Photo: Dr. Hazel Laws, chief medical officer.
Health officials encourage structured exercise programmes for healthier lifestyles
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Officials in the Ministry of Health are encouraging citizens and residents alike to create structured exercise programmes as part of their daily routines as a way of living healthier lifestyles, which can in turn prolong lives.
“Exercise is something that should be structured and planned,” said Dr. Hazel Laws, chief medical officer, during her appearance on “Working for You” Sept. 13. “So, exercise is a structured and planned physical activity. It is not that you are going to be walking to or from work and you think that that’s enough and you don’t need to structure an exercise. I think that all of us need to have a structured exercise programme.”
Laws suggested different types of exercises that people can do to keep them in the best possible shape as they seek to live healthier lifestyles.
“You have endurance or aerobic exercises, which include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling,” she said. “It gets your heart beat up and it improves your heart and lung function.
“You also have strengthening or resistance exercises. That’s also important. It involves using weights. Very important because as we age we automatically lose strength in our muscle fibres and we lose our muscle cells. So, this is a natural part of ageing and so strengthening exercises help to combat that aspect of the ageing process.”
She reiterated that strengthening exercises are important, as well as flexibility exercises “whereby you stretch to maintain your full range of motivation of your joints in your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, hip joints,” to name a few.
The chief medical officer encourages people to include, in addition to walking three or four times a week, one or two days of weight exercises when structuring or planning their exercise programme, as there are many benefits to exercising such as reducing one’s risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.