Doable New Year's resolutions

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By Dr. Victor Dumaguing

To Your Health

Friday, December 27, 2013


IT IS at this time of the year when our conscience -- mine included -- is haunted by all the eating and drinking that we indulged in just a few days before, to celebrate the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ. The pangs of reality bite all the more, especially if, it takes some effort to button our shirt or our pants or even when we bend to tie our shoe laces. Worse, for some people, that excess avoirdupois – unwanted weight -- makes breathing difficult especially in the supine or lying down position.

Exercise then comes to mind, and this promise to exercise may come in a written form, together with other promises to keep for the New Year, or it could be a congenial agreement and challenge between two consenting adults to shed those excess pounds.

Whether the desire to exercise is borne by a life-threatening illness like heart attack or simply for cosmetic reasons, it is wise to know that exercise takes several forms. The so-called Resistance exercises are those geared to increase muscle bulk or at its minimum, to tone the muscles. Thus, when someone goes to the gym to lift weights, dumbbells or negotiate parallel bars, he/she is doping resistance exercises.

Aerobic exercises are those strenuous activities in which there is a noticeable and significant increase in one's heart rate as well as respiratory rate. These aerobic exercises may not bulk-up the person but they have more benefits in terms of cardiovascular as well as respiratory endpoints. Put more simply, aerobic exercises would "awake" our blood vessels into various grades of dilatation as more volume of blood will flow at a more forceful velocity thus, bringing oxygen and nutrients even to the microcirculation - term to describe the terminal small capillaries at the most remote parts of the body. Of course, with a more vigorous active blood flow, the other benefit is that toxins and other metabolic waste products are also carried out from their source origin and are eventually expelled from the body through their respective organs of excretion like kidneys for urine, carbon dioxide expelled by the lungs. And with stronger and deeper respiratory effort, yes, more carbon dioxide is exhaled and more life-saving oxygen is brought inside the lungs and ultimately to all parts of the body.

The usual comment of people is that they do not have the time to do a regimented exercise program. Excuses, excuses, people will never run out of excuses. You don’t have to enroll in a gym class for the resistance exercises. Many resourceful folks fill-up empty plastic bottles of soft drinks, voila, a home-made pair of dumbbells. An office worker may eschew the use of elevator, climb up the stairs then run to an open window, exhale then take in as much air he/she can. For every problem, there is a solution. Happy New Year!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 28, 2013.

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