10 Facts: WHY & HOW MUCH physical activity is a must for your healthy life

Regular excercise improves your immunity system, keeps you healthy and gives you a longer life.

Lack of physical activity, on contrast, makes you vulnerable to several non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, heart attack, and cancer, among other things.

Getting people to move more is a key strategy for reducing the burden of NCDs, as articulated in WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020.

The plan calls for a 10 per cent reduction in physical inactivity by 2025, which contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Here are the 10 facts:

Fact#1: Physical activity is fundamental to energy balance and weight control. Globally, 23 per cent of adults and 81 per cent of school-going adolescents are not active enough. Generally, women are far less active than men and boys, and older adults are less active than younger adults.

Fact#2: People who are physically active:

* Improve their muscular and cardio-respiratory fitness.

* Improve their bone and functional health.

* Have a lower risk of falling and of hip or vertebral fractures.

Fact#3: Physical activity is not the same as sport. It is any bodily movement made by skeletal muscles that uses energy. This includes sports, excercise, or any other physical activity such as walking, households cohres, gardening, etc.

Fact#4: Moderate and vigorous physical activity is beneficial. It depends on an individual’s relative level of fitness. Moderate physical activity includes walking, dancing or household chores. Intense physical activity is running, fast cycling, fast swimming, or moving heavy loads.

Fact#5: One hour per day for people in the age group of 5-17 years. Doing activites for more than one hour brings additional health benefits.

Fact#6: Moderate physical activities for 150 minutes a week for people aged between 18-64 years, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous activities throughout the week, or a combination of both. In order to be beneficial for cardio-respiratory health, all activities should be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.

Fact#7: For adults aged 75 years and above, recommendation remains the same. Besides, older people with lower mobility should do physical activity 3 or more days per week to enhance balance or prevent falls. They should try to be as physically active as their conditions and abilities allow them to do.

Fact#8: All healthy adults need to be physically active, unless specific medical conditions indicate the contrary. These recommendations also apply to people with chronic non-communicable conditions, not related to mobility, such as hypertension or diabetes. Adults with disabilites should also follow WHO recommendations.

Fact#9: Some activity is better than none. Inactive people should start with small amount of physical activity and slowly can increase duration, frequency, intensity over time. Pregnant women, post partum women, and people with cardio problem may need extra precaution and medical advice before doing so.

Fact#10: Supportive environments and communities help people to be physically active.

Story: WHO

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