If you have been feeling tired, heavy, and lethargic lately, then you might be one of the many Filipinos whose physical activity has significantly declined over the past year. A recent survey conducted by Movement Today revealed Filipinos have been moving less since the start of the pandemic.
With lockdowns and restrictions limiting our movement, it’s natural many have lost the motivation and capacity to exercise like they used to. While this is normal, a sedentary lifestyle can have negative effects on our overall health, according to Dr. Julie Li-Yu, president of the Osteoporosis Society of the Philippines Foundation Inc. (OSPFI).
Not many realize having a sedentary lifestyle poses a great risk to our musculoskeletal health. While we may not think of it today, it can have a significant impact on our ability to move as we age, thereby affecting our overall quality of life. Therefore, it is important to remember the role that our bones, joints, and muscles play in maintaining overall health and wellbeing.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), musculoskeletal conditions have been identified as among the highest contributors of disabilities worldwide. This is why Dr. Li-Yu also encourages focusing on our muscles and joints, in addition to our bone health.
“This October, as we celebrate Bone and Joint Awareness Week and World Osteoporosis Day, the OSPFI is one with many other health organizations all over the world in advocating for the prevention, recognition, and treatment of osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal diseases,” she says.
Conducted in August 2021, Movement Today’s survey aimed to understand how Filipinos’ physical activity has changed in the past year. The study’s respondents were among adults, aged 20 to 50 years old. Of 293 total respondents, 67 percent said they felt less active since COVID-19 started, with 53 percent saying they were lucky enough if they could sneak in a 10 to 20-minute workout in a week, a far cry from the WHO recommended minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. The results show physical activity has indeed decreased during the pandemic, with a large number of respondents experiencing back pains, muscle and joint pain, and feeling more tired and lethargic. This confirms the current situation has led to a more sedentary lifestyle, causing many to feel physically and mentally drained.
The WHO as well as the Center for Disease Control also recognize the pandemic has significantly impacted people’s lifestyles and ability to move, encouraging those stuck at home to be mindful in ensuring they stay active, as it can also significantly reduce susceptibility to COVID-19 by helping reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type2 diabetes, on top of musculoskeletal health concerns.
According to Dr. Li-Yu, when it comes to our bones, joints, and muscles, health is built over time, with prevention as early as in childhood as key. “We call it a bone bank,” she explains. Our youth is spent nourishing and conditioning our bodies until we achieve our peak bone mass at about 30 to 40 years old. Thereafter, our bodies will decline, hence it is vital to “invest” in our bodies as early as possible by moving regularly as well as feeding it with the proper nutrition in order to have the best quality of life as we age.
Of 293 total respondents, 53 percent said they were lucky enough if they could sneak in a 10 to 20-minute workout in a week, a far cry from the WHO recommended minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week.
When it comes to movement, one does not have to spend much, or at all. According to Dr. Li-Yu, walking is an effective activity benefits the entire body. She also suggests resistance exercises if one’s aim is to build specific muscle groups. “Any type of movement is better than nothing,” she says. Even while working from home, there are many ways to keep our bodies active. In addition to physical movement, having a well-balanced, healthy diet is also important.
Alarming data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) has shown the diet of Filipinos in general does not meet the recommended daily allowance of micronutrients. This is why many food products are fortified, and also shows the value of consuming products that supplement our regular food intake.
“Anlene, the trusted bone expert and one of the pioneers of adult milk, has been advocating the importance of caring for bones, joints, and muscles for the past 30 years by providing superior adult nutrition to enable adults to move at any age and live their best lives,” says Roberta Mundo, Anlene marketing manager.
Anlene products contain vital macro and micronutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D, collagen and vitamin C to help strengthen bone, joint, and muscle health. Also, the new Anlene Gold 5x offers more advanced nutrition for bones, joints, muscles, energy, and flexibility. On top of the high levels of calcium, vitamin D, and protein, it also has the complete set of B vitamins and a new ingredient called MFGMActiv, a natural dairy component composed of fats and proteins, which supports optimal function of bones, joints, and muscles for better mobility.
“We’d like to invite all Filipino adults to proactively take care of their health by building a daily habit of movement and choosing to eat healthily and enrich their diets with nutritional foods. Let’s aim to be stronger and healthier today to keep moving for a better tomorrow,” Mundo concludes.