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Updated: May 21, 2014 17:33 IST

The swinging 60s

SHONALI MUTHALALY
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FITNESS IDEAS Namita Jain Photo: V. Ganesan
FITNESS IDEAS Namita Jain Photo: V. Ganesan

Fitness expert Namita Jain says her latest book Sexy @ S!xty celebrates a wondrous phase of life

A mob of old men shuffles determinedly through the door. “We’re sexy,” they titter. As one of them presses the lift button, the rest harangue him with hoots and jeers. “Want to stay sexy?” one asks. “Then take the stairs,” yell his friends. They cascade down the staircase — slowly and carefully, all silver hair, walking sticks and meticulously positioned bifocals.

Madras Book Club’s meetings at Taj Connemara have always been popular, but they’ve never been this rambunctious. To start at the beginning, this is the launch of fitness expert Namita Jain’s new book Sexy @ S!xty. There’s a quiet buzz, as the mostly elderly crowd settles down for the book launch, amid talk of wellness, arthritis and grandchildren.

Jain’s been a wellness expert for 25 years. She structures training programmes for patients with special needs at Bombay Hospital in Mumbai, where she is based, and is associated with Diet Mantra, a pan Indian venture to train dieticians.

She’s authored books on fitness, including Jaldi Fit Kids for children and Figure It Out targeted at Teens, and takes classes in yoga, pilates and interval training.

In a body-hugging red dress, she stands up to introduce her book, explaining how her book celebrates a “wondrous phase of life” as it’s packed with ammunition to help people enjoy life after 60. “The stinging 60s are stinging no more. They’re swinging and how! And the 60-somethings? I’d like to think of them as super sexy. That’s right. Sexy at 60.” She adds, “My years at Bombay Hospital have taught me that taking control over your health is the best insurance.”

Gita Arjun, who’s launching the book, speaks next. Dr. Arjun is a well-known city gynaecologist based out of E.V. Kalyani Medical Centre, and the author of The Passport To A Healthy Pregnancy.

She says, “As we grow fit at 40, a lot of us get fat at 50. I like the juxtaposition of sexy at 60. Especially because I just turned 60.” There’s an appreciative laugh, as the crowd warms up. “Health and fitness is the most important things we can do for our self. There’s one medical tool I recommend all patients use: A tape measure. Have you ever seen a fat 80-year-old? They’re lean.”

The question-and-answer session that follows is lively. It begins demurely enough, with questions on what the best form of exercise is. “Walking is a great cardio-vascular fitness,” says Namita. “It’s what I always recommend. It’s safe, simple, convenient and free.” Then an indignant grey-haired man stands up. “But why sexy at 60? Not 70 or 80.” Namita says, “This is about being healthy at every age. As you grow, you’ll get sexier.” Dr. Arjun adds wryly, “Now, let’s not get too ambitious.”

It's all in the mind

“What’s the difference between sexy and beautiful?” asks someone else. “In my mind they could be the same,” says Namita, “Sexy is to see someone happy from within. To be comfortable with yourself. It’s not about an hourglass figure for women, and a perfect figure for men. It’s about having a fit body. And a mind that is fit and occupied.” Dr. Arjun adds, “Sexy is a question of your inner glow. Your posture. The way you walk, the way you talk.” She adds thoughtfully, “For me sexy is… well, yes, John Abraham…” Then she points at her head, “But it’s also up here.”

(Namita Jain’s Sexy @ S!xty: Health And Beauty At Every Age,’ published by Westland is now in book stores. The book costs Rs. 200)

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Shonali MuthalalyMay 11, 2012

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