Juvenal’s ideal

Published January 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST

By DR. JOSE PUJALTE JR.

“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description

 of a happy state in this World . . .”

John Locke (1632–1704), British philosopher,

Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693).

Dr. Jose Pujalte Jr.
Dr. Jose Pujalte Jr.

Mens sana in corpore sano dates back to Juvenal (90 A.D.) and everyone knows that it means “a sound mind in a healthy body.”  It is the prescription of the ages. Today, being the first month of 2020, the challenge should be a fresh resolution to achieve this ideal.

Now to have a “sound mind” is in many ways an intellectual, philosophical, sometimes a religious issue. We won’t get into that because it is booby-trapped with bias and emotion. However, a “sound body” is less debatable. This is something we can agree on.

Components of physical fitness. Sports medicine experts have identified four key areas, all measurable, that comprise physical fitness. These are:

  • Cardio-vascular health
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle endurance
  • Joint flexibility

Cardio-vascular health is the condition of the circulatory system – the heart (the pump) and its vast network of blood vessels (the tubes). Closely related to the circulatory system is the respiratory. As cardiovascular health improves through regular exercise, the lungs are able to develop a greater and better capacity to transport oxygen and nutrients to the body. Muscle strength refers to how much a person can lift, say a set of barbells, while muscle endurance will measure how many times or repetitions this can be done. Finally, joint flexibility is the ability to move joints in its full range of motion with or without resistance. For example, the normal range of motion for the shoulder (beginning with the hand at the side then raising it above the head with the inside of the arm touching the ear) is easily from 0 to 180 degrees.

Are you in shape? Even without the numbers, it’s easy to find out by just asking three questions, according to the Mayo Clinic experts:

  • Can you perform daily tasks without fatigue and still have energy for leisure pursuits?
  • Can you climb a few flights of stairs or walk a mile (1 mile = 1.609 kilometers) without becoming winded or feeling heaviness in the legs?
  • Can you carry a conversation while doing light to moderate exercise such as brisk walking?

The Benefits of Exercise. If still unconvinced that some form of exercise (brisk

walking, stationary cycling, swimming, jogging, even ballroom dancing, etc.) can do much good, consider these.  Regular exercise (at least three to four times a week, 30 minutes at a time) can:

  • Prevents the onset of high blood pressure.
  • Lowers high blood pressure if you already have it.
  • Leads to strong bones and muscles which in turn improve balance and coordination.
  • Lowers blood sugar levels (control diabetes).
  • Clears the “blues” (depression) with the release of beta-endorphins in the brain that give the feeling of well being.
  • Delays organic brain damage that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Improves libido.

Before exercising. Before committing to exercise, please see your favorite doctor. This really just means a general checkup to baseline the condition of your body before stressing it. It doesn’t make sense to die of exercise because of missed heart or lung problems. For those who have no interest in the structured and repetitive nature of exercise, there is the alternative of physical activity. This refers to body movements that burn calories such as washing the car, mowing the lawn, or carrying heavy objects. Boring chores from this perspective do have some use. Online stores offer cheap smart watches that continuously measure heart rates, steps taken all day, and calories burned. They consolidate commitment to fitness and can be aids for that long road ahead.

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