Yesterday was the world day for physical activity Did you know? Of course there appears to be a “world day” for everything, so much so that one wonders how relevant they may be. You have probably heard of some of these, but unless you have an active interest in health and exercise promotion, you will have missed April 6th’s drive for physical activity and its 2014 topic: “A golden goal for health”, chosen in reference to this soccer World Cup year. If you are like me in Switzerland, you might have spent your afternoon trembling with the Swiss Davis Cup team and its unexpected scary come from behind tennis battle against Kazakhstan. Or maybe you were absorbed by the marathon debut in Paris for Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), who would win in style breaking the course record in 2h05. Chances are you just spent a regular Sunday, like me, a walk lakeside with my kids trying to tame their kiddy bikes, and a light jog in the afternoon. Chances are none of what you did today was with the thought of world physical activity day. It was nowhere to be seen on TV, in the papers, or in the streets.
Part of the problem is that the concept of physical activity per se is fraught with branding problems. Seriously, how does one create a sexy message, an inviting tagline, with the words physical activity? I think that would be a tough one even for ad-man Don Draper from Mad Men. It is difficult to grasp its essence, its main features. It actually shouts one word out loud: ….boring.
We have a health crisis, and everybody agrees on that. The experts at the UN or WHO keep pointing at the major causes of chronic diseases, and lack of physical activity is systematically part of the top 5. Yet it is easier to establish new guidelines for statin use or for blood pressure targets, than to address the real societal activity problem.
There is only one way to brand physical activity:
Be physical activity. Lead the way, show your friends and family what it is, let them see that when you incarnate it, you are more energetic, you perform better in life and you live longer and happier. You are the message, and it is not one for one day per year. Never mind if you missed world physical activity day on April 6th, because you carry the real message every day, and it is much more powerful.