Groups of older men and women strolling together just before sunrise have long been an early morning sight in Phnom Penh, but now the capital is seeing an increase in the number of solo joggers hitting the streets to make exercise at this time. as well.
Most mornings, if you were in the Bele Bridge area of Russey Keo township and walked to the nearby public park and looked out into the dim light of the street lamps, you would see at least one haired jogger as white as his. t-shirt progressing slowly but steadily on its way.
Than Tha gets up at dawn each day and runs to the Chroy Changvar International Convention and Exhibition Center, running for an hour – even though he is now in his 60s – at a steady but gentle pace.
Tha, who is known to other joggers as Kong, runs for the same reason most people of any age do – for the perceived and actual health benefits it can provide as well as the more subjective qualities such as stress relief or mood enhancement.
“I feel really good when I jog and sweat every day. My belly fat has now been reduced and I feel healthier,” he said.
Tha said he started exercising daily because he was a regular drinker in the evenings and wanted to find an activity to offset the harmful effects, but at first during the first few years, he stuck to leisurely walks in one of the capital’s 121 public parks. , although not all of them are good places to exercise.
Besides parks, many Cambodians use various fitness and gym facilities as well as rock climbing walls, football pitches or the traditionally preferred site of the Olympic Stadium. It all depends on the exercise goals of the person in question.
Many people would like to lose weight. Some want to be stronger or more agile, while others want more stamina. All seek health benefits, essentially, in various ways.
Doctors and other health experts have long recognized that exercise provides many health benefits, but the doctors The Post spoke to said the form of exercise should be appropriate to abilities and limitations. of the individual.
“For those who are overweight due to a high fat or high sugar diet, they should exercise to the point where they have been sweating well and then stop. Gradually they will be able to hold on longer. a long time each day before needing to rest.For those who are very old, they should try to walk no more than 10 or 15 minutes a day, but 30 minutes to an hour of walking would be more appropriate for younger and relatively healthy adults. good health,” said Dr Som Ra, a general practitioner at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital.
Cardiologists also point to the benefits of daily exercise for heart health and the prevention or mitigation of heart disease.
“Exercise is good for the coronary arteries. In general, exercise helps reduce the amount of fat in the blood vessels and prevents them from becoming clogged with fat, especially the coronary arteries,” he told The Post Chan Panha Sokha, cardiologist at Preah Ang Duong Hospital.
He explained that the causes of heart disease are all irreversible risk factors for people over 60. Men are more likely to have heart attacks and there are some variable factors that those at risk can change in terms of daily routines or habits.
Panha Sokha said people who are concerned about or at risk of heart disease should quit smoking. He also noted that people with hypertension, diabetes and obesity may also be at increased risk of heart disease and that changes in their diet as well as certain medications – when taken as prescribed. a doctor – can be of great help.
Khouth Sophak Chakrya, 47, who has diabetes, said he normally exercises regularly, including aerobics, karate and weight training. However, he said that over the past three weeks his condition has worsened and his doctors have advised him against lifting weights until he improves.
“The doctor recommends continuing to do aerobics and karate and I can walk but not jog as it can damage the joints over time and lead to arthritis,” he said.
In addition to exercising appropriately for his condition, Chakrya also limits his diet on the advice of a nutritionist in an effort to better manage his diabetes-related blood sugar.
According to Dr. Som Ra, even patients with chronic diseases who do not have the energy to exercise like walking, running or jumping can still exercise by moving their limbs or stretching. slightly. This will allow them to achieve some of the same goals as more intense exercise for healthier people and it will also prevent them from becoming as stiff or weak from sitting or in a hospital bed for long periods of time.
“For people with severe diabetes and older people who can no longer walk, they can do certain movements like raising their arms and legs or stretching. They should change their diet, eat more vegetables, fish, chicken or
pork, but no red meat like beef.
“They should avoid eating sugary high carbohydrate diets and when choosing vegetables they should be aware that some are higher in sugar and some are lower,” he said. he declares. “If they have heart disease, they should remain aware of their condition during exercise and be careful not to exceed their strengths.”
Dr Chan Panha Sokha said healthy people should exercise at least half an hour a day, but if they are too tired to do anything strenuous, they can also walk for a while. half hour.
“For those with heart disease, if they try to cycle or run too hard when they have fat clogging their coronary arteries, it can lead to an exercise-induced heart attack and there is had many documented cases where this happened and they died,” he said.
Dr. Sokha recommends people who are elderly or unsure of their health to first consult their doctor and do a fitness test where they run on a treadmill with a heart rate monitor in place.
“It allows the doctor to check whether he has a heart problem or not. This procedure is often performed on professional athletes – for example, when they are changing teams or are about to sign a new contract, to ensure that they will be able to perform,” he said. declared.
Tha – the jogger in his 60s – said he started running instead of walking at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to burn off some of the unused energy he had by staying at inside all the time with everything closed, but he soon found that he not only felt healthier, but his blood pressure was improving, as was his blood sugar, which he now checked every six months.
Doctors generally applaud the Kingdom’s new healthier habits when it comes to exercise, but they also warn that exercise alone will not solve many of the health problems Cambodians face today.
“I see that more and more Cambodians are exercising to lose weight and stay healthy. It’s a good thing. But what really needs to change is their diet. Most people eat too much sugar and too many sugary foods in their diet and it is one of the major contributors to obesity and poor health in general,” Dr. Sam Ra concluded.