The True Definition of Exercise According to the World Health Organization
It’s no secret that sitting a lot is bad for your health. Recent studies have shown that sitting for more than 10 hours a day is linked to a high risk of healthcare issues, most notably the risk of death by a heart attack. That’s why the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its definition of exercise in 2020. Through this initiative, the WHO is hoping to make people more aware of the dangers of inactivity and improve the overall quality of people’s health.
In this article, we will explain why the WHO has updated its definition of exercise.
Why is it hard to exercise?
Let’s first start with why is it hard to exercise. Our modern civilization has created an environment, which fetishizes inactivity, and makes it hard to be physically active. Many people work in offices where they just sit and hardly move. And with all the new technologies that we have like smartphones and PCs, our free time is mostly spent in a state of physical inactivity.
Why sitting is bad for you?
Sitting and sedentary behavior are not necessarily bad; they are part of a normal life. However, when coupled with a lack of physical activity, sedentary behavior increases the risk of having health problems that might lead to an early death. Limiting the time spent sitting alone, even if you are doing minimum physical activity is a lot better than just sitting.
What is the old definition of exercise?
The old definition of exercise, according to the WHO, which was set in 2010, suggests that 10 minutes of exercise per day is sufficient for keeping the body in a healthy state. However, that requirement has to be updated because new research tells us that there’s more to the matter that needs to be addressed.
This old definition overlooked the dangers of sitting a lot without physical activity; that’s why the WHO had to update it.
What is the new definition of exercise according to the World Health Organization?
The WHO now advises adults to exercise moderately for 150-300 hours per week, which is 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day, 5 days per week. Let’s assume that there are ten levels of physical effort. Moderate exercise will be something like level 5 to 6. Adults should aim at doing 150-300 hours of moderate exercise per week at first, and up the intensity with time.
However, there’s another side to the equation. The new guidelines also suggest that minimizing the time spent sitting, even if you’re just taking a walk or doing gardening can impact the quality of your health.
The point is, we have to exercise and also reduce the time spent sitting down. Exercise on its own is good, but when you also limit sedentary behavior you improve your chances at combating the risk of death.
What are the other new guidelines of the WHO?
Other guidelines urge people to devise more time for strength training as you grow old because it helps you strengthen the bones and muscles, which lowers the risk of fatal injuries when an accident happens. Strength exercises are also correlated with enhanced brain function and low risk for neurodegenerative diseases.
In conclusion, by updating its definition of exercise, the WHO is trying to improve the overall health of people all over the world. Making people more aware of this matter will likely increase the average lifespan across the world, which will impact all of our lives. People should be more aware of the dangers of sedentary behavior when it’s coupled with a lack of physical activity. Even a small amount of moderate exercise can expand the lifespan significantly.