When healthy nation creates a happy nation

THE former Mr Tanzania, Fike Wilson (centre) poses with his trainees after a fitness exercise. (Photo by a Correspondent)


NOW at 40 years, Fike Wilson, the former Mr Tanzania and body building champion, claims he looks younger than his 40-years. It is only physical exercise that makes him properly maintain his body, his health and appearance.

Wilson’s call for full participation in physical exercises seems to respond to the recently imposed government initiative that wants workers, including government officials to engage themselves in exercises.

Wilson goes on to call upon Tanzanians to seriously engage in physical training of any kind as it has been scientifically proved to make bodies sweat, control fats and enhance lungs performance. He believes if all Tanzanians take his word, the country will turn, in a few years to come, into a happy, healthy nation.

It was after leading a mass physical training to over 50 residents when Wilson, now turned a physical trainer, called on Tanzanians to take physical exercise as a culture since it has been approved to offer a remedy to a number of life style diseases.

Wilson, who led the public physical exercise that drew hundreds of residents, said the cause of human sufferings has been lack of body exercises, insisted it should be practised as a culture for both youthful and old Tanzanians.

Wilson, who was speaking to residents who attended the physical exercises at GMY Hall at Mayfair Plaza in Dar es Salaam, said modern life style and its food style have been the source of most complicated diseases.

From what he sees, most families spend long hours watching television programmes, a situation that makes their bodies remain idle, saying it is very dangerous to stay long without engaging in physical exercise. Over 50 sportsmen and women also participated in the exercise that mostly involving running from Mayfair Plaza to Zantel Headquarters and back.

After running, they conducted spinning and weight cutting before concluding with swimming. Wilson, the Mr Tanzania in 1996 and 1997, is now a technical director of Tanzania Body Building Federation (TBBF).

He was supported by the federation’s Secretary General, Francis Mapugilo, who said they have planned to make physical exercise a regular weekly practice in order to make it customary. He said the principal exercise will be body-line, which he named as an essential exercise to keep the body fit and attractive.

He added that in other countries, Saturday and Sunday are sports days and every family participates. In many countries, there is a day specially picked for mass sports activities. In Burundi, Sunday has been named a sports day and families participate fully, including children and grandparents.

While it still looks alien in Tanzania, having a sports day has become a common, healthy innovation widely practised in many countries today.

National Sports Day in most countries aims to boost health awareness. Creating a special day for sports is costless, besides its huge health benefits. On that day, you can see an array of sports and health awareness activities with the participation of the working staff and families’ as well as elderly people’s clubs and youth and children’s clubs.

In modern day Tanzania, what is seen today in most families, is that more than half of children are not vigorously active on a regular basis, as physical activity declines dramatically in the middle class families where children hardly walk a hundred metres a day.

Widely seen among children in English medium schools, a seven year child can weigh over 50 kg while those above 15 might weigh up to 75 kg in some extreme cases. Wilson believes physical fitness if turned into national level necessity can enhance the health and mood of every member of the family, whatever the age.

People who are physically fit are at reduced risk from a variety of illnesses and disabilities.

Fitness also keeps weight down and helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.As health experts recommend everyone to incorporate at least 20 to 60 minutes of physical activity into most days of the week, once there is a weekly sports day, one can easily meet the 60-minute time of exercise.

In suburbs such as Keko, Temeke, Mtoni, Tandika, Buguruni and Mbagala, there are many jogging clubs that usually draw about 20 members who engage in jogging.

They are well organised and operate in a very professional manner. As Wilson elaborates, achieving family fitness does not mean one must go to the gym, but in areas where there are no clubs, whatever form of exercise can be used as long as one enjoys doing it.

Only then can it become a routine, rather than a chore in your life.

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