Pala Pitta Cycling Park, Kondapur: between sun and earthy trails

A bright Sunday afternoon with the sun gleaming between the towering Eucalypti makes for a pretty picture — but what’s worth a real exploration is the Pala Pitta Cycling Park in Kondapur, and Hyderabad has long been waiting for an urban lung space which encourages this much interaction.

The park, aptly named after the state bird as a symbol of pride, was inaugurated on November 20 in a flurry of pomp and circumstance in the presence of minister K T Rama Rao. He thanked the Forest Department for its thoughtfulness and effort into making the park an eco-hub.

The 35-acre land, which was formerly under dispute for a number of years, used to be a dump. Trash from residences and construction debris often found their final resting place here until the government put its foot down. In a matter of months, Kondapur residents passing by the expansive land saw a change.

The trail

Now the gateway to the park is worth a few Instagram posts — multidimensional wall-art of cyclists and the area’s flora and fauna are set in mesmeric blue and green tones, paying homage to the many peacocks that roam the area. The signage with silver lettering jumps out at passers-by.

A large shed to the side accommodates the countless bicycles available for rent. The cycles are custom pieces rocking the park’s name on the simple white frame. The booking process is simple and thorough, making sure each cyclist is given the right cycle size.

The 3km track that meanders between the trees is often two-way except for a scenic route which winds around a pond, reminiscent of a storybook, drawing in a lot of couples, friend groups and families looking to hang out in different ways.

Weekends are seeing close to 1,000 people queuing up for cycling at the park. Cykul, upon looking at the queues and the enthusiastic response, has decided to double the number of cycles available on weekends. The organisation is based in Hyderabad, Jaipur and Gurgaon and aims to build a better cycling community on all levels throughout India through education and practise.

The park is also a biodiversity hub, with numerous species of birds and reptiles. Easy to spot birds are curious kingfishers, peacocks and eagrets who often bask beside the sparkling pond. But don’t expect to be able to whip out your DSLR; photography is prohibited at the park so bring your Instagram A-game.

On the right track

Deenanath Haranpanalli, founder and CEO of Cykul, acknowledges there’s plenty to be done with the space in conserving the forestry and in educating people about using cycling tracks.

Assuming it’s the first of its kind in the country, Deenanath is incredibly proud as he watches people use the bicycles his company commissioned. “One of the reasons people go out and use bicycles is to bypass the vehicular congestion, but we believe in the skills of the people to navigate through the traffic in a thoughtful and responsible way. Helmets are a safety issue, but there are skill-based aspects such as turning, balancing, riding in a single file and so on.”

Deenanath and his counterparts mobilised corporates into doing socially responsible work such as planting trees, removing weeds and so on.

Inside the park throughout the day, there are equal amounts of sun and shade, given the 7,500 trees planted thus far. Deenananth says this amount can easily triple in the next year, proving it’s not just about maintaining a green zone but even more so about developing it.

Cooke: I have no faith in UK Anti-doping

In scathing written evidence and subsequent testimony delivered to British Parliament
Tuesday, Olympic and world champion Nicole Cooke accused British Cycling leaders of
systemic sexism, conflicts of interest, a lack of accountability
, misuse of public funds, ignoring
evidence of doping, and extensive misgovernance.

The testimony, delivered as part of an inquiry by parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport
Committee that has also seen depositions from Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford and others,
describes a British cycling system “run by men, for men,” and an anti-doping system within
which “the wrong people [are] fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, with the wrong

British Cycling Logo

The period described by Cooke was one in which the current president of the UCI, Brian
Cookson, was president of British Cycling, and Cooke questioned whether UK Sport should
back Cookson financially, as it did when he last ran for the UCI presidency. Cookson was not
immediately available to comment on the accusations leveled at the governing body he was
formerly in charge of.

British Cycling released a statement hours after Cooke’s written evidence was released but did
not reference Cooke specifically. “While there is still a way to go, British Cycling is absolutely
committed to resolving the historic gender imbalance in our sport,” the statement said.
Cooke’s accusations stem from her career as a professional cyclist, 2002-2012, during which
she won the women’s Tour de France twice, the Giro d’Italia once, was Olympic road race
, world road race champion, and two-time winner of the Women’s Road World Cup,
among myriad other victories.

Continue reading “Cooke: I have no faith in UK Anti-doping”

How to Support Your Immune System in Winter with a Good Vitamin Supplement

A healthy immune system plays a major role in defending and preventing disease, illness, and stress, especially during the winter season. Winter is the main season that actually tests your immune system’s strength, though it is important that you keep your immunity levels strong throughout the year.

Reasons for Natural Weakness in Immune System during the winter

As the winter season approaches, the natural defense system can be boosted, thereby assisting to keep off common winter diseases like flu, cold, and infections. This can be done by increasing the vitamins and antioxidants intake, thus strengthening the immunity system and assisting the body to fight against the bad viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Here’s some advice as to how you can support your immune system in winter with a good vitamin supplement. So, let’s start by taking a look at the vitamins that you should be consuming in the run up to winter.

It’s Not About Consuming a Particular Vitamin!

