potion to grow young!

Sunandha Sampathkumar
Sunandha Sampathkumar

Founder, Growing Young
Seniors Wellness Coach

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