Some physical activity is better than none

December 10, 2020 Cary Conway

The importance of focusing on your own health and wellness cannot be overstated given the circumstances of 2020. For those who may take an all-or-nothing approach, even small amounts of activity can help you live longer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in its release on the latest guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior, up to 5 million deaths a year could be averted if the global population was more active.

According to the WHO, one in four adults, and four out of five adolescents, do not get enough physical activity. Globally this is estimated to cost $54 billion in direct healthcare and another $14 billion to lost productivity.

Updated from 2010, the guidelines offer evidence-based public health recommendations for children, adolescents, adults and older adults on the amount of physical activity needed to provide significant health benefits and mitigate health risks. For the first time, the recommendations are also tied to the connection between sedentary behavior and health outcomes.

Here’s a brief summary of the WHO recommendations for adults:

  • All adults should be physically active.
  • Adults should do at least 150 to 300 minutes (20 to 40 minutes a day) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity; or at least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for substantial health benefits.
  • Adults should also do strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups two or more days a week for additional health benefits.
  • Adults may increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to more than 300 minutes, do more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for additional health benefits.

This research is further validation about the importance of physical activity and only reinforces the value of the work Vitality is doing to help its clients and members. This guidance also energizes the commitment we’ve made through Vitality Shared-Value Insurance to help make 100 million people 20% more active by 2025.

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