Hearing the music from a distance, one would have sworn that there was a ‘massive gig’ going on with people dancing the day away.
And while people were indeed dancing, sweating it out and enjoying themselves, they were not at a party, but doing aerobics.
Last Saturday at St Joseph College people from all walks of life and across the borders of Swaziland, Lesotho and South African converged with their counterparts in Botswana for the annual Aerobathon.
As the advertisement for the event stated there were best trainers and DJs who were there to make sure that health and pleasure become one as the idea was for people to do aerobics for health benefits while at the same enjoy themselves.
Judging from the mood of the people and the way they all danced the aerobics style it was evident that the trainers and the DJs did not disappoint.
“The idea behind this event is to create the most conducive environment for people to do aerobics and exercise without feeling the pain. People know the benefits of exercising but they tend to become lazy. At meetings like this there is no way one can resist getting up to dance,’’ said event organiser Aobakwe Modisaotsile, 19, vice chairperson of the University of Botswana Aerobics club.
She also explained that the term ‘aerobathon’ is a fusion of the words aerobics and marathon as during the event people do a marathon of aerobics.
Modisaotsile said the event also created a platform for people to mix and mingle while at the same time working on their health.
“If the day is filled with fun with people enjoying themselves they will be on the ‘dance floor’ for a long time and never feel the pain of doing the exercise, and the good thing is that the objective would have been achieved,’’ she said.
According to 22-year-old Limpho Macholo, an instructor from Lesotho who took the participants through 30 minutes of intense dancing, aerobics is also a great way of relieving stress.
“Believe you me all these people who are doing aerobics have no other thought than to exercise their minds and bodies while at the same time having fun. And the idea behind the music is make sure that people concentrate on the music and their dancing,’’ she said.
She also revealed that she has been doing aerobics since she was 13, but never imagined that it was something that she would do for a living.
“Aerobics has helped me attain peace of mind and I always encourage people not to wait for gatherings like this, but to make it part of their lives. It is something that can be done at home either alone or with friends and family as long as there is proper music,’’ said Macholo.
For 45-year-old Masabata Nyanga of Mafikeng, South Africa aerobics became part of her in 2000.
“I do aerobics to keep fit and slow down ageing, and it seems to be working because I feel healthy and younger by the day,’’ she said with a laugh.
Her sentiments were echoed by one of the local instructors, 27-year-old Macheu Setsiba who said aerobics is good for the mind and enhances productivity.
“The mind freshens up because of the rhythm from the music and makes one happy and have a positive outlook about everything,’’ he said.
The chairperson of the event’s organizing committee and founder of the UB Aerobics Club, Thokozani Gwai was a happy man that the event that has been running for the past seven years, was a success.
“It’s getting better with time and I am sure I will one day achieve my dream of making aerobics a way of life for Batswana because of its benefits,’’ he said.
Aerobic activity can help you:
Keep excess pounds at bay. Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise helps you lose weight — and keep it off.
Increase your stamina. Aerobic exercise may make you tired in the short term. But over the long term, you’ll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.
Ward off viral illnesses. Aerobic exercise activates your immune system. This leaves you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu.
Reduce health risks. Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Manage chronic conditions. Aerobic exercise helps lower high blood pressure and control blood sugar. If you’ve had a heart attack, aerobic exercise helps prevent subsequent attacks.
Strengthen your heart. A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.
Boost your mood. Aerobic exercise can ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.
Stay active and independent as you get older. Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.