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Kenyans take up running to boost health amid COVID-19 pandemic



Kenyans take up running to boost health amid COVID-19 pandemic

As Joseph Owino sprinted in the last stretch of his run. He wiped off beads of sweat on his face, gave his watch a glance and lifted his hands to signal victory.

According to Owino, timely completion of his morning run was a milestone worth celebrating.

The young fitness enthusiast has been running in the morning regularly for three months mainly to escape the confinement of his house that has been occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owino has been engaging in early morning jogging along the winding feeder roads in the middle-income Buru Buru suburb located on the eastern edges of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

“I run with some of my long-term friends for five kilometers every day. The camaraderie offers motivation for arduous challenges we undertake as well as safety. We pour into the street at dawn while the darkness of the night is still dense,” Owino told Xinhua during an interview on Tuesday.

The ardent jogger provides a snapshot of how Kenyans have taken up running to beat claustrophobia linked to hunkering down at home in order to control the spread of COVID-19.

For a nation that has earned global fame in the field of long-distance running, the practice does not come as a surprise.

“My friends and I have an unspoken pact, that when we start running we do not stop unless one of us gets hurt. It is a concept we drew from celebrated athletes like Eluid Kipchoge who completes all his races,” said Owino.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 years should do about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week to boost physical, mental and emotional wellness.

According to WHO, the benefits of regular exercises include the ability of the body to ward off non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancers.

Owino believed that running coupled with home workouts has significantly boosted his immunity hence his odds of contracting the coronavirus are reduced drastically.

Nonetheless, evidence has shown that fitness is not a guarantee against the contracting COVID-19 as some recognized athletes have become victims.

Owino remains convinced that physical exercise has optimized his overall well-being.

“I feel healthy and exercising has been able to take my head off all the losses my car bazaar is currently making due to the pandemic,” said Owino.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently implored citizens to exercise even when they are confined at home.

Museveni electrified the nation when he released a video that showcased his prowess in jogging and push-ups amid a quest to improve physical health during the COVID-19 confinement period.

Stanley Nambita, a physical fitness enthusiast and personal gym instructor prefers walking in the evening for at least one hour to rejuvenate his body.

“When I am not walking I am doing sit-ups or push-ups at home, my fitness training job has been rendered redundant by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nambita.

He advises fellow citizens to avoid eating heavy foods at night which are not utilized and to regularly exercise especially now that their movement has been significantly restricted.

“Keeping fit for me is meant to boost my health and make me look younger and more energetic,” said Nambita.

Elsewhere, many local television stations in Kenya have started broadcasting home workouts in the morning amid the closure of gyms to tackle COVID-19 pandemic.


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