The Mohammed Bushera story is a story of perseverance, possibilities and posterity. A story of heroism, help, honesty, health and happiness. Perhaps for someone who has never ever delved into some kind of a regular and well-thought-out physical fitness programme like some forms of yoga, the mere thought of embarking on such a potentially life-changing and life-saving journey could be a daunting deterrent.
Questions abound: Where and when does one begin or get cracking, and can one become and stay physically fit? Are the youth seized with the business of choosing, adopting, attaining and sustaining a healthy, happy and proactive lifestyle by keeping themselves physically fit and focused, emotionally and spiritually stable? What about the amount of time, energy, funds, fun and tools one has to invest into this physical training and process? How soon is the turnaround time? Do human beings not find pleasure and pride in seeing and experiencing results as soon as yesterday’s gig? Do people not tend to be more goal-orientated than process-patient? Is a shortcut not always the in-thing—our fastest lane to rewards, realisation and relief? After all, patience is a virtue.
Is one fit, disciplined and devoted enough to swing and sweat into a fruitful fitness routine in style? Would one manage and cope with a combination of a moderate and strict, vigorous—intensity activity spread throughout the week? What about monetary and dietary changes? Is it easy or stress-free to leap out of one’s comfort zone? For example, to ditch junk stuff for healthy food? Do we always pause and ponder the monetary and dietary consequences of our actions and eating habits? Do we always have a careful weighing of our actions or inactions on issues of health and happiness? How often do we ponder the course of an action or inaction? It is not an ultimate battle of decisions and indecisions, doubts and confidence, faults and flawlessness? The fear of fear itself, or of being judged or failing?
Does one need to be a bodybuilder, a boxer or an athlete to build muscle strength and endurance? By the way, muscle strength and endurance is one of the key elements of physical fitness. Strength training is a significant constituent of an overall fitness programme. Strength training is self-explanatory because it seeks to reinforce or strengthen one’s muscles and bones, and to keep the heart and lungs strong. It promotes weight and protects one against chronic disease.
What forms of exercise confer various rewards or advantages, which in turn, can help one balance the different elements of physical fitness? What if one does not have an inkling of the different types of strength and their benefits? How does one meet fitness standards in all four categories? Strength training usually involves the use of resistance bands, resistance machines, free weights and other tools—what if one does not have such equipment? Does one have to pay for a gymnasium membership or costly equipment to strengthen one’s muscles and bones? Why broach this subject? Is an act of avoiding it altogether not equivalent to seeking a stress-free life?
A 28-year-old businessman –Mr. Mohammed Bushera , who runs a small shop (one that would pass for or could be accepted as a tuck shop or a spaza shop in South Africa) because it heavily houses and hawks small everyday household items in Kirkos, Woreda 2, Kebele 3, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia – boldly begs to differ. “No, it isn’t? In fact, exercise reduces stress! Lack of finance or equipment shouldn’t be a deterrent. Seek creative solutions to these challenges. I’m a living testimony to that reality. One has to be creative, active, positive and improvise. For instance, make use of one’s space, time and homemade weights. A bit of organised physical activity is better than none.” (By the way, a woreda is an administrative division of Ethiopia which is essentially managed by a local government while a kebele is a small administrative unit.)
His determination is disarming and deserving of mention, ovation and recognition. Here is an inspirational young man whose life can possibly be transformed through mentorship, financial sponsorship, empowerment or technology. His level of responsibility, ingenuity and grit has a measure of merit to it. Indeed, over a period of three years on my way to work, I have had the blessing, privilege and honor of watching him humbly and hungrily work out early in the morning, in whatever weather and with the plainest of equipment like a recycled car tyre, a rope, or a set-up of logs. Yet he has forged ahead and physically changed for the better and impacted society in a positive and progressive fashion. He normally gets down to business while music from either Nigeria or South Africa looms, booms, and belts out of his small speaker. He exercises outside his business building, sweating it out profusely, yet his strong work ethic gives an observer an image of a celebrant who could be having the happiest of holidays or moments. His bold actions bear testimony to the fact that a lack of resources is not necessarily a lack of dynamism, dedication and focus.
What drove him to exercise? He chuckles, “For starters, I’m business-minded. Exercise is key to one’s mental and emotional being. I wanted to be healthy and happy. I wanted to show those who don’t have much, especially the youth that it can be done. Africa, it can be done. Don’t be idle. Exercise. Exercising isn't an option. It's a must.” On the ground, I have no shred of doubt that he is now an exemplary source of devotion, inspiration and positivity in the community. Now and then, passers-by: adults and schoolchildren alike stop by and marvel at his level of commitment and creativity. Exercise changes the body, the mind, the mood and attitude for the better. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is beneficial, so advise the mental health and physical fitness doyens and advocates.
What constitutes a rounded exercise programme? In general, the four essential elements of physical training are: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and maintaining a healthy body composition. Each part offers precise health benefits, but best health calls for some degree of balance between all the four categories.
Experts believe that one convenient and innovative instrument for putting together an exercise plan is the FITT acronym. FITT stands for: frequency—how often does one exercise? For instance, Mr. Bushera exercises three times per week in front of his shop. Intensity—how hard one works during one’s exercise session? Time—how long does one exercise for? Type—what kind of exercise does one do? For example, Mr. Bushera does weight-lifting, leg squats, abdominal crunches, push-ups and press-ups. Aerobic activities like walking or jogging fall under cardiorespiratory endurance. So is biking, and ... talk of killing two birds with one stone since the use of bikes and recycled car tyres is not only in aid of issues of health and happiness, but also climate change! (Climate change has never been a change for the better.) For the youth, if indulging in drugs is a harmful exercise in futility, physical exercise is a productive and positive exercise in pursuit of longevity, emotional and physical stability, self-love and self-worth.
I learn from the young businessman that exercise can break the cycle of worry and distraction, draw tension from the body, and can prevent excessive weight gain, heart diseases and cancers. Therefore, adults should move more and sit less. What message does he have for the person who has been reading the Mohammed Bushera story? “As a young, focused and emerging businessman and a humble and needy physical fitness enthusiast, I would be thankful and joyful if people help me grow my business venture. I wish I could live my entrepreneurial dreams.”
A spirit of entrepreneurship epitomises and promises big and bright dreams for the African youth. Entrepreneurship brings about financial freedom and job-creation. The youth are the future. Needless to say that we hope to reach souls who are able and willing to help out in whatever way possible, those who have a big and blessed heart or who are touched by his story, noble efforts, inspiration and vision.
Let us do it in the name of posterity, progress, love, oneness and empathy and in service of humanity. Humanity’s honourable dreams can be realised. I believe that we are here on Earth not only to live life to the fullest but also to leave a lovely legacy by making a positive difference to the lives of the needy and the youth. Let us all strive today in order to thrive tomorrow. For today’s miles of efforts can be tomorrow’s smiles of success.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, peaceful, positive, productive and poetry-filled 2023!
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