Pregnancy: Crucial Pre-Pregnancy Preparations

Pregnancy: Crucial Pre-Pregnancy Preparations

How to Get Pregnant

Introduction: Being pregnant and the ability to bear children is a biological process which is both time dependent and requires actions on your part.

Natural: Steps:

1. The woman needs a man for this step.  Look for a man. Depending on your preference, ideally any man that can perform intercourse should do.  What you see is what you get, in a lot of cases.  Your children will reflect you and the father.  The idea of this step, nevertheless, is to get the sperm of the man to meet the egg inside the woman through natural sexual exercise.

2. Determine the time for ovulation. This is the time that the woman’s eggs are released in readiness for fertilization and pregnancy.  The rule is that, ovulation occurs 14 days before the woman’s menstruation (monthly period). In a 28-day cycle, this is 14 days before the woman’s menstrual period. Ovulation may occur, though, between 13-17 days before the menstrual bleeding.

3. On the days specified above, have sexual intercourse.  Sex, means, inserting the man’s penis into the woman’s vagina and rubbing it against the inside the vagina until the sperms are released. The penis is inserted into nowhere else.
The released, sperms are still active 3 days or longer after the sperm is released into the woman though they may become weakened as time goes on. The more the number of quality sperms—in their millions—that are available, the better the chances of pregnancy occurring.

4. If pregnancy does not happen, on first attempt, try again every time on these occasions that I have advised above or you can try randomly if you have no time to monitor your ovulation. Most pregnancies occur on random basis anyway.

Artificial Methods

There are various methods that can be used to achieve pregnancy these days away from the natural methods. A man and woman will still be needed or their eggs/sperms will be required.  Most methods are called “test-tube” pregnancies.

Types:

  • Artificial Insemination
  • IVF (In-vitro-fertilization) and its many variants are available options.

Steps:

1. Register with a gynaecologist knowledgeable in IVF
2. Get an agreement/consent/permission of the man and woman, surrogate as the case may be.
3. Have the sperm or egg developed, over time, by medical team.
4. The gynaecologist, artificially, brings the egg (ovum) and the sperm together to create a developing baby or babies.
5. The gynaecologist inserts the resulting product into the woman and pregnancy results.

 

How to Prepare for Pregnancy and Have a Defect-Free Baby

Key questions to ask before pregnancy are: (for the man and woman)

a)      “Am I carrying a defective gene— that may cause disease in the baby though the defect is not causing any disease in me at the moment?” Examples are bleeding disorder called Factor VIII deficiency, sickle cell trait, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and many others.

b)      “Am I carrying any disease which has shown up in me but can also be passed onto my baby such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia?”

c)      “Do I have mental health diseases?” Though not visible, they can sometimes be passed from one generation to the other. Health may suffer and lifestyle may be affected by mental health diseases such as mania, depression, schizophrenia, anorexia etc. Healthy living is not based on physical defects alone. The World Health Organization says so in the definition that I gave earlier.

d)     “Do I have the mind set to have a baby and the responsibilities that comes with it such as spending time together, training, financial and social implications?”

For the woman:  She needs to ask:

e)   “Do I have enough vitamins/minerals such as folic acid to support the pregnancy?” Start taking some now. Eat balanced diet too.

“Do I have diseases that may put my life and the life of the new born at risk during pregnancy and during birth?”  Check now with your doctor.

f)       “Do I have the mind-set to become pregnant?” This is important as pregnancy is life and body-image-changing. A good mindset is good to enable you to tolerate the people and the baby around you and to help you with bonding of the baby when he or she is born.

Avoid harmful substances, undue exposure to radiation and powerful chemicals.  Avoid anxieties and do have good rest.

With these initial self screening, many events that may shorten lives may be avoided. This is not just for  preventing illnesses in the new born, parents that will become tied up looking after unhealthy person may suffer socially, financially, mentally and physically too if problems occurred.  So, it is important to plan ahead. If in doubt, you should fully investigate and seek the help of professionals before it becomes too late. 

 

How to Know You Are Pregnant

To some women, knowing that they are pregnant is a matter of experience. That is to say, they have been through it before and can tell by the slightest sign, that they are pregnant when it happens. Yet to the new-comers, the experience and knowledge of being pregnant can sometimes be shocking and often end up in joyful disbelief.  In spite of the said statement, to some experienced women, it may sometimes be difficult for them to know that they are pregnant especially if they are not expecting to be pregnant. In such occasion, the knowledge of pregnancy may at first be denied.

In the first 12 weeks:

In general:

  1. The first sign of pregnancy in almost all women is a missing menstrual period. In some women, the monthly bleeding may continue even in the presence of pregnancy. In women who are not having regular periods or in women who are on the pill or other medication, this sign/symptom of absence of period may not be reliable. 
  1. Feeling different, being tired, feeling of nausea, vomiting are earliest signs and symptoms. Appetite may increase: You eat more than usual. 

