Topic 2 Physical activity

  • Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure

  • It includes:

    1. Every activity in the context of work, daily transportations, or household activities

    2. Every activity during leisure time. It consists of any scheduled, structured and repeated activity, aiming to improve or maintain physical health i.e. any kind of sports, exercise, dancing etc.

Regular physical activity, combined with a healthy diet, contributes is proven to help prevent and manage various health issues as well as to maintain a healthy body weight.

Physical activity can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being.

Why is it important?

  • Important health benefits (body & mind)
  • Impact on prevention and management of noncommunicable diseases (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases)
  • Reduces feelings of depression, anxiety and may improve mood and overall well-being
  • Improves thinking and learning skills
  • Strengthens bones & muscles
  • Reduces risks of falls
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Reduces risks of gain weight

Health benefits of physical activity

Limit as much as possible sedentary lifestyle.

Incorporate physical activity in our everyday lives.

Structured activities (i.e. sports) or unstructured activities, i.e. walking (get off the bus at the previous stop-station and walk the rest of the way), or use the stairs instead of the elevator, or running, cycling, swimming, activities with children, workout, dancing.

> 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity physical activity, most days of the week (>150 minutes per week) For extra benefits: ≈5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity or 2,5 hours of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week (or an equivalent combination of both) Activities for muscle strengthening at least 2 times a week

Physical activity can be continuous or be split into smaller durations of at least 10 minutes a day each.

  • For individuals dealing with chronic conditions (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, HIV and cancer survivors) the same levels of physical activity are proposed, but you need to consult with your doctor about which exercises are recommended and safe for your condition and what you need to avoid.