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Exploring collaborative links in the Health & Wellness and Pharmaceutical sectors

In this blog post, the Sports Science Institute of South Africa's Group for Research, Implementation and Translation (GRIT) team explore symbiotic existence of the Health & Wellness and Pharmaceutical Sectors, identifying areas for possible collaboration.
Parallels of Pharma and Fitness

Can Exercise be medicine?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This old English proverb calls for the eating of apples to maintain good health (i.e. keep the doctor away). The desire to maintain good health is an ever-increasing priority for many. While eating apples has numerous associated health benefits1, the list of daily practices to promote good health is long, resulting in a significant demand for products to aid this goal.


With the landscape rapidly changing, there may be an opportunity for greater collaboration between the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical technology and health and fitness industry sectors to achieve the overall goal: good health and wellness for all. Collaboration could have a number of benefits for the community in a variety of areas including:  chronic illness prevention and management, diet and nutritional support, sports performance and rehabilitation, and medical technology.


Where the pharmaceutical industry generally presents a medicinal variable into the wellness equation, health and wellness institutions tend to promote an exercise variable. It cannot be left unsaid that the benefits of exercise are significant – with the list of chronic conditions that benefit from regular exercise being extensive; cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and depression to name a few. It is, therefore, no surprise that exercise is promoted as a vital variable in the wellness equation.


One could argue that with each industry focusing on a separate ‘apple slice’, the two might be at odds. However, assuming both share the same goal of improving health and wellness for all, there could be opportunity for collaboration. One strong argument for collaboration may be in the emerging trend away from the “one size fits all” approach to medicine and toward a more personalised solution due to the highly individualised nature of responses to many treatments3. Collaboration may be key in providing everyone with their “apple” for every day.


To bring you the most evidence-based and cutting information in the fields of sports and exercise science and health, SSISA works alongside the UCT Research Centre for Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport (HPALS) to disseminate the latest research.  HPALS research focuses on optimizing human performance and promoting health and well-being through physical activity, sports participation, healthy eating and good sleep hygiene.  Their work begins at the DNA, to the human performance laboratory and ultimately to the community. To read more about the Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Research Centre, Division of Physiological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, please see the HPALS website or email Ayesha Hendricks for more information about applications for BSc Honours/MSc/MPhil/PhD research programmes.


To get in touch with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa Group for Research Implementation and Translation (GRIT) Research Consultants, get in touch with Warren Lucas at or call 021 650 5728 for enquiries. Read more about the SSISA GRIT Team here.



  1. Boyer J, Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J [Internet]. 2004 Dec 12 [cited 2022 Sep 9];3(1):1–15. Available from:
  2. Bull FC, Al-Ansari SS, Biddle S, Borodulin K, Buman MP, Cardon G, et al. World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Br J Sports Med [Internet]. 2020 Dec 1 [cited 2022 Sep 13];54(24):1451. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC7719906/
  3. Goetz LH, Schork NJ. Personalized medicine: motivation, challenges, and progress. Fertil Steril [Internet]. 2018 Jun 1 [cited 2022 Sep 14];109(6):952–63. Available from: