By Gabriel Ewepu

AS Nigeria joined rest of the world to commemorate World Physical Activity Day, WPAD 2021, the National President, Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy, NSP, Dr Nnenna Chigbo, weekend, urged Nigerians to have regular exercise to keep fit for healthy and productive life.

Speaking on the WPAD 2021, Chigbo said the day is part of activities of registered Physiotherapists in Nigeria, which is set aside by the World Health Organization, WHO, at its 54th World Health Assembly in 2002 with theme ‘Promoting Physical Activity’.

She said Nigerians have to engage in regular physical activity as a health enhancement measure against several ailments, and encourage those doing it to continue as it has a lot of health benefits.

As one of the health-related professional associations working with the World Health Organization to build the active societies envisaged in the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-30, the NSP boss said her organisation advocates inculcation of physical activity into the lifestyle of every Nigerian.

She said: “Participants can walk, dance, skip, engage in an aerobic workout, jog or run any time of the day and anywhere (including gyms, private homes and neighbourhoods) that is safe considering the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancers. It also helps to prevent hypertension, overweight and obesity and can improve mental health, quality of life and general well-being.

“Physical activity refers to any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that demand energy expenditure. It involves activities like walking, engaging in household chores, recreational pursuits.

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“The World Health Organization recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily for children and adolescents between ages five and 17 years.

“Physical activity beyond 60 minutes is highly recommended because it offers greater health benefits. Children and adolescents should engage in intense physical activity that strengthens muscles and bones at least thrice a week.

“For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.”

Speaking on strategies to achieve the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity which is to reduce Physical Inactivity by 10% in the year 2025 and 15% by 2030, said NSP is ready to work with government and non-governmental agencies including creating active societies social norms and attitude- Cause a paradigm shift in all of society by enhancing knowledge and understanding of, and appreciation for, the multiple benefits of regular physical activity, according to ability and at all ages; Provision of active environments spaces and places- Provide and maintain environments that promote and safeguard the rights of all people, of all ages, to have equitable access to safe places and spaces, in their cities and communities, in which to engage in regular physical activity, according to ability; Create active people programmes and opportunities- Create and promote access to opportunities and programmes, across multiple settings, to help people of all ages and abilities to engage in regular physical activity as individuals, families and communities.

Developing active systems governance and policy enablers- Develop and strengthen leadership, governance, multisectoral partnerships, workforce capabilities, advocacy and information systems across sectors to achieve excellence in resource mobilization and implementation of coordinated international, national and subnational action to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour; Healthcare providers should advise and support patients to be regularly active.

This year, the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy celebrates World Physical Activity Day (WoPAD) in collaboration with the Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative with the adopted theme, ‘Every Step Counts’.

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