Lack of physical activity in our daily lives seems to be a growing global trend, one that is impacting the health of the world’s population.
The World Health Organization attributes the declining levels of physical activity to “an increase in the use of ‘passive’ modes of transport,” urbanization, as well as, lack of recreational space and high population density in major cities. These are true for both the developing and developed nations of the world.
The biggest concern related to the lack of adequate exercise in adults are the health risks and deterioration that occur consequentially to a sedentary lifestyle. Those at a higher risk of poor health due are “young people, women and older adults.”
Women in particular benefit greatly from an active lifestyle by improving heart health, and appease many physiological problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression. Diseases such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease can all be potentially prevented with the incorporation of daily exercise into our lives.
A global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization called, Move for Health, has been implemented to promote the health benefits of an active lifestyle. Statistics offered on WHO.org demonstrate the need and urgency of a ‘Move for Health:’
• Each year at least 1.9 million people die as a result of physical inactivity.
• At least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity physical activity on five days per week reduces the risk of several common noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
• Physical inactivity is an independent modifiable risk factor for common NCDs.
• More than 35 million people died of NCDs in 2005 - this represented 60 percent of all deaths worldwide.
• 80 percent of deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries.
• Without action to address the causes, deaths from NCDs will increase by 17 percent between 2005 and 2015.
A ‘Move for Health’ calls for the education and awareness of countries and its people on the importance of an active lifestyle. Noncommunicable, or non-contagious diseases, avoided by an active lifestyle include, but are not limited to, diabetes, stroke, asthma, and heart disease.
With a stronger likelihood of a less active lifestyle, women must work extra hard to make a move for their health. Cultural, financial, and care-giving obligations may hinder the ability for some women, around the world, to participate in an active lifestyle. Coupled with a nutritious diet and a general concern for your overall health, physical exercise has the power to add years to your life, and life to your years.