THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: So you thought walking was enough exercise for the body? Far from it, say experts at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Medicine Centre functioning at the Jimmy George Stadium here.
"The human body needs stretching and strengthening as much as it needs mobility. The three components have to be given equal importance for a healthy living,’’ said Dr Shankar Ram of the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Medicine Centre.
The walkers who came for their daily walks to the Museum compound at 6 am last Saturday were therefore surprised to see blue exercise mats waiting for them on the road. Dr Shankar Ram and team explained that exercise is indeed medicine of the preventive kind and that stretching was as important as walking, the absence of which can cause several of the non-communicable diseases that are now spreading like wildfire across the State.
Soon enough, a crowd of as many as 250 walkers gathered on the mats, eagerly following instructions on stretching and strengthening. Senior citizens were the most enthusiastic of the lot. Just as the first batch finished their training, a second batch followed at 7 am, all eager to take on the path to perfect health.
All the participants were also given a WHO protocol on the daily need for movement and exercises. "We intend to capture sessions on camera and upload it to the You-Tube so that the public anywhere can log on and learn the stretching exercises,’’ said Dr Shankar Ram. All that was needed was an exercise mat and things like a PET bottle, which can be found in every home, he said.
As part of the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Medicine Centre’s ongoing programme called Physical Activity Programme for Adults, or PAPA in short, an initiative has been launched to make regular exercise a part of the daily routine of citizens. "Unfortunately, 60 -70 per cent of the cityfolks do not do any exercises at all. They cite a number of reasons for this, starting from lack of interest to lack of time, space and circumstances. So we decided that it would be best to start the stretching exercises with people who have already started exercising, at least walking,’’ said Dr Shankar Ram.
The stretching demonstrations were repeated on Saturday evening as well and it is expected that those who attended the Saturday sessions would pass it on to others, so that it would finally take the shape of a movement in the city.
The demonstrations will hopefully be repeated on March 1 on the Museum compound. "But we would like to move on to other places in the city, where small groups gather for exercise,’’ said Dr Shankar Ram. The campaign against lifestyle diseases has been aptly titled ‘Exercise is medicine.’