Fitness experts usually recommend at least 45 minutes of moderate exercise, which should be performed at least three times a week. Staying fit helps a person sleep and handle stress better. It also keeps the mind sharp. When people exercise or workout regularly, it can also reduce their risk for conditions such as heart attack, diabetes and high blood pressure. But how much does it cost to keep fit? There are many ways to stay physically active with extremely low cost or sometimes free types of exercises. Joseph Kato explores some of the most efficient exercises that you can do at home or outdoors in free open spaces.
This is a kind of exercise where one runs at a steady pace on a regular basis. Jogging is an exercise that a person can engage in to lose weight because of the calories that are burned through the process.
It also helps build strong bones and muscles. When a person jogs, the large muscles of the lower legs, as well as those of the abdomen and arms are engaged. Regular joggers and runners often become lean and toned, which is attributed to the muscle development that occurs naturally as a result of the exercise.
Dr Rogers Mawanda, a sports medical therapist with the Uganda Volleyball Federation, says anyone can engage in jogging because it is not a strenuous form of exercise. The distance a person covers while jogging depends on their fitness levels. Dr Mawanda says it can be done on a regular basis for between 30 minutes to one hour per session.
Geoffrey Jeff Papa, a fitness instructor at Bamboo Health Club in Muyenga, says burpee is a form of exercise that involves the whole body and helps to strengthen muscles. With burpee exercise, a person starts by standing in one position, then bends down in a squat position with their hands on the ground. Burpee helps to burn calories and increases the body’s metabolism rate. It is generally considered a functional form of exercise, which does not contribute to weight loss, but helps a person to keep active and energised while performing daily tasks.
“They are cheap and a person does not need any specific kits to be able to engage in this form of exercise,” says Papa. Dr Mawanda says burpee exercise can be done from a person’s compound or sitting room, without the guidance of an instructor.
Muyinza says a person can train in boxing using a punching bag. The punching bag is a round or a cylindrical sack filled with sand, rags or other materials that is usually hang from the ceiling or fixed to a stand. Both professionals and amateurs can use it as a form of exercise. When engaging in this type of workout, the bag helps to tone and keep muscles, especially the arms strong. It also helps to relieve stress and burn calories.
Superman is a simple, body weight movement exercise that can be performed at home or in any open space. The exercise targets muscles of the back by stablising and strengthening them. With superman exercise, a person lies on their stomach, usually on a mat or floor, with legs stretched behind.
Dr Mawanda says press-ups help to strengthen abdominal and chest muscles because they use a large number of muscles at the same time. With press-ups, a person lies facing the floor, and keeping their back straight, raise their body by pressing down on their hands.
Skipping is a common, easy-to-do exercise that a person can use to burn body fat. Fred Muyinza, an occupational therapist at Aga Khan University Hospital, says it is considered an all-over body workout because it helps to build muscle in the legs, arms and shoulders. Other benefits of rope skipping include raising blood flow, strengthening internal organs to work more efficiently and relieve stress or tension.
Rope skipping also increases cardiovascular fitness. The cardiovascular system involves the heart, arteries and veins that bring blood and oxygen to and from the heart and the rest of the body. By improving the ability of this system to work, performing daily tasks also becomes easy.
With this type of workout, a person trains by riding a bicycle on the road or in their compound. This can be done daily for at least one hour. Cycling helps to strengthen muscles, reduce stress and keep the body fit. Dr Mawanda says people of all ages can engage in cycling, but the intensity and distance a person cover during the process depends on how fit or healthy they are.
It is considered a low impact type of exercise because it puts less strain on a person’s joints compared to running or other high-impact aerobic activities. However, it can still get a person in shape if done regularly.
Swimming helps to keep the heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off the body. Besides, it builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It helps to maintain a healthy weight, heart and lungs. Unlike exercise machines in a gym that tend to isolate one body part at a time, swimming puts the body through a broad range of motion that helps joints and ligaments to stay loose and flexible. Swimming is also the recommended type of exercise for people with conditions such as arthritis and asthma.
A growing number of health care professionals, including physical and mental health therapists recommend yoga for strengthening bones and increasing body flexibility.
It stretches muscles that might otherwise go unexercised. There are several types of yoga, but the most common are the traditional ashtanga and hatha yoga. Ashtanga yoga involves a lot of movement and physical action, while hatha yoga largely focuses on controlling deep breathe.
As a result, a person’s mental alertness is sharpened, and is also relieved of stress. Anyone can do yoga, from children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. Yoga enables active children to learn to concentrate, while among the adults, it helps them to remain flexible.
From online workouts that explain the poses to a variety of free yoga videos on online, a person can try any style of yoga without leaving their living room
Why exercise is good for you
Exercise has long-term health benefits for people who engage in it. It can also prevent the onset of several life-threatening conditions. Here is a look at the general benefits of engaging in exercise regularly.
•Exercise reduces cholesterol, the kind that clogs arteries. It also reduces blood pressure, which relieves stress on the heart.
•Research has shown that to manage weight, a person should exercise energetically for at least 45 minutes a day. However, a person can also do an hour of intensive exercise every second day if it fits in their schedule easily.
•Exercise, together with a healthy calcium intake, builds strong bones. Weight-bearing exercises such as running, walking and weight-lifting, help to lower a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis as they grow old.
•Although it might be risky in some cases, the benefits of exercising during pregnancy generally far outweigh the risks and some women can even exercise up until the third trimester. Relaxation, kegel and back exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles are important for pregnant women.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor