A substantial proportion of Switzerland’s population hardly exercises at all. In those older than 75, the proportion of inactive men and women increases strongly, at about 30% (Source: BfS). And yet regular physical activity is linked to so many health benefits:
- Lower rates of cardiocirculatory disorders and diabetes
- Lower rates of developing dementia and strokes
- Lower rates of osteoporosis and associated fractures
- Fewer falls and consequences of falls in old age
- Lower rates of cancer, for example bowel cancer or breast cancer
- More positive mood and fewer instances of depressive dysphoria
- Improved wellbeing and performance ability
- Weight control
In most cases the quality of life improves notably as a result of regular activity. We know from the so called dose-response curve that those people benefit most from (even modest) physical activity who have not exercised previously. The benefit for people’s health in this situation is even greater than if already “exercised” people engage in even more intense physical activity. Small units of exercise in everyday life, such as using the stairs rather than the lift, walking rather than using the car, going for a walk in the park, etc, all heave measurable effects. We are not talking about sports here, but exercise as part of everyday life and leisure activities, and their health benefits.
If you are thinking of improving your exercising habits, a structured approach may well be worth while. Talk to your doctor about your plans. Our “PAPRICA” (Physical Activity Promotion in Primary Care) programme for patients provides useful instructions.
- PAPRICA programme with information aiming to promote exercise: www.paprica.ch
- PAPRICA brochure for patients: www.paprica.ch/WP_1/?cat=115&lang=de
- Network for exercise experts, including documents containing recommendations for exercise and many links: www.hepa.ch
- Brochures and tips for all ages and stages: www.wirbewegenzuerich.ch