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‘Why recreation is capable of curbing obesity, heart disease’


bbbbWhen the issue of recreation comes up, not many people often associate health benefits to it. But recreational experts have said recreation, aside from having social benefits, have several health benefits that have not been exploited in Nigeria.

Speaking at an event heralding the opening of SplashWorld Park, Director of InVcap Corporation, Olusola Oyelade, stated that recreation was capable of helping people to overcome obesity and its unhealthy consequences.

SplashWorld Park is a multi-purpose water park and recreational centre with aim to promote physical activity among Nigerians.The centre, which is being set up by InVcap Corporation, is acclaimed West Africa’s First Water Park located at Ikogosi-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Sitting on 15-acre land, SplashWorld Water Park displays the intriguing view of mighty mountains covered in natural vegetation with lazy rivers, water slides,water rides, raining mushrooms, children’s water playhouse in a quiet setting.

Various studies have shown that recreation can be a tool in the hands of the ordinary people to beat obesity and other health conditions.
American scientists, including Dr Randy Rosenberger of the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University (OSU) in 2014, stated that “research is now showing there is a close correlation between public health and recreational opportunities, both close to home and in state parks,” adding that “ it is not just about losing weight, it is been found that active obese individuals have lower morbidity and mortality than normal weight individuals who are sedentary.”

The study,which was published in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, was conducted by scientists from (OSU), the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the US Forest Service in US.

Explaining the relationship between obesity and recreation, Oyelade described obesity as a multi-causal condition, adding that tackling it will require a comprehensive preventive approach, including recreation.

Oyelade said SplashWorld Park is an excellent inducement mechanism to physical activity, adding that leisure opportunities make physical activity interesting, enjoyable, boost life-long fitness habits and facilitate bonding between friends and family members.

Oyelade noted that the goal of the water park is to inculcate the culture of physical and recreational activities in Nigeria with the long-term goal of tackling high incidence of diseases, promote healthy lifestyles and longevity.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) while people with body mass index (BMI) 25.0-29.9 are regarded as overweight, people with BMI of 30.0 and above are regarded as obese.

Expressing fears over the trend of obesity, Oyelade said that Nigerians indeed have reasons to be worried going by the WHO projection that the current 1.5 billion worldwide obese population would have doubled by 2030.
Quoting a collection of studies done in Nigerian communities between 2006 and 2010, the InVcap Corporation Director said obesity is as high as 35 per cent across Nigeria.

Oyelade, who is also Chairman, Casa Consult Ltd, noted that outdoors could be more than just a place to burn off steam. “When used well, it can be a place for investigation, exploration and social interaction,” he said.

He maintained that obesity has continued to be a major health concern globally, stating that “the prevalence of obesity is more related to the lack of physical activity versus increased caloric intake.”

Obesity is associated with increased risk for disease, such as ischemic heart disease (which can lead to heart attack), hypertension, diabetes, gallbladder disease, respiratory disease, sleep apnea, some cancers and arthritis among others.

On the risk of chronic diseases, the recreation expert said there are many evidential researches on the health values of recreational activities, explaining “recreational activities also significantly reduce the risk of many serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) or heart disease, which is a leading cause of death.”

On her part, Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of InVcap, Olutoyin Oyelade, said that studies have shown that three of the major factors that significantly increase the risks of developing heart disease are obesity, diabetes and lack of physical activities.

Olutoyin said: “Obesity and diabetes can be greatly reduced through regular aerobic exercise and physical activity. Recreation activities, such as running, brisk walking, swimming and bicycling are excellent for elevating the heart rate and lowering the incidence of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, if done regularly.”
She further said that other diseases such as osteoporosis, which is softening of the bones, could be prevented and treated with physical activities.

She added that people who exercised for 20 minutes once a week were significantly less likely to fall sick than those who do not exercise.
To her, by participating in community activities and surrounding themselves with family and friends, people are four times less likely to get colds than those who are more isolated, based on a study.

Olutoyin said: “Medically, aerobic exercise like deep water running, swimming, brisk walk for about 150 minutes a week, has been scientifically proven to keep one fit and health.

“These forms of exercise when done 150 minutes a week translates to about 30 minutes in five days.”
Besides, she said, this increases life expectancy, as science has proven it that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death.

“Every time sedentary people walk a mile, they add 21 minutes to their life, saving society 34 cents in medical and related costs. Every hour you spend exercising increases your life expectancy by two hours. People in a regular exercise programme at age 75 have a lower death rate over the next few years than do similar groups of sedentary people,” she said.

She also explained that critical among the vision InVcap is to boost physical activities and health of Nigerians. In his presentation, Adebisi Ademola Babatunde, the Project Engineer of the centre, said that all is now set for prospective visitors of SplashWorld for excursions, vacations and summer holidays.

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