BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND RISK OF SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR Physical activity includes activities undertaken while working

Regular physical activity of moderate intensity – such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. At all ages, the benefits of being physically active outweigh potential harm, for example through accidents. Some physical activity is better than doing none. By becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, people can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.

Key facts

  • Insufficient physical activity is 1 of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide.
  • Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
  • Physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to prevent NCDs.
  • Globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough.
  • More than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active.
  • Policies to address insufficient physical activity are operational in 56% of WHO Member States.
  • WHO Member States have agreed to reduce insufficient physical activity by 10% by 2025.

What is physical activity?

WHO defines physical activity as 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.

The term “physical activity” should not be confused with “exercise”, which is a subcategory of physical activity that 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 is recommended?

WHO recommends:

Adults aged 18–64 years
  • Should do 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.
  • For additional health benefits, adults should increase their 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.

Benefits of physical activity and risk of sedentary behavior

Regular physical activity of moderate intensity – such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. At all ages, the benefits of being physically active outweigh potential harm, for example through accidents. Some physical activity is better than doing none. By becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, people can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.

Regular and adequate levels of physical activity:

  • improve muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness;
  • improve bone and functional health;
  • reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer and depression;
  • reduce the risk of falls as well as hip or vertebral fractures; and
  • are fundamental to energy balance and weight control.

Insufficient physical activity is 1 of the 10 leading risk factors for global mortality and is on the rise in many countries, adding to the burden of NCDs and affecting general health worldwide. People who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.

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This is a summary of this source article, made by the world health organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/