Healthy Baby: Useful Tips For Parents And Carers

Healthy Baby: Useful Tips For Parents And Carers

By 

Dr.  Rotimi Adesanya (Paediatrician)

Make no mistake about why these babies are here – they are here to replace us.
Jerry Seinfeld

This handbook has been developed to help mothers, parents and guardians learn a few things about their babies. These tips give a lot of information on how a baby grows, how to breastfeed, and helpful hints on caring for babies through infancy.

Breastfeeding
Breast feeding is the normal way to feed babies. Breast milk provides all the nutrition the baby needs. It has hundreds of antibodies, enzymes, and other factors that protect babies from infections and diseases .Breast milk is easy for the baby to digest, it is always at the right temperature, easy to provide, always handy. Breastfeeding is also good for the mothers because it helps them to return more quickly to pre-pregnancy weight, gives stronger bones in later life, helps to bond more closely to the baby and lowers the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes.

The World Health Organization, and many other National and international organizations Recommend that no other foods besides Breast milk be given to the babies until they are six months old. They also recommend that one continues to breastfeed after starting solid foods at six months.

The Hospital provides lactation service for mothers who register for antenatal care and deliver in the hospital. Lectures and practical guides are given by the lactation experts (Doctors and Nurses)

 Soft spots
The soft spots (fontanelles) on top of a baby’s head are there so that the baby’s bones can move a little, so that the baby can more easily fit through the birth passage when he is being born. These spots will usually close over in the baby’s first year or so. Sometimes a fontanelle swells when the baby is crying and goes flat when the crying stops. It can also be sunken if the baby is dehydrated.

Reflexes
Babies do some things automatically without knowing they are doing them. These are called reflexes.  For example, if something is put in their mouths they suck on it (sucking reflex), and if something is put in their hands they hold on tight (grasp reflex). If they are startled or upset they fling their arms out and throw their heads back (startle reflex).

Breast Bud
Babies are often born with large genitals and Breasts and sometimes ‘milk’ even comes from their breasts. This swelling is due to the mother’s hormones, it is normal (even for boys) and it does not last long. Don’t try to squeeze any milk out of the breasts, as too much pressure can sometimes cause an infection. If the breasts become larger, firm and tender, and your baby seems unwell, there could be an infection, and you would need to take your baby to your doctor.

Umbilicus
The baby’s umbilicus (belly button) may take several days to heal fully, and many babies have umbilical hernias. An umbilical hernia is a lump underneath their belly button (umbilicus). It may swell if the baby is crying. This is a small gap in the tummy muscles and will nearly always go away in time. It does not cause health problems.

Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is a yellowish, patchy, greasy, scaly and crusty skin rash that occurs on the scalp of recently born babies. You can put on olive oil or baby oil to soften the scales and wash the oil off the next day. Gently lift off the softened scales with a soft brush. If some of the scales are sticking to the surface of the scalp, use the oil again the next night. Do not use much pressure to scrape off the scales as this could cause wound on the underlying skin.

Rashes
Most babies have spots on their faces and often on parts of the body in the first few weeks. They are called milia and can look like acne –red spots with white centers. They are not acne and they do not need any treatment. They seem to be a reaction to the skin being exposed to air rather than to fluid in the womb (uterus) before birth. Sometimes the spots come when the baby gets hot or has been lying on that side: Some may also be reactions of the skin to Baby’s cream, lotions etc

 Diaper Rash
This is a red and painful rash on the diaper area. Rashes can be caused by irritation from dampness of urine or bowel movement on the skin. To Prevent Diaper Rash, Wash your hands before and after changing diapers. Keep the skin dry by changing diapers as soon as they are wet or soiled. Wash the diaper area with warm water and dry well or preferably use a baby wipe. Take the diaper off and expose the area to the air for 10 to15 minutes, three times a day. You can lay your baby on an absorbent towel and play with her during this time: When the diaper area is clean and dry, rub on a thin Layer of zinc-based cream.

Oral Thrush (Candidiasis)
Thrush is a common infection in infants. Thrush appears as a whitish Gray coating on the tongue and on the inside of the cheeks and gums. This coating is not easily wiped off. Babies may also develop thrush on their skin. Most babies do not have any pain or complications with thrush

Regurgitation
Lots of babies have hiccups after feeds. This is normal. Some babies spill some milk after feeds. If they are growing well and happy this is nothing to worry about. If the baby is bringing up milk in big spurts much of the time and not putting on weight or is miserable a lot of the time, you need to see the doctor.

