WHO statistics show 1 in 4 adults and 80% of adolescents do not do enough physical activity. Women and girls generally do less than men and boys. This, the health agency says, hurts both human health and the health of world economies.
The agency reports physical activity can help prevent heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer; as well reduce cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease. It says physical inactivity also can put societies into an economic hole. The global cost of direct health care is estimated at $54 billion, with an additional cost of $14 billion in lost productivity.
WHO Director for Health Promotion Ruediger Krech says it is never too late to begin moving. He says any type of physical activity, including walking, cycling, dancing, household tasks and gardening can counteract the harm from sitting too long.
“WHO urges everyone to continue to stay active through the Covid-19 pandemic. If we do not remain active, we run the risk of creating another pandemic of ill health as a result of sedentary behavior,” he said.
New WHO guidelines recommend adults engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week, and an average of 60 minutes a day for children and adolescents.
The WHO guidelines also highlight the valuable health benefits of physical activity for those with disabilities. It advises people over age 65 to engage in muscle-strengthening, balance and coordination activities to help prevent falls and improve health.
As we reported earlier, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for Covid-19 said that even if countries see a fall in coronavirus cases, they need to stay vigilant.
At the same time, she stressed that states are able to reduce the transmission of coronavirus, citing the example of dozens of countries that have established and retained control over the pandemic.