Promoting physical activity is a life-saving mission

Before the pandemic, I attended a longevity conference and knew only a few people there. I introduced myself to a man who managed a large endowment fund. When I told him that I advised organisations that exist to provide and promote physical activity, he rolled his eyes and suggested that this did not seem a socially important priority when set against other global challenges facing the world right now.

Well, I believe that playing a small part in helping to prevent 3·9 million (2·5 to 5·6 million 95% confidence interval) premature deaths per year globally is an important mission. This excellent 2020 study by researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh calculated that if the global population were physically inactive, annual deaths would increase by 15%.

So, if you are supporting an individual or ‘community of people’ to be more physically active, then you are enriching as well as saving lives and you should push back against anyone who tells you that this work is unimportant.