Join the fitness revolution train

Innocent Choga Fitness
Road running is great, it is one of the most enjoyable and addictive activities especially when one gets used to it. A jogging session is very uplifting, exhilarating to say the least. A stream of sweat and the release of endorphins (happy hormones) leave one feeling great, with a sense of euphoria. Outdoor running is great because of the resistance of the wind and if the environment is green, the ability to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen at higher levels is good for the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

It is amazing how many people in Zimbabwe are into fitness these days. From high-density suburbs to the affluent areas, the number of people, both men and women of all ages, I see jogging in the streets is just great.

You see them early morning, late evening, and even in the afternoon. Zimbabweans from all walks of life are now very health conscious. Many organisations are organising walking/running events and fitness galas. I hear many participants talking excitedly, looking forward to the events.

Apart from the walks/runs being marketing, I think these companies must be commended as they are putting on social responsibility events that are proactive. Proactive in the sense that economic and health situation we are currently facing calls for a fitness conscious society.

The implications of an unfit society are not an individual issue; they have a serious impact on social and economic aspect of a nation, in particular the national coffers because of the importation of drugs and the financing of health institutions to handle epidemics caused by sedentary health lifestyles.

The financial and emotional stress of caring for the regularly sick relatives and its negative impact on production. The wealth of a nation depends on the health of its citizens so they say, so if you haven’t started exercising yet, it is time for you join the Fitness Revolution Train.

Obesity is now a major health issue in America, it is reported to be now an epidemic with statistics pointing out that a large number of its citizens (two-thirds) are obese and that the leading killer diseases in those countries are weight related.

Obesity is fertile ground for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. In an effort to promote healthy lifestyles in some of these developed countries, companies are now issuing fitness trackers; gadgets that help individuals to exercise and asses their own fitness levels.

Many people are now aware of the benefits of exercising; people are now more informed about the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Being fit relates to one’s ability to go around their daily chores with ease.

The current employment situation being an employers’ market means the employers are calling the shots, and we cannot rule out fitness as one of the criteria being used to select who is hired or remains employed in the human resources departments.

I just want to remind people who take part in the fun walk/run to practice or train for the event. Despite the fact that one might be doing it for fun practicing will make it easier and prepare one for the walk/run. One does not have to cover the whole distance but a little bit of walking and running will do.

Do not forget to warm up before the walk/run, this helps to prepare and warm the muscles for the task ahead, thereby eliminating or minimizing the chances of getting injuries. Cool down after the walk/run just as important as warm up returns blood into circulation avoiding pooling of blood in the muscles which can starve organs such as the brain resulting in fainting or collapsing. Stretch the muscles after cool down to kill the pain and aches and flex the tendons and joints

Invest in proper running shoes that absorb your weight .The impact of the hard surface and upper body weight may cause knee problems for heavy people, so proper running shoes will do the trick. Old shoes that you normally use are better, as new shoes might give you problems and you will not enjoy the walk/run.

Most of the time we are not aware of how we breathe. Remember to try your best to close your mouth and breathe through the nose. The nose is an air filter that filters the air.

Those hairs in the nose will filter out the impurities in the air as well as warm the chilly air into the right temperature before it goes into the lungs. It can be difficult at first especially when the intensity is so high, but as one gets used to it, it becomes easy.

Avoid heat exhaustion especially if you run in the afternoon. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Avoid eating food during jogging sessions; this can cause discomfort and stomach cramps.

Many world class gyms have opened doors in Zimbabwe and these gyms are well equipped with the latest high tech equipment including treadmills for running. The problems are that most of these gyms are not accessible to the ordinary Zimbabwean and most of these gyms are adults’ only areas.

This is one reason why the gyms are boring places. I remember a gym called City Health Centre at the Kopje Plaza, which had a glass walled room in the middle of the weights section and aerobic section.

The room was filled with toys and at day end after school runs as well during the weekend parents would bring their children who would play and watch adults exercising. The probability of children who grow up visiting such environments to become gym members when they grow older is great, as they can identify with such activities.

This is how you catch them young, there is need to grow the gym market rather than exchange the same gym going clients. The construction of ablution facilities for children would be necessary in such cases.

Feedback: The writer is a six time National Body-Building champion with international experience. He competed in the reputable Weider International Federation for Body Building. He is currently studying for a science degree in Physical Education and Sport.