January Health Corner

“Being physically active is critical for health and well-being. It can help to add years to life and life to years,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

After a year of uncertainty, we have once again learned that a healthy lifestyle leads to a healthier immune system. For the first time in 10 years, the WHO (World Health Organization) has updated their physical activity guidelines. The new WHO guidelines and recommendations also provide specifics for various age groups on how much time should be spent doing physical activity.

Within a 24-hour day:

5 years and under: depending on physical stage of the child, anywhere from 30-180 minutes

5 years old to 17 years old: at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous, mostly aerobic, physical activity at least 3 times a week

18 years old to 64 years old: should engage in at least 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, which breaks down to about 20-60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day.

65 and above: same as for adults.

Here are four low-intensity workouts that the WHO greenlighted:

  • Chair Stretches and Exercises
  • Leisurely Walks
  • Balance Exercises
  • Functional Strength Training

1. Chair Stretches and Exercises

For those who live with low mobility, the WHO points out that it is entirely possible and important to avoid sedentary behavior. Ways to do this are by engaging in low-intensity workouts that do not involve/require the use of one’s lower extremities. Example: Chair Yoga

2. Leisurely Walks

Why not a leisurely stroll between meetings? Get up and take a 10-minute screen break.

3. Balance Exercises

For those who are 65+, the WHO suggests practicing your balance. Balance exercises help to prevent your odds of falling. One suggestion is stand on one foot as you do daily activities, e.g., brushing your teeth or while in a Zoom meeting.

4. Functional Strength Training

What is functional strength training? It can also be defined as resistance training or the practice of motion against resistance. Think squats, lunges, etc.

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