Exercise is heart work, says expert | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

If you want to stay fit and healthy, doing household chores, swimming a few laps or engaging in sports won’t help you. Take it from a health expert.

“Others say that swimming, sports or cleaning the house or fetching water is an exercise. They are merely recreation,” said Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag.

“When we say exercise, the heart really works hard and perspiration takes place,” he said.

Tayag spoke at a press briefing the other day to launch a weeklong fun run covering nine cities in Luzon. The run began in Baguio City Sunday.

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) initiated the fun run in partnership with the Department of Health to gather mass support and win the commitment of local governments in promoting healthy lifestyle and work habits in a smoke-free environment.

The 270-kilometer run, led by running priest Robert Reyes, started at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio and will end in Quezon City on Saturday.

The runners will make stopovers in San Fernando, La Union; Dagupan, Pangasinan; Tarlac City; Angeles City in Pampanga; San Fernando, Pampanga; Malolos, Bulacan and Valenzuela City

Unhealthy diet, smoking

Running and jogging count as forms of exercise, Tayag said.

He cited the lack of genuine exercise as among the main reasons for the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases among Filipinos.

Aside from leading a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and smoking are major causes of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, lung and kidney ailments, diabetes and obesity, Tayag said.

Smoking accounts for at least 15 to 30 percent of lifestyle diseases in the Philippines, he said.

“We hope this run will leave a lasting impression on the people that healthy lifestyle is very important to promote good health,” said Dr. Leo Olarte, a PMA governor.

2008 study

A 2008 study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that 76.3 percent of Filipino men were sedentary in their jobs, 93.8 percent sedentary during their travels, and 89.9 percent sedentary during their leisure time.

For Filipino women, the percentages were 76.2 percent at work, 95.7 percent in their travel and 95.7 percent during their leisure hours, according to the study.

As part of the antismoking campaign, more than 1,000 PMA members quietly underwent rehabilitation between 2009 and 2011 to cure themselves of their smoking addiction.

Smoking ban

Michael Aragon, PMA media affairs chair, said the organization had banned its 17,000 members from smoking, “because how else can oncologists (cancer specialists) and cardiologists compel their patients to stop smoking when they can’t stop themselves?”

But the PMA is also aware that smoking is an addiction that requires healing, so some members “volunteered to undergo clinic-based rehabilitation,” Aragon said.

The process combines psychological evaluation and therapy with a gradual intake of nicotine to induce withdrawal from tobacco. The doctors’ identities remain confidential, Aragon said.

“We plan to develop smoke-cessation clinics for smokers caught in smoke-free public zones and who decide to quit,” he said.

Smoke-Free PH

“There are only a handful of smoke-free cities today, among them Baguio City, Davao City and Metro Manila, where (the) enforcement [of antismoking ordinances] is still being challenged,” Aragon said.

The Smoke-Free Philippines campaign was launched hand in hand with the fun run.

In the 15-km run around Baguio, Reyes was joined by government health workers, dentists, nurses, students and officers of the Philippine Military Academy led by its superintendent, Brig. Gen. Nonato Alfredo Peralta Jr.

“I am actually a failure at this [antismoking] campaign. I failed to stop my brother from smoking. He started at an early age. He died recently,” Reyes said.

Dr. Ronald Nuñez, vice president for Luzon of the Philippine Dental Association, said his group had also “passed in principle” a resolution seeking to stop members from smoking.

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