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ACI Limited celebrates International Women's Day

"A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult” -- Melinda Gates.

It has been 101 years since a day was formally dedicated for finding this very voice and upholding it. On the anniversary of the International Women's Day, themed 'Empower Women -- End Hunger and Poverty', on 8 March, ACI Limited, in collaboration with Canvas and Persona, organised “Ajker Nari Acknowledgement Award 2012” to recognise and honour the women who have made significant contributions to society. The programme was also aimed at building Women's Day as a platform for celebrating womanhood in Bangladesh. The event honoured eight extraordinary women, from different fields.

Guests at the ceremony were Ferdousi Priyobhashini, renowned sculptor and freedom fighter, and Rasheda K Chowdhury, Honourable Adviser to the Caretaker Government, who along with Kaniz Almas Khan, Managing Director, Persona, Syed Alamgir, Executive Director of Consumer Brands, ACI Ltd and Sheema Abed Rahman, Director of Corporate Affairs, ACI Ltd, gave away the awards at the event.

The show started off with a welcome speech by Sheema Abed Rahman.

The first woman to receive the accolade was Selima Ahmed, a social worker, followed by Jobera Rahman Linu who was recognised for her achievement in sports. Rasheda K Chowdhury presented the next award to Mahin Khan, the owner of fashion house Mayasir. She has worked for a long time with local fabrics and handicrafts. In her opinion those who like local goods and hand-made products are the patrons of Mayasir.

Afroza Bari, Managing Director of Ananda Group and Kanak Chapa Chakma -- artist extraordinaire were the next to be recognised. The last two recognitions for the evening went to Professor Kishwar Azad, renowned paediatrician and Rumpa Rai Chakrabarty, for her innovative contributions to horticulture. A student of business, Rumpa did her post graduation from Calcutta University and started her business in 2000. She has been involved in many business endeavours till date and was always keen on treading the uncharted. She was the pioneer of Dragon fruit farming in Bangladesh.


Jump the rope

By Karim Waheed

There's a reason why all movies or TV shows featuring boxers have at least one obligatory scene involving jumping rope (also referred to as rope skipping). It's a staple in a boxer's conditioning programme.

Jumping rope training will enhance coordination, agility and endurance.

In addition to the obvious physical benefits, jumping rope is fun. There are always new footwork patterns that you can develop and practice.

But wait, it gets better…

You can purchase a quality jump rope at a nominal price, or make one (just get any rope). To top it off, you can easily pack a jump rope with you no matter where you travel.

The jump rope is a tried and true method for improving conditioning and coordination. If you have never jumped rope before, you can expect a challenge. The rope can be very frustrating to a beginner. You will not become proficient with the rope overnight. It takes time and practice.

Getting started
I recommend a lightweight plastic speed rope. In my opinion, these ropes are more effective than heavier ropes. The speed rope will allow you to maintain a much faster spinning pace. You can find a quality rope at most sporting good stores.

After locating a rope, you must determine the ideal length. Common rope lengths range from 8 to 10 ft. Most ropes that you find on store shelves will be 9 ft. A 9-ft rope will be long enough for most people.

Jumping surface
After you find a good rope, you need to find a place to use it. I recommend jumping rope on a shock absorbent surface such as an outdoor track, or a park. Avoid jumping rope on unforgiving surfaces such as a concrete floor.

What to wear
Wear a quality pair of cross-training shoes [that provide cushion for the feet] when skipping rope.

Skill first, then conditioning
When first jumping rope, it's important that you become proficient with the rope before using it as a conditioning tool.

Start with frequent, yet, short jump rope sessions. For example, start with 20-second intervals on the rope. Just try to skip for 20 seconds without tripping on the rope. Keep the intervals brief, and stop before fatigue mounts. View these sessions as skill based workouts. You are learning a new skill. The body is much more capable of learning when it is energised, not fatigued.

Perform these sessions regularly. Eventually, you will move past 20 seconds, and begin working with 1, 2, and 3-minute rounds.


Women and the fitness evolution

Skinny? fit!
Compared to what was popularly believed even a few years ago, the definition of “being fit” has changed in Bangladesh. People, today, are opting to exercise to lose weight and be active, instead of solely relying on maintaining a 'diet.'

Although healthy in take of food and physical exercise are both important, there's no denying that sports, working out, a brisk walk, even a saunter through the park gives one the sort of satisfaction that solely controlling food intake can never provide.

This change in culture is more apparent in women. Now, with options such as joining the gym, yoga, aerobics, Pilates and swimming, there's no chance of getting bored with your workout regimen.

Since Hollywood adopted the fitness craze during the 90's, it's natural that it would take a while for the rest of the world to catch on. Gone are the days when girls would look in the mirror, see skin and bones, and label themselves “fit”. (And if you still are a victim of this, wake up!)

Fitness-savvy celebrities
Jane Fonda, prominent actress and fitness guru, was seen as a pioneer in promoting exercise amongst women during the 80's and 90's. She made working out fashionable, and showed that one could be sweaty, fit but also feminine. According to many, Jane changed the public perception of fitness to the point where a physically fit woman is seen as extremely attractive just by virtue of her fitness.

Fonda's exercise videos were so popular among baby boomers that it is rumoured that many people just bought VCRs so that they could work out to her videos at home.

Talking of present times, Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu has also released a workout DVD called “Love Yourself,” being the first Indian actress to launch a full-on fitness video. She is passionate about fitness and wants to promote it amongst South Asian women, who wrongly associate “muscle toning” with “bodybuilder.”

Another Bollywood beauty Shilpa Shetty is famous for her perfect body and also has a two-hour yoga DVD. Shilpa says her fans were her motivation for creating the DVD, since they wanted to know her workout regimen and she wanted to educate them on the multiple benefits of yoga.

The secret to success
The fact is that there is no secret; those picture-perfect celebrities you see on screen are putting in hours of gruelling physical workouts everyday. It's not realistic to expect the average person to do the same.

So why is starving yourself never a good idea?

Because your body, in order to get used to your starvation, will slow down its metabolism so that it can cope with you eating less food. Think of Ramadan, and how much weight you lose then think of Eid, and all the weight you gain back. So if you start dieting, and decide to stop for some time, you will gain back all your weight and more.

Whereas if you are active, be it going to the gym, taking regular walks, or yoga, you are burning off the fat in your body and don't have to refrain from having your favourite foods (in moderate portions, of course!).

Doing some weights or muscle-toning yoga positions will give your body more muscle content muscles help increase your metabolism -- and it's pretty much a win-win situation.

The weighing scale is just for your suitcase
Although your weight can act as an indicator of your fitness, it is a very subjective one. Muscle weighs more than fat, so a toned person who is tall may weigh more than a shorter, plumper person. We overhear people discuss their weight, as if that defines their fitness. The best way to judge where you stand is by looking at yourself in the mirror are you getting more toned? Is your skin looking better? Do you look less exhausted? That's what you should be looking for.

Unlike just dieting, which leads to an empty stomach and impulsive face-stuffing-with-food moments, a healthy mix of diet and exercise can let you eat what you love, have a more satisfying day, keep up your fitness over the years, and, most importantly, get you looking pretty darn great!

By Mehereen Aziz


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