Editorial: The risk of inactivity

Most people today spend more time sitting down at work or getting caught in traffic. Exercise has become a chore for many which obviously redound to a less than healthy lifestyle.

The World Health Organization recently released a study conducted in 2016 on the activity levels of 1.9 million people in 168 countries. The results are alarming.

A sedentary lifestyle over the past two decades has placed more than 1.4 billion adults at heightened risk of deadly diseases by not getting enough exercise. WHO said that a third of women and a quarter of men worldwide are facing “killer” conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer unless they increase their physical activity.

Published last Wednesday by The Lancet Global Health Journal, the study showed “insufficient physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, and has a negative effect on mental health and quality of life.”

It recommends each adult do at least 150 minutes “moderate-intensity” exercise — such as brisk walking, swimming or gentle cycling–each week, or 75 minutes “vigorous-intensity” activity — such as running or team sports.

Urbanization plays a key role in this sedentary lifestyle. Most people are spending more time indoors, work longer hours and have easy access to high-calorie foods. This has become the norm in wealthier nations.

“As countries urbanize, people who used to be, say, farmers, and got a lot of physical activity through their work all of a sudden live in an urban environment where they might be without work or move to a sedentary job, so societies need to compensate.”

However, the study showed an uptick in the global exercise map in Southeast Asia which showed women were equally as active as men and that inactivity has decreased in since 2001.

People should be more conscious in getting some sort of activity in spurts, like taking the stairs or walking short distances just to break long hours of inactivity.

Posted in Opinion