At the end of the past century experts began saying that a lack of physical activity and its consequences would be the pandemic of the 21st century. At present, this prediction is becoming reality: diseases from a sedentary lifestyle are the fourth largest cause of death in the world. Unfortunately, the situation is is bad in Spain, with chilling data: six people die every hour from diseases directly related to a lack of physical activity. It’s also important to stress that this situation has a direct impact on healthcare spending in Spain, requiring an extra 5 billion euros per year.
In spite of the devastating situation, we human beings have antidote to change all this. It’s called regular physical activity. But if we know the consequences of inactivity and have the antidote, why don’t we use it? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the most recent Eurobarometer survey, which shows that the greatest impediment is a lack of time. But this fact is hugely contradicted by the average time a person spends watching television each day: in Spain, some 240 minutes. We must thus conclude that we have the time but don’t use it to improve our health. We should remember that the World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes each week of strenuous physical activity.
All of us in public and private organizations have the responsibility and obligation to change this trend. It’s important to educate people, starting in childhood, to adopt and increase exercise: active children become healthy adults. This pillar should be part of an integral education, and we should be aware of this in our universities, supporting physical activity and sports in the students, teachers and other personnel that make up our community. While ultimate responsibility may rest with each individual, our lifestyle affects us not just individually but also has an impact on our surroundings, and thus on society. We have the ability to become healthier and more active individuals because we possess the formula to make it possible. Shall we start?