Colic
Many babies cry for up to three hours, or sometimes more, a day in the early weeks. Most babies like being held and comforted. Some babies still cry when they are being held. Remember that every baby is different. While babies usually follow similar patterns with their development, your baby might do things faster or slower or differently from other babies and this is usually fine. If the baby is doing things much more slowly or not doing some things at all, it is a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure that all is going well.

Buccal Cysts
Some babies have little white lumps like tiny pearls in their mouth, especially on the  gums . These is normal and go away when the baby grows.

Teething
Most babies get their first tooth between 6-9 months. Once teething starts, it continues almost uninterrupted for about two years. Some babies have no difficulty with teething while others may become fussy and uncomfortable. Some things you can do to relieve sore or tender gums: Give the baby a clean teething ring (Teether). Clean and massage the gums regularly to ease discomfort.

Baby’s stools
Very young breastfed babies usually do several ‘poos’a day. Even if your baby seems to be pushing hard, the “poo” is usually very soft. After a few weeks some breastfed babies only have a “poo” every few days and it will still be soft. All this is normal. Bottle fed babies might have firmer “poos”. If the “poos” seem very hard, water may be given to the baby to help the poos are soft again. Some may also have constipation for days, they may need to be assisted with the bowel movement.

Baby’s urine
A little light pink or orange stain from urine on the nappy is common and is nothing to worry about. It is caused by a reaction between chemicals in the baby’s urine (urates) and chemicals in the fibres of the nappy. It is more likely in boys because their stream of wee (urine) is more likely to be all in the same place on the diaper. If it is red or leaves a brown stain, that is, if it looks at all like blood or your baby seems unwell and is not feeding normally you need to have it checked by a doctor. Sometimes there can be small ‘crystals’ on the inner surface of a disposable nappy. These come from the inside of the nappy not from the baby.

Vaginal blood loss
Some female babies have a small vaginal blood loss a few days after birth. This loss is due to the change in hormone levels after birth causing a brief menstrual period. This bleeding stops after a day or two. There will not be any more vaginal blood loss until the girl reaches puberty and starts to have periods.

Developmental milestones
The child developmental milestones are briefly analyzed below: 

Six week:  he can smile at you when you smile at him.

Two month : Neck Control i.e  he can hold up his head when you are holding him upright and lift  his head up if he is lying on his tummy.

Three month: he will enjoy hitting toys that make a noise and he can hold a rattle for a short time.

Four month: he may be able to roll from his front to his back, but it may be another couple  of months, or more, before he can roll from his back to his front.

Six month: he may be able to sit without support

Seven month: she will be sitting up and might be starting to crawl.

Nine month: many babies can pull themselves up to stand. Some babies take longer. It takes another two or three months or so before he can stand without holding onto something and then a few more weeks before he can actually walk.

Twelve month: babies will talk to you in their own language, and expect you to

understand. They may say one or two clear words – Hello, No etc. They can understand some words. The baby will be able to hold something with his thumb and forefinger and play little games like wave goodbye.

Jaundice
Jaundice appears in about half of full term babies and about three most of preterm babies. Babies has extra red blood cells. As the blood cells breakdown, A yellow Colored substance called bilirubin is released. The yellow coloured substance in the baby’s blood causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to take on a yellowish tinge called jaundice. In most infants, Jaundice is mild. It comes on during the first three to five days and lasts only a few days. The only treatment needed initially is lots of breastfeeding and later phototherapy. Do not give water by bottle as bilirubin is better eliminated through stools than urine. Untreated severe jaundice can lead to brain damage and deafness.

Immunization/Vaccinations
Immunizations help to protect children from many diseases. Other words for immunizations are inoculations, vaccinations, boosters, and shots. Immunizations help the baby’s immune system make substances called antibodies that fight diseases. The baby then develops protection against these diseases. Some vaccines are only given once or twice, and some need to be given over a period of time in a series of properly spaced immunizations. By immunizing your baby, you give him the best possible protection against many serious diseases. Always take your child’s record with you when he gets his immunizations. Keep it with other important papers, because your child will need his immunization record when he is older. Sometimes immunizations may cause minor side effects, but these are temporary. These side effects might be soreness or swelling where the needle went into the arm or leg, or a slight fever. These do not usually last long. Serious side effects from immunizations are very rare.

