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Exercise & Health




Definition of exercise:

A form of physical activity or recreation usually carried out repeatedly within a specified time to increase the level of fitness and health.

Lack of exercise

Can lead to:

  • Obesity; 1 out of 4 children in Malaysia was obese.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Increased risk of developing chronic adult diseases like heart disease and stroke.

Benefits of exercise

  • Improves muscular strength and endurance.
  • Improves muscle tone and body posture.
  • Helps build healthy bones.
  • Improves joints flexibility.
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduces anxiety and stress.
  • Reduces the risk of developing chronic adult diseases, e.g. diabetes, heart disease, stroke.
  • Increases heart and lungs fitness.
  • Releases the hormone ‘endorphin’ which increases the sense of well-being.

Intensity of exercise

Aerobic exercise is excellent for children, e.g.:

  • swimming
  • football
  • tennis

Children who are currently inactive should start with 30 minutes of exercise daily and gradually increasing it to 1 hour.

Exercise safety

  • Use comfortable, appropriate clothing and foot-wear.
  • Use safety devices e.g. helmet, goggles, braces, guard, pads etc.
  • Avoid exercising within 2 hours after a meal.
  • Drink adequate water before and at the end of the exercise to replace the water loss in sweating but avoid taking carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid exercising in non-conducive environments e.g. too dark, hot weather, polluted air.
  • Use normal shower and only after the body has cooled down and not sweaty.
  • Use reflector on the suit to jog early in the morning, at dawn or at night.
  • Jog on the opposite direction of the traffic. Avoid exercising in heavy traffic areas.

Warming up before exercise


  • To warm up the muscles.
  • Increase blood flow to the working muscles.

How to warm up

Three parts of a good warm-up:

  • Warm the muscles that are going to be used e.g. jog 2 – 3 minutes, swim slowly, cycle slowly.
  • Stretching (15 minutes) – hold each stretch for 10 – 20 seconds. Stretch until the muscles feel tight, but don’t overdo it, because it will cause injury to the muscles.
  • Specific exercise – practice skills e.g. kicking, throwing or other high-energy activities.

Cooling down after exercise


  • To relax the muscle.
  • Get rid of waste products.
  • Improve flexibility.

How to cool down:

  • Slowly reduce the high-level activity.
  • Go through the same stretching exercise.
Last reviewed : 26 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Baizury Bashah
Reviewer : Dr. Fuziah bt. Md. Zain