Get active to grow the economy

Imagine if, just by being a little bit more active you could positively improve your health and contribute to the economy?

Worldwide we are facing a huge, but not insurmountable problem- people are not moving enough. This, along with effortless access to cheap processed calorie-laden foods, means humans are getting fatter. Being overweight in itself is not an issue, but it is the precursor to a huge host of health problems which can be directly linked to being overweight, and therein lies the problem. The most common weight-related issues and diseases are diabetes, hypertension and hypothyroidism, which require chronic medication to control. Bring overweight, or even obese and the attendant diseases is costly for the individual and for the state, whether due to the sheer cost of providing treatment or the negative ramifications of the disease.

A 23-country global study was conducted by Discovery Vitality and RAND Europe which focuses on how physical inactivity negatively affects the economy.

What resulted from the study is that just a small change globally could have a huge impact on our economy. The hard facts data says that if our inactive population simply walked an extra 20 minutes a day, the world’s economy could gain up over R3.2 billion and each individual could alive an extra 2.5 years. Individually, 2.5 years is not much but if a group of people each gains 2.5 years on their lifespan, that has huge effects for the workforce and therefore the economy. This also translates into lowered mortality rates and less days off from work due to illness and health issues too. Physical activity also has a hugely positive effect on mental health, which again is very real problem for today’s workforce. The idea proffers that by being moderately more active, people will see an improvement in physical health and mental health.

Looking inward, the study says that if just one fifth of our adult population was only 20% more active over the next 3 decades (30 years) we could increase our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by R7 billion. The other notable findings from the study says that a 40-year old, could increase their life expectancy by an average of 2.5 years. These gains could be due to reduced risk of early death, less sick days and greater productivity in the workplace. It’s staggering to think that we could achieve this if each of us is just marginally more active than we are now. For illustration purposes, if a person exercises 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, he/she would only have to add another 2 hours to their weekly total to achieve this. An extra 2 hours a week on top of 10 hours only equate to an extra 24 minutes a day!

The study neatly provides the link between exercise or activity, productivity, life expectancy and the economy. In currency terms, and as a real incentive to get even more active; those who are already

active would only have to become 20% more active to grow the world’s economy by at least R5 trillion per annum. To put this into perspective, that’s equal to the size of Singapore’s economy.

With the facilities offered by residential estates like Gold Coast Estate, residents have ample opportunity to engage in a variety of active pursuits whether it be a walk with pets within the safety of the estate, or an intense watt-bike training session in the high-altitude room at the onsite Sports Facility. The beauty of being within an estate is that it is set up to encourage people to keep active, and if each of us only need to be marginally active, or more active than we already are then being within an estate means that everything is already in place for you to make your positive contribution to growing our economy.

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