The physical well-being of people has largely impacted across the world due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Though people did try to find innovative ways to continue exercising inside their homes, a standardised recommendation for public health and welfare was still required. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a set of guidelines for physical activity to counter the impact of sedentary lifestyle among people. These guidelines have specified in detail the frequency, intensity and duration of physical activity that is essential for children and adults to keep fit and prevent any health risks.
The guidelines also focused on pregnant and post-partum women, people with chronic conditions such as Diabetes and heart disease and the elderly who are at particularly high risk of developing an illness and should therefore; stay physically active to improve their immunity. The new guidelines quote physical activity as an important aid to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Being physically active not only improves physical health and prevents chronic conditions but also helps regulate emotions and improve memory and brain function.
The recommended duration and intensity of physical activity according to age group:
• 5-17 years - Moderate to vigorous intensity activity for 60 minutes a day and vigorous aerobic activity for
at least 3 days a week
• 18-64 years - 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise throughout the week and muscle strengthening exercise for at least 2 days a week
• 65 years or older -150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise throughout the week and muscle strengthening exercise for at least 2 days a week or multicomponent physical activity focusing on functional balance and strength training at moderate or high intensity for 3 days a week
• Pregnant and post-partum women - Moderate intensity physical activity at least 150 minutes a week
The guidelines also recommend physical activity of at least 150-300 minutes a week to people of all age groups who are living with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure. high blood sugar levels or heart disease to prevent further complications.
In children and adults with disabilities like impaired cognitive function, the guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity to help improve physical as well as cognitive function. Consult your physiotherapist to understand the right amount of physical activity for you.