There are many types of exercise, including swimming, running, jogging, walking and dancing, to name a few.

Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help one live longer, according to research.

Nelson Mukasa, an expert in mass sports and the main sports instructor for the bi-monthly Kigali Car Free Day, says it’s fundamental for everyone to adopt the culture of doing or engaging in any kind of physical exercise.

For beginners, he says starting slowly is important as with time, one can find ways to fit more physical activity into their life.

To get the most out of it, he says it’s vital to get the recommended amount of exercise depending on one’s age.

“The benefits that come with doing exercise cannot be underestimated, one will feel better and on top of this, it will help prevent or control many diseases, and likely even promote a longer life,” he says.

He says exercise helps one control their weight. With a healthy diet, exercise plays an important role in controlling and preventing obesity, which has been a health issue because of a sedentary way of life.

Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist and dietician, says to maintain weight, the calories one takes in must be equal to the energy they burn.

He points out that being physically active can reduce the risk of heart disease. He explains that exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation.

“The increased blood flow raises the oxygen levels in the body. This helps lower the risk of heart diseases such as high cholesterol, coronary artery diseases, and heart attack,” he says.

Regular exercise can also lower the blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

The triglyceride level is a blood test to measure the amount of triglycerides in the blood. They are a type of fat.

Kamanzi says the body makes some triglycerides; they also come from the food one eats.

“Extra calories are turned into triglycerides and stored in fat cells for later use. Being physically active helps the body manage blood sugar and insulin levels,” he says.

Additionally, the dietician explains that exercise can lower blood sugar levels and help insulin work well. This, he says, can cut down one’s risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

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