Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie
Sport is the most practical way to stay physically fit. It is no longer a fable or an idle kind of chatter to nudge people to act in a way that should keep them fit. Till this day, sport is in the curriculum of many schools. As for the schools which specialise in grooming children only for academic excellence, there are obvious health repercussions. Sport has many beneficial effects on the muscles and bones. It keeps the muscles tone and lean and fit. They respond briskly to an emergency situation by contracting protectively or in a manner that prepares you for flight. By doing so, it helps to assure the entire body of the right kind of balance and ensure also an economy of movement. The lean muscles which develop as a result of regular physical exertion through sport make for a well-integrated individual. Movements are graceful and with minimum energy, thus the power packed into the muscles is assured. As the muscles gain in strength, they also consume more oxygen, but all of that helps make it a more efficient engine. Contracting muscles increase the flow of blood through its sinews. The more rapid supply of oxygen also helps to more efficiently remove carbon dioxide and lactic acid from the system.
As one is engaged in sports in over a long span of time, there is a gradual build-up of physical strength and reserve energy. The blood flow through the muscles becomes well developed and there is little or no build-up of cholesterol in the contributing blood vessels. The sinews of the muscles gain in size, length and sometimes also in number, to the extent that the muscle bulk is often in an inverse relationship with the amount of body fat people go around with. It is an important component of good health and it has enormous benefits for the cardiovascular status of any individual. It acts to regulate the rhythm of the heartbeat, its amplitude and forcefulness. In a highly trained athlete, the heartbeat may be no more than one half of that of an untrained one. That happens because even the heart muscles increase in bulk and strength because of sporting activity.
During such sporting activities, the heart pumps out blood more forcefully than normal and is therefore able to perfuse all the tissue systems of the body very effectively. Even the tiny blood vessels at the level of the tissues open up and contribute to the evacuation of toxins from the body. As such exercise goes on, the body releases endorphins, a kind of innate pain-killer which helps the body handle the pounding it takes while being engaged in the respective sports. A combination of these products in the circulation together with an improved blood supply to the tissues tunes up the brain in remarkable ways. It is then able to engage quickly in things which are mental. The brain more easily navigates complicated problems and the response time in matters of emergency becomes much sharper. Partly in response to all these changes, life expectancy tends to improve as well.
It is also said that memory and the residual strength people have tend to improve with sport. Regular sporting activities over a long period of time often mobilises fat and carbohydrates from their various stores and use them for energy. As a result, undue weight gain is unknown among this group of people. The transportation of these compounds through the portal vein is said to be an effective check to eating soon after a sporting activity because it suppresses the appetite. This is one of the complicated ways in which sport helps to regulate body weight.
Sport also plays an important role in helping to regulate breathing. The pattern becomes more even while the amplitude and depth improve. This is a direct result of the intensity of the exercise engaged in. A better breathing pattern keeps insomnia away and helps the person wake up the following morning feeling truly rested. Our muscles are like batteries; if a battery is activated, it is irrelevant whether it is connected to a gadget or not. It will discharge its current over time. So it is with the muscles. If they are used actively or sluggishly, they burn energy as is suited to the stress but when the usage is constructive it means that more energy is burnt, but it is effectively replenished. As a result, exercise trains the respiratory system properly so that the regular pattern of breathing which develops also improves sleep.
The total package of benefits is endless. A leaner weight, with a more active heart and reduced blood pressure, helps to keep the blood vessels functioning well so that they in turn supply more oxygen to the brain and other tissues. The heart and the brain benefit from this and the individual responds more effectively to crisis in both physically and mentally beneficial ways. He is also able to learn new tasks with relative ease and the memory and sleeping pattern improve. The final result is an improved life expectancy. However, this final benefit usually comes at a price and that price is consistent activity in the sporting arena over a long time. Intense sporting activities that occur once in a while are unlikely to produce similar benefits and may indeed be harmful.
Finally, it is now known beyond a shadow of doubt that good sport also has a very positive bearing on good sex. The lithe features which sports helps either sex to develop, the work rate of the various muscles, especially among the men, and the added benefits for the penis, add up to spice up that aspect of many marriages. It is a useful and additional value which no man can deny. Sex too is another avenue for obtaining all the positive benefits of exercising that have been described above.
