Most people will admit they are not really fit, but there seems to be a train of
thought out there, that you have to attend a gymnasium to get ‘fit’. I too have
attended a gymnasium - twice! Once was for three months, after I promised the
gymnasium instructor that I would try it for the proscribed period. I also have
to admit that pedaling an exercise bicycle to nowhere I found a giant bore. I
was glad when the three months were up. And honestly I did not feel any “fitter”
Probably the commonest advice a doctor gives out at the end
of the year is to lose weight and get some exercise. Was that part of the advice
after your annual physical check-up? Very likely.
Unfortunately, there seems to be very little real
understanding of what exercise should consist of, how often, what type, how long
and what about sex? However, getting a little serious, exercise will be good for
you, provided that you pick a form of exercise that is not harmful for you!
Now I know that looks as if I have put my money on both
horses in the race, but take that sentence at its face value. Enough research
has been done to show that regular exercise is beneficial for everybody, in both
the physical and psychological aspects; but, and it is a big ‘but’, all forms of
exercise have relative bodily risks, and this has to be taken into account
before you buy a pair of expensive jogging shoes and tackle a 10 km trot in the
middle of the day. True stories - a medical colleague in Australia took up
playing squash when he turned 50 and dropped dead on the court of a heart
attack, and another acquaintance of mine turned 40, decided he wasn’t fit,
bought a bicycle to ride to work each day and was run over by a bus. And that is
something which is always on the cards in Thailand.
I once read an article that advised non-slippery shoes for
the novice exerciser and suggested you choose appropriate exercise according to
your ability. Never exceed your limit. Remember that it is not the harder the
better. If you have acute medical problems (such as fever, or pain), stop
exercising. If you have chronic medical conditions (such as hypertension,
diabetes, ischemic heart disease and arthritis), seek advice from your doctor or
physiotherapist beforehand. All of these I agree with. If you are happy to take
your body to your medical advisor when it is sick, take it back to your doctor
for advice on how to tone it up as well.
The form of exercise should be one that you enjoy, and it may
be gymnasium work, or jogging, or walking, or swimming or something else
reasonably vigorous. It should be such that you raise a sweat, but not to the
point of dehydration! Do not wait until you are thirsty. Take appropriate
breaks. Do not over-exert yourself. Forget about “powering through the pain
barrier”. Leave that for drug-fuelled cyclists in France.
As well as the form of exercise, there is the frequency. At
least three times per week, 20-30 minutes (or more) is necessary each time, to
derive the maximum benefit. But always remember, if there is dizziness,
fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting, nausea or severe pain
during exercise, stop exercising immediately and seek medical advice as soon as
Now I did mention horizontal folk dancing and some of you
have been impatiently reading, while nervously fiddling with your expensive
packet of Viagras, Kanagras, Cialis and other lead-in-your-pencil medications (I
draw the line at tiger willy). OK, what about sex? The advisability of this form
of exercise when you have some chronic complaint (such as hypertension,
diabetes, ischemic heart disease etc), should be part of the advice you get from
your doctor beforehand. The danger of over the counter willy stiffeners is that
you don’t get advice with them.
A fitter body means better sex. OK?