3.  The definitive confirmation of pregnancy is to:

a) Have a pregnancy test. Often, you can obtain a pregnancy test from your local pharmacy. There are many but different kits for this purpose. A positive test is a good indicator. Be mindful of false positive tests which may occur for many reasons. It takes a minute or two to carry out this test and most will pick up ongoing pregnancy of 2-4 weeks old.

b) Have an ultrasound scan as soon as possible via the General Practitioner or in Ante-natal Clinic. This is perhaps the ultimate evidence apart from the more complex investigations that could be carried out by doctors.

Beyond 12-weeks:

1. Woman’s weight increase as the baby gain weight and the woman eats more.

2. The tummy’s (abdomen) increasing size becomes more obvious. In some women, this may not be so obvious. I have seen women who were 6-months pregnant without being aware of it. They thought their personal weight had merely increased even though the baby was kicking! Yet, there are reports of women who were in full term labour before they realised that they were pregnant!

3. Swelling of legs and possibly hands and face.

4. At about 18-20 weeks and beyond, the woman can begin to feel the kicking of the baby inside her.

At this stage, a pregnancy can be established, beyond any shadow of doubt.

 

How to Get a Healthy Child and a Healthy Mother 

 Steps to take should include:

A.

a)      Eat balanced diet

b)      Avoid exposure to infections and treat or control all forms of infections (common cold, herpes, chest infections, stomach, food, urine, vagina, HIV infections)

c)      Avoid exposure to excessive radiations. Radiation may kill or deform the baby.

d)     Have adequate and appropriate vitamins and minerals (folic acid, vitamins and iron if not enough is taken in diet).

e)      Avoid exposure to illegal drugs such as cannabis, alcohol, chemicals and non-prescribed medications. They may damage the cells and your baby.

Note: Time is everything. Make use of your time. While individual situations differ, the ideal age bracket, for the woman, to have children is between 20-35 years. While, pregnancy is possible at the extremes and beyond the quoted age bracket, there are higher risks in having babies, with such pregnancies at extreme age brackets. Example: Chances of Down’s syndrome is much higher at age of 40 than at 30 years.

B.

Have all forms of infections and illnesses, detected and treated or be put under proper medical control. HIV, High blood pressure, diabetics, and thyroid problems must be treated and or controlled.  Otherwise, they may cause you and the baby serious problems.

C.

You will need to get vaccinated against some infections (for example, tetanus depending on the country where you live) if you have not done so in pre-pregnancy (rubella, chicken-pox, tuberculosis etc). Preferably, all vaccinations should be done before pregnancy.

D.

During pregnancy, be vigilant to your baby movements from 16 weeks. Note any reduction in or excessive movements of the baby. It may be a sign of distress.  Also, are you feeling unwell? Report it now to your nurses/midwife or doctor.

The birth

The birth of a new baby brings joy to the family. However, we must remember that the process of birth is the most dangerous journey anyone coming through the birth canal can ever undertake. Apart from the pain of labour, that the woman experiences, the baby is hugely at risk too. The risks include physical injuries from pressure of labour through the narrow birth (vagina) canal. Others are chemical injuries to the brain from inadequate supply of oxygen to the brain, possible blockage of wind pipe from aspirations of the birth materials. Bleeding from possible injuries sustained by the baby during birth may lead to brain and organ impairment.  Excessive bleeding during birth, by the mother may affect the baby too as it may starve the baby of needed oxygen and food. Brain damage may therefore result from inadequate oxygen. All these may either cut short the life of the baby and the mother or reduce either person’s life span.

The good news, however, is that if promptly identified and treated, a lot of the injuries and damages may be prevented. But it requires planning and vigilance by both the doctors and the care receiver—you!

The importance of highlighting these issues is to draw your attention to the injuries and damages which may affect the future life style of the baby and the mother. For example, if oxygen had been inadequately supplied to the baby before or during birth or shortly after birth, there may be brain damage and this may lead to seizures later in life which in turn reduces the quality of life of the person. Seizure may also lead to early death, thus defeating the lofty objective of healthy living ideals.

If the baby has been exposed to dangerous substances (cocaine, cannabis, alcohol) while in the womb, and before birth, this may determine the quality of life that the baby may lead later on in life. The child may not grow properly, brain may be damaged and his personality may suffer. The life span may also be reduced as a result of poor delivery even if delivered by surgical intervention.

The main things that parents can do are:

a)      Ensure preventive measure is in place even before pregnancy occurs (see earlier sections in this chapter).

b)      Get screened for any preventable illness (infections such as HIV, for example) before pregnancy: Any defects that may affect you or the baby.

c)      Get screened for genetic diseases (cystic fibrosis, sickle cell) before pregnancy. This will help the individual to determine if passing such diseases to others is worthwhile.

d)     Be alert to risks or dangers that may harm the baby during pregnancy such as maternal falls and physical trauma.

e)      Be alert to dangers of radiation, chemotherapy, strong magnetic fields, illegal substances, cigarette/nicotine, alcohol and so forth.

f)       Be alert to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.

g)      Be alert to dangers at birth time (during labour) . The professionals will be very vigilant on this however. But be even more vigilant too. Professionals are humans. Error does occur.

May 17, 2014 / clients

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Pregnancy: Crucial Pre-Pregnancy Preparations

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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