Vitamin K Injection
All newborns should have an injection of Vitamin K within 6 hours after birth.This injection helps prevent haemorrhagic disease of the newborn. Haemorrhagic disease of the newborn is a bleeding problem that occurs during the first few days  of life.

Eye Treatment
Pediatrians recommends that all newborns receive treatment to prevent an infection of  gonorrhoea or chlamydia. These infections can get into the baby’s eyes during birth. Today, an eye ointment is usually used to treat a baby’s eyes if the discharge is copious. If not treated, these infections are severe and can cause blindness.

Ear infection
Middle ear infections is called Otitis Media. Children can also get infections in the ear canal (called Otitis Externa).It causes pain, fever and distress to children and is one of the reasons why they may wake at night. Ear infections can also affect children’s hearing.

Fever
Fever is usually caused by an infection. The source of the infection can be bacteria or a virus. Fever is the normal process of fighting an infection. Babies less than six months old should be taken to their health care provider if they have a fever. Let the baby breastfeed more, or offer more to drink, take off extra clothes that the baby is wearing. Give medicine to help bring down the fever and make him more comfortable. Give your baby a tepid sponging or lukewarm bath. Not every sick baby will have a fever, especially if they are less than 1 month old. Some signs of a sick baby may be poor feeding, excessive crying or being irritable.

Temperature Range
Your baby’s body temperature changes throughout the day. It is lowest in the early morning and highest in the early evening. Normal temperature taken under the armpit is 36.5°C to 37.4°C (97.7°F to 99.3°F).Put the tip of the thermometer in the centre of the armpit. Tuck the arm snugly against the body, then comfort and distract your baby. After about 1 minute the thermometer will beep if it is digital. Mothers are advised to get their own digital thermometer for home use.

Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
Paracetamol (which in some countries is called acetaminophen/tyelenol ) has been safely used for many years to help with mild to moderate pain and fever for babies, young children and older children.  But if too much paracetamol is given to a child, especially a sick child, for too long, it can harm the child. Ibuprofen is a newer drug than paracetamol, but it has also been used for fever and mild to moderate pain in children and adults for some years. It is not suitable for children under six months of age. If the fever persist for 1-2 days,it is advisable the child is seen by the doctor.

Circumcision
Circumcision, where allowed and legal, is the removal of the flap of skin which naturally covers the tip of the penis.
Circumcision can be painful for the child, both at the time of the operation and even some days after. Male Circumcision reduces risks of urinary tract infection in infancy and reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS later in life and also balanitis that occur in some uncircumcised individuals. The babies are placed on paracetamol after the procedure.

Female circumcision is harmful and is not  or be allowed to be done  due to the various complications  that the surgery exposes the female child to. When she becomes adult, female circumcision is harmful to good enjoyable sex life and a danger to child birth of the circumcised woman

Preterm Babies
Preterm babies “or preemies” are those who are born before 37 weeks gestation. Preemies may have immature organ systems. Generally, the younger the baby’s age at birth, the more health problems she may have. Preterm baby may need to be separated from the mother at birth if special care is required. When the preterm baby is well enough, she may be encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact with the mother. This is called Kangaroo Care. The baby is unwrapped and placed on the chest where he can hear the heart beat, feel the breathing, and breastfeed. The babies may have problems with feeding. They may be fed via special tubes or pump to give breast milk for feeding.

Remember – Never shake a baby or throw a baby up! It can lead to seizure, brain damage and death.

