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4 Core Abdominal Exercises

The Kashmir Monitor





In addition to a big chest and arms, broad shoulders, wide back, and strong legs, chiseled abs is viewed as part of an aesthetic physique, especially in males. Many people desire to do abdominal training to lose their belly fats and reveal their hiding abdominal muscles. While nutrition plays a key role in showing the abs, it is also important to determine the core exercises a person needs in training the abdominal muscles.

For beginners, tummy vacuums stand as one of the core exercises that are being done to train the abdominals. According to Breaking Muscle, the exercise is recommended for those who are starting out, women who have had children, people who have not been active, and those who have sedentary lifestyle.

As per the publication, tummy vacuums allow the reconditioning of the transverse abdominals to brace the spine during movement. The transverse abdominal muscles act as the body’s internal weight belt, which is engages when a person tries to move of lift an object. Thus, the muscle might not be in its optimum function when a person has been inactive for a certain period of time or has been pregnant.


To do the exercise, the person stands upright and places his hands on his hips and breathes out completely. Then, he expands his chest and brings his stomach in as much as possible and holds. After that, the person visualizes trying to touch his navel to his backbone. The exercise can be done in a standing, seated, kneeling, and lying position.

The abdominal crunches is one of the standard exercises for the abs. According to Shape Fit, the exercise’s goal is to strengthen the abdominal muscles. It has a wider range of movement when compared to the abdominal crunch and it hits various muscles like the rectus abdominis, rectus femoris, iliopsoas, hip flexors, sartoris, and tensor fasciae lae. The person lies on his back on the floor, with the feet flat and knees bent. Then, the hands are placed on each side of the head and raises his torso up and crunching his abs forward while trying to touch the elbows to the knees. The midsection is kept contracted throughout the exercise. Then, the person lowers his body back to the starting position.

The lying leg raises also works the abdominal muscles, as well as the hip flexors, obliques, and front of the thighs. According to Workout Box, the exercise also helps develop a strong midsection and enhance one’s balance and coordination. The person lies flat on his back on the floor. Then, he places his arms out to his sides with the palms flat on the floor for support. After that, the hips are flexed while keeping the legs straight and feet together. Then, the person raises his feet towards the ceiling. Then, the person pauses shortly when his hips are at right angles to the trunk and lowers the legs back gradually to the starting position. The back and shoulders should be kept flat to the floor throughout the movement to keep a neutral spine.

Bicycle crunch is another exercise that trains one’s abdominal muscles to exhaustion. According to Men’s Fitness, the exercise is done by lying at one’s back with his hands behind the head, with the legs raised and bent at 90 degrees. Then, the person alternates sides by putting their right elbow on the left knee while the left elbow is brought towards the right knee. The movement is done for one minute. One can also try and hold the cruch for two counts on each side to elicit a more gradual and concentrated motion.

Aside from the aforementioned core exercises for the abs, the abdominal muscles will not show up if the person still has very high body fat percentage; thus, the abs will appear when there is a good interplay among consistent training, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep and rest.

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Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor



Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:


Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.


Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor



As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.


The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor



By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.



We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.


Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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