Sunday, August 25, 2013


 I'm scheduled to give a pep talk on the above subject in a few hours. I have decided to distill my thoughts here for the benefits of those who will not be opportuned to attend. I will approach the subject in these broad headings:

- Common Exercise Mistakes
- Recommended Physical Activities
- Benefits of Exercise

Common Exercise Mistakes:

#1. Doing Isolated Exercises:

Some people make the funny mistakes of saying 'I want to do sit ups and crunches to reduce my tummy'. There is nothing as ineffective as wanting to use a one-muscle-at-a-time technique. These neither stimulate enough muscle fibers nor expend enough energy to burn calories.

If you want high definitin, do exercises that stimulate as many muscles as possible and expend as many calories as possible at the same time.

#2. Using Machines

Some people think expensive gyms in high brow parts of town with fancy machines are high end and will give high definition. Sorry to disappoint you. The truth is that machines limit your ability to fully activate your muscle fibers. And this means less fat burnt and less muscle definition.

Worse still machines do cause Shoulder strain. Ankle strain, knee strains as well as sprains.

Instead of fantasizing about fancy machines, do exercises that allow your body a full range of natural motion, so that you can sky rocket your body metabolism and tone from head to toe. Good examples of such natural activities: Gardening, Swimming, Dancing At the Club, Skating, Cycling up hill, Brisk Walks, Skipping, Jogging, Frog Jumps etc

#3. Doing Exercises For Long Hours

There is a temptation to hit the gym and go on and on. It is hilarious to imagine how some think the hours they spend at the gym make them look better. That's a mistake. Its length never counts as much as the consistency and rhythm.

#4. Repeating The Same Routine Over and Over Again

Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to get stuck in a particuular mode so long as it works well for us. But getting stuck in a particular mode is the worst thing we can do to ourselves. Because our body adapts to routine and soon we become resistant to an oft repeated schedule.

Recommended Exercises

The Federal Government Physical Activity Guideline for Americans is as follows:

#1. 150 minutes of moderate intensity
#2. 75 minutes of vigorus intensity
#3. 300 minutes of moderate activity
#4. 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week

Moderate Activity includes brisk walking, swimming, dancing with your family in your living room, table tennis, cycling on level ground, skate boarding.

Vigorous activity includes Jogging, Running, Dancing At The Club, Cycling Uphill or in Rugged Terrain, Lawn Tennis.

Many readers suffer from illnesses that can be prevented with good exercise.

The Body Mass Index is a means of assessing an individuals risk of developing disease from lack of exercise, being overweight and obese. Obesity is a clinical term classified using the Body Mass Index which is calculated as: your weight in Kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres (Kg/m square). For example an adult weighing 70 kg with Height 1.75 metres has a BMI of 70/1.75 square=22.9.
The normal BMI is between 18.5 -24.9.
Overweight people have BMI 25 - 29.9.
Obese people have anything greater than BMI of 30. A BMI greater than 40 is a severe case of obesity. The higher your BMI the greater your risk of complications from weight gain.

Furthermore a waist circumference of > 102 cm for men and >88 in women puts such people at risk of metabolic and cardiovascular complications of overweight. The reasons for being overweight are as follows:

1. Obesogenic environment
2. Increased portion of meals
3. Snacking and loss of regular meals
4. Energy dense food (mainly fat)
5. Affluence
6. Car ownership
7. Decreased Walking
8. Lack of Sports in Schools and after work
9. Length of time spent on video games & TV
10. Lack of Manual Labour

Benefits Of Exercise

10. Improves the mind

I personally take 1 hour walks round my estate at least 3 times a week after working hours and at least 3 times a week between 5am and 6am. This allows my brains secrete Dopamine, Serotonin and endorphins.

Dopamine is the feel good hormone. Its the same chemical secreted during moments of relaxation, celebration or joyous emotion. It is the substance believers have in high doses when they are in ecstatic worship. It is the hormone science says is lacking in depression.

Serotonin has been implicated in the science of sleep. It is the hormone that is released in ample quantity when you sleep and gives you that refreshing feeling when you wake. People that are depressed tend to wake up from sleep feeling unrested having reduced amounts of this hormone. Most anti depressants therefore prevent its re uptake or increase its availability. Naturally occuring forms of serotonin are in banana. And slow steady work ouuts several times a week genrally increases serotonin levels.

#9. Improves Confidence and self esteem

- it reduces stress: Exercise reduces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is the hormone that makes you feel tired just before dosing off to sleep. A habit of running a few yards every morning is sure to work better than coffee! Adrenaline is the chemical that your brain shoots when you're upset and wish to fight or run from a threatening situation. Ever felt like the ground should open and swallow you? That's adrenaline! Ever felt lik hitting your boss! That's so not advisable but that's adrenaline. Exercise is a good stress buster. Just imagine while working out that you're hitting hard at your boss! Maybe that will motivate you.

