A healthy mind in a healthy body

The importance of fitness to physical health and mental well-being cannot be overemphasised, say a number of Muscat-based physicians and experts. Exercise is not only indispensable to the goal of maintaining healthy and positive lifestyles, but crucially, it is also an important counterweight to modern-day non-communicable malaises, like diabetes, hypertension, coronary disease, and so on, that afflict a sizable proportion of the Omani population, they warn. “Regular exercise is an important recipe for a healthy heart and a healthy mind,” says Dr Hamed al Sinawi, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital.
“When you exercise, you burn out calories that could be accumulating in your body and increase your risk of developing heart disease and hypertension. Exercise also helps your body to release endorphins, which are natural happiness hormones.”
According to the specialist, regular physical exercises are an important component of a healthy lifestyle not only for the health of the body, but also for physiological wellbeing. “While exercising, the person is releasing stress hormones and enjoying the outdoors. Also, on some occasions, exercise opens up the opportunity to meet new people, engage with them and form real social networks rather than virtual ones. Furthermore, exercising also improves strength of the body muscle, reduces aging and increases the immune system’s ability to fight all kinds of diseases and infections.”
Importantly, people with active lifestyles are less likely to suffer problems with their sleeping, are more likely to have a happy mood, and are less anxious and stressed out from their work and other daily activities. Exercise also reduces the risk of obesity, which is the number one cause of multiple ‘new age’ diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, Dr Al Sinawi warned.
However, before kicking off a strenuous fitness regimen, beginners are well-advised to take some precautions, he explained. “If you are new to exercising, take things slowly starting with mild warm-ups while avoiding heavy physical activities that could have potentially negative consequences.”
AAK, an Omani accountant by trade, says he has been taking his doctor’s advice on health fitness “super-seriously” since he received a jolt about his poor physical condition.
“During a routine check-up, my physician broke the news about my sky high blood pressure and sugar levels. I was devastated! He prescribed regular medication to help stabilise my situation, but stressed the importance of a daily fitness regimen. So, I signed up at the neighbourhood gym and have been regular ever since. I exercise for almost five hours daily – a mix of light and heavy workouts. A month later, I was most relieved to find my pressure and sugar levels normal. Take it from me – exercise can be a life-saver!”

Hammam al Badi