 

July 20, 2014 / clients

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Healthy Baby: Useful Tips For Parents And Carers

Benefits of Exercise. Your Solutions for Manifold of Diseases: Part 1 I have been labelled as Exercise Evangelist by the many people who receive my regular electronic messages on the subject of exercise. A lot of such recipients have taken to my messages and the exercise evangelism concept. Nothing can gladden a medical doctor than when he sees his patients and followers get a better health and they also follow medical advice. From all indications, it appears human beings are not made to be stationary. We are supposed to constantly be in purposeful motion. It’s on the basis of such joy as I mentioned above that I now write the current public health promotion and education series. The message in the next couple of weeks will focus on Exercise which is also called Physical Leisure Activity. As it’s the custom in writing this series, let us start by booking at the scope and definition of exercise. What is exercise? In keeping with medical dictionary, “Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body.” We may also consider physical exercise as being any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Whereas, brain exercises are those activities which give the brain new experiences by use of physical senses of hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, visual and emotional activities. I once told someone living in Lagos to exercise as part of clinical consultation, he responded by telling me that running after “danfo” or “BRT” and walking home when there is no bus to join is enough exercise for him. Pointing at his relative slim figure, he reminded me of the “benefits” of such “exercise” as struggling on daily basis to catch a “danfo” bus as a commuter had made him slim down. Yet, this individual’s blood pressure and sugar remained very high in spite of his perceived “exercise”. As we can see from the above definition, to have any reasonable and beneficial effect, exercise should be “planned and structured”. Exercise is not a sudden, chaotic and irregular activity embarked upon on an impulse due to imposing transport challenges. Another common error is in matter of sexual intercourse. While there is a definitive scientifically published article indicating that sexual activity results in a loss of energy up to 200Kilocalories (about 10% of daily energy requirement for a standard male) in a single sexual encounter lasting 30minutes and intercourse is considered as a form of exercise, it is clearly irrational to use sexual intercourse as a “planned, structured and repetitive” form of exercise. Sex by its very nature is vulnerable to emotion, subject to mood changes and because sex involves two individuals, intercourse may be unplanned as well as being seriously influenced by the feelings or motives of the other person. Exercise may not be so influenced by the variables which I have mentioned. Any reasonable exercise by adults is a definite and determined course of action. What exercise is not: one of my very good clinical and a personal friend once sent me a message asking for my view if arguing with one’s spouse can be considered as a form of exercise. Well, mere loss of or expenditure of energy as in the case of arguing with anyone not the least, one’s spouse, should not be considered as a form of exercise. Such argument does not fit the definition of an activity that is “planned and structured.” While I concede that conjugal argument may result in sweating, expenditure of energy, squabbling may be purposeless. What is the point in engaging in useless expenditure of energy? Argument may lead to mental stress, headache, impaired judgement, poor sleep and body aches---The very opposite features that real exercise is meant to achieve as we shall see later. As I have explained earlier, sex cannot be said to be structured, reasonable, planned activity that is meant to improve on certain muscles and organs of the body outside the muscles and organs that are involved in reproduction. To our able mothers and housewives, going about several times around the kitchen, living room and bed room in pursuit of domestic chores cannot be considered as a form of structured and planned physical exercise. Often, by the end of the day, a mother chasing after youngsters and housewives trying her best to ensure orderliness at home cannot be said to be exercising. Very often, the consequences of the activities that I have described in this paragraph, frequently leads to stress, hypertension and obesity: the very illnesses that physical exercises is meant to prevent as we shall see later on. Exercises such as laborious working of physical labourers, the restlessness of civil and mechanical construction workers, tedious efforts of subsistence farmers, the hassling of market women and men, the daily wearisome activities of bus conductors and drivers, spending endless times in the same office chair pouring over intractable problems by political and business executives as well as continuous mindless trekking on city streets cannot be said to be beneficial or structured exercises. At best, they are a waste of time and energy, resulting as it often does, in actual illnesses that structured, purposeful exercise is meant to prevent. Therefore, the subsequent articles will elaborate on exercise, the scope, the advantages and scientific recommendations on how best to get the highest benefits from exercise. Benefits of Exercise. Your Solutions for Manifold of Diseases: Part 2 In today’s article, we shall deal with various forms of recommended exercises. There are various forms of exercises that individuals and groups or families can engage in. I will set out below, these types of exercises. Physical exercises are in general classed into three types, based on the particular effect that the said exercise do have on the body. In contract to the random and chaotic nature of some individuals who are claiming to be exercising, these classes of exercises will help guide us as to know what activity we are engaged in at a particular time. Let