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When it comes to our overall health, diet is only half the story. The other critical part is keeping active. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to the prevention of NCDs (7). In fact, not keeping active enough is linked to a number of health issues and shortens lifespan by three to five years (5). Despite this, it is estimated that globally one in four adults is not active enough (7).
The good news is that keeping physically active can be done at any level of skill and for enjoyment too – and it doesn’t have to mean exercise. For example, it can include other activities which involve bodily movement and are done as part of playing, working, active transportation, household chores or recreational activities.
How much is enough?
The World Health Organization sets out a number of recommendations based on age and ability. However, generally for adults aged 18–64 years, it recommends throughout the week at least 150 minutes of activity which requires a moderate amount of effort and noticeably accelerates the heart (such as a brisk walk or household or domestic chores) or at least 75 minutes of activity which requires a large amount of effort and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate (such as running, walking or climbing briskly up a hill) (7).
Whatever you choose, by becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, you can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.
For more information on WHO guidance please visit: https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/