Keep Fit Made Simple

Keep Fit Made Simple

Most people now accept that doing exercise and keeping fit are tremendously important just like we consuming food to live. Exercise such as brisk walking for 150 minutes per week helps to increase the longevity. It has been proved that moderate exercise helps to improve thinking process for children and minimises short-term feelings of anxiety for adults. In my experience as a doctor I have found that patients who were advised to take exercise consistently benefited their mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.  However, moderate aerobic exercise may not help to reduce weight, I shall explain it later. Regular keep fit regime brings down the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. In metabolic syndrome one acquires too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, high triglyceride, and high blood sugar. More vigorous keep fit exercises increase the tone and strength of the muscles and reduces demineralisation of bones that comes with age. Regular exercise also increases the immunity and retains the balance keeping mechanism of the body. Researches have shown that taking exercise helps to reduce the risk of cancer of bladder.breast, lung, stomach, endometrium, oesophagus, kidney and colon.   

People are bombarded with leaflets, television programmes and government sponsored advertisement on keep fit regimes. These include yoga and pilates, which require the togetherness of the body and mind and are based on a number of poses. If there is a defect in the joint, or alignment these exercises are contraindicated, as practising yoga and pilate with damaged joints can inflict permanent damage. Calisthenics involves a variety of movements such as squatting, push up, lunges, laying down leg raises and so on. From my teenage years, I used to go to Iyer’s gymnasium at Thrissur, India walking about two miles from my home in the late 1960s. Whilst in medical college hostel, Davangere, India I was a regular visitor to the hostel gymnasium. I soon found that weight lifting exercises would not help to lose weight, but make one more hefty looking with high body mass index (BMI). I therefore concentrated more on running on the treadmill, and continued to do targeted exercise to strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings and biceps.  


Since my local gym in Kent has been closed since April 2020, I was not able to go there to do various exercises including swimming,walking and running. A lot of people will be having the same problem due to Covid-19 lockdown. Now the pavement is my new green gym where I walk and run everyday for forty minutes seven days a week. Walking or running outdoors on the pavement depends on the weather, as we get a lot of blustery and rainy days. In these days of Covid-19, one need to keep social distance if another pedestrian or dog walker is coming from the opposite direction. One need to be very careful about crossing roads, road works, building work and traffic pollution. On the plus side, walking on pavement is less boring as one can change the route often and can enjoy watching gardens and scenery.   

One can do aerobic or anaerobic exercise to keep fit, depending upon one’s goal of achievement. Aerobic exercise consumes more oxygen making the person to breath fast and more deeply. The increase in heart rate helps to deliver more oxygen to tissues. Walking briskly and running are aerobic exercises. In anaerobic exercise the body breaks down glucose to utilise energy. Sprinting, and heavy weight lifting are anaerobic exercise. While consuming food or snacking one should have an idea of how much calories one is taking in and its effect on health. To burn 52 calories gained through eating a small doughnut requires 15 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of cycling, 6 minutes of jogging or 4 minutes of swimming . A 80 kilogram person burns about 100 calories if the person briskly walks one mile. The rate of burning differs depending on age, sex, weather, and the intensity of activity. Generally an adult male requires 2,000-2500 calories per day to maintain steady weight while an adult female needs around 1,600-2,000 calories according to the  Department of Health. In conditions like hyperthyroidism where the  Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is high, one needs to take more calories. Walking on a treadmill for an hour, at an incline of 6 – 8 percent and a speed of  6 km per hour, burning 1000 calories per day achieves reduction of 0.75kg per week. A more drastic weight loss regime losing more than 1kg per week is not good for health. Research shows that 32% males  and 40% females start keep fit soon after Christmas, only to gradually stop it by the end of February. They are not strong minded,focused and motivated enough but just follow the crowd. Winter and closing of gymnasium in lockdown should not be a reason to stop and in fact one needs more exercise in those circumstances. As someone gets older, balance function might be compromised, due to reduced blood flow to the centres for balance in the brain. This can be improved by simply standing with feet together and then crossing one foot over the other and holding the position for ten seconds. It will be even better, standing on one foot say for 20 seconds.This has to be repeated on the other foot several times and gradually increased the period and number of times the exercise is done. If it is raining outside one can try squats, half press-ups, lunges, tricep dips and gluteal raises. In everyday life, if one is determined, he/she can practise keep fit through parking the car at a distance, even better not using car for short journeys, climbing staircase instead of using the lift, standing and 30 seconds walking indoors every half an hour while watching television.

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Dr. C.J.George

This blog is about my experience as a doctor working in various countries in different clinical set up. This experience spans through 45 years, in which I acquired a lot of favourable contacts and unfavourable encounters. I shall dig deep into them and make it interesting to the readers. Unlike others in the profession, I worked as a community medical officer in a remote areas, prison medical officer, benefit service medical officer, in cardiac surgery in prestigious institutions and as a private doctor. I was managing my own businesses, and real estate in three continents. I hope the information I impart will be valuable to the like minded readers.

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