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Philip Aveti Curto: Regular physical exercise protects against many diseases

There is a lot of wisdom and value in the cliched assertion that prevention is better than cure.

It simply means that it is less costly to prevent something from happening than to repair any damage caused by it.

Physical activity and then regular exercise maintains the health of the body and prevents the occurrence of many diseases. Nelson Mandela believed that “… exercise is not only key to physical health but also peace of mind…” Regarding the duty required of individuals to prevent disease, Bridget Collins also emphasizedAnd the “We are the custodians of our bodies.”

We must take action to employ healthy lifestyle habits to prevent, reduce and/or manage disease.”

Playing sports

Exercise is a structured program of activity geared toward achieving or maintaining physical fitness. Exercise is an integral part of physical activity such as walking, running, jogging, sports, swimming, cycling and dancing. According to the World Health Organization, physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.

global efforts

Globally, sedentary lifestyles or low levels of physical activity have cascading negative effects on an individual’s quality of life. According to the World Health Organization, 28% of adults aged 18 and over were not sufficiently active in 2016. This means they do not meet global recommendations for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes of activity vigorous physical activity per week.

Therefore, countries, societies and organizations all over the world have to make frantic and conscious efforts to provide enough opportunities for people to be active all the time. Thus, increasing physical activity is a joint responsibility of various sectors and disciplines to implement policies and solutions appropriate to the cultural and social environment of the country to promote and encourage physical activity.

For example, under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, many on-the-job training workshops are organized across India and many people from other parts of the world participate in those trainings.

As a matter of institutional policy, the authorities of the Administrative Personnel College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad insist that ITEC participants eat breakfast only after yoga sessions. This initiative is a deliberate effort directed towards increasing physical activity among participants. Suggestively, other organizations may mimic this practice in various forms.

policy engine

Physical activity policies in the workplace should be designed to deliberately ensure that almost no one is excluded. For me, such organizational policies will create an active work culture. These policies may ensure a short break from activity, extended hours during work hours, and a flexible time for physical activity and walking meetings.

Policies can be used to create a workplace culture where physical activity is the norm. Policies are most effective when they are complemented by environmental information, programmes, benefit design, and strategies.

WHO response

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a Global Action Plan on Physical Activity lasting from 2018 to 2030. The plan identifies four policy action areas and 20 specific policy recommendations for Member States, international partners and WHO itself to increase physical activity worldwide.

In line with this strategy and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the World Health Assembly (WHA) approved a global target in 2018 to reduce physical inactivity by 15% by 2030.

To this end, various sports activities, dance competitions and even brisk walking among others should be encouraged to prevent sedentary lifestyles that tend to facilitate the occurrence of certain chronic diseases.

It is one thing for WHO Member States to document physical activity measures on paper, another thing is to communicate measures to the population and implement areas of action to increase physical activity.

Perhaps to ensure that planned actions do not remain solely as documentary contents, WHO launched the ACTIVE Toolkit in 2019 to provide more specific technical guidance for implementing the 20 policy recommendations outlined in the 2018-2030 Global Action Plan.

It has been repeatedly advised and reiterated that countries should adapt and adapt the proposed ACTIVE Global Action Plan and policy options to local contexts to help increase levels of physical activity globally. Most notably, the development and implementation of national guidelines for physical activity for all age groups and the implementation of communication campaigns at the community level to increase awareness and knowledge of the multiple health, economic and social benefits of physical activity. Is Ghana’s government doing this consciously?

guiding rules

As per the guidelines, individuals are encouraged to adhere to the following routine practices.

  • Avoid being sedentary.
  • Do at least two hours of moderate intensity and one hour of high intensity exercise per week.
  • Do strength training exercises to prevent muscle loss and strengthen your bones.
  • Play outdoor sports, swim, dance, walk or run.
  • If you have a desk job, get up and walk around every hour. Or get an existing business office.
  • Treat physical exercise as a fun activity, not a punishment.

In fact, the short and long-term health benefits of physical activity are numerous.


It is well known that people who engage in regular physical activity have social, physical and mental benefits. It has also been proven through scientific research that regular physical activity contributes significantly to the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer. It also helps prevent high blood pressure, maintain a healthy body weight, and can improve mental health, quality of life, and well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. It is said differently, a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to health.