Up to five million deaths each year could be prevented if the worldwide population was more active. While many people are homebound because of the pandemic, the new World Health Organization or WHO Guidelines were launched today.
The said guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior, highlight that all people, regardless of age and abilities, "can be physically active" and that every movement, whatever type it is, counts.
These new guidelines propose that at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise each week for all adults, which include those who are living with chronic diseases or disabilities, and an average of 60 minutes each day, for children and adolescents.
According to WHO statistics, one in every four adults and four of five adolescents are not getting adequate physical activity.
Globally, WHO also says, this is approximated to cost roughly $54 billion in "direct health care and another $14 billion to lost productivity."
Importance of Regular Physical Activity
The new guidelines are encouraging women to maintain regular physical activity throughout their pregnancy and after delivery.
WHO, in this new set of recommendations, highlights the valuable health benefits as well of physical activity for individuals living with disabilities.
Meanwhile, older adults whose age is 65 years or older are advised to add to their daily routine physical activities, which underscore balance and coordination, "as well as muscle training" to contribute to the prevention of falls and improvement of health.
Furthermore, the health organization also emphasizes that regular physical activity is key to preventing and helping manage heart ailments, type-2 diabetes, and cancer.
It also helps reduce symptoms of other conditions, including depression and anxiety; help with cognitive decline, improvement of memory, and boost brain health, as well.
Exercise Can Help to Add Years
According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, "Being physically active is critical for health and well-being."
Exercise, he adds, can indeed help to add "years to life and life to years." Undeniably and undoubtedly, the WHO official explains, every move counts, especially in this difficult time as everyone manages the limitations brought by COVID-19. Therefore, Ghebreyesus continues, there is a need for everyone to "move every day-safely and creatively.
The health expert elaborates, all physical activity is advantageous, and it can be done as part of a routine at work, sports involvement, during leisure time, and in transport, which includes walking, cycling, and wheeling, among others. Beneficial physical activity may also include dancing, playing, and attending to daily household chores like cleaning and gardening, to name two.
WHO's Director of Health Promotion, Dr. Ruediger Krech says, any type of physical activity, no matter how long it's done, can help improve health and wellbeing although, more "is always better."
More so, Krech adds, if one needs to spend a lot of time sitting still, be it in the office or classroom, he needs to do more physical activity to balance the harmful impacts of sedentary behavior.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fiona Bull, Head of Physical Activity Unit, which led the new WHO guidelines' development said, the new guidelines put emphasis on how essential being physically active is for the heart, body, and mind.
The guidelines also emphasize how favorable results are benefiting everyone, regardless of age and capabilities.
The health agency is encouraging nations to adopt the new WHO guidelines so they could develop national health policies in support of its global action plan on physical activity 2018 to 2030.
The said plan was approved by global health leaders during the 71st World Health Assembly in 2018 for the reduction of physical inactivity by 15 percent by 2030.
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