(By Pharm. Sesan Kareem)
Whatever your age, regular exercise guarantees you good health. Regular anaerobic exercise is sine qua non to a healthy life. Japan has had one of the highest life expectancies in the world for a very long time (85 years in 2016), and the secret can be traced to their high level of physical activity. The Japanese walk a lot; they walk fast and they are constantly going up and down flights of stairs to catch commuter trains. A good friend of mine visited Japan in 2013 for a conference and shared this insight with me.
Anaerobic exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had; but for too long we’ve neglected to take our appropriate doses. Anaerobic exercise is any activity that increases heartbeat rate and makes you huff and puff. Moderate proportions of anaerobic exercises are ideal. During moderate exercise, talking is still possible, though, difficult; you can sing the words to a song.
Anaerobic exercise has enormous benefits to your health whether you are 18 or 80 years old. There are myriads of scientific evidences that support the fact that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life.
People who engage in regular exercise have a lower risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) deaths worldwide. The beautiful news is that anaerobic exercise is very potent for maintaining cardiac health. Regular anaerobic exercise tones the heart muscle, improves the elasticity of the arteries, helps counteract the age-related rise in blood pressure so common in our population and develops collateral circulation in the heart, protecting it against possible obstruction in coronary artery flow.
Regular anaerobic exercise also helps burn calories and prevents obesity. It improves immune function and cognitive function; it treats and prevents depression without the side-effects of antidepressants.
Emotionally, exercise can also boost self-esteem, sleep quality, mood and energy, as well as reduce one’s risk of stress, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease common in the elderly.
It is medically proven that people who do regular anaerobic activity have
– Up to 30% of lower risk of early death.
– Up to 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
– Up to 50% lower risk of colon cancer.
– Up to 20% lower risk of breast cancer.
– Up to 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis.
– Up to 68% lower risk of hip fracture.
– Up to 30% lower risk of depression.
– Up to 30% lower risk of dementia.
To stay healthy, an adult should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week through a variety of activities. In other words, physical activity should be integrated in your daily activities.
You can achieve 150 minutes of physical activity per week by spending at least 30 minutes a day in anaerobic exercises like walking, climbing stairs, doing house and yard work swiftly, swimming, cycling, sport activities and working out in a gym if you can.
Sedentary lifestyle is the bane of good health in our modern days. In Africa, our great grandparents lived a long healthy life; but due to our modern lifestyle, physical inactivity, bad lifestyle habits and poverty, most African countries’ life expectancy is below 60. Nigerians have a life expectancy of 54.5, which gives Nigeria a world life expectancy of 188 out of 194 countries, one of the lowest among West African countries and in the world. In other words, when you are 54 years you should start expecting death as a Nigerian living in Nigeria.
As a habit, I walk a lot because walking is the overall best exercise that can fulfill the body’s need for regular anaerobic activity. I also engage in seven minutes early morning regular anaerobic exercise, push up, stretches and other simple procedures; something that gets me into the zone of hard breathing and increased heart rate. I also advise people to drink adequate water as they exercise to prevent dehydration.
Nature has given us the best prescription to experience a great health through regular anaerobic exercise. It is a potent pill that should be taken daily for optimum health. It is our duty to integrate it as part of our daily dose.
ACTION PLAN: Integrate anaerobic exercise as part and parcel of your daily life.
AFFIRMATION: Regular exercise is my natural pill for a great health. I commit to a healthy lifestyle.