Your concerns: How do I get fit without hurting myself?

Dear Doctor, I am 35 years old. I used to be very active in sports but due to a hectic work schedule, I have not indulged in sporting for about two years. I really feel unfit and would like to resume, but the truth is I am so unfit and I fear active sports will hurt me. How can I go about regaining my fitness without hurting myself? Julius

Dear Doctor,

I am 35 years old. I used to be very active in sports but due to a hectic work schedule, I have not indulged in sporting for about two years. I really feel unfit and would like to resume, but the truth is I am so unfit and I fear active sports will hurt me. How can I go about regaining my fitness without hurting myself?

Julius

Dear Julius,

What kind of sport were you involved in before? Was it active games like football or volleyball? How many times do you work out; once a week or more? Usually if one gives up playing vigorous games, he finds it difficult to restart. The reason being, physical stamina is reduced as time passes. This would cause muscular pains and aches after playing. There can be breathlessness due to unaccustomed exertion. Increasing age, increasing weight, sedentary life style, smoking and intake of alcohol are other factors which reduce the stamina for playing.

Moreover, when a person starts to play after a long gap, he is unable to perform as before and feels depressed.

To regain physical fitness, a person can begin light, aerobic exercises like yoga, swimming and light jogging.

These should be started and increased in intensity gradually. One should never exceed his capacity for exercise.

The moment he feels any discomfort or breathlessness, the exercise should be stopped. Regularity is the key word to get maximum advantage with these exercises. Gradually over time after doing these exercises, the individual would definitely feel more fresh and even strong. Sometime during this period, active participation in sports can be restarted. It is vital to do warming up exercises before playing. Doing these and initiation of playing would be better if done under supervision of a professional expert or coach. Even one can do aerobic exercises before a vigorous game.

Lifestyle factors are equally important in acquiring and maintaining fitness. Taking a balanced low calorie diet, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, physical and mental relaxation help one to become fit. Also it is important to be physically active. Avoid sitting for long hours continuously. Even when in office, a person can get up and walk around for 10-15 minutes in between work.

Dr Rachna Pande  is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

 

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