PHA: ‘Usapang Puso’ Highlights Value of Physical Fitness during Pandemic

Guest author:

  • GYNNA P. GAGELONIA, Communications Manager/Managing Editor/Headwriter, MyHeart.Ph, Philippine Heart Association (PHA)

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“Health and Fitness” is a buzzword that has been at the forefront of world news ever since the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in December 2019.

Concurrently, the word co-morbidity (underlying conditions) has now made its way into the vocabulary of the masses. The United States and other countries found out that a big percentage of global deaths from Covid -19 had co-morbidities.

Among them are heart and respiratory diseases, hypertension, and diabetes.

Filipinos fighting 2 wars: CVD & coronavirus menace

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the top cause of death all over the world and in the Philippines for years. Two decades ago, the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) waged a war against CVD. CVD refers to diseases of the heart and the blood vessels like heart failure, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, hypertension and stroke.

Now, we are in a dual crisis or we are combatting two wars – the CVD and corona menace. The Covid death toll and infection rate continue to rise because the virulent virus prey on the weak, particularly people with CVD and diabetes. This is a cause for alarm. Lessening the risks of the person with co-morbidities is now a major concern.

Pre-Covid, the PHA has been an exemplar of its Healthy Lifestyle 52100 by practicing what it preaches. At the height of the pandemic it raised its 52100 and Covid Health protocol campaign to the next level.

Deciphering the 52100 code — 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, only 2 hours of recreational screen time/not more than 2mgs of added salt, 1 hour of exercise, 0 sugar, and 0 smoking.

Exercise and eating smart should go hand in hand. Regular exercise should be practiced by both the old and the young to build their resistance.

No one should avoid physical fitness regardless of age. Senior citizens, the physically handicapped, even pregnant women need to exercise. In fact, an exercise regimen can be arranged for any type of impediment. Parents have to introduce an active lifestyle to their kids while they are young.

Majority of these life-threatening non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are preventable. People with sedentary or an inactive lifestyle are prone to the highly contagious and most deadly virus to hit the globe since 1911.

Dr. Nannette Rey of PHA speaks about the heart.
Dr. Nannette Rey, past PHA president. (Credit: Facebook)

Thus, the virtual PHA 51st Annual Convention and Scientific Meeting theme was “Next Level Strategies” held on May 25 to 28, 2021.

One of its Pre-convention activities, the PHA Advocacy Hour, is the platform of the monthly PHA “Usapang Puso sa Puso” (UPP) Episode 9 via Zoom and Facebook LIVE on May 25, 2021.

Work-from-home brings family bonding, stress-eating, obesity

It is aptly themed “Usapang Quarantine: Mag-DaMoves Para sa Puso”. The hosts – Drs. Luigi Pierre Segundo and Dr. Don Robespierre Reyes, were joined by two past PHA presidents, Dr. Raul Lapitan, Dr. Nannette Rey, and celebrity guests Jim and Toni Saret of Fit FMovement (FFM).

This month’s UPP highlighted CVD prevention that are induced by lack of physical activities or sedentary lifestyle amid the longest lockdown in the world.

Work-from-home (WFH) is the new normal around the world. It has brought families together. But too much bonding activities can result in a sedentary lifestyle, stress eating, obesity and poor-lifestyle-induced diseases.

In the discussion, Rey, a cardiologist-electrophysiologist, shared the benefits of doing the Fit Heart Minute (FHM). It is composed of 10X each of push ups, lunges, squats and jumping jacks. It was also her moment to continue to promote her Flagship Advocacy, the Fit Heart Minute campaign, a one-minute-every-hour exercise for a healthy heart care.

Based on research of Cleveland Clinic USA, pilates boost heart health through improved respiration, decreasing physical and emotional stress and improved metabolic function among others.

Lapitan, the architect of the CPR On Wheels & Wings (CCW) campaign, talked about the “Science Behind the 10K Steps” to avoid CVD and Covud. CCW was his flagship during his tenure as PHA president from 2017-2018. Walking is the cheapest form of exercise.

SF (Sneakers Friday) focuses on a practical and sustainable approach in the high prevalence of obesity among the Filipinos. He believes that through this advocacy Filipinos will become fitter and healthier which is in line with the association’s Healthy Lifestyle 52100.

Lapitan, who also adopted SF from the U.S. in 2018 and introduced it to the local setting, said that SF was conceived to make people walk more than usual for health reasons. It was initially designed for doctors and hospital staff and people from the corporate world who are clad in work shoes that are not designed for comfortable and prolonged walking.

Ensuring compassionate and quality cardiovascular care.
Credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Ensuring compassionate and quality cardiovascular care

On the other hand, celebrity coaches Jim and Toni Saret walked us through their journey as celebrity fitness gurus who have embraced and complemented the PHA 52100 Advocacy since 2013. Theirs is a name that’s synonymous to the Biggest Loser, Fit-Fil, MetaBeats, 52100, etc.

In March this year, the Philippine National Police (PNP) observed the World Obesity Day with a high-impact program called The Chubby Anonymous Project, helmed by the Saret couple. It is a weight loss program to curb obesity among PNP members.

The Saret couple pledged anew to promote the PHA Advocacy programs – 52100, Fit Heart Minute, Sneakers Friday, UPP and CPR-Ready Ph Campaign .

With almost 2,000 cardiologists as members, the PHA is celebrating its 69th year and 51st year of mounting the annual convention and scientific meeting.

Throughout the association’s existence, its programs, advocacies, campaigns and efforts are poured toward one-goal – to ensure compassionate and quality cardiovascular care. Its Vision is to be an Asia-Pacific leader in cardiovascular health care. (✓)

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