Exercises are very vital to our bodies since they help in controlling weight, reducing stress, boosting energy, shaping the memory, controlling addictions, but most importantly reduce the rate and effects of aging, according to health experts.
Dr Eric Mutabazi, a physiotherapist at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, says exercising helps to slow aging in a sense that it burns calories that help in eliminating dead cells and toxicity in the body.
He explains that there are three types of exercises, namely; low heart rate (which is 68 to 90 beats per minute), medium heart rate (93 to 118 beats per minute) and high intensity exercises (heart rate is more than 119 beats per minute).
“Exercises also prevent non-communicable diseases, for example, high blood pressure, back pain, liver and kidney diseases, among others,” says Mutabazi.
He adds that the right time to exercise is morning hours at around 6:00am and in the evening between 4:00pm and 7:00pm when the body is ready to release the toxics in the body. Swimming, stretching, cycling, and dancing, among others, are some of the few the medic recommends.
“Healthy food should be accompanied with these exercises and ought to be t rich in carbohydrates (posho, potatoes), protein and fibre (peas, beans, vegetables, avocado), vitamins especially vitamin D, and meat at low level to help the body have a strong stamina. Iron-rich foods and olive oil are a good component that facilitates digestion though it is advisable not to take excess of each as it might lead to weight gain,” says Mutabazi.
He adds that water is also very important to our bodies since it helps to facilitate body function and to recover what was eliminated through urine and sweat. For that reason, he says, water should be taken in the morning, during lunch time and after exercising.
What you should know?
Mutabazi, however advises that these exercises should be supervised by physiotherapists and experts since different people have specific exercises basing on age, weight, and status, for example pregnant women. Therefore, if one exercises without being supervised, they might end up doing it wrongly and get problems like backaches, joint pains and many more.
He, however, says that over sitting does not give the body time to consume the nutrients in the body, while lack of exercising can lead to stroke because the blood vessels get weaker thus slowing down blood transmission.
For Dr Rachna Pande, an internal medicine specialist, exercising regularly augments blood flow to various parts of the body thus increasing their efficiency.
“It also helps in removing dead cells and rejuvenating the existing ones. This helps to slow the aging process. By removing grime sticking on the body with sweat, increasing blood flow to the face and limbs, exercising imparts fresh glow to these parts, thus retarding aging process,” she says.
Pande notes that exercises boost body immunity, thus improving overall health status with aging.
She says exercising helps in controling hypertension, diabetes and heart problems.
Pande also says that one also achieves mental relaxation with regular exercises, which reduces the level of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in the body, which delays aging.
Type of exercise
Pande adds that the type of exercise suitable for an individual depends on their overall health status, level of physical activity and whether he has been exercising from a young age or started recently.
“Aerobics, fast walking, light jogging, swimming, yoga, participating in active sports are all useful for aging individuals. If one is not accustomed to vigorous exercise, it should not be attempted when beginning,” she says.
Dr Jean Damascene Gasherebuka, a physiotherapist at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, emphasizes that aerobics are very good for aging people since they help in strengthening the heart and lungs.
Gasherebuka, however, warns people not to just go to gyms to do any kind of exercises since some exercises maybe inappropriate depending on the condition of the person.
As such, he calls upon everyone to always seek advice from experts because they have the best knowledge on what specific exercise is designed for specific individuals according to their age, weight or size, among others.
How long should you exercise?
Pande explains that the one can do more than one type of exercise, and the only condition is that it should be done to the level of tolerance.
“For beginners, any type of exercise should be started with less duration and then frequency and duration can be increased gradually. It should be stopped at any moment if the person feels breathless or has chest pain or feels exhausted,” she advises.
“Ideally it is advised to exercise minimum 10 minutes per day or 30 minutes three times per week, but it can be longer if the person is capable of doing it. One should try to remain physically active throughout the day as nature has devised all creatures to be. Apart from exercise, one can do some gardening or cleaning, among others, depending on their ability and preference,” says Pande.