Move to Lose

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:

Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
 
Aerobic activity should be performed in sessions of at least 10 minutes each.
 
For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
 
Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.

 

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.

Simple activities that have been encouraged across the region include:

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
 
10,000 steps a day (pedometers)
 
Introducing walking meetings at work

 

References

  1. World Health Organisation. Recommended Activity Level of Adults aged 18-64 years. Accessed on line August 2014 at: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/ar/
  2. World Health Organisation for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (2014) http://www.emro.who.int/ar/media/news/high-level-forum-physical-activity.html