Importance and Components of ‘Physical Activity’

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy

Physical activity is movement carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. Physical activity is any physical movement performed throughout the day following our own daily routine. It can be exercise, normal walking, cleaning of house or car, paying with children, stair walking, etc. Different types of physical activity can vary by ease or intensity, to get the better results we should increase the intensity of physical activities.  Being physically active is a Key for good health.

Unfortunately, these days we are not that conscious on this, as per WHO’s recent Launch of new global estimates on levels of physical activity in adults in 2018 , “New data published in The Lancet Global Health today show that more than one in four adults globally (28% or 1.4 billion people) are physically inactive. However, this can be as high as one in three adults inactive in some counties. Women were less active than men, with an over 8% difference at the global level (32% men vs 23%, women). High income countries are more inactive (37%) compared with middle income (26%) and low-income countries (16%)”.

Data show the need for all countries to increase the priority given to national and sub-national actions to provide the environments that support physical activity and increase the opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, to be active every day.”

Importance of Physical Activities

Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Less active and less fit people have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure. Lack of physical activity can add to feelings of anxiety and depression. 

Whereas Physical activity can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, Studies show that physically active people are less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who are inactive. This is even after researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol use, and diet. Older adults who are physically active can reduce their risk for falls and improve their ability to do daily activities. Physically active overweight or obese people significantly reduced their risk for disease with regular physical activity.

We should determine the ideal activity level based upon age, health condition, environment for any assistance one may refer the guidelines, different countries have identified & published physical activities guidelines. WHO also has global recommendations, which are specific to different age groups and include guidelines for persons with reduced mobility. For example, for persons aged 5 to 17, WHO recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity at moderate to vigorous levels. For older individuals, at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity (or a combination thereof) are recommended each week. For older adults whose mobility is poor, WHO recommends physical activity on three or more days each week.

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5 Small change in your ‘Eating Habits’ to Incarnate your Health

The 5 major components of physical activities:

Cardio-respiratory Fitness

 Ability to perform prolonged, large muscle, dynamic exercise at moderate to high levels of intensity. Depends on the ability of the lungs to deliver oxygen from the environment to the bloodstream and the efficiency of the heart and nervous system. Some of the examples of Cardio-respiratory endurance are Walking, Jogging, Cycling, Aerobic dancing.

• Muscular Strength

-Muscular Strength is the amount of force a muscle can produce in a single maximum effort. The amount of muscle strength which can be achieved depends on gender, age, and inherited physical attributes. While strong muscles are essential for any athletic endeavor, strong muscles can benefit everyone in some way. Strong muscles can have direct and indirect benefits on health and include Ease of movement, Good posture, Easier performance of work, everyday activities and exercise, Easier performance of recreational activities, Stronger tendons and ligaments, and bones, Decreased risk of injury, Decreased risk of falls.

• Muscular endurance

Muscular Endurance is the ability to resist fatigue and sustain a given level of muscle tension for a given time. By building muscular endurance one will be able to perform physical tasks for a longer period. Whilst strength allows one to lift a force, endurance allows you to continue doing this over time. Muscle Endurance can have direct and indirect benefits on health and include Increased metabolism as physical tasks can be completed for longer, Reduced fatigue when exercising, Good posture, Fewer injuries, less chance of back problems due to build endurance of trunk muscles, Better sporting performance, Refined training techniques for many exercises.

• Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to move the joints through their full range of motion. Flexibility is affected by many factors such as joint structure, length and elasticity of connective tissue, and nervous system activity. Benefits of flexibility include Lowered risk of back injuries, Promotion of good posture and decreased risk of other joint injuries, Reduction in age-related stiffness.

• Body Composition

Body composition is the proportion of fat and fat-free mass (muscle, bone, and water) in the body. Healthy body composition is comprised of high levels of fat-free mass and an acceptable low level of body fat. The relative amount of body fat a person has does have an impact upon overall health and fitness.

Physical activity provides long-term health benefits for everyone! By being active, you will burn calories that you store from eating throughout the day and—it can be as easy as walking the dog or as rigorous as running a marathon. Providing opportunities for children to be active early on puts them on a path to better physical and mental health.

It’s never too late to jump start a healthy lifestyle.

Also Read:
Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health
Global recommendations on physical activity for health
Physical fitness

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