Do the Rich Truly Die Earlier Than the Poor?

Do the Rich Truly Die Earlier Than the Poor?

By Azuka Onwuka

Exercise courtesy of Pinterest
Exercise courtesy of Pinterest

Recently, a friend asked me why those who have enough money to take care of a community die earlier than those who just have enough to feed their families. I looked around my native community and noticed that many of the wealthy and moderately comfortable passed on either in their prime or in early old age. But there are many people in the lower financial class that have lived into good old age.

That got me thinking. In the rural and semi-urban societies, it seems rich people die earlier than poor people, especially in Nigeria, despite access to better healthcare. It also seems that poor people look stronger and healthier than rich people at old age. Looking at the lifestyle of those who have made it to ripe old age, I noticed that there is a trend.

The type of food eaten by the two classes of people may be a factor. The food eaten by those on the lower class is more natural. Anxiety and lack of contentment may also be strong factors. Those who are richer have more worries and they exert themselves more to get more wealth or maintain their level of wealth.

But my discussion with doctors and also my research also reveal that there is one key factor. That factor is exercise. Poor people and those who are barely financially comfortable, especially in rural areas, engage in activities that exercise their body, like walking, farming, splitting wood, cutting grass, fetching water from the stream (that may be up to three kilometres away), dancing, sweeping, cleaning the house, etc. So they exercise their bodies unconsciously. On the contrary, rich people drive around in cars, have servants and workers who do most of their domestic and office duties. So they sit down most times either in the office or at home. They end up fatter.

Urbanization has changed our lifestyles. It has changed the organic foods like yam, beans, millet, as well as the fruits and vegetables we used to eat on a daily basis. Our food is now less organic and more fried. The availability of cars and motorcycles has also made us not to walk around much. But the heart and the body need to be exercised. The solution is that we should create opportunities to exercise them regularly.

10 Reasons Why You Need to Exercise

  1. Exercise reduces the risk of premature death, especially through heart diseases and stroke. Exercising helps to strengthen your heart muscle, raise your high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) levels and lower your low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels. It also improves blood flow in your body and increases your heart’s working capacity. From conception till death, the heart never rests for a minute, even when you are asleep. Unlike our generators and car engines, the heart is never serviced by any engineer. When you exercise, you are servicing the heart for greater and longer performance.
  2. It reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Because exercise reduces the fat in the body, this helps to prevent the development of non-insulin-dependent diabetes. In people who already have this type of diabetes, exercise also helps to control it.
  3. It reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure. Exercise can reduce the blood pressure. Because exercise reduces body fatness, which is associated with high blood pressure, it is also an enemy of high blood pressure. It also helps to control high blood pressure in people who already have it.
  4. It reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
  5. It boosts your energy and sex life. When you exercise, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your tissues. Regular exercise helps the circulation of blood through your heart, and blood vessels work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, that means more energy to you. When you exercise, you look good and feel good with yourself, and that has a positive effect on your sex life. Men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than men who don’t exercise — especially as they get older. In women, regular physical activity can also help to sharpen their sex drive.
  6. It helps you sleep better. A good night sleep improves one’s concentration, mood and productivity. Sleeping well also helps to reduce stress and worries. When you exercise, your heart pumps blood better and circulates blood better through your body. This helps you to sleep faster and deeper at night. However, note that exercising close to bedtime may make you too energized to fall asleep.
  7. It helps to control weight. Exercise helps to lower your body fat. It also helps to improve the body’s ability to burn calories as well as preserve muscle mass. The more your body is exercised, the more calories you burn. When combined with good dieting, it helps to manage weight and prevent obesity.
  8. It helps to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. Regular exercises promote bone formation and help to prevent osteoporosis – loss of tissue by the bones which make them brittle and fragile. Exercise also helps to prevent back pain.
  9. Exercise helps people to be stronger and healthier in adult life. Because exercise helps to create strong bones, muscles and joints as well as a strong heart, it helps to make people stronger and healthier when they grow older.
  10. It promotes psychological well-being. Exercise helps to make people feel happier with themselves. This boosts their confidence and mood and helps them achieve more results in their endeavours.

How to Start

Start with light exercises like walking and swimming. Then move on to jogging, dancing, skipping, aerobics, and cycling. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

  • For maximum results, it is recommended you do about 30 minutes of high-intensity work-out like jogging, aerobics, or Tennis at least three times a week. Make sure your work-out involves some form of muscle-strengthening activity and stretching.
  • If the above is too much for you to do, then make sure you do some light work-out, like walking, for 30 minutes at least five times a week.

Don’ts of Exercise

  1. Exercise to stay healthy, not to lose weight. It can be demoralizing if you don’t lose the expected amount of weight after some weeks. Losing weight is one of the long-term benefits of exercising; not the main benefit.
  2. Don’t over-reach yourself. You are not planning to compete in the Olympics. So take it easy. Straining your body in a bid to keep fit and lose weight overnight can be harmful.
  3. Don’t exercise because people say so. Exercise because you love yourself and want to feel good with yourself.
  4. Don’t exercise as if it was a punishment. Make exercise fun. Enjoy yourself while you are at it.
  5. Don’t make it monotonous and boring. Change the type of exercise you do. A little dancing today; a little swimming tomorrow; and some catch-the-ball another day.

Where to Exercise

  • You don’t have a gym at home? You don’t have the money to register with a club or gym? You don’t want people to stare at you or laugh at you when you jog on the streets?
  • You leave home too early and come back too late?
  • Then use your sitting room, bedroom, bathroom or balcony.
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier and exercise or do it once you are back from work before having your bath.

When to Start Exercising

Start today. Start now. Don’t postpone it till weekend or until you buy the right sportswear or shoes or until you are less busy. It is your life. It is your body. Love it; pamper it; exercise it.

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