The pandemic has hampered the regular exercise routines of almost everyone. While getting back into normal physical activity may require a bit more effort, the latest guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) may encourage everyone to start incorporating exercise into the daily routine.
WHO has just released a new set of physical activity guidelines titled, "WHO Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour" to help people stay active amid the pandemic. The health body recognised that many have been home-bound due to COVID-19 and now wants everyone to engage in some type of movement.
In WHO's new guidelines, it recommends adults to engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Those who are planning vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises can do it at 75 to 150 minutes per week.
The health body emphasises that physical activity is recommended for everyone including those who are dealing with disability or chronic conditions. Children and adolescents are also advised to exercise at an average of at least an hour per day. Those who are aged 65 and above also have the same recommendation as that of an adult and are advised to incorporate a multicomponent approach in their physical activity including strength training and those that emphasise functional balance.
Pregnant women were also pinpointed by the health body. It advised them to maintain physical activities all throughout their pregnancy and also post-delivery.
According to WHO, one in four adults does not get sufficient amounts of exercise. For adolescents, the statistics are higher with four out of five young people not getting enough physical activity. It estimated that such inactivity costs around US$54 billion in terms of direct health care. Since exercise strengthens the body, WHO also estimated lost productivity due to lack of exercise at US$14 billion.
"Every move counts, especially now as we manage the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must all move every day – safely and creatively," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He said that being physically active is critical to the well-being and health of individuals, saying that it can add more years to life.
Dr Ruediger Krech, WHO Director of Health Promotion, said that any type of physical activity at any duration can improve the well-being and health of individuals. He emphasised though that more is always better.