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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Ofori

Are you getting enough exercise?

A recent study conducted by researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and published in The Lancet Global Health Journal highlighted a concerning trend: approximately 1 in 4 adults worldwide does not meet the recommended levels of physical activity. This translates to over 1.4 billion adults being at risk of developing or worsening diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

The WHO's guidelines suggest 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. However, the study revealed that 27.5% of individuals globally do not meet these guidelines. While this is a slight improvement from the 28.5% inactivity rate recorded in 2001, it remains a critical issue that requires urgent attention.

Regular physical activity is crucial for improving health, enhancing longevity, and preventing chronic diseases. The study analyzed data from 358 surveys conducted between 2001 and 2016, encompassing 1.9 million participants from 168 countries, representing 96% of the global population. Participants were questioned about their physical activity levels in various aspects of daily life, including work, household tasks, transportation, and leisure time.

Significant disparities were observed across different regions, with activity levels varying widely. Only 5.5% of individuals in Uganda fell short of the guidelines, compared to 67% in Kuwait. Interestingly, high-income countries like Canada and the United States, generally exhibited lower adherence to exercise recommendations than low-income nations. This disparity is partly attributed to the sedentary nature of work and transportation in developed regions, contrasting with more active lifestyles in less-industrialized countries.

The study underscores the need for national policies promoting non-motorized transportation modes, like walking and cycling, along with encouraging active participation in recreational activities and sports during leisure time. Some regions, such as East and Southeast Asia, have seen improvements in physical activity rates due to initiatives promoting recreational exercise and public park utilization.

In the United States, data indicates that only 23% of individuals meet physical activity guidelines during leisure time, highlighting a potential area for policy interventions. Additionally, the study found that globally, women engage in less physical activity than men, which could be attributed to varying gender norms and accessibility challenges.

Addressing these disparities and integrating physical activity into daily routines and leisure time could contribute significantly to achieving the WHO's target of reducing physical inactivity by 10% by 2025. The WHO's Global Action Plan on Physical Activity outlines several strategies for achieving this goal, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts across sectors to promote health, community well-being, and environmental sustainability.

Emmanuel Ofori - eMotivates 

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Fitness Professional

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