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Filipinos not much into exercise, Sun Life Health Index shows

/ 12:29 AM January 29, 2017

Most New Year’s resolutions lists include fitness goals. But unfortunately, making healthier choices is not that easy to achieve for many.

This is confirmed by the recent Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index, which showed that Filipinos have the least amount of regular exercise, tied with Thais and Malaysians at 61 percent of the population.

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But this is already an improvement as the level had gone up from the 59 percent recorded in the previous study.

The recent study, conducted in 2016, cited “lack of time” as the Filipinos’ primary reason for not engaging in physical activities, with 57 percent of the population giving this excuse.

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“Lack of personal motivation” and “distractions of modern life” tied for the second most cited reason at 47 percent.

Sun Life dubbed this segment of the population “Generation O,” or overworked, overweight and overwhelmed, which it first identified in the 2014 edition of the health index.

To address Filipinos’ health concerns, the financial company launched its “Go Well” campaign, and tapped some of the country’s leading fitness icons, including “The Bull Runner” Jaymie Pizarro, who presented the wellness program in a recent press conference at the Makati Shangri-La.

“We want Filipinos to be able to add fitness and wellness to their lives,” said the proponent of running for fitness and member of the marketing group of Sun Life.

The program also brings in long-time Sun Life endorser, actor Piolo Pascual, whose athletic background includes cycling and running.

Inquirer Lifestyle columnist and Zumba practitioner Tessa Prieto-Valdes, TV host and CrossFit enthusiast Rovilson Fernandez, and model and yogi Bubbles Paraiso complete the group of Go Well “ambassadors.”

“As you can see, these people have different backgrounds and different ages,” Pizarro pointed out. “So this tells you that everybody can get into fitness,” she added.

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The Go Well campaign aims to establish a community of fitness enthusiasts by providing access to wellness programs, literature and resource persons, primarily through the gowell.com website.

Interested individuals may sign up for membership on the website. Go Well members earn points, which may be used to redeem prizes such as Apple watches, and other fitness products.

The website publishes articles on varied topics such as nutrition, exercise, health and general well-being.

It also posts columns contributed by Pizarro and other fitness experts, including strength and conditioning coach Timothy Ayson, Kitchen Revolution founder Marie Gonzales, and wellness analyst Nat Cruz.

Go Well members also get exclusive invites to free fitness classes and activities, such as running events and yoga sessions. The schedules are also posted on the website.

“The website offers help for the body, mind and soul,” shared Pizarro.

She is also optimistic that the Go Well community will result in the establishment of “organic communities” in the future, to build cluster communities of individuals based on their interests.

Sun Life Financial Philippines president and CEO Riza Mantaring, meanwhile, stressed that the Go Well campaign was in line with the company’s mission of providing tools that will make Filipinos’ lives better.

“Health and wellness really go together and we’re going to push for both advocacies,” she explained.

Mantaring, who has run marathons in different parts of the world, insists that time management is one of the most effective ways for people to include exercise in their daily routines.

“You have to make time for it. I wake up early, I run at 5 a.m. So that I’m done with my exercise even before I start work,” she shared.

“Because if you move to the end of your day, you may start saying ‘I’m too tired to exercise’ and end up not doing it anymore,” Mantaring added.

The Go Well website is now active and people may start signing up for membership.

On Jan. 29, members are invited to the “Namaste Run,” which fuses yoga and running, at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City.

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TAGS: exercise, Filipinos, Health, Sun Life, Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index
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