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  • In an interview with JIS News, Senior Health Education Officer at the Ministry, Charmaine Plummer, said this is recommended for the complete physical well-being of individuals.
  • “We really want to encourage Jamaicans to get moving, and the best way to really be true to the observation of the day and for it to be effective, is to keep that movement going and making it a lifestyle,” she emphasised.

As the country deals with stemming the spread of  the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Health and Wellness is encouraging Jamaicans to engage in physical activity to preserve their health.               

In an interview with JIS News, Senior Health Education Officer at the Ministry, Charmaine Plummer, said this is recommended for the complete physical well-being of individuals.

“Physical activity and exercise are vital for mental and physical health, and are even more important than ever during periods of self-isolation,” she said, alluding to the fact that many persons are in quarantine and isolation as a result of the disease.

Miss Plummer was speaking against the background of World Move for Health Day, which is being observed globally on Sunday, May 10. 

She said that if persons have not yet begun an exercise regime, World Move for Health Day is a good time to start.                                    

“We really want to encourage Jamaicans to get moving, and the best way to really be true to the observation of the day and for it to be effective, is to keep that movement going and making it a lifestyle,” she emphasised.                        

Miss Plummer pointed out that the main objectives of national and global actions on World Move for Heath Day are to: 

  • Generate public awareness of the benefits of physical activity in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.
  • Advocate the benefits of physical activity, and increase population-wide physical activity participation in all domains (leisure time, transport, work) and settings (school, community, home, workplace), and
  • Promote healthy behaviours and lifestyles and address health-related issues through sports and physical activity, such as no tobacco use, healthy diet, reduction of violence, stress and social isolation.                

She explained  that physical activity has the ability to rejuvenate the body in different ways.                 

“It can help to burn extra calories, reduce stress, strengthen the body and improve the way persons look and feel about themselves,” she said.                      

The Health Education Officer added that physical activity is also vital to building the immune system, which can help to lessen the effect of COVID-19 if one contracts the virus.

Miss Plummer also issued a reminder to keep hydrated. “Make sure you drink water before, during and after you engage in physical activity,” she advised.              

Physical activity is body movement that allows the body to utilise energy.    

Regular physical activity plays a vital role as a protective and preventive factor for health and well-being and is critical in the management and reduction of chronic non-communicable diseases.   

According to the Global Recommendation on Physical Activity for Health: World Health Organization, physical activity can reduce global mortality by at least six per cent, reduce ischemic heart disease by 30 per cent, diabetes by 27 per cent, and breast and colon cancer by up to 25 per cent.  

Physical activity burns fat, helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduces stress.  It also contributes to the prevention of other health conditions, such as overweight and obesity; improved mental health; delay in the onset of dementia (stage 4); and improved overall quality of life.   

The Jamaica Health and Lifestyle, Survey lll 2016-2017, showed that 82 per cent of Jamaicans engaged in low physical activity, 16 per cent in moderate activity (minimum World Health Organization recommendations) and two per cent in high activity.    

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