Stating that up to 5 million deaths can be avoided each year if all adults devote at least 150-300 minutes every week for exercise, the World Health Organisation (WHO), in a fresh set of guidelines, has recommended moderate to vigorous aerobic activity for adults and an average of 60 minutes of exercising per day for children and adolescents.
The guidelines come against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns which have forced millions across the world to stay at home and limited everyday physical activities.
These guidelines are meant to prevent the rise of non-communicable diseases which may arise from sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, statistics released by the WHO indicate that one in four adults, and four out of five adolescents do not get enough physical activity, costing over $54 billion in direct healthcare.
The global public health agency said regular physical activity, restrained due to the pandemic, helps in managing heart diseases, diabetes and cancer as well as reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
According to reports, technical experts from all six WHO regions were part of the Guideline Development Group (GDG) formed in 2019. The group had met in February and framed recommendations by consensus, which were then posted online for public consultation.
All physical activity is beneficial and can be done as part of work, sport and leisure or transport (walking, wheeling and cycling), but also through dance, play and everyday household tasks, like gardening and cleaning, the guidelines state.
According to Dr Fiona Bull, who is the head of the Physical Activity Unit which led the framing of the new guidelines, said they highlighted "how important being active is for our hearts, bodies and minds, and how favourable outcomes benefit everyone, of all ages and abilities".