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Care for yourselves

“For physical training is of some value…” – (1 Timothy 4:8)

As if we needed any proof that the Apostle was onto something, the findings of a study “Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy” (The Lancet, Volume 380, Issue 9838) said: “… shows that physical inactivity increases the risk of many adverse health conditions.”

The study focused on “the major non-communicable diseases emphasised by the UN as threats to global health: coronary heart disease; cancer, specifically breast and colon cancers, which are convincingly related to physical inactivity; and type 2 diabetes”.

They estimate that “worldwide … physical inactivity causes six per cent of the burden of disease from coronary heart disease, seven per cent of type 2 diabetes, 10 per cent of breast cancer, and 10 per cent colon cancer. Inactivity causes nine per cent of premature mortality, or more than 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008”.

It is also interesting to note that the “removal of physical inactivity had the largest effect on colon cancer, and the smallest on coronary heart disease, in terms of percentage reduction. However, with respect to the number of cases that can potentially be averted, coronary heart disease would have a far larger effect than would colon cancer because of its higher incidence”.

They say that prevention is better than cure, therefore, it might be better at both the personal and national level to spend more time, money and effort on a more active lifestyle than to have to pay a lot more, with our very life in some cases, down the road. We do not have to train like Blake or Bolt but I think you get the point. — Adrian Sobers

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