25 August 2019

5 Reasons Why Exercise is More Important in Conflict Zones

5 Reasons Why Exercise is More Important in Conflict Zones

It’s a well-known fact that exercise is an essential stress-reliever and therefore important to one’s overall health.

WebMD describes stress as any change in the environment that requires your body to react and adjust in response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.

It should go without saying then, that if you are working in a conflict zone, this is almost as important as finding safe and comfortable accommodation. Apart from that, the prevalence of PTSD is not an uncommon career hazard for people who work in challenging environments.

Sadly, people who have PTSD often tend to shy away from exercise so that they don’t overstimulate feelings of anxiety, yet research indicates that physical activity significantly reduces depressive and PTSD symptoms.

At Chelsea Village, a secure and comfortable container camp in the heart of Mogadishu’s MIA zone in Somalia, exercise and healthy living is part of the culture for both staff and guests.

Camp Director, Costa Yiannakis at Chelsea Village lists 5 reasons why working up a sweat, especially in hard places, is encouraged.

  1. It adds normality and work-life balance.
  2. It creates routine, which can provide a necessary distraction to what is going on just beyond the fence.
  3. It de-stresses.
  4. It enables the importance of personal relationships beyond work-related communication with your fellow guests.
  5. Staff are far more focused and happy.

The team are so serious about this that the camp is the proud owner of the first GymCap in Africa.

Gymcap at Chelsea Village in Mogadishu

Designed by a specialist team who provide fitness facilities to the British military, GymCap is a double container and rig gym unit built to ISO standards. It includes a cardio equipment unit with a self-powered treadmill, rower, air bike, cross trainers and weight-pulley system.

There’s also a variety of other small equipment options as well as group activities like yoga, running, walking and circuit training.

There’s a big focus on working together to stay fit, says Yiannakis.

“This comes from the overall Chelsea Group-Enigma Alliance  ethos that sport is a powerful means to break down socio-economic barriers and to educate and develop disadvantaged communities, especially in the areas in which we operate,” he says.

According to the World Health Organisation, adults between the ages of 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, throughout the week.

“The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.” Anonymous