Insufficient physical activity is one of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide.
Are you one of the four inactive adults? According to WHO, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough.
It is too early in the New Year to lose a loved one, I said to myself, as I turned and reached for the blood pressure monitor to check a client’s blood pressure (BP). A client walked into our pharmacy and requested to have all his vitals checked only after witnessing the death of the driver in the car just in front of his. According to him, the demised driver, suddenly began to slow down and came to an unusual stop, leading to traffic. When checked, they found him dead with his head on the wheels of his car.
People who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.
· Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
· Physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to prevent NCDs.
The inactive routine from your bed to the car, to the office and back is a dangerous lifestyle with enormous risk. Note the emphasis on “physical activity” and not exercise. Therefore, does it mean you could be exercising and not have enough physical activity?
Physical activity vs. Exercise
According to WHO, physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits.
However, the term “physical activity” should not be confused with “exercise”, which is a subcategory of physical activity. Exercise is planned, structured, repetitive, and aims to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness. Both, moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity brings health benefits.
How much of physical activity do you need?
Adults aged 18–64 years
· At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
If you desire more health benefits as an adult, increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or equivalent.
· Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
Physical activity for Adults 65 years and above
· Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
· If you desire additional health benefits, increase moderate intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or equivalent.
· Those with poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls, 3 or more days per week.
· Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups, 2 or more days a week.
The intensity of different forms of physical activity varies between people. In order to be beneficial for cardio-respiratory health, all activity should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
Do kids need physical activities?
In case you are wondering, despite the time kids spend playing, do they still need physical activity? I guess you will be shocked to know that More than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active.
Children and adolescents aged 5-17years
· Should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
· Physical activity of amounts greater than 60 minutes daily will provide additional health benefits.
· Include activities that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 times per week.