Regular physical activity is one of the most important things anyone can do for their health and is an integral component of any successful weight loss programme.
The World Health Organisation1 recommends that adults aged between 18-64 years should undertake the following activity every week in order to improve general health and well-being and reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension:
In 2014, the WHO held a two-day high-level meeting in the UAE to focus on strategies to tackle physical inactivity in the Arab Gulf in order to reduce non-communicable disease rates2. In the Arab Gulf, physical inactivity is a major concern and this region is considered to have one of the highest rates of physically inactive people in the world. One in three men and one in two women are inactive. Walking was highlighted as an important route to being more active as it can be done virtually anywhere and at anytime. It only takes 30 minutes of walking five days per week to improve and maintain health.
Moderate physical activity includes walking briskly or cycling at a casual pace, and during these tasks, the heart rate increases but people can still speak and hold a conversation.
Jogging, running, playing a competitive sport such as football, squash, tennis or swimming can all be classified as vigorous activities. In these cases, the heart rate rises substantially, making it difficult to speak and carry a conversation.
It is worth remembering that all activity, no matter how small, can count towards daily and weekly activity. Watching less TV, playing actively with children, sitting down at the computer for fewer hours, taking the stairs instead of the lift, and walking around all count and minimise sedentary behaviour.