Why is so important to keep yourself active and fit?
Globally people are becoming less active, this is partly due to a busy life style. We have become reliant on our cars, using these for even the shortest of distances. Due to changing times and covid-19 many people are now working from home, meaning even less activities and exercises. Due to advanced technology, fast food and shopping can be done without living the house again reducing activities.
Let’s see a few numbers…
The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010 identified physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality (6% of deaths globally).
This follows high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%) and high blood glucose (6%). Overweight and obesity are responsible for 5% of global mortality.
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.
How much of physical activity is recommended (for 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.
Moderate aerobic activity: walking, riding a bike, dancing, hiking, doubles tennis, water aerobics, rollerblading.
Vigorous activity: jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, sports (football, rugby, netball, hockey), aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts.
In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity.
It is important to know that vigorous intensity activity increases our cardiorespiratory fitness which allows us to live longer .
Cardiorespiratory fitness is an indication of a person’s overall physical health, and improving it should be the aim of everyone because it helps us to live better and more than anything longer.
A study pubblished in 2018 by Jama, compares cardiorespiratory fitness long-term with mortality. The take aways from this study are:
- Cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with long-term mortality.
- High aerobic fitness is associated with the greatest survival and is associated with benefit in older patients and those with hypertension.
- Cardiorespiratory fitness is a modifiable indicator of long-term mortality, and health care professionals should encourage patients to achieve and maintain high levels of fitness.
It is crucial that we find at least half an hour everyday for some activities and exercises. We have no excuse. Stop saying “I don’t have time”, “I am a full-time parent , “I am too old”, “I am too stressed”, etc. Stop lying to yourself! If you really want you can find easly 30 minutes a day. It is the only tool he have, combined with a healthy diet, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other pathologies. In this way, we are going to live better and longer.
- The World Health Organization (WHO), Physical Activity, 2010;
- Association of cardiorespiratory fitness with long-term mortality among adults undergoing exercise treadmill testing, JAMA 2018.