The combination of lack of physical exercise, sedentary lifestyle puts the health of adults at greater risk by lowering the quality of life and exposing them to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, hypertension, and some cancers.
The health benefits of physical exercise far overweigh the risks attached.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says lack of physical activity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable disease, negatively impacting mental health and overall quality of life.
Similarly, Experts say that high levels of sedentary time – more than seven hours a day – increase the risk of an early death, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, even if people are physically active at other times of the day.
Nigeria, with a large and increasing middle-aged population, has increased risk that can lower the quality of life due to insufficient physical activity.
According to new data published in the Lancet Global Health, more than one in four adults globally, which accounts for 28 per cent or 1.4 billion people, are physically inactive.
These data show the need for all countries, including Nigeria, to increase the priority given to national and sub-national actions to provide the environments that support physical activity and increase the opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to be active every day.
Oladoyin Odubanjo chair, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), Lagos Chapter said, it is essential to reduce the amount of time spent being sedentary in addition to doing more exercise.
“A more active lifestyle can significantly reduce the chances of chronic health conditions, mental health disorders, and premature death,” Odubanjo added.
According to the new Global Action Plan, a target has been set to reduce physical inactivity by 10 per cent by 2025 and 15 per cent by 2030.
Regina Guthold, of WHO Switzerland, the study’s lead author, counselled that more adults are lagging behind the recommended levels of physical activity required for a healthy life.
“Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health,” Guthold advised.
However, physical activity has positive effects, a 2018 study of 1,237,194 people, found that those who exercised reported fewer mental health problems than those who did not.
Going for at least three 30-minute runs and doing two 30-minute sessions of strength-training exercises per week would be sufficient to meet the minimum physical activity guidelines.
Physical activity delays the onset of dementia, and can help the maintenance of a healthy weight.