- Exercise Makes you smarter: You will definitely feel more focused, more alert, better able to understand and respond in social situations. So you will naturally feel smarter than you actually are.

- Exercise gives you a sense of accomplishment: Exercise is a discipline which is all about setting and achieving goals. Start out with a walk plan of half an hour everyday. After a couple of months you should start running an hour everyday. Soon you will be lifting light weights. This steady progress will boost your self confidence.

- It makes you stronger: Honestly if you're physically strong it can make you feel mentally strong too. When you see how your body is transforming, naturally your confidence soars.

- It makes you look better: Body image issues and low self esteem are all because everyone at a time in their lives don't like the way they look.

- It makes you feel better: Through exercises you explore new places. I know every corner in my estate because of my daily routines. Through exercise you meet new people. I have a good friend in the National Assembly of this nation who I met at a Gym in Benin City! Through exercise you develop a positive mental attitude

#8. Reduces Health Problems and Disease

- Reduces risk of dying prematurely
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Reduces risk of diabetes
- Reduces risk of High Blood Pressure
- Reduces risk of Colonic Cancer
- Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety
- Maintains weight at a certain level

Daily exercise strengthens your heart muscle, raises your HDL (good cholesterol), reduces you LDL (bad cholesterol) and eliminates toxic triglycerides, generally improving blood flow. Physical activity reduces body fat and prevents rise in Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar.

Low back pain is a result of bad posture. Daily exercise improves flexibility, posture, muscle strength, endurance and as such prevents back pain. In tandem with the above, regular weight bearing exercises can promote calcium deposition, thereby improving bone formation while at the same time preventing calcium depletion and the many forms of bone problems associated with ageing.

Ever heard of ageing gracefully? Most celebrities age remarkably because the nature of their show biz profession is such that they maintain rigorous exercise regimens. Exercise is the only elixir that guarantees graceful aging.

#7. Improves your sleep

Some tips for your working hours includes Standing up at your desk, getting up for short breaks, moving around your office complex at scheduled intervals. Prof. Marco Tullio de Mello says that simply spending too much time seating down at your work desk will affect your sleep negatively after work hours.

Sitting < 8 hrs a day = good sleep after work hours

Sitting > 8 hrs a day = poor sleep after work hours

#6. Helps you lose weight and fat

#5. Boosts your energy levels

#4. Builds friendship

#3. Learn new sports and skills

#2. Reduces and Reverses muscle loss

Every 10 years we lose 5 pounds of muscle from the age of 18 and we gain 5 pounds of fat. Simply adding a 5 pound dumb bell to your routine will stop this process

#1. Exercise has a positive effect on your Sex Life

Weight Loss has been proven to scientifically increase testosterone levels and sex drive. Research has shown that 150 minutes of exercise a week increases testosterone by 15 % and reduces Erectile Dysfunction by 46 %. Also loosing abdominal fat increases blood flow to the penis and by the time a man loses 5 - 10 % of his body weight his sex drive increases by the same percentage. The following exercises boost sexual performance:

- Kegel Exercises: named after the man who invented these exercises, they are meant to tone the sling muscle in both men and women. The pubococcygeus muscle slings accross the Rectum and urethra. When is contracts it can be used to control urination even when urination has started. In the same way as it controls the micturition reflex, it can also control male orgasm by inhibiting early release of semen. Men who have mastered the art of controlling the Kegel's muscle rarely suffer from premature ejaculation lasting >15 minutes on a round of sex. The ideal time a man should have penetrative intercourse is stated by gynaecologists to be thus: A man should stay as long as it takes for his woman to have a well established penetrative orgasm. The he can ejaculate afterwards.

-Weight Lifting: this has also been shown to increase testosterone levels. Although when men overdo it, their sexual performance may decline. So, moderation is the key. These exercises build the upper body strength and as such increase stamina during sex. Since men use much of the upper body for support and leverage while thrusting away.

- Yoga: The Bow pose, Peacock pose and shoulder stand are all good exercises for building stamina especially for women. Women need flexibility during sex in order to enable them adopt a variety of natural positions and establish a wide range of hip and pelvic motion.

- Brisk Walking: Available research shows that it decreases Erectile Dysfunction by 30 %. Men with Erectile Dysfunction are embarrased a lot of times to find that their great member goes limp at the exact moment of truth when penetration is attempted. In other cases, they find that after penetration, they go limp before releasing semen. Most of this cases are as a result of weight related problems. If a man were to burn 200 calories a day as recommended in an earlier section of this article, by an exercise as mild as brisk walking for 2 miles a day. His 'winner' will win always by enjoying optimal blood flow.

- Swimming.

I hope this pep talk has helped so many people. Please give me feedback if it has. Feel free to ask questions and make comments.

Iroko Obasi ND

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