Mens sana in corpora sano. The Romans knew that physical exercise is an essential part of mental and psychological well-being.

Today, Fiona Bull of the World Health Organisation (WHO) presented on RTÉ‘s “Morning Ireland” an evidenced-based study just published in The Lancet Global Health Journal that confirmed what the Romans had discovered 2,000 years ago and put into five memorable words.

Here is how the modern scientists put it, having conducted a world-wide study of exercise levels: “Insufficient physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, and has a negative effect on mental health and quality of life.”

Apparently, more than 1.4 billion adults are putting themselves at heightened risk of deadly diseases by not getting enough exercise, according to the WHO. The study found that a third of women and a quarter of men worldwide are in the firing line for killer conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer unless they up their physical activity.

What can we do about this?

The WHO recommends each adult do at least 150 minutes “moderate-intensity” exercise – such as brisk walking, swimming or gentle cycling – each week, or 75 minutes “vigorous-intensity” activity – such as running or team sports.

Why do I think this is important?

Well – if the lack of physical exercise has such devastating effects on a person, and if this has now been proven by a large, world-wide study published by The Lancet and endorsed by the WHO, and if physical exercise is denied to a person with a disability, such as a very severe acquired brain injury, who cannot exercise without help – then, in my mind, the denial of that exercise amounts to knowingly put this person in the “firing line for killer conditions”. What if a person died in this “firing line for killer conditions” ?

According to information on the website of the Law Reform Commission, the following is the current law on murder and involuntary manslaughter: “Murder occurs if a person intended to kill, or cause serious injury to, another person who dies as a result. Murder convictions can include situations where a killing was planned in advance; where the victim was knowingly shot; and where the accused is aware that the natural consequences of their actions would lead to death.” And: “Gross negligence manslaughter (is) where the death arises from a negligent act or omission by the accused involving a high risk of substantial personal injury.”

Pádraig had a good day today. Tons of conversations and interesting banter. When I didn’t hear the door bell, he turned his head towards the door to get my attention and to let me know that someone had called. Pretty amazing stuff.

Tomorrow, we’ll be getting ready to travel to Lourdes where we’ll be from Friday to Wednesday of next week, together with other pilgrims filling two large planes. Because of the railway strike in France the summer, we didn’t make it to Lourdes on the German pilgrim train. So we are really looking forward to go to Lourdes with Pádraig for a few days of.great company and spirituality, to get out of the firing line, and to re-charge the batteries for the months to come! And we are so grateful to the brilliant people who are making this trip possible.