World Hypertension Day: Be active, do exercise to avoid disease – Experts

People exercising [Photo credit: Al Jazeera]
People exercising [Photo credit: Al Jazeera]

To lower the risk of having hypertension, health experts have urged Nigerians to do regular exercise and reduce sedentary way of life.

They gave the advice to mark the World Hypertension Day, which is being celebrated across the world May 17.

A medical doctor, Omoteniola Taiwo-Ojo, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES said sedentary lifestyle, junk food and high salt intake contribute to the risk of hypertension.

“Some people’s risk of having hypertension is higher than others because it is hereditary. Unfortunately, the kind of life they live increases the risk. In as much as we can control our dietary pattern, people need to exercise more. This will go a long way to reduce the risk of having different aliment synonymous with not performing mobile activities,” she said.

According to Mrs Taiwo-Ojo, daily exercise improves the function of muscles located around the heart, helps the heart to pump out blood efficiently and circulate oxygen to every part of the body.

“We recommend exercise, especially brisk walking for people with health challenges, especially obese, diabetic or hypertensive patients.

“At least 30 minutes every day helps burn the calories in the body; it burns out fat that can cause obesity or that can clog the muscles located at the heart and prevent them for pumping well,” she said.

Mrs Taiwo-Ojo said exercise can also prevent other health problems such as diabetes and arthritis; and relieves stress, raises good cholesterol (HDL) and reduces bad cholesterol level in the body (LDL).

“The LDL can cause heart attack when it clogs the arteries which is meant to pump blood from the heart to the whole body. Regular walking can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack as this increases the cardiovascular and pulmonary activities in the body,” she said.

Speaking in the same vein, Samson Ukperi, a consultant said walking is an easy form of exercise that can be done by any age, as it is not a daunting exercise.

“The fitness result from walking equals results gotten from other exercises if carried out religiously. We encourage people to walk for their health because the increase in the pump rate of blood during exercise helps strengthen the heart and lungs as well as increase overall fitness of the person.

“Walking is good because it helps reduces pressure on the legs thus preventing swollen foot common in elderly people and those who often sit for long.

Mr Ukperi said moving around helps circulate the flow of fluid from the legs to all the other parts of the body thereby lowering the risk of blood clot which can lead to heart attack, stroke or death if dislodged.

“It is however advisable for people with medical conditions to consult their doctors to know what extent they can go,” he added.


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