Turkey's finance minister to visit Egypt for first time in 9 years    Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO alliance    Shell acquires Block 3 in North East El-Amriya, Egypt    Egypt's foreign inflows grow 30% since pound correction move in March – c.bank governor    Twitter board eagers to close Musk's deal, despite spam pots percentage    Saudi Arabia prolongs Yemen central bank's deposit    Egypt Knauf launches its first training centre in Egypt    Egypt uncovers official logo for COP27    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Egypt unveils 50 pound coin minted to mark Avenue of Sphinxes grand reopening    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Hot, rainy weather hits Egypt this week    COVID-19 in Egypt: infections fall to 124 cases last week    Realme announces Global Photography Contest 2022    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Limelight: Keep moving
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 20 - 01 - 2005

Keep moving
By Lubna Abdel-Aziz
We long to be healthy, youthful, strong, and attractive, but what are we prepared to do about it? Not much. We await the discovery of that one little magic pill that will allow us to eat all we want and still keep us svelte and slender with maximum health and minimum effort. There is no such pill, there never will be; we are back to square one, to the unpopular, undesirable, original formula of less food and more exercise.
Every five years new dietary guidelines are issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the US based on the most recent scientific and medical knowledge. Such guidelines are often adopted worldwide, given the time, money, research, and resources invested in it. They become a model health plan for the rest of the world, with allowances for local and indigenous modifications.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Report issued last week included some changes from the last one, but the key message remains the same. While the recipe for preferred food has shifted somewhat, the greater emphasis is now decidedly on physical activity.
In the past, moderate exercise two to three times a week was thought to be sufficient for maintaining good health. That is no longer the case. Exercise is absolutely essential for a healthy life. There is no escape! We are to get off our couches, armchairs and settees, and move, move, move, walk, run, jog, jig, trot, swim, dance, skip, bounce, "shake, rattle and roll", and not just for a few minutes but for 30 to 90 minutes per day, every day, depending on our individual needs and conditions. Even children and adolescents are targeted. Such news is not joyfully received in any circle, of any age, at any time. In the US, two out of three citizens are overweight, and in the UK, two out of four. While it varies from country to country, diet to diet, the rise of chronic diseases attributable to "junk" foods (they are not called "junk" for nothing) and less active lives is on the rise, worldwide. Strokes, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipid values, diabetes, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and of course obesity are a direct result of a highly technological modern society, deskbound and housebound. TV and the Internet provide more satisfaction than fresh air and exercise.
Moderate exercise is a good deal more vigorous than you think. It is described as "walking at a brisk pace" for 30 minutes, if you are healthy, do not smoke, and only wish to remain fit. If however, you wish to prevent weight gain you should extend your activity to a full hour. This is simply to burn enough fuel to maintain your present weight. If, like most, you wish to lose some excess kilogrammes that the holiday feasts annexed, you need 60 to 90 minutes of exercise of the vigorous variety, to increase muscle strength and endurance. Push/pull, up/down, back/forth, over and over to strengthen those muscles, deplete them of their fat content, increase their blood supply, and efficiently tap into their stored fuel supply. You huff and you puff, you heave and you ho, until your muscles are stronger, more conditioned, leading to better performance for optimum health and a long and happy life.
You can live to be 90, 100, even longer. "Who wants to live that long?" Studies show that we all do. Of course your genes matter a great deal but your diet and lifestyle help considerably. A study of centenarians finds them mostly non- drinkers, non-smokers, engaged, optimistic, active, and lean. A lesson by the Holy Prophet Mohamed teaches us to eat only when hungry and stop before we are full. The Japanese have a similar philosophy of eating "only eight parts out of 10". Staying a little hungry keeps you lean and prolongs life. This theory is promoted even further by David Sinclair of Harvard University. He believes that longevity is directly related to food restriction. This theory gained general acceptance by many members of the scientific community following a 1930s study which showed that underfed rodents lived 40 per cent longer than their well-fed counterparts. Calorie restriction is not one of the guidelines of the FDA, but calorie modification is.
Food is the source of energy for the body and all energy comes from the three basic types of food -- fats, proteins and carbohydrates. A gram of protein or carbohydrate generates four calories, whereas a gram of fat nine calories. The only way to lose weight is to force the body to use its energy from the stored fat. The reasons for weight control are two- fold, what we do or do not do, and what we eat or do not eat. Weight loss occurs only when energy intake is less than energy expenditure. In short, only when you eat less than you burn, or burn more than you eat will you lose the weight.
While all diets result in weight loss, a healthy long-term lifestyle with a well-balanced diet of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, produces best results. What is a well- balanced diet? 20-30 per cent fat, 10-25 per cent protein, and 45-65 per cent carbohydrate.
What should we not eat? Saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol. Cholesterol should be under 300mg a day, saturated fats below 10 per cent of daily calories, and trans fats below one per cent. Saturated fats come from animal fats, trans fats from hydrogenated vegetable oils, organ meats, shellfish, poultry, and whole fat dairy products. Two servings of fish per week reduce the risk of sudden death and coronary heart disease.
Carbohydrates are not the villains they were made out to be. There are good carbs and bad carbs. The good carbs supply energy in the form of glucose for the red blood cells, the brain, the central nervous system, muscle cells, placenta and fetus. The bad carbs are found in foods and beverages high in added sugars which means more calories and less nutrients. Our sugar consumption has increased 20 times per capita in the last 100 years, yet our bodies do not require one solitary grain of processed or refined sugar at any point during the course of our lives. Choose fruits instead. Fruits provide only a very small amount of sugar, and together with vegetables are important sources of additional nutrients. Best advice: consume generous amounts of fruit and vegetables. Choose bright vibrant colours in fruits, like citrus, melons and berries; in vegetables, dark green, bright orange, leafy, starchy, and legumes. Whole wheat bread or three ounces of any whole grain product is beneficial for bulk and fibre.
Alcohol in quantity adversely affects the metabolism and jeopardises the liver. Limit beverage to one drink for women and two for men. A drink equals 12 ozs of beer, five ozs of wine, or 1,5 ozs of spirits.
"White" is the undesirable colour-in sugar, bread, flour, butter, fat, cream, ice cream and salt. If there is a villain, it is salt. Limit your intake to 2,300 milligrammes per day (3,000 mg = one teaspoon). A potassium-rich diet blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure.
Exercise has been upgraded for 2005, so keep moving. Overlook the ride and walk to work. Ignore the elevator, and run up and down the stairs. Join a gym and work out, lift weights and enlarge those muscles, women included! It is not one factor that makes you gain, and not one factor that will make you lose. Multiple factors will improve your health and your looks, and there is no better time to begin this journey on the road to good health than right now.
Avoid the temptation of these technological wonders -- TV, computer, easy foods and snacks. Go back to the pleasure of nature and rejoice in the wonders of creation.
Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson (1743--1826) wrote:
The sovereign invigorator of the body, is exercise...
Two thousand years ago Martial (AD c.40 -- c.104) wrote in his Epigrammata:
Life's not just being alive, but being well.
It is as true today as it was then; so here's to life, here's to happiness, here's to wellness!

Clic here to read the story from its source.