• Not all physical activity is equal: Are you getting enough?

  • With lockdown and COVID19 restrictions upon us again, so too returns the need for our living spaces to morph into multi-use environments. As a result, getting out of the house or “office” for some physical activity has never felt more needed! It has also never been more needed to health boost our health, both physical and mental. for a summary, check out the infographic on physical activity guidelines form the world health organization – where are you on the scale?

    Last year the World Health Organisation (WHO) updated their previous 2010 recommendations on physical activity with new 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior. These new guidelines can be found on their website and provide evidence-based recommendations on:

    • Physical activity
    • The types and amount you can do, and
    • the health benefits physical activity can offer

    Overall, the WHO recommends that doing some physical activity is better than doing none (a no-brainer, right?). This is because health benefits from physical activity can occur even if you don’t hit the recommendations, hence why some is better that none (Bull et al., 2020). 

    Now you might brush that off but the WHO emphasizing that more is better than none is due to the majority of people NOT meeting the recommendations:

    • In NZ, only 7% of children meet recommendations(1)
    • Only 50% of adults in NZ meet them! (similar to the USA)

    That is really low and just aiming to meet the minimums could make a huge difference in our health overall and decreasing the load on the public health system, as well as our quality of life.

    NOTE: I big reason a lot of people don’t meet them is because the 150 minutes per week (plus 2 x strengthening) recommendation for adults is for at least moderate intensity activity. That means it needs to get your heart rate and breathing rate up a little! For example where you can say a couple of sentences, but not a story. This is the key – are you doing moderate-high intensity and how much are you doing?

    The great thing about these latest guidelines too is that they provide recommendations on level of physical activity for specific age groups as well as pregnant and post-partum women. This means you can find out how much and how frequent the WHO recommends you participate in physical activity (as a minimum recommendation), and if there is any additional and/or specific information you should consider

    So why not take this time to get active! (WHO, 2020). I hope this has provided some brief information on physical activity and where you can access up-to-date information on it. Of course if you have any questions on physical activity and starting it, you can always ask your Physio or health provider.