Self Care: ExercisingJan 08, 2021 08:00AM ● By Candice Stewart
The holiday season is arguably a time in which exercise is replaced with an indulgence of daily home-cooked meals, unhealthy eating habits, and a lack of exercise.
The proof is often shown in the pudding when a few weeks later, you step on the scale and you see higher than usual numbers.
Though we focus on spending time with family and engaging in activities we enjoy for the benefit of our mental health, we tend to neglect exercise because we look at it as unnecessary work.
According to Dr. Makini McGuire Brown, Medical Practitioner, “one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to exercise.”
In a recent interview with FunTimes Magazine, Dr. McGuire-Brown described self-care as “a mind, body and soul experience. It is the connectivity of mentally loving yourself, physically taking care of your body and doing things to make you happy. The physical is just as important as the others.”
The doctor, who is an advocate for home exercise, writes a series on her blog, M Parley, called Exercise: The Cure, where she focuses on various forms of exercise, lifestyle diseases and the benefits exercise offers all age groups.
“I started the Exercise: The Cure series on my blog because I realise that on a commercial level, advertisements in the public domain consistently sell products promising to change lives without much substance. I want to add value to the discussion of exercise,” Dr. McGuire-Brown tells FunTimes Magazine.
“I specifically take on lifestyle diseases because they are so pervasive, specifically in Black communities. We talk about high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes and we call them lifestyle diseases for a reason. It’s because of how we live. This is not to downplay the genetic component,” she continues.
Dr. McGuire-Brown shares with FunTimes Magazine a breakdown of exercise and its forms. She also highlights the recommendation for general age groupings according to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom.
Two main things to focus on:
2. How improve and increase activity levels:
a. There is moderate exercise and then intense exercise.
Moderate: your heart rate increases and you should start to feel warm even if you’re not sweating profusely, you should be breathing faster.
Intense: the benefits go up as the intensity goes up. You should sweat a lot. Your heart rate is beating faster but the most important thing is you have no time to talk to others.
Incorporate moderate and intense exercise to your schedule and as part of your life.
Specifications for age groups:
Babies and toddlers – You pretty much just want to let them play. If you let them play, you will see how active they can be. Allow them to get approximately 60 minutes of moderate exercise especially as they get closer to the age of five .
You don’t want children to be inactive. You want them to have a solid three hours of the day (not consecutively) playing. By the time they reach 5 years old, they could run a race, they could play specific sports; allowing this is important.
5 -18 years - get more specific with the various forms of exercises especially for resistance, which is important for muscle development.
People often only think of resistance as weights but you can do other activities such as a tug-of-war. That builds on muscle growth.
19 years and upwards - When we get into this working-class bracket, we start to categorize exercise according to weeks. For every opportunity you get, take a less sedentary approach to either getting to a destination or getting a task done. Try to get 75 minutes of intense exercise and 150 minutes moderate exercise each week.
Dr. McGuire-Brown advises that, “The best way to lose weight is a combination of aerobics and strength work. Two days of strength for muscle growth are also good if your purpose is weight loss.”
Exercise tidbits from Dr. Makini McGuire-Brown
Swimming is a versatile type of exercise; it provides resistance, and depending on skill level, you can engage in moderate to intense levels of exercise. This can get the heart pumping and is accommodating on the joints, so it’s really good for the elderly (those in their 60s and 70s.)
Other forms of resistance can come in the form of body weight such as push ups, sit ups, yoga and pilates. They are considered muscle building resistance exercises. Though it’s good for building muscle, it’s also good for shedding fat.
The foremost treatment for any lifestyle disease is changing your lifestyle; a big part of which is exercise. We talk about diet a lot and of course diet is important but even holding your diet steady with exercise has greater benefits. They should not be mutually exclusive.
Even if you don’t see the numbers on the scale improving, you’ll see improvements in heart health and cholesterol, preventing end-stage health issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
You don’t need to go to the gym to exercise.
You don’t need to be a marathoner. Start simple.
Walk when you can.
Candice Stewart is a storyteller: a writer, blogger of life lessons, a philanthropist and a nature lover.
She holds an MA in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change and a BSc. in Psychology from the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Follow her blog at thesuburbangirl.com where she shares stories and life lessons through real-life experiences.