As Nigeria COVID-19 pandemic rises to over 10,000 cases, a Professor of Physiotherapy and Director, Exercise is Medicine Nigeria, Dr. Ade Fatai Adeniyi, has emphasised on the relevance of physical activities and exercise for prevention of disease conditions. In a presentation, titled: “Keeping physically active during COVID-19 Pandemic: A step by step guide”, Adeniyi, noted that physical activities and exercise has from ancient times been a way of preventing disease conditions.“Although the relevance of physical activity and exercise for the prevention and control of disease, conditions can be traced as far back as the beginning of man, generally many individuals still grapple with its preference and use. Some of the reasons adduced to this include inability to make time to exercise, lack of facilities and expertise on what to do, perceived strenuous nature of the physical activity, and some holding the belief that it is easier to swallow pills than to exercise.
“It is, however, remarkable to note that physical activity and exercise are almost irreplaceable whenever it needs to be adopted and utilized. Hence, the functions of physical activity and exercise are unique and cannot be readily relegated no matter how ingenious man becomes” he said. He also noted some of the benefits of physical activities and exercise are; enhancing blood sugar control, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, burning excess body fat, among mother health benefits. “The benefit of physical activity and exercise to man predates the COVID-19 pandemic and will most certainly outlive it. In the general population, physical activity and exercise will help people to keep well and live healthy by enhancing blood sugar control, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, burning excess body fat, improving muscle strength, increasing bone density and strength, and lowering blood pressure. “Equally, physical activity and exercise will help to further protect against heart and blood vessel disease, increase energy level and enhance work capacity, reduce stress, promote relaxation, release tension and anxiety, keep joints flexible, help lose weight and lower risk of falling. These and many more benefits have been evidently documented in favour of physical activity and exercise” he said. Continuing he said: “There are lots of benefits in keeping physically active in the COVID-19 pandemic and this includes the general ones that have been mentioned above.
“However, a few specific ones will be presented here: Adopting appropriate physical activity will help the immune system thereby increasing the capacity of the person to fight the disease and reducing the impact of the disease progression on the entire person. As we may also be aware, many people with COVID-19 disease may have been living with one or a combination of other pre-existing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. Evidence suggests that people with COVID-19 who also have underlying diseases have more severe outcomes. “Considering the enormous amount of evidence to support the role of physical activity and exercise in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, it, therefore, becomes logical to adopt it as a way of keeping well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another reason is based on the premise that the various episodes of lockdowns and restrictions across various cities will certainly have a toll on the way of life of people including the aspects of socializing, free movements, loss of a job, and earning power. “These situations may have a consequence on the mental health and wellbeing of people leading to feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression, and many other psychological disorders. Physical activity and exercise have been shown to achieve highly improved outcomes in these situations,” he added.