Always been an exercise aficionado. Read-here, how I became one

Starting an exercise regime at the beginning of 2014 seemed, hard and boring, though, on several occasions, I had gotten a feel of it, while dancing to the pulsating percussion driven-Kadodi dance of Eastern Uganda. 
It happens to be my traditional dance.

I started exercising as a way of keeping fit, cutting weight and beating off disease and mood disorders like depression.

Getting into a steady stride and making it enjoyable took quite some time, however.

When I gradually got into a stride, exercise became as normal as brushing teeth and at length, I become an exercise freak.
Practice does indeed make perfect.

I have since won several medals, as a result of running, including two medals from the last two MTN Uganda- Marathons (21kms race).

The writer hitting the final stretch at the 2018 Kampala Seven Hills Marathon in Nsambya

I always have this “new lease of life” feeling after I hit the road, jogging with my friends. 

In the course of time, exercise has toned different parts of my body and muscles and to date, my childhood and High school friends, wonder how I manage to stay lean and fit, while they hit their dotage.
Nor that they are too old, anyway. Most are in their mid and late 30’s.

Before I began my exercise regime, I was a slouch with a lot of body fat around my mid section [midriff area of the body].

For the most part, even when I played basketball in High School and during school holidays, my leg and hand muscles were frail.

Having a well toned body and strong muscles means spells stronger bones, fewer injuries and healthy bone density.

I may not be as chiseled as Shaun T, the American fitness trainer and choreographer, but you can bet your bottom dollar, I will be like him, in a few years, as long as I maintain the spirit.

Ten to one, I will and if you maintain the spirit, too, chances are high; you will achieve the same results.

The writer third from left in the back row was part of the New Vision Kampala 2018 Seven Hills Marathon winning team


A doctor friend by the names of Fred Womudenyi, who is a physician in Mbale, in the East of Uganda, advised me to get a medical evaluation before I embarked on my fitness regime.

“It is the right thing to do, though few people do it. It is good to evaluate how much and how often, you will exercise, depending on your health status. People with cardiovascular [heart] problems particularly, should get approval from their physician, first before beginning an exercise regime,” Womudenyi said.

“Before beginning a fitness program, consider also basic factors like intensity {how hard you are going to work out}, frequency, the type of exercise and duration {how long you are going to work out}.
For total fitness, an exercise program should include exercises for endurance, muscular strengthen and flexibility.

“Endurance is the ability to do something difficult for a long time, while flexibility refers to the range of movements in joints and muscles.
Exercises for endurance include jogging, swimming, bicycling and aerobics.
Exercises for flexibility are mostly stretching exercises. These are necessary to improve and maintain the range of movement in muscles and joints,” Peter Kityo, fitness instructor in Kira, Wakiso district, says.

Lessons learnt

When you start an exercise program, start slow and increase gradually.
Set a timetable to do it and follow the proper phases and techniques for exercising of your choice.

“The four factors that should be considered when planning a fitness program are frequency, duration, intensity and type,” Kityo says.

Exercising as part of a group or with a friend is very rewarding in terms of morale and consistency, so give a crack.
A group approach to exercising, like the format, I and my friends have chosen, benefits everyone involved.

Besides developing relationships, group exercising offers opportunity for technique improvement and is a great way to get exposed to new kinds of exercises.


Exercising has three phases that have to be followed as a rule of thumb, according to Sports Tutor, Moses Opio.

“Conditioning, warm up and cool down exercises and stretches, before and after a run or a workout help prevent muscle pulls and muscle soreness.
Warm up exercises ready the body for a run or an aerobics session.
The warm up also prepares one’s cardiovascular system for more strenuous work,” Opio says.

“Conditioning is the process of getting ready for exercise. It helps the body to perform the strenuous aspects of working out, whilst the cool down phase, which includes stretching exercises and walking, on occasion brings the body back to a resting state. Exercising an unconditioned body puts excess stress on the muscles, bones and cardiovascular system. This can result in injuries and illness.”


Brian Madaba, a fitness instructor at Grand fitness Gym in Wakiso says it is important to steer clear of muscle overstrains at the beginning of a fitness program.
“Begin with less taxing exercises like walking or swimming.
Exercises must be done on a regular basis, say twice or thrice a week, so that muscles are conditioned. 
Stop exercising, if issues such as chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath-manifest,” Madaba says.

“Wearing comfortable clothes that do not restrict circulation like vests and sweat pants is important
Also wear proper, shock absorbing foot wear, which prevent foot fatigue and cushion the ball of the foot.
Loose and comfortable shoes like the Reebox cross fits and Addidas Energy are particularly convenient, because they have firm soles and give good arch support, when one is jogging or doing aerobics,” Opio says.

Ostensibly, it is important to drink plenty of water like before, during and after exercise.
Drink 10-12 ounces of water 2 hours before exercising, 7 ounces during the warm up, 6-7 ounces during exercise and 6-7 ounces after exercise.
Water is needed because during vigorous exercise, the body loses a lot of water through perspiration. It is also important to combine your exercise routine with a healthy diet because a healthy diet gives you a sustained source of energy for workouts.
“Eat healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables,” Dr Joseph Baluku of Mulago hospital, says.

Guard however against heavy meals before exercising.

Baluku adds: “Vigorous exercises of any kind should not be done, an hour and a half after a meal or immediately after a meal. The reason is to allow the stomach to empty out and to eschew stomach discomforts as you exercise.
Exercising an hour and a half after meal is okay.
Intense exercise slows down digestion and instead diverts energy to your muscles.”

“When exercising outdoors on a hot day, reduce the intensity and drink plenty of water, because as one exercises, especially on hot days, the body loses a lot of water, on account of perspiration.
If the day is cold, wear several layers of clothing,” Madaba says.

When jogging, it is important to pay attention to your posture.
“Just watch any expert marathon runner. They always hold their heads up and keep their backs straight, as their run.
They also try as much as possible, not to look at their feet, as they run,” Peter Sserumaga, one coach of Makindye soccer academy, says.
“As you jog, bend your elbows and hold your arms away from the body.
The foot lands on the heel, not on the ball of the foot. If you become tired, slow down and walk. Then begin again.”
If you want to start jogging, running tracks, grass fields and parks are good places to go to.
“It is however important to try out different routes to make your running more interesting.
Avoid running on hard surfaces,” Madaba says.

“Running on hard surfaces increases one’s risk of developing Achilles tendon issues, which usually result from micro tears that occur in the tendon during strenuous, high impact exercise, such as running,” Opio says.


“Whereas exercises for flexibility, balance and muscular strength are vitally important, exercises meant for endurance [the ability to do something like running for a long time]and that increase the body’s uptake of oxygen, principally aerobics are the most beneficial for overall health,” Madaba says.
Aerobic fitness exercises such as jogging, swimming, bicycling, rope skipping and aerobic dancing should be incorporated regularly into any kind of exercise program.
Aerobic exercises, enhance cardiovascular fitness, reduce cholesterol levels and improve muscle tone.

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