us deal with aerobic exercise: This is a form of physical activity that uses big or large muscle groups. In effect, such activities cause the body to expend more oxygen fuel (hence the name aerobic) than it would while at rest. The aim of aerobic exercise is to increase the heart and blood vessels’ staying power or stamina. Examples of aerobic exercise include cycling, swimming, and brisk walking, jogging, skipping rope which women and children often ask me if rope skipping is a form of acceptable exercise, rowing and playing table or lawn tennis. The list goes on. Anaerobic exercise on the other hand is another form of exercise. Anaerobic means going without oxygen. This class of exercise includes strength training for example: weight lifting. Other form of anaerobic exercise includes leg and hands resistance training. Anaerobic exercise does strengthen, and tone muscles. Similarly, anaerobic exercise serves to improve bone strength, balance, and coordination. Examples of strength exercise, according to online Encyclopaedia (Wiki) are push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and bicep curls using dumbbells. As I mentioned earlier, anaerobic exercise also include weight training, functional training, sprinting, and high-intensity interval training increase short-term muscle strength. On the other hand, the third class of exercise is called flexibility exercises. Flexibility exercises involve stretching of joints and lengthening of muscles. Examples will be abdominal exercises, squatting, backward bending, bending and extending the joints and various muscles that are attached. Activities such as stretching help to improve joint flexibility and keep muscles agile. The objective is to improve the range of motion and degree of movements of the joints including their attached muscles which can as a result reduce the chance of damage. As can be seen therefore, the claim that frequently loitering in the kitchen, mindless walking along the street with heavy emotional load or jumping into commuter buses cannot be, in the true senses, considered as a form exercise. Meanwhile, physical exercise can also include an activity that focuses on accurateness, dexterity, power, and speed. Thus, sometimes the terms 'dynamic' and 'static' are used instead of above categorizations. 'Dynamic' exercises include such activities as steady running (jogging) which tend to produce a lowering of the diastolic blood pressure during exercise, due to the improved blood flow. On the contrary, static exercise (such as weight-lifting) can cause the systolic pressure to rise significantly again during the exercise. The moral of this explanation is that one should get involved in a mixture of different classes exercises (aerobic or dynamic as well as say stretching exercises) to enhance the overall benefits. Now, having dealt with the types or classes of exercises as discussed above, you will be right to ask me: what is the amount of exercise that is scientifically recommended to ward off illnesses? In other words, how much physical activity should I do? For this let us turn to some official guidelines. I will refer to the National Health Service (NHS Choices) in the UK for guidance which is copied but slightly edited below: For 19-64 years: To stay healthy or to improve health, adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and strength exercises which I also mentioned above. I will deal with other ages later. How much physical activity you need to do each week depends on your age. To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do: at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running or a game of singles tennis every week and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms); A mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week. For example, two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). A good rule is that one minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity. Benefits of Exercise. Your Solutions for Manifold of Diseases: Part 3 One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days a week. All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity. What counts as moderate aerobic activity? Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most people include: walking , water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball. Please take note that if you cannot exercise every day, a new research in January 2017 has given support to “Weekend Warriors” who chose to exercise on weekends only. Moderate activity will raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate level is if you can still talk, but you can't sing the words to a song. What counts as vigorous activity? There is good evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most people include: jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics (see above), gymnastics, martial arts Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. In general, 75 minutes of vigorous activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate activity. What activities strengthen muscles? Muscle strength is necessary for: all daily movement to build and maintain strong bones, to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, to help maintain a healthy weight. Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like a bicep curl or a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions. For each strength exercise, try to do: at least one set, eight to 12 repetitions in each set. To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition. There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or in the gym. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities for most people include: lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling. You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity – whatever's best for you. Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity. Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity. Examples include: circuit training, aerobics: running, football, rugby, netball and hockey. Exercise for Babies: Before your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time. Once babies can move around, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment. Children who can walk on their own should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes.