FITNESS NEGLECT & INCAPACITATION
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang gabi sa mga ka-global citizen! Good evening to fellow global citizens!
It’s now night time as I compose this piece, which is a sequel to the article written earlier titled “Fitness Program & Capacity-Building.” From capacity-building impact I now move to incapacitation as a most likely effect of a neglect of fitness program.
You see, if you really wish to find out about the incapacity that results from fitness program neglect, just visit a hospital and inquire from the epidemiology department whether those who frequent hospitalization have a great deal to do with the lack of fitness regimen. Fix the age limits to those past 30 years old. Chances are that you’ll get the same answer as you verify the matter from one hospital to another: neglect of fitness results to health risks and frequent hospitalization.
Now, go out to a shopping mall and let your eyes scan the people inside the building. Make finger counts as to how many overweight persons there are for every ten (10) shoppers and/or mall visitors. Go up and down the mall, turn your eyes to the left and right, in front of you and behind you, and you’d truly get the shock of your life to find out the fact that overweight is a deadweight reality in today’s fast-paced urban life.
When I visited the USA in 2000, ‘01 & ‘02, I got the shocker of my life for witnessing a humungous quantity of warm bodies afflicted with obesity. My eyes just couldn’t believe how appalling the lifestyles of people are in America, with as much as 2/3 of people in a mall, transport hub or office building manifesting obesity. If only the late Pitirim Sorokin were alive today, he’d faint with disbelief that he could have missed out on obesity as among the indicators of the Crisis of our Age (his classic book).
How appalling indeed urban life and the rat race have made out of today’s habitués across the world, with the USA seemingly taking the lead. My own country, the Philippines, has an incidence of 25% obesity and that could be under-estimated as the figure is moving rapidly to 30% (per Department of Health reports).
The Department of Health technocrats in Manila have already raised the alarm bells in the media over the rising obesity incidence. But alas! No one seems to be paying attention to the experts, as the peoples’ eyes are made to focus on the hunger incidence which afflicts around 20% of the population (poor folks largely). Contrast the hunger of 20% to the obesity of past 25% and you know which figure is indubitably larger.
The absence of a fitness program is truly debilitating, as per my own experience. So dedicated to my grassroots development work in 1981-82, I neglected my physical program and resorted to every kind of rationalization for that neglect. Along the way, I contracted falciparum malaria while doing the rounds of program monitoring of small towns for my employer (Ministry of Human Settlements).
The malaria could have gotten into my veins as early as 1981 yet, but since I was still fresh out of college then (I jogged and walked a lot till graduation time in Oct. 1980) the effects of my previous regimen were still working on my system. Then, came August of 1982, a deadly fever struck me cold turkey that rendered me pathetically bedridden for over three (3) weeks. I almost died from that ailment, which was diagnosed as malaria falciparum.
I had repetitive attacks of the malaria fevers for many months to come, and so I had to be armed with quinine pills at all times. At one time, in early ’84 (I was already beginning graduate school), the fever was so high that it knocked me out unconscious while taking a pee in our apartment’s toilet. I was so lucky then that my friends and siblings, with whom I shared the apartment unit in Manila’s suburbs, were around, so they quickly plucked me out from the toilet (I was still unconscious) and rushed me to the nearest hospital.
Do reckon that I was already beginning with a renewed fitness regimen since late 82 yet, but to no avail! See what inroads of a degenerative disease can do that it can knock you out even if you’re back in the trails of fitness programs. It took some three (3) more years before my body stabilized completely, and no more malaria attack came since then.
But the parasite is with me forever, and I easily chill when the temperature radically drops in any environment (e.g. airconditioned hall). And I can no longer donate blood to those in need, since donating would mean transferring the parasite to the recipient.
My chilly cryptic experience was my own teacher that wakened me up from my physical lethargy. I have since mutated into a wellness buff and lifestyle guru sort-of, even as I continue to re-echo wellness themes whenever the opportunity permits.
To add the cryptic facet to that experience, a first cousin of mine, Eroll Argonza, who was my kababata (childhood playmate) and of identical age, also suffered from a debilitating disease (typhoid) simultaneous with my own malaria attack. My cousin tragically failed to make it, died while struggling in the hospital bed, and was buried when I was just recovering from my own malaria ailment.
The death of my cousin, who was a young bank professional then and had a family of his own (he fathered an only girl child who later graduated from the University of the Philippines and is happily married to a maritime engineer), sent shuddering tectonics and shockwaves for years to come on our entire family lineages. His sad travail was an added teacher to me, mentoring me with the ‘stick’ in hand to never again be remiss on my fitness regimen.
To end this note, let me re-echo the challenge that each and every working man and woman build and sustain a fitness regimen. The overall goal is to capacitate the person. No one forces fitness regimen unto those emotional morons who are indifferent to it, fitness is just a mere choice really. Those among us who are attitudinally smarter should just go ahead and make ourselves physically smarter and serve as exemplars of smartness by doing instead of talking.
[Philippines, 18 September 2010]
[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,