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Exercise is extremely important to staying healthy both in body and mind. Being active can help a person continue to do things they enjoy and be independent as they age. Long term physical activity increases the benefits of long-term health. This is the reason many health experts advise individuals to be as active as possible and to set aside at least three days a week for some form of activity that keeps the heart beating at a steady pace. Physical exercise also has many mental benefits. For example, a person diagnosed with depression or anxiety is most often asked to conduct some form of physical activity apart from taking medication. This is because, the body produces hormones known as endorphins which improve mood and relieve stress. Depression can be alleviated by improving mood and anxiety can be relieved by reducing stress.
The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo was one place I had been looking forward to visiting in Nigeria. As prevalent as indigenous religions still are in West Africa, it is often hard to find public expressions of them in towns and cities; the Christianity brought by European slavers and colonialists has taken root and pushed most of these religions out of mainstream life. But in the Sacred Grove shrines honor all the local deities, including Obatala, the god of creation, Ogun, the god of iron, and Oshun, the goddess of water, whose aqueous essence is made manifest by the river running through the trees. The place is unique in the Yoruba religion, and that intrigued me.