Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Inter-America take part in stretching and breathing exercises during day two of the territory-wide health summit held this week in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Jan. 23, 2020. [Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD]

January 23, 2020 | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Nigel Coke/IAD News Staff

“We are doing a fabulous job of not moving enough” exclaimed Professor Jason Aragon as he started his presentation dubbed “Stand Up, Stand Up.”

Aragon referenced a survey done on Global Inactivity for the period 2001-16, which indicated that 8 out of 10 adults or children do not do enough physical activities on a weekly basis and that this was a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, mental health and quality of life.

Highlighting the figures from the survey, Aragon pointed out that inactivity across economic standards were no different regardless of whether they are rich or poor across all demography.

“Doing enough exercise, instead of sitting down daily will help the oxygen flow to our bodies and in the brain which will help us to give us clarity of thoughts and making better decisions,” said Aragon who is the director of post-graduate program in public health and preventative medicine at Montemorelos University, in Mexico.

Jason Aragon, director of post-graduate program in public health and preventative medicine at Montemorelos University, in Mexico, speaks to church leaders on the importance of incorporating physical fitness in their daily life at any age. [Photo: Nigel Coke/IAD]

“If you want to be rich in terms of your physical fitness, you are the master of your destiny,” he said Aragon. No other health behavior is as dependent on will power as is exercise, he added. “You can be rich when it comes to physical fitness if you put in the work. You can deposit daily to that account.”

The power of sedentary behavior

According to the Dallas Bed Rest Study of 1966, five individuals were tested for oxygen output and workload (strength) capability after three weeks of total inactivity on bed rest and later, after eight weeks of intense physical training. Forty years later, those same five individuals were tested again. The individuals had maintained some regular physical activity over the 40 years. Researchers found that their oxygen output and workload capability had declined over the 40 years (because of aging) about the same amount as it had declined when the five individuals were put on total bed rest for three weeks in 1966. Muscle loss and lowered lung capacity had happened very quickly whenever they stopped physical activity altogether.

“Muscles wasting is accelerated when we are laying down or sitting for long periods of time than if we were doing physical activities…that’s the power of moving,” he emphasized.

Aragon was presenting at day two of a Health Summit hosted by the Inter-American Division in Punta Cana from January 22-26. Attendees included church leaders and health ministry directors from across Inter-America.

Jason Aragon demonstrates a sitting exercise for health summit attendees to engage in during day two of the event. [Photo: Nigel Coke/IAD]

During the presentation, the university professor engaged the attendees in physical exercises to illustrate and reinforce the need for physical activities.

In redefining retirement, Aragon posited that retirement is not about finding a place to sit but about being able to move and enjoy life and doing thing for yourself, not other as was the case during your working life.

In concluding, he warned the audience that if they want to “outwalk” death, they would have to walk at a quicker pace than they are currently moving.

“The muscles grow weaker as we get older. The stronger our muscles, the better we can combat aging. Move as if your life depends on it because it does.”

To read coverage of Inter-America’s Health Summit, visit us at interamerica.org

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