BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health and Physical Activity



According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Physical Activity encompasses all skeletal, muscular and bodily movements which require the use of energy. Consequently, it include all activities carried out during work, play, household chores, travelling, and recreational pursuits. Physical activity is different from exercise, which is a deliberate, organised and repetitive type of physical activity aimed to improve or maintain components of physical fitness. All  forms of physical activity have health benefits, however, achieving specific fitness or weight targets may require exercise. There are various forms of physical activity ranging from moderately intense activities – such as walking, cleaning and playing, to vigorously  intense activities such as sports (running, cycling and climbing). These activities are important in maintaining a healthy body, as well as improving the quality of life. Some specific health benefits and  advantages of engaging in adequate amount of physical activity include:

  • Decreased risk of fracture, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes
  • Improved energy balance and weight control
  • Prevents falls, depression and improves mood
  • Reduced risk for noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers
  • Stable brain function and reduced stress in older adults
  • Improved digestion and regular bowel movements
  • Increased bone density and reduced blood pressure
  • Increased chances of aging more gracefully by maintaining looks and agility
  • Improved quality of rest and sleep
  • General improvement in the overall quality of life.

On the other hand, physical inactivity is a major public health problem. It is identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality and associated with approximately 3.2 million deaths annually. Statistics around the world show that 1 in 4 adults is not active enough. More so, over 80% of the world’s teenage population are not physically active and do not engage in sufficient amount of physical activity. These situations have led to the institutions of policies to address insufficient physical activity in 56% of WHO Member States, aimed reduce insufficient physical activity by 10% before 2025.

The importance of physical activity can not be overemphasized. It’s health, social and economic benefits are numerous in the body of literature. Given the benefits of physical activity, the following are ways to encourage and provide individuals with more opportunities to be active:

  • Provide and ensure safety of walk ways to promote daily activities such as walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation
  • Build recreational parks and ensure safe spaces for people to spend their free time actively
  • Increase accessibility to sports and recreation facilities to provide opportunities for everyone to do sports.

Summary of WHO Physical Activity Recommendations

  • Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years: At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
  • Adults aged 18–64 years: At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week.
  • Adults aged 65 years and above: At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week.

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