(three hours). This should be spread throughout the day, indoors or outside. The 180 minutes can include light activity such as standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic activity like skipping, hopping, running and jumping. Ages 5-18years: To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5 to 18 needs to do: at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis on three days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles, such as push-ups, and exercises for strong bones, such as jumping and running. Older adults aged 65 or older, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily and should do: at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms). Benefits/Advantages of Exercise: Physical leisure activities have phenomenon amount of benefits. Exercise has incredible social and medical advantages. Human beings after all, seem to have been made to frequently be in motion. That is to say, sedentary lifestyle poses a danger to a person’s existence. For example, sitting too long or lying down for too long a period may lead to obesity, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis and anxiety. Engaging in physical exercise does help in maintaining overall physical well-being, contributing to ensuring healthy weight amongst others. Physical exercise induces happiness, improve the mood, helps overcome pain and prevent mental health breakdown. Let us now go in more details on the benefits of physical exercise. Benefits of Exercise. Your Solutions for Manifold of Diseases: Part 4 Human fertility. Its well established that regular exercise can help you shed weight. Obesity is bad for your fertility either as a male or female. For the female, obesity can distort the female reproductive organs and thus delay or even prevent conception from occurring. Further, excessive weight may require or produce excess hormones that regulate female function and appearance. The result is that excess circulating hormone such as estrogen may lead to uterine fibroid, cancer of the breast as well as infertility. A lean body or “figure 8” is a great helper of female fertility. For the man, generally what is said above for the female is applicable for the male save that excess testosterone (male hormone) may not be healthy for the prostate gland. High testosterone may also lead to high blood pressure. A recent research advised men to maintain a lean body mass so as to improve their own fertility. Regardless of the gender, obesity can impair fertility by creating diseases that affect fertility. Such illnesses include diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol and hypertension. These set of infirmities for the man can lead to erectile dysfunction. For the woman, polycystic ovarian disease may result. In both genders, obesity may physically impair enjoyment of sexual intercourse. Benefits of exercise on Cardiovascular System: Low levels of physical exercise increase the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases (diseases of the heart and blood vessels). For children, children who take part in in physical exercise produce greater loss of body fat and improved cardiovascular fitness. Experience has shown that academic stress in the young poses increased risk of cardiovascular disease in subsequent years; nonetheless, these dangers can be significantly lowered with structured physical exercise. Exercise can be used to lower high blood pressure or prevent one from developing. On Metabolism: There is scientific evidence to support the fact that exercise lowers blood pressure, LDL and total cholesterol as well as body weight. Exercise increases HDL cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, and exercise tolerance of the individual thus lowering the risk of diabetes mellitus. On Immune System: reasonable exercise has an advantageous consequence on the human immune system. For example: modest exercise has been linked with a 29% lowering of occurrence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). On Cancer: There is abundant evidence that structured physical exercise can prevent up to 13 different cancers in human beings: In particular, cancer of the breast, cancer of the lung, cancer of the stomach, cancer of the colon, cancer of the womb, cancer of the oesophagus, cancer of the blood such as myloid leukaemia and myeloma. Other cancers that exercise can keep at bay are cancer of the bladder, cancer of the head and neck as well as cancer of liver and rectum. Rehabilitation: Even in patients that had unfortunately suffered from cancer, exercise has been shown to improve the outcome of cancer treatment. Remember though that exercise is a non-medication and has no toxic side effects. Regardless of the age and gender, the same thing can be said for anyone who is recovering from surgery, accidents, fractures and long term bed immobility. Exercise helps in rehabilitation and recovery from countless number of diseases. On the bones and muscles: In women and men, exercise can help to strengthen the bone and muscles. In no age is this more important and well demonstrated as in middle ages in women who had undergone or undergoing menopause. Later in life, men tend to have their own “menopause.” Exercise helps to prevent osteroporosis and muscle wasting. This is especially so in older women. Regular and determined exercise is the preferred choice, ironically, to prevent and treat osteoarthritis of any bone or joints. Mental Illness: Its well documented and indeed proven that exercise has positive impact on our mental health. Let us examine this fact a little further. A mammoth body of research in human beings has shown that consistent aerobic exercise (for example, 30 minutes of every day) encourage continual enhancement in certain brain and intellectual functions. Individuals who regularly carry out aerobic exercise (such as, running, jogging, brisk walking, swimming or cycling) have superior