Friends of Max’s Patient Advocate of the Month for February 2022 is Abhishek Sharma, our volunteer from Mumbai.
Abhishek is a holistic fitness coach based in Mumbai. He never planned to enter the fitness industry. “It just sort of happened. I was into yoga and fitness from a very young age. With experience, you evolve from what you are learning”, says Abhishek, who has a black belt in martial arts and represented the Delhi University in Boxing.
He trained in the philosophical aspect of yoga under various teachers. After completing his teachers’ training course and certification in yoga, he started training people and as he did, he understood the specific needs of the common man and evolved what he did to better suit the needs and wants of the people and their lifestyles.
Abhishek lays absolute importance for everyone, including cancer patients to exercise regularly. He says, “An exercise regime could be as simple as a thirty-minute walk in the park. Having a routine has immense benefits for the body and the mind” He adds, “All cancer survivors make certain lifestyle changes, and in that change, having an element of exercise is very important”.
When asked what patients can do to ensure mental fitness, Abhishek highlights the importance of exercising outdoors. He says, “Getting some natural sunlight and fresh air is very good for your mental health. Yoga and stretches help stretch your muscles, relax them and also improve your breathing. All this has a positive impact on one’s state of mind”. Abhishek also recommends breathing exercises such as Anulom Vilom Pranayam to help destress.
But fitness coaching is not all. Abhishek has also authored the bestselling book, “Fitness on the Go”. He collaborated with The Max Foundation and Friends of Max for the launch event of this book. He also takes up photography as a creative vocation.
Abhishek credits FOM Managing Trustee Viji Venkatesh, who was a big support throughout his father’s successful cancer treatment, as the number one reason for his association with the organization.
Speaking of his close involvement with Friends of Max and Chai for Cancer, Abhishek says, “I see Friends of Max as an extended family and the harmony and love that exists among them is very endearing”. He was a part of the first Chai for Cancer Adda hosted at Viji’s home in 2014. Since then, he has attended every Chai Adda hosted in the city and also lends his amazing social media presence in support of the cause. Abhishek has also conducted a yoga session at the Friends of Max Leadership Summit in Kochi in 2016.
But exercising regularly has been a challenge for people during the COVID times with people being stuck indoors. Abhishek’s advice for such people is to “Be calm and do not panic”. He emphasizes the role of yoga in destressing and boosting one’s immunity. He also advises increasing one’s fluid intake and performing activities that are calming to the mind.
The fitness guru has a message for all our readers: “Let your approach to fitness be holistic. By holistic I mean moderate, consistent, all-rounded and preferably done in nature. Your exercise should include various aspects such as strength, breathing, stretching and cardiovascular exercises. Ensuring a proper diet is also very important. Also important is centring your mind when you wake up and calming it before you sleep. The former helps you start the day on a positive note while the latter helps you get a good night’s sleep.”