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South Africa’s First Lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma has called on all citizens to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Speaking at the Essence Festival Durban Healthy Lifestyle and Wellness Seminar on 10 November, Ngema-Zuma also highlighted the importance of regular exercise.

The seminar, she said, couldn’t have come at a better time as November is diabetes awareness month. Ngema- Zuma, who has a diabetes organisation urged people not to discriminate against those living with the disease. “You find that people living with diabetes are scared to tell their families and friends because they are afraid of being judged,” she said, adding that diabetes is a close subject to her because of personal experiences.

The seminar, which was attended by several experts from different health organisations was a huge success. Guests included local fitness fanatic Sbahle Mpisane and food scientist, Professor Tim Noakes who encouraged people to consume proteins instead of carbohydrates.

He said carbohydrates prevent your body from burning fats. “Proteins are good foods that people have been eating for millions of years,” he said.

Dr. Victor Ramathesele, who was the first team doctor for Bafana Bafana spoke about stress management, saying too much stress makes you age faster. He also emphasised the importance of male circumcision, saying it limits the chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases.

“Men over the age of 30 should check their prostate at least once a year, in order to prevent prostate cancer,” he said.

Radio personality Phindi Gule, who has run four Comrades Marathon advised anyone who wants to partake in the marathon to first consult their doctor before making any attempts.

Speaking about her fitness journey which dates back to high school, Mpisane said she was initially unhappy with her body, but has over the years come to love it after working towards transforming it.

American Fitness instructor, Shaun T said people should not be pressurised into having the perfect body by pictures they see online. “Some people post edited photos with abs, yet they don’t work towards achieving that goal. Don’t pressurise yourself into looking like those people, rather work towards achieving your own body goal,” he said.

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