Well being: The way to go

Published Mar 06, 2011 12:00am

Health has always been a family affair which, primarily, mothers are expected to watch over by dishing up wholesome foods, dispensing over the counter medicines and hauling offenders off to the doctor if deemed necessary. However, with prices of fresh foods and those of medicines increasing rapidly it is becoming increasingly difficult for mothers to cope and they too are falling ill, often exhibiting classic signs of depression and stress.

There is, however, a cost free treatment that serves as both a preventative and a corrective to poor health albeit in the physical or mental department and this, quite simply, is all down to getting up and getting going.

It has long been recognised that regular physical exercise boosts brain power and actively recharges memory cells and the latest American research also indicates that physical activity helps to ward off a surprising range of illnesses and mental health problems with some scientists going as far as to claim that certain diseases can be fully or partially prevented by adherence to regular exercise routines.

Exercise freaks do get ill of course but far less than people; this includes a high percentage of children, who indulge in little or no exercise at all. Lounging around watching television, playing computer games or simply chattering has become normal recreation mode for people from all walks of modern day life. Yet many of these self-same people spent their working or educational life doing something very similar: sitting at school desks, office desks and the like which means, bluntly speaking, they get no physical exercise at all. This inactivity, research shows, can result in coughs, colds, flu, hypertension, diabetes, coronary problems, stress, depression and even assists some forms of cancer to develop.

On the other hand, those who follow a reasonable exercise routine are less likely to suffer from any of the aforementioned problems plus their brains are more geared up as well and they are far less likely to succumb to serious illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Exercise does not have to be particularly strenuous as long as it is regularly undertaken with an initial programme of fast walking for at least 30 minutes every other day being a good way to ease in to an eventually daily regime. This easy to fit in walking habit should, according to Dr David Nieman, Professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University, have obvious health benefits within three to four months with the practitioner feeling and looking healthier, having tighter muscle tone, improved breathing, fresher looking skin and hair and beneath this visible façade, their body will have an improved capability of fighting off viruses and bacterial infections.

In due process of time, this shield of natural health develops to the point of being able to ward off potentially deadly diseases such as cancer. Women in particular have been proven to be far less prone to breast cancer if they exercise on a regular basis and while scientists have not yet been able to pin down the reason why this should be, they suspect it may be related to the interesting fact that exercise serves to reduce levels of oestrogen in the female body.

Jogging is an exercise form that is extremely popular in many parts of the world but here in Pakistan conditions are rarely conducive for ladies to undertake this particular sport regularly and the same, unfortunately, often applies to walking yet this is absolutely no reason not to exercise your way to physical and mental health as other options to exist.

Ladies gyms are increasingly common as are classes for yoga, aerobics and many middle class and upper class households have plenty of space for private exercise equipment of some kind and, in fact, an increasing number of ladies do work out with the aim of either keeping their figures or as a way of loosing excess weight but few, it appears, are aware that regular exercise can result in all of the following for the whole family: treat depression as well, if not better, than prescription medicines, reduce the risk of breast cancer by 50 per cent and colon cancer by 60 per cent, reduce hypertension, reduce the risk of strokes by 27 per cent, has the potential to prevent the onset of diabetes in 50 per cent of at risk people, acts as a 40 per cent safeguard against developing Alzheimer’s and fights off common viruses and infections. Exercising your way to health is, so it appears, the way to go!


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