In this day and age of gadgets, online shopping, remote controls, and TV dinners, we’re all being lured to a state of sedentariness. The Philippine Heart Association’s advocacy is a comfy way to move more and be more active physically
By Gelyka Ruth R. Dumaraos
Photos By Ramir G. Cambiado
Fridays are when doctors, spearheaded by the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), ditch their leather shoes and killer heels and lace up a pair of comfortable sneakers—doing all of the day’s work including their hospital rounds and clinics in them.
The campaign for a more active lifestyle is called Sneakers Friday. It’s actually part of the advocacy to encourage the public to move more and burn more calories through frequent walking.
The brainchild of former PHA president and noted cardiologist Dr. Raul Lapitan, the campaign aims to stress the dress-down day of the week, which is usually Friday, as the starting point towards longer walks beyond the workplace.
“Walking around the workplace, taking the stairs when going one floor up or down, to the parking lot or bus/train depot in comfy sneakers do wonders to the body – the heart, muscles and bones,” he says.
It has been said that sitting is the new smoking. Dr. Lapitan explains that this can lead to obesity and triggers lifestyle-related diseases hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.
He says, “Most people have a sit-down lifestyle nowadays. Let us not forget the burgeoning breed who works from home. They have converted a nook in their homes into a virtual office. They have to be glued on their seats during a required number of hours. And let us not forget those who are always on their mobile phones.”
With the campaign, PHA hopes people will be more encouraged to reach the goal of 10,000 steps or about five miles a day.
This conforms with the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of 30 minutes of daily exercise or about 150 minutes per week.
Walk the talk
Because healthcare professionals are most like its staunchest advocates, the campaign has tapped the doctors and nurses as its first batch of walking endorsers.
“The heart docs are potent pioneering partners because they are the role models of the patients and a lot of people,” Dr.Lapitan says. They should walk the talk.”
It is important that individual’s “me time” or their personal time spent on selfcare should include physical and wellness activities. Including family members in the picture is even better.
The PHA past president notes, “What I notice is kids who are into sports or who have an active lifestyle come from a family whose members have a physically active lifestyle. They just love doing physical activities as a brood.”
This concept is also in line with the health-conscious family-affair advocacy of the late Dr. Ramon Abarquez, Jr.
A planned health regimen, including physical activities such as sports, proper diet and regular heath check-up for the entire brood creates an opportunity to bond with each other, too.
This way, healthy lifestyle is not just an individual’s goal but a family affair.
Dr. Lapitan also highlights the importance of having the support of the national and local governments.
“We should have more public sports centers, gyms and parks with sports facilities that give free access to every Juan dela Cruz,” he stresses.
Sneakers Friday is a spin-off of the organization’s Healthy Lifestyle 5-2-1-0-0 code, which stands for five servings of vegetable and fruits; maximum of two hours of screen (computer, video) time; one hour of moderate physical activity preferably daily or at least four days a week; zero soda or sugar-sweetened drinks; and zero smoking.
From being a strictly collegial and scientific organization to one that tackles socially-relevant health issues such as the alarming rate of lifestyle diseases among Filipinos, the PHA has been a leading medical organization that has effectively reached out to the public.
Aside from Sneakers Friday, PHA has other advocacy projects such as the Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on Wheels and Wings, a caravan promoting CPR education in different regions; ABDC Screenings, which promotes screening for cardiovascular risk factors; and FitHeart Minute of 1-minute daily pocket workouts for the heart.
“Walking around the workplace, taking the stairs when going one floor up or down, to the parking lot or bus/train depot in comfy sneakers do wonders to the body – the heart, muscles and bones”
Dec 2018 Health and Lifestyle