It’s not that a single vitamin is essential for boosting the immune system of the body. A wide variety of vitamins as well as nutrients work together to fight the infections, though, these vitamins have a major role.

Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is the immune system’s defensive line and it keeps germs and infections from entering the bodies. It is responsible for keeping the mucous membranes lining the nose, mouth, and throat moist and soft so that they can trap the germs, ceasing their infiltration. Moreover, this vitamin helps in generating enzymes that look out for germs that manage to enter the body and kill them. People deficient in this vitamin can consume vitamin A rich food sources like carrot, sweet potatoes, liver, dried herbs, lettuce, dried apricots, and cantaloupe.

Vitamin B Boosts Up Your Energy Level

Vitamin B usually boosts the energy levels, thereby boosting the immunity system. These vitamins are available in the form of vitamin supplements, including B6, B12, and foliate. Studies have revealed that vitamin B6 can also strengthen the immunity system to a great extent.

Vitamin C Generates Antibodies and WBC

Vitamin C is equally important for enhancing the immunity system of the body. It assists the body to generate the white blood cells, antibodies, and anti-stress hormones, which are all needed for fighting the infections. This class of vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that kills fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses; it neutralizes the harmful bacteria and environmental toxins, while removing the toxic metals.  To increase the vitamin C level in your body, you can consume food sources rich in this particular vitamin like guavas, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, papayas, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, melons, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.

Role of Vitamin D

One of the most essential vitamins for immune functioning is vitamin D. Our bodies are made naturally in a way that they can increase the vitamin D reserves during the summer season so that it can be released slowly during the winter. We are moving near to deficiency levels in western communities and our immunity systems are not receiving the needed support as such. Thus, for several people, by improving their vitamin D levels before it gets very cold, we can make our bodies ready to prevent the illnesses and viruses that are common during the colder months. Few of the food sources rich in vitamin D include eggs, cod-liver oil, salmon, oysters, fish, soymilk, orange juice, and cereals. Vitamin D can also be obtained from safe exposure to sun.

How Does Vitamin E Help You?

Vitamin E also enhances the immunity system by generating an immune protein- interleukin-2 that kills viruses, bacteria, and even cancer cells. This particular protein is generated in the body when the body thinks that it has been invaded by infection-causing germs and it assists the white blood cells to increase and fight the diseases.

Few sources of food items rich in vitamin E include paprika, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cooked spinach.

Zinc is another nutrient, which several people may find to be deficient in, particularly in the poorer and developing nations. Food sources for zinc include milk products, whole grains, oysters, red meat, and poultry. But, if your diet lacks zinc food sources, you may have to replace them with vitamins.

In a Nutshell

Now that you’ve understood all vitamins have one or the other role in boosting the immunity system, equal intake of all these vitamins is essential to lead a healthy life. By consuming natural food rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients needed for a strong immunity system, you can get your body ready to fight off the infections during the winter. There are also vitamin supplements available in the health stores.

How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle?

All weight trainers have knowledge about exercises and weight management. But in reality, many of them would barely understand how to gain muscles and lose fat. Bulking up is a straight forward part and you should work out by increasing the amounts of weight.

The Secret to Losing Weight in a Healthy Way

Losing weight is very difficult for anybody since it needs lots of enthusiasm and eagerness. You have to understand one thing clearly – the more you build the amount of muscles, greater you will burn fat. Muscle tissue requires more energy to function than fat. The best way to lose fat is to gain muscles, and lean mass.

Following a Diet Plan

The road-map to losing fat is following a stringent diet plan. This is usually a tough part since for this we have to sacrifice candy, bread made from flour, soft drinks, desserts, and alcohol. And, you should also say no to refined sugars, and some of the tempting grains.

The trainer will teach you all resistance and weight management exercises for each and every muscle in your body like exercises for back, chest, arms, legs, core, and shoulders. The best way is to visit the fitness center at least 5 days a week and for not less than an hour. Also, work hard to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.

Seek Assistance from Health Trainer

In case you are new to the fitness center, you have to take advice from specialist for losing fat and gaining muscles. The best person to get advice is the coach at your gymnasium. They will list out the programs or workouts for every day in a week, which will work on each and every muscle. Only when you do the right exercises for your body, the excess fat will get burnt quickly. You have to put some extra effort, but not vigorous exercises.

You should enjoy the food if you are eating right calories.

Skipping meals is the unhealthiest method to lose fat. Initially, you should start having smaller meals by breaking it into 5 or 6 times in a day instead of eating once for all like 3 meals. This will help you to avoid eating junk food. You can continue eating pizzas and burgers, but make some variations in the recipes by including healthy items.

Don’t Consume Too Many Calories

Not only the workouts are important, but the diet program should also be good, which is the hard part. The diet you consume should be 40% calories from greens and fresh fruits, 25% calories from meat, fish, poultry, organ meats, eggs, and crabs and 35% calories from soluble oils, fats, fibrous vegetables, and fruits,  You should avoid rice or potatoes.

You can also take supplements like amino acids, vitamins, and protein powder to stay healthy, but the last thing that you’d want is to take the weight loss pills, sit on your couch, munch chips, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and hope to lose weight!!!