IT has been over two years since the world has been plagued with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, people are mentally fatigued and stressed out, but one local fitness expert is encouraging Guyanese that fitness could be instrumental in combating such struggles.
Emmerson Campbell outlined to the Pepperpot Magazine the importance of having a great immune system and a robust exercise programme during an interview recently.
“The important thing when it comes to fighting off any disease, whether it is the cold, or flu, is a strong immune system. Once you have a robust immune system, quite a lot of diseases may not affect you. Nevertheless, it has to do with how healthy you are. A lot of it has to do with both physical and mental [health] as well,” Campbell told the Pepperpot Magazine.
According to him, many factors have to do with health, but it all boils down to your immune system.
He outlined the fact that there are several factors that help to boost the immune system. These include all of the vitamins, while noting that we in Guyana have an abundance of vitamin D.
He encourages Guyanese to go outside and get the required amount of Vitamin D and supplement it with Vitamin C, which can be found in many of our citrus fruits in the country.
The fitness expert also encourages persons to go out and exercise and make maximum usage of exercise facilities available. These include the National Park and other open spaces and playgrounds.
“ There is not much excuse that one may have right now as it relates to the care of your health, in that if you don’t take care of your health, you cannot live long and have a happy life. Health should be placed as a premium for anyone of any age, sex or gender, but a lot of persons do not have the time. Nevertheless, all it takes is one hour, three or four times a week, and that is a good start,” Campbell noted.
Campbell said that studies show that a general goal is to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Reducing sitting time is important, too.
Pluses to fitness
The fitness expert noted that there is much to gain when it comes to fitness.
“Fitness is a discipline, and for anything, for you to succeed in, you have to be disciplined. Since I started this fitness journey, it has enabled me to be more disciplined. It has enabled me to be less moody. I am not as erratic as I used to be. I am more humbled [sic], more sociable, because when you go to the gym and you work out with people who are like-minded, [they] become like a family,” Campbell shared.
Build your mental capacity during this pandemic period
Camobell went on to advise, based on his experience, how persons can cope during the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
“In this time, be around people who are positive. Be around people who have your best interest at heart. People who share your similar goals, pray a lot, working out not only helps your mental, but your spiritual, physical and also enables you to be stronger mentally,” Campbell noted. He added that the strongest thing in one’s body is one’s mind, so working on the mind first is key to ensuring strength overall in difficult times.
In a recent article posted by the Guyana Chronicle dated May 30, 2021, Dr Ariane Mangar of the Ministry of Health noted that during such times, any kind of physical activity can work as a valuable tool to protect you and encourage relaxation. Physical activity increases the exchange of vital white blood cells between peripheral tissues and the bloodstream, which aids the body’s immune response (blood and lymph vessels).
This increases the activity of immune cells in the bloodstream. A boost to the immune system helps in fighting infections, prevents bacteria from growing and reduces stress and inflammation.
Benefits of staying physically active in the time of COVID-19
– Strengthens the immune function
– Decreases inflammation
– Reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes
– Aids in stress management by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression
– Helps in weight management
– Improves bone and muscle strength, balance and flexibility
How to stay safe while exercising during the pandemic
– Do not exercise if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
– Practise social distancing when exercising outdoors
– Practise good hand hygiene before and after your workout
– If you’re new to physical activity, begin with low-intensity activities such as walking or low-impact workouts for shorter periods of time and progressively build up over time
– To minimise the risk of injury, choose the right activity; the strength of the exercise should be appropriate for your fitness level and health status.