The coronavirus pandemic is no excuse for not getting enough exercise, the World Health Organization said Wednesday (Nov 25), warning that even before the crisis many were getting too little physical activity.
In an update of its physical activity guidelines, the UN health agency stressed that exercise was vital to physical and mental health, while sedentary behaviour can have serious repercussions.
“WHO urges everyone to continue to stay active through the Covid-19 pandemic,” the agency’s head of health promotion Ruediger Krech told reporters.
“If we do not remain active, we run the risk of creating another pandemic of ill-health as a result of sedentary behaviour.”
There are still no clear statistics on what impact the pandemic has had on physical activity, but lockdowns, movement restrictions, gym closures and other measures have clearly forced many people to stay home and have disrupted regular activities and exercise routines.
This is worrying considering that even before the crisis, data shows the vast majority of young people and many adults were not active enough, with dire repercussions for global health.
The WHO estimates that pushing more people to get off the sofa or office chair to move about more could avert up to five million deaths each year.