The World Move for Health Day is observed yearly to promote the need for moderate to vigorous
physical activity of any type that can be performed to improve health.  Physical activity is any body movement produced by the skeletal muscles which requires the use of energy. Unlike exercise which is a structured and planned repetitive movement intended to improve physical fitness, physical activity involves any form of bodily movements that are done as part of playing, active transportation, house chores, dancing and other recreational activities including exercise.
Physical inactivity has been identified by the World Health Organization as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality which is estimated at 3.2million deaths. It is one of the reasons for global rise in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease etcetera. However engaging in regular moderate intensity physical activity is significant in maintaining health across all age groups as it cuts the risk of many health disorders by 25%.
In adults, physical activity contributes to mental well-being and stress reduction.  It improves muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness.  Hormones which benefit the body greatly are released during a physical activity. This includes the release of endorphin, a hormone which triggers a positive feeling in the body. Physical activity reduces the level of ‘bad cholesterol’- LDL in the body as well as total cholesterol but increases the level of ‘good cholesterol’ – HDL. To stay healthy, adults require at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week.
Children require at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day in order to maintain healthy development of bones, muscles and joints, heart and lungs, coordination and movement control. It also helps them to improve their control over anxiety. Self-confidence as well as social development and integration can be enhanced as children engage in physical activities. Physically active persons have their weight maintained. They have lower risks of falling and of having hip or vertebral fractures.
When people engage in walking and cycling rather than driving vehicles, they may be supporting to protect the environment. This is because there is reduced traffic congestion, less pollution and reduced emission of greenhouse gases which are known to destroy the environment.
When combined with other lifestyle modifications (such as proper nutrition, smoking cessation etcetera), physical activity can drastically reduce the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases worldwide. Let’s join the rest of the world to ‘Move on to Health’.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi


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