Ask the doctor
Dear doctor, I must confess to you that your SUNDAY PUNCH column is one of the best free health service I have ever come across in a print media! I appreciate your genuine and up-to-date write-ups every Sunday. God bless you sir. Please I need your sincere opinion urgently. I am 73 years old with an enlarged prostrate since 14 years ago. Prostatectomy was done in LUTH in 2002. PSA values carried out since 2007 is 3.0, but it is now 14. A biopsy was done seven times in LUTH, Mecure and a private hospital, which showed benign conditions. I have been on Finasteride 5mg and Contiflo XL 400mic, which I take once daily. I also attend my clinic once in three months to see the consultant urology at LUTH. I am not diabetic, but I am hypertensive, but the condition is well controlled with Nifecard XL 30mg, which I take twice daily, alongside a low dosage aspirin daily. I always carry out tests once a year the latest was done in February this year:
Fasting blood sugar
Full blood count
Abdominal pelvic ultrasound scan
Electrolytes urea/ creatinine
The results have been given to my consultants who confirmed that there is no major problem. My main challenge is that I urinate many times at night and this disturbs my sleep at this age. I don’t wish to depend on sleeping tablets because once I use it, I may not urinate more than twice at night. The continued growth of the prostrate is another major worry for me. In your opinion, do I go for another operation to remove the prostrate? What else do I do to reduce the frequent disturbance of urinating at night? Do I come to you for another opinion? Am I having adequate attention? email@example.com
I greatly sympathise with you sir, particularly with respect to the fact that good sleep has been eluding you. I also wish to thank you very much for your kind words. I am sorry I am just responding to your mail. There are simply too many of them to respond to. You did mention that you were sending me the same mail for the second time. I never got the first one. I see in this thread that it was sent to a wrong email address and was not delivered as a result. Now, if you had your surgery in LUTH, I would advise you to continue to attend the urology clinic there because the level of attention you get in a teaching hospital will always be of the highest quality. I am sure there will be a reassessment of your current condition. A second operation called a repeat prostatectomy may be the solution that prevents you ultimately from taking these medications while still being unable to enjoy your sleep. You just have to discuss this with your doctors and arrive jointly on what needs to be done.
Dear doctor, thank you very much for the good work you have been doing through your column in SUNDAY PUNCH. May God Almighty reward you abundantly. I need your advice on a predicament I have been passing through. I have been experiencing a burning sensation on my right leg, precisely my shin, between my knee and ankle. I have carried out a blood sugar test as suggested by some pharmacists I met and it was negative. Besides, I do not have a history of diabetes in my immediate and extended families. When I apply some prescribed ointment on it at times I will get some relief, but then the pain will resurface. I have started feeling funny about the other leg and I am really afraid now. What do you think is responsible and what is the solution? Thank you firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry for the late response to your email. I believe that your sensation is due to a nerve problem. As a result, you need to visit a neurologist for consultation and examination. You will not get the proper treatment from a pharmacist. Do that soon and best of luck.
Dear doctor, I have an 11-year-old daughter who still wets the bed every night. Please what can I do about it or are there drugs that can be administered to stop it? Thanks. 08139xxxxx
Bedwetting is distressing to parents and sufferer alike. You will need to see a paediatrician with your daughter in order to exclude any physical reason for its cause. Once that has been done treatment should be possible, although that often takes a while to achieve. Most often, the problem stops on its own.
Dear doctor, your prompt treatment of my bitter leaf enquiry is highly commendable. The dominant fear really is whether the bitter element in the leaf can accumulate in the long run to damage the liver and other vital organs of the body. 08033xxxxxx
I would say that many people who champion the positive effects of bitter leaf on the body and its organs are of the opinion that its effects are opposite to those you mentioned. Besides, this plant known as Vernonia amygdalina is a healing and medicinal plant said to be useful to the human body from its roots to the leaves. It grows anywhere and is claimed to help treat hypertension, diabetes and intestinal disorders, in addition to helping to treat wounds and cure anaemia. I know a family that likes it so much that they successfully grew it on their property in Texas, in the United States. It is not a plant that can damage your liver or any other organ because, in the end, it is a vegetable too and it is a safe one at that.
Dear doctor, I am 21 years old. Is it good to have sex at this age? 09063xxxxxx
Whether it is good or bad for you to have sex at your age is ultimately a choice you will have to make. At 21, you are regarded as an adult and if you believe you have what it takes to bear any burden which results from that, it is your choice to make.