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Keeping in good shape

BY: Arku Jasmine

A sound mind in a sound body’ so goes the adage, but attaining good health has been a matter of concern for many people, especially career women.

Maintaining a balance between full-time career in the business industry and public service and keeping a responsible home has become a stressful venture.

It gives working mothers little opportunities for leisure and involvement in many pastimes such as workouts.

Those who can afford, have acquired equipment such as treadmills, bicycles and rowing machines for indoor exercises to keep body in shape and achieve healthy body and mind.

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“Exercising makes a woman more energised, alert, awake and receptive to her sexual partner”.

“Exercising also stops menstrual cramps by aiding blood flow into the uterus to stop pain, during that time of the month”.

According to a gym expert, Mrs Philippa Pepera of the PIPPA’s Health Centre Ltd in Accra, women have a lot to benefit from exercising when they adhere to a three-hour a week regime of walking, working out at the gym, dancing, swimming, sweeping, cleaning or washing, among others.

Exercising helps increase “our happy hormones” which in turn boosts a woman’s self-confidence which makes her feel good in public.

However, for most people, weight loss is the main motivator for getting into shape but according to the gym expert, regular physical activity can improve your sex life, decrease your risk of illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, cancers, back and knee pain due to injury, as well as increase your resistant to stress.

Exercising also helps a woman to develop stronger immune systems which makes them less likely to contract communicable diseases such as common colds.

Productivity at work

When women exercise, it improves their productivity at work, they become better managers at home and girls perform better at school.

Staying active, the fitness expert said, could also boost a woman’s mind function and energy, decrease her risk of dementia, and added that physical activity, especially by elderly women, helped increase their cognitive function and reduced their risk of developing cognitive impairment.

Who says the lifting of weight is only for men? According to Mrs Pepera, it is extremely important for women who are going through hormonal changes to start doing weightlifting exercises so as to help increase their bone density to reduce osteoporosis.

From July to August, this year between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, PIPPA is introducing a discounted workout for people above the age of 65 as according to Mrs Pepera, elderly people including women, need exercising more as it helps to stimulate their brains and improve their memory.

According to her, it is never too late for anyone to start exercising, but cautioned that women who were not exercising before they got pregnant should not start but those who exercised before the pregnancy came in should consult gym experts who would arrange an appropriate exercising regime for them.

Exercising, she says, helps prevent pre-eclampsia and miscarriages in pregnant women.

When pregnant women exercise, it helps improve the strength of their heart, which would eventually be needed when they are in labour.

Since every human being has a different body shape and size, a good fitness centre, according to Ms Pepera, would assess each person on his/her fitness level and give them their personal trainers.

According to her, Ghanaian women are lazy when it comes to exercising as they give varied excuses as to why they cannot exercise.

Sedentary lifestyles

Women today, she says, are leading more sedentary lifestyles and, therefore, it is important that they exercise to keep them in good health and shape.

Not exercising would leave women with various health conditions and problems, saying that exercising has a total impact on the body as it improves bowel movement because it stimulates the digestive system, a situation which improves on one’s colon.

She called on women to do lots of movements as this improves their digestive system.

Diet and exercising, according to the fitness expert, go hand in hand. Food intake is necessary during exercising and that exercising without a food guide is not adviceable.

“Feed the body with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat such as chicken, fish and good carbohydrates but not starchy foods.”

Late night eating should be avoided just like frying foods with lots of oil and the use of lots of palm oil, as, according to her, leads to diabetes and hypertension.

Women, she also says, should reduce their intake of sugar as this also leads to diabetes.

On cost implications, she was of the view that women should consider the health implications of not exercising and how much they would spend for their treatment as against the paltry amount that they would have to pay to exercise today.

By Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho