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Physical Activity level: Pandemic Times

If you are stuck home with the lock down regulations, then you probably are not giving your body the proper level of physical activity it needs. Read on and check where you are with your physical activity level.

β€œAny bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.”

World Health Organization

Globally, 1 in 4 adults and more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population are physically inactive.

Levels of physical activities

According to Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) classification, the levels of physical activity is categorized as follows.

  • Sedentary: lying, Sitting and stationary standing, Sitting quietly (eg: watching TV, driving,  during computer work)
  • Light intensity activities: walking (<4km/h), operating a heavy machine and light household work like cooking
  • Moderate intensity activities: brisk walking, hiking swimming, gardening, slow cycling, dancing, sports like golf
  • Vigorous intensity activities: race walking, jogging or running, swimming laps, playing football, continuous gardening, fast cycling

Types of exercises you could do:

  • Aerobics builds stamina: fast walking, swimming, climbing stairs, tread mill and running/jogging
  • Anaerobic strengthens muscles: weight lifting, weight machines push ups, sit ups, crunches
  • Flexibility to increase the range of motion of joints and muscle length, yoga and stretching exercises

How much of physical activity do you need?

WHO recommends that:

Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years
  • Should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily..
  • Should include activities that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 times per week.
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.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
Adults aged 65 years and above
  • Should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.

Benefits of physical activity

Regular and adequate levels of physical activities could improve your

  • muscular strength and flexibility
  • cardio-respiratory fitness and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer)
  • the balance, thereby reduces the risk of falls as well as hip or vertebral fractures
  • the concentration, attention coordination and reaction time
  • sleep, manage stress, reduce the depression and improves the quality of life

and it also helps to maintains the energy balance in the body and weight control.

The drop in physical activity is partly due to inaction during leisure time and sedentary behavior on the job and at home. Likewise, an increase in the use of “passive” modes of transportation also contributes to insufficient physical activity.

What other reasons could hold you back from physical activity?

Several environmental factors which are linked to urbanization can discourage people from becoming more active, such as:

  • fear of violence and crime in outdoor areas
  • high-density traffic
  • low air quality, pollution
  • lack of parks, sidewalks and sports/recreation facilities.

Don’t let the pandemic take away your health away. Start moving and working for a healthy life.

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