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WHO updates physical activity guidelines

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Geneva — Five million deaths could be prevented each year worldwide if people were less sedentary, according to the World Health Organization, which on Nov. 26 released updated physical activity guidelines.

WHO recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. Previously, it recommended only a minimum of 150 minutes. The organization also revised its guidelines on vigorous activity from its target of 75 minutes a week to 75 to 150 minutes. Further, the guidelines include muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity – involving all major muscle groups – for at least two days a week.

Currently, 25% of adults and more than 80% of adolescents don’t reach the recommended levels of physical activity, according to WHO.

University of Sydney (Australia) professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, co-chair of WHO’s Guidelines Development Group and leader of the adult physical activity subcommittee, said in a press release that the new guidelines reflect the importance of any kind of physical activity and the avoidance of sedentary behavior.

“These new global guidelines emphasize the importance of all people being active and acknowledge that all movement counts for better health and well-being – be it climbing the stairs or even household cleaning,” Stamatakis said.

The guidelines include new recommendations for people living with disabilities, those with chronic conditions, and women during pregnancy and post-delivery. WHO recommends that adults 65 and older take part in “multi-component” physical activities involving balance, coordination and muscle strengthening at least three days a week to help prevent falls and other issues.

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