Trapped miners to start exercise regime

2010-09-13 08:54

Chile’s trapped miners will start an exercise regime under the guidance of a personal trainer as they await rescue after weeks of confinement underground.

The daily, hour-long exercise programme, which was set to start today, will allow the men to stay in “good physical condition” and will also “prepare them for their rescue”, Health Minister Jaime Manalich told reporters.

The trainer will lead the exercise sessions via closed circuit television, officials said.

The 33 miners, who have been mostly sedentary since they first became trapped during an August 5 mine shaft cave-in, are at exactly the point in their confinement when adverse emotional and mental conditions like anxiety and depression can begin to surface, Manalich said.

“We’re ready to do what we can to lift the miners’ spirits,” he said.

The announcement came one day after Chilean officials said they would supply the miners with cigarettes in another measure intended to improve their emotional, if not physical, wellbeing.

The cigarettes were made available after improvements were made in the air ventilation, officials said.

The group will receive two cigarette packs a day, or 40 cigarettes, to share between them, regional Atacama governor Ximena Matas told reporters.

The trapped miners have become national heroes since they were found alive on August 22, 17 days after a mine cave-in in the remote Atacama desert.

The miners are trapped some 700 metres below the surface, and have been receiving supplies through a metal shaft to the surface.

Engineers are working to drill through the rock in order to reach them some 600-700 metres below ground, a task that is estimated to take at least two to three more months.?

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