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May 21, 2024

#lockdown: Physique 57’s Mallika Parekh’s pro tips on combining household chores and exercises

Pooja Patel 

Mallika Parekh is a fitness enthusiast, a businesswoman and a medical science and public health graduate. She opened Physique 57 Mumbai in April 2018, which is a franchise of the reputed barre fitness brand in the US. The fitness routine involves using a ballet barre as well as movements derived from the dance form.
We caught up with the fitness expert to talk about her lockdown routine.
Can you recommend three kinds of exercises that can be done at home? 
Lunges: Use a chair for balance and support. These work the thighs, glutes and hamstrings.
Push-ups: These are a full-body effort, which targets upper body strength.
Mountain climbers: These targets the core, shoulders, arms, quads and back muscles and improves core strength.
Could you suggest some exercises that one can do while doing house-hold chores? 
Bicep curls: Use water bottles/peanut butter jars/canned beans tins/milk bottles or tetra packs/grocery bags (if you want to get really heavy).
Pro tip: Combine your bicep curls with wide second squats (a position from the barre workout) so you get the benefits of both strength training and cardio! Make sure to keep your posture upright and tuck in your abs so you don’t strain your back!
Shoulder presses: Use any of the above props and lift arms over the head and then lower them down to shoulder level (will help while cleaning your ceiling fan).
Planks: It is one of the most effective exercises for the core, shoulders and back (given that we use these muscles a lot for any work around the house and core strength makes everything easier). Need a challenge and want to be creative? Keep a dusting cloth under your feet and slide cloth towards abs and back into plank. Allow the hips to rise when you slide your feet in. Your abs, shoulders and back will look so good!
What are you reading these days?
I’m reading news stories and articles from medical journals so that I’m accurately informed along with a fair bit of ‘social media literature’ for entertainment. I’m not reading any fiction, at the moment!
Are you watching any web series currently? 
I have been craving a Netflix and chill day! Unfortunately, I haven’t managed one yet. Between trying to get Physique 57 online to our audience in an interactive way and caring for my twin toddler daughters who are homebound with cabin fever, I’ve been as busy as we were during our initial launch days! However, I’m blessed to be busy during this time along with having access to shelter and food—so I have absolutely no complaints. The most recent series I watched before this chaos was The Loudest Voice, which was phenomenal.
Which fitness-related pages do you follow on Instagram? 
Of course, @physique57mumbai along with all of the other global Physique 57 handles! We are all working hard to connect with our audience virtually, and it’s forcing us to be really creative. It’s an exciting time for the fitness and wellness industry, so I’ve been inspired by many handles in this category. Despite the circumstances, it’s encouraging to see that this industry is truly front and centre, and will be for many years to come. We are at a pivotal point where things are going to evolve tremendously, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
Read: Raise the bar: Mallika Parekh opened India’s first barre studio, a franchise of New York-headquartered Physique 57
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Are you pursuing any other hobbies?
I’ve been working with my team to make sure that the experience over Zoom is as seamless and engaging as it would be in our state-of-the-art studio. This has meant many conversations, with and without video, to manage the team remotely. Outside of trying to keep them motivated and secure during this period of extreme uncertainty, I also try to excite them for the future. I’ve also been giving my long-term plan a lot of thought. People will be tired of being reactive and focused on treatment—everyone will want to proactively get ahead of illness, and will be sick of being sick! Preventative medicine and wellness will carry a whole new meaning and I want to do my part in bringing that to as many people as possible.


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What is your message for our readers?
I don’t think there’s ever been a time in recent history when the entire global population is focused on health and fitness. The best defence the human body has to fight illness is the human body itself. My biggest advice during this time would be not to overdo it. There is scientific evidence that shows that extreme exercise can elevate cortisol levels to a point that it lowers your immunity, which is the last thing we need right now. Workout, but allow yourself to rest. You may never get a forced pause like this again. As far as diet and exercise go, I’ve always been a fan of balance. Stay away from high impact exercises and crash diets, especially if your body isn’t used to them. The healthcare system does not have the capacity to accommodate you at the moment if you get injured. So, do yourselves and our healthcare workers a favour, and stick to low-impact workouts. But remember—low impact does not mean it can’t be high intensity! Find something safe, effective and fun—something that keeps you energised, and still shows you results.
Once the lockdown is lifted, where would you like to go?
New York, New York! It’s my home away from home, where I have many loved ones. While I know it’ll be a while until I get there, it’s where I long for the most.
Read: A list of all the must-attend online workshops and events



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