Many people worry about their weight at some point during their life. Maybe you have struggled with your weight going up and down for years, or perhaps it increased following a difficult time in your life.
If you are overweight or obese, you are not alone – according to the World Health Organisation, around 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight or obese. But being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Not only that, it is also linked to developing cancer and can cause joint problems and back pain. It can even be responsible for causing trouble sleeping and low self-esteem.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that in order to become healthy, one is supposed to do light exercises for at least 150 minutes per week, meaning spending 30 minutes in five days of the week.
However, we need to ask ourselves, how many people who do exercises know about health advantages?
For 27-year-old Mpoki Thomson, being active is an important part of losing weight and keeping it off. He says the more active he is, the more calories he burns up, which makes it easier to lose weight.
Due to poor eating habits, Mr Thomson started gaining a lot of weight. So in 2012, he decided to start exercising in order to maintain a balance between his choices of food and eating preferences.
“In the long run I had to watch my diet as well. I came to learn that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t exercise and continue on a bad diet, it is counterproductive,” Mr Thomson tells Your Health.
He started with light weights just to adjust his body to the new changes, but soon after, Mr Thomson advanced to heavy weights to build strength and because he had a lot of fats that needed to be dealt with. “Endurance was key in order for my body to adapt,” he says.
Mr Thomson lost about 15 kilogrammes and since then he has built a discipline in terms of his schedule to maintain his required weight. He says, “I exercise 5 days a week. I mostly rest on weekends. Or sometimes I workout from Monday to Wednesday, rest on Thursday, then workout Friday/Saturday, rest on Sunday again.”
Mr Thomson reveals that ever since he embarked on the discipline of working out, most aspect of his lifestyle have changed for the better, both physically and mentally.
“Physically, my body started changing fast. For a guy who was on the road to being fat, when I started exercising and lifting heavy weights, within a short period of time my body started transforming. Mentally, my mindset became more conscious on my choice of lifestyle, I became more cautious on my eating habits and other indulgences that might be considered unhealthy,” he says.
But with exercising, Mr Thomson had to deal with stretch marks. “Your skin stretches a lot trying to accommodate the gained muscle, there is a risk of developing stretch marks, that’s one of the issues I’ve had to deal with over the years. So you can find a lot of bulky guys with stretch marks on their upper chests and arms,” Mr Thomson reveals.
You can make it easier to achieve your daily exercise target by building activity into your everyday life and not always seeing it as something extra to fit in, which we term it as light exercises. Walking slowly, cooking, vacuuming, gardening, dusting and golfing using a cart to travel between tees are all types of light exercise.
Walking more is a good way of doing this and also does not cost anything. Try walking to the shops instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the lift.
It is important that you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting still. Watching TV, driving, playing on the computer or sitting at a desk burn up very few calories. Combine aerobic training that burns fat, such as running, with resistance exercise such as weight training that builds muscle.
According to the World Health Organization, men with a waist measurement of 102 cm (40 inches) or more, and women with a waist measurement of 88 cm (34.5 inches) or more, have the greatest risk to their health.
These guidelines may vary from country to country.
Dr Shita Samwel, a general physician based in Dar es Salaam tells Your Health on the 25 health advantages of doing light exercises when you make it part of your daily life.
1. Protects you against non-communicable diseases
Doing regular exercises helps you reduce the risk of being attacked by non-communicable diseases including heart-related illnesses like stroke, cancer and diabetes. Doing exercises also helps you to have healthy heart and well workable blood systems.
2. Controls obese and excessive body weight
Obesity is a risky sign of making you get different types of non-communicable diseases, but by doing exercises your body parts will get activated, accumulated fat in your body will also get burned and finally controlling your excess body weight.
3. Lowers high blood pressure
Doing exercise helps make your heart and blood vessels become healthy as it also contributes to bringing down your high blood pressure, which is a silent killer.
4. Strengthens respiratory system
Exercises such as walking, jogging and swimming helps make your body muscles work efficiently by increasing oxygen flow in your lungs that directly removes carbondioxide from the body.