score on brain functions and performance tests such as attention control, inhibitory control, working memory updating and capacity, and information processing speed. Clinical proof also maintains the use of exercise as an additional therapy for certain brain illnesses in particular Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease. Structured exercise is also associated with a lower risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders. Exercise and in particular, aerobic exercise is also a powerful antidepressant as well as producing euphoria leading to improvements in mood and self-esteem. On depression: Physical exercise is well established form of as an antidepressant in persons with depression. In fact, clinical evidence supports the use of exercise as both a preventive measure against and also supportive therapy with antidepressant medication for depressive illnesses. Persons suffering from anxiety can also benefit from moderate exercise. Exercise can thus banish sadness and improve happiness in individuals. Benefits of Exercise. Your Solutions for Manifold of Diseases: Part 5 Pain relief: Apart from the use of exercise in rehabilitation of persons with surgical, mental health and other physical illnesses, exercise can help banish or reduce psychological pain whatever its origin: such as grief, divorce and life failures. This is because exercise produces endorphins in the brain. Endorphin is a powerful pain killer like morphine. Sleep: exercise generally speaking, improves sleep for a lot of people. It also alleviates sleep disorders such as insomnic illness. However, the best time to exercise may be 4 to 8 hours before bedtime. Vigorous exercise which is done close to bed time may impair sleep as it may cause alertness. Other Circumstances: Fibroid is a common disorder in women more especially so in African women wherever they may be on earth. As mentioned earlier, inactivity and obesity may cause the body to require or produce excessive estrogen hormone. Thus, a lean body mass will require less. Exercise is therefore a non-medical way to prevent development of fibroid. Further, women who are pregnant and anticipating delivery are encouraged to exercise from mid-pregnancy. This is so, to prepare the birth canal and the entire body of the woman for labour. A well toned muscles of the pelvis and thoroughly prepared body will be less tiring and will be able to cope with the rigours of labour. Warnings/Cautions: As in any form of medical treatment, there may be unwanted side effects. Exercise is not different even though it’s free (or supposed to be) and is not a medication. I cannot over emphasize the fact that exercise may not necessarily be suitable for everyone. Anyone with heart disease, physical disability, hypertension or a person who has not done exercise for a long time should exercise caution especially at the initial stages. I will caution that anyone with the illnesses of hypertension, heart problems, diabetes along with obesity or any illness for that matter should first consult with his or her doctor for a check-up. An ECG may also be ordered to cross-check the heart activities ahead of proposed scheduled exercises. Also, as in everything in life, too much exercise can be harmful. Moderation and reasonability are called for. Excessive, unrelenting, prolonged exercise may cause heart diseases because of work overloading of the heart. Excessive exercise in individuals with distorted overweight perception of themselves may lead to excess weight loss which may cause such person to look emaciated. Unguarded exertion of muscle and joints may cause physical injuries and also diseases such as rhadomyolysis (muscle damage). In addition, overtraining may suppress your immunity leading to such illnesses as frequently having respiratory infections. Wrong exercise can do more harm than good, with the definition of wrong varying according to the individual concerned. For many activities, especially running and cycling, there are significant injuries that may occur with poorly regimented exercise schedules. Injuries from accidents also remain a major concern, whereas the effects of increased exposure to air pollution seem only negligible: Not everyone exercises outside or on the streets. Some do so in their private spaces and some do exercise in commercial centres (gym, as it’s popularly called). In the female adult, excessive training may cause amenorrhoea (absence of the menstrual periods). If this continues and or untreated, amenorrhoea may lead to infertility. However, amenorrhoea of this nature is reversible once a correction is made to the underlying cause. However, while exercise should be a lifestyle for the duration of one’s life, exercise should if so desired, be stopped gradually. Sudden stoppage of exercise can lead to downward shift in the mood of the individual. Suitable nutrition and hydration (water intake) are important to health as exercise. When exercising, it becomes even more important to have a good diet and rehydration to ensure that the body has the correct ratio of macronutrients that it needs while providing ample micronutrients as well, in order to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise. We should remember that we should not overload or reload the excess food or fat that has been lost through exercise. You should also have adequate rest in intervals. This will allow the body to recover from previous exertion. Finally, while exercise is to be encouraged for individuals (children and adults) as well as the communities, caution should be exercised and note should be taken that one person is not the same as the other. If Mrs Z can tolerate 30minutes, it does not imply that Mr B can do the same. Every person should find their own level according to one’s ability especially within the recommended regime. As I have indicated before, do seek the opinion of your medical doctor and clinical adviser if you are considering engaging in exercise for the first time. All the same, you can banish illnesses by the choice of your lifestyle. Good luck.

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