WHO releases physical activity guidelines to stay healthy

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 26, 2020 Published on November 26, 2020

Obesity and unhealthy diet could lead to severe Covid-19 infection

The World Health Organisation released new guidelines on physical activities that every age group should follow to stay fit and healthy.

This comes at a time when the virulent coronavirus continues to linger over the world, and various studies have claimed that obesity and an unhealthy diet, including deficiency of Vitamin D, could lead to severe Covid-19 infection.

The WHO previously recommended that adults aged 18 to 64 do either at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. These recommendations were chalked out for healthy adults.

The new recommendations now include people living with chronic conditions or a disability.

“Being physically active is critical for health and well-being — it can help add years to life and life to years,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a news release.

He added: “Every move count, especially now as we manage the constraints of the pandemic. We must all move every day — safely and creatively.”

Need for exercise

According to the WHO, children up to 17 need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each day. The activities should be mostly aerobic, such as jogging or biking. Activities that strengthen muscle and bone are necessary should be performed regularly.

For adults up to age 64, getting at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or a minimum of 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exerciseper week, can reduce the risk for early death, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, the report said.

The guidelines also recommend that older adults, ages 65 and older, do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise throughout the week.

WHO said that the same guidance applies to older adults. However, they should prioritise balance and strength training a few days per week. Those can help prevent falls and related injuries, as well as declines in bone health and ability.

The report recommended that if pregnant and postpartum women have no underlying conditions or complications, they should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic and strengthening activities each week. Stretching could be beneficial and soothing.

However, pregnant women should ensure that they are hydrated, avoiding physically risky activities and be aware of any warning signs that would alert them to stop. Those include feeling dizzy, painful contractions, or vaginal bleeding.

People with chronic conditions

WHO stressed that a healthy lifestyle is still possible even if you have chronic conditions.

It said that people with chronic conditions should do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobics per week or at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobics weekly.

A few times per week, they should do strengthening and balance exercises to enhance their abilities to function well.

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Published on November 26, 2020
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