Say no to sedentary life style

March 29, 2020

Any sport that provides you with proper aerobic exercise is good for a healthy heart of all ages

From whether actively playing sports at an old age is safe to how smoking can affect you, our panel of experts answers all your queries in this week’s column.

Q: I am 54 years old. In my youth I was an athlete and did well in 1500 meters running and long jump. After hanging my boots I concentrated on my profession and gave time to my family. Though I quit active athletics a 3 kilometer daily walk has been my routine. Lately, I developed a passion for playing table tennis, but few of my colleagues advised me to refrain indulging in any kind of sports. They say the chances of a heart attack increases if I play any sport in this age. Is it true? –Ameen Shaikh

A: Aerobic exercise is good for a healthy heart of all ages. Table tennis is also an aerobic exercise. From cardiac safety point of view, there is no harm to start playing table tennis at your age. Studies have shown that the risk of heart attack doesn't increase with start of aerobic activities.

Aerobic exercise helps to live longer and healthy. During increase physical activity we breathe deeply and faster which increases the amount of oxygen in our body. Our heart beat at faster rate and with more strength during increase physical activity which over a long period of time ultimately trained our heart to pump efficiently at a lower heart rate. This is the reason that those people who exercise regularly have a lower resting heart rate as compared to those people who has a sedentary life style. Increase physical activity raises the High density cholesterol (HDL) level in our blood which is good for our arteries and it helps to decreases the Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level in the blood which is bad cholesterol. This improvement in lipid pattern helps to decrease the chances of heart attack.

Dr. Hafeez Ahmed

Assistant Professor and Consultant Cardiologist,

Head Department of Cardiology,

Liaquat National Hospital And Medical College

Q: I am 27 years old and I play football regularly. During the game minor injuries are normal, but I observed that in winter, most of my body joints really ache making it difficult for me to continue my body movements. Are they old injuries or some other reason? Also please suggest which specialist to visit? –M. Riaz Choudhry

A: There is no scientific reason to have joint pains specifically in winter. However there are few theoretical reasons, one of which might explain your symptom.

Barometric pressure changes: It is the weight of the atmosphere that is present all around us. Barometric pressures will often fall before cold weather sets in. This causes expansion of tissues and pain in your joints.

Increased sensitivity of nerves in the joint: In case of repeated injuries, the nerves in the joint may become hypersensitive to changes in cold weather due to scarring, inflammation, or adhesions.

Increasing thickness of joint fluid: In cold weather the synovial fluid which acts as a shock absorber within the joint may become more viscous and not flow freely resulting in stiff and creaking joints.

Inactivity: People tend to move less in freezing weather and long periods of inactivity are detrimental to joint health.

Any one of these may explain your symptom but I have a piece of advice for you.

First of all get a consult from an orthopaedics surgeon who has experience in dealing with sports injury.

He will examine your joints and will give you few blood test and X-rays if required. With this he will be able to exclude any underlying inflammatory, degenerative or traumatic disorder.

Also always do get warmed up before playing. Wear protective gears. Do stretching. Keep well hydrated. Do hot fomentation especially during winter.

Dr. Nasir Ahmed

Assistant Professor and Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon

Department of Orthopedic

Liaquat National Hospital And Medical College

Q: I am an athlete and practice regularly on the track, and spend one hour in the gym. Nowadays because of Coronavirus, we are confined to our homes with no sports activities. There is a lot coming on social media and local TV channels, including its cure, which I reckon is not authentic, rather confusing. Is there any way to visit or talk to a specialist doctor of this subject who can give a real picture and comprehensive information on this virus, including the precautions and cure, if there is any? –Abdul Basit Baloch

A: Thank you for your question. I understand your concern as the social media is flooded with information which is not necessarily authentic. For any information regarding the COVID pandemic or a health issue, Liaquat National Hospital has started a program TELE-HEALTH. You may call a consultant doctor on our numbers 021 34412965 and 021 34412966. You may also contact via video link http://doxy.me/lnhconsultation or visit our website lnh.edu.pk.

Dr. Faridah Amin

MBBS, MCR, MRCGP, FCPS, PhD

Assistant Professor and Consultant Family Medicine,

Head Department of Family Medicine

Liaquat National Hospital And Medical College

Q: My friend plays tennis. He is 34 years old. He has a bad habit of smoking. We all tried very hard that he quits smoking but failed. He himself agrees that it’s a bad habit and injurious to his health but cannot leave his bad habit. Is there any doctor who can help him quit smoking or any therapy available? –Raees A. Khan

A: Smoking doesn’t just harm person’s own health but his loved one’s too. Many smokers do not know how to begin quitting, and may be worried about coping without cigarettes. Knowledge regarding the hazards of smoking can motivate people toward quitting. Nicotine and other chemicals can make smoker prone toward various diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, heart diseases, infection and lung cancer.

The first and most important step is self reorganization. If you will decide to embark on a journey to quit, making this decision is half the battle won. Any habit cannot be stopped all of a sudden and will take some time and effort but the health benefits for you and loved ones make it all worthwhile.

The withdrawal symptoms can range from strong craving nervousness, irritability, headache and trouble sleeping. It is important that not everyone will get these withdrawal symptoms but don't lose heart if you do. They will disappear in one or two weeks.

Help is available and there are many physicians around the country. In Liaquat National Hospital there is a dedicated team of pulmonologists who will like to help you equip with skills and see you through to a smoke-free life. There are various methods to choose according to your circumstances chances of quitting is four times higher with the professional help.

Dr. Saima Akhtar

Assistant Professor and Consultant Pulmonologist

Department of Pulmonology

Liaquat National Hospital And Medical College


All the specialists on our experts’ panel are associated with Liaquat National Hospital. Please send your queries at [email protected] or [email protected])

Any sport that provides proper aerobic exercise is good for a healthy heart of all ages