5. Improves food system
Physical exercises helps you build an appetite. It helps food to be digested, absorbed and easily removed from the body hence avoid the problems of stomach gas and constipation.
6. Reduces the risk of succumbing to cancer
Studies show that those who do physical exercises have the little danger of suffering from breast, rectum and lung cancers compared to those who do not.
7. Controls bad cholesterol
Cholesterol is that fat stored within the blood vessels. So, physical exercises reduce a quantity of bad cholesterol and instead increase a volume of good cholesterol that has an advantage for the body.
Bad cholesterol normally destroys the blood vessels including the heart. So, controlling it reduces the risk of getting a heart attack and stroke.
8. Firm protection against illnesses
The more you do an exercise the more you avoid the danger of suffering from different diseases. This is because exercising makes you have a strong protection against contracting viruses.
9. Strong muscles
Physical exercises strengthens your muscles and makes you become much stronger and enables you to withstand difficult circumstances.
10. Lightens body joints
They help lighten body joints to enable you to quickly and efficiently do different physical jobs without easily picking injuries.
11. Strong bones
Exercises help you have strong and well-built bones that enable you to have a reduced risk of having a bone disease, which is medically known as osteoporosis. It is a disease that makes bones crumble.
13. Calmness and sound sleep
Exercises contribute to making you have bodily calmness and sound sleep, which has an advantage for the body including correcting different bodily malfunctions and building a strong immunity.
14. Improves mental health
A chemical known as endorphin, which is produced during a physical exercises, causes the body to have a good feeling of happiness.
Likewise, exercising helps you dispel a negative feeling including fear and depression. It also makes you feel a new person, who becomes much keener and more confident.
15. Makes you avoid bad habits
Exercising regularly helps you get used to it hence making you avoid temptations and bad habits such as using tobacco, binge eating, excessive drinking and adultery.
16. Gives-off poisonous body waste and protecting body temperature
When you exercise, you will give off sweat profusely including poisonous waste and water, which is accompanied by excess temperature. So, exercising will help protect your temperature inside your body.
17. Improves skin health
It makes your skin clean and healthy. Likewise, bulging muscles make your skin stretchy and clear.
This is why those who do exercises usually seem to be healthy and who do not get old.
18. Makes you thirsty for water
When you exercise, your heart rate speeds up and your muscles work faster. These actions create a lot of heat in your body.
To cool yourself off, you begin to sweat, which causes water and salts from your body to seep out of your pores. Hence, you need to drink water in order to replace the lost fluids.
Drinking water helps replace water and salt wasted through sweating during an exercise hence making you continue to have a good blood circulation in your body.
19. Removes fatigue and pain
Fatigue causes the body’s pain feelings. So, exercising helps to discharge accumulation of Lactic Acid, which causes fatigue, pain, strain and inflammatory muscles.
Not only that, but also exercising reduces pain during the menstruation period in women.
20. Strengthens relationships
Exercises also increase muscle firmness including those muscles of the waist back that increases efficiency during sex by both partners hence strengthening relationships.
21. Treats virility in men
Exercising helps increase virility, controls excess obesity, helps smooth blood flow in the manhood muscles and dispels fear of making sex.
22. More firmness and strength to pregnant woman
Exercises help the pregnant women to prepare their waist muscles and hips to expand well so to enable her deliver safely.
Not only that, but also exercises enable the pregnant woman to have endurance and strength to push the baby during delivery.
23. Improves mental ability
It helps improve study ability, memory capacity and keenness. This is because exercises strengthen the consciousness system and that of the brain.
24. Reduces the risk of sudden death
Those who do exercises reduce the risk of succumbing to sudden deaths as the exercises also make you avoid having heart-related and blood vessel diseases.
25. Live a long life
Generally, all the above advantages and others contribute to making those who practise to have good health and ultimately living a long life because they are free from diseases.
Additional information from Daily Nation.