“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it” PLATO
The World Health Organisation defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Simply defined, anything you do daily that uses movement and makes you of energy. This could be through the things you engage in everyday like house cleaning, washing, and gardening, stairs climbing or through structures exercises like brisk-walking, jogging, running, skipping, resistance training or sports like football, basketball, tennis etc.
We are living in an age where movement is gradually been taken out of our daily lives. The move towards a sedentary lifestyle is on the increase through advance technology and various labour saving devices (cars and mobile phones). Gradually our children are also being dragged into a lifestyle of inactivity. I pads, video games, television, social media are all gradually eroding any form of physical activity from their lives and sad to say parents are the culprits.
Physical inactivity has been identified by World Health Organisation as the 4th leading cause of global mortality. Smoking and physical inactivity are the two major risk factors for non-communicable diseases around the globe. They estimates that physical inactivity causes 6-10% of all the deaths from the major non-communicable diseases like coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer. The effects of physical inactivity on the body and mind are grave that its adverse effects on health are comparable to that of smoking and obesity. Highlighted below are some of these effects:
- Risk of premature death is increased (dying earlier than the average age of death for a specific population group). Research clearly demonstrates the importance of avoiding inactivity. Even low amount of physical activity reduce the risk of dying prematurely.( 2008 PAG)
- Increases the risk of developing and dying from heart disease
- Increases the risk of developing diabetes
- Risk of developing high blood pressure is increased
- Higher chance of developing depression and anxiety
- Colon and breast cancer risk increases
- Doubles the risk of being overweight and obese
I am always amazed at how people claim not to have time for exercise yet seems to have time for illnesses. The lack of time cannot be justified when the time spent watching TV, or using the social media is compared to the time required to be physically active. Some generally don’t feel well, always complaining of weakness, losing concentration easily and all these are ways the body communicates its lack of proper use.
The global public health message for daily physical activity covers everyone regardless of age. Recommended physical activity levels are as follows:
- Children aged under 5 years should do 180 minutes every day
- Young people (5-18 years) should do 60 minutes every day
- Adults (19-64 years) should do 150 minutes every week, at least 30 min/day
- Older adults (65+ years) should do 150 minutes every week, 30 min/day
The call for an active lifestyle is of little value if awareness is not created on ways it can be incorporated into everyday life.