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WHO Says People Need to Get More Active

Agency says pandemic has made situation worse
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2020 10:29 AM CST

(Newser) – As the coronavirus leaves many people housebound and many Americans sit to feast for Thanksgiving, the World Health Organization says people need to get more active, insisting that up to 5 million deaths worldwide could be avoided each year if people would run, walk, and simply move more. The United Nations health agency, launching updated guidelines on sedentary behavior, is pointing to figures that one in four adults—and four in five adolescents don’t get enough physical activity, a situation that's complicated by the COVID-19 crisis that has shut up many people indoors. It recommends at least 2.5 hours of "moderate to vigorous aerobic activity" for adults per week, and an hour per day for kids and teens, the AP reports.

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A lack of physical activity leads to extra health care costs of $54 billion per year, plus another $14 billion in lost productivity, the agency said.. "Physical activity of any type and any duration can improve health and well-being, but more is always better," says Dr. Ruediger Krech, the WHO’s director of health promotion. "If you must spend a lot of time sitting still, whether at work or school, you should do more physical activity to counter the harmful effects of sedentary behavior." Regular physical activity is important to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer while also reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and "boosting brain health," the agency said. People aged over 65 should focus on balance, coordination, and muscle strength to help prevent falls, it said.

(Read more World Health Organization stories.)

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