Is being physically inactive during the COVID-19 pandemic a silent health hazard?
A BIG YES… We are going through unprecedented times. As everyone knows after the first case of COVID-19 reported on 30 January 2020 in India, there was a rapid increase in cases and the country went to complete lockdown. This measure was taken to curb the spread of Novel coronavirus. Social distancing and working from home helped to prevent transmission of Covid-19 but it lead to unhealthy behaviour such as bingeing on fast food or spending more time in a chair or bed.
Physical inactivity has been considered a global pandemic since 2012, and it is estimated that 28% of the world population (1.4 billion people) remain physically inactive. Physical inactivity was classified by the World Health Organization as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Sedentary behaviour and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals. Physical inactivity increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, mental health disorders, cancers including bladder, breast, colon, uterus, etc…. Based on data for the period before pandemic, its estimated that the prevalence of physical inactivity was 57.3% among people aged above 40 years and 57.7% among people at risk for diabetes,.Lack of exercise can be considered responsible for 9.6% of diabetes (11.1 million) and 12.5% of all-cause deaths worldwide (1.7 million) if this prevalence persists for a long time. The global pandemic made these numbers even worse..
Benefits of physical activity
Physical activity comes with a ton of benefits. Some important ones being
1. Reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases
2. Improved sleep and mood
3. Increased ability to perform everyday activities.
4. Improved bone and musculoskeletal health.
4. Positive effect on mental health
5. Maintenance of healthy weight.
Benefits look great.. but what is physical activity and how can one engage in it ?
“Everything has a price and something’s will cost you something that money can’t buy”.
We need to put in efforts to live a healthy long life. WHO recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (jogging, running) per week, or any equivalent combination of both. 150 minutes a week sounds like a lot of time but on breaking it into 7 days, it's just 20 minutes a day.These targets for optimum physical activity can be met at home with no special equipment and limited space. Yes, you heard it right! Limited space and no equipment, you don’t need a gym or a beautiful park to jog nor an expensive treadmill at home to achieve this.
Here are some tips to go about this:
1. Walk-When in small places, walking on the spot helps
2. Stand up and stretch once every hour - Take a minute to walk around or do some stretch exercises every hour while you are working or better still have a standing desk to continue working while standing. This will especially those who work for long hours in a static position in front of the computer.
3. Do some home-based exercises like plank, squats, chair dips, skipping
4. Move more and sit less.
5. Do yoga
However if you engage in physical activities like jogging, running, weight lifting in public spaces (including gyms) the required social distancing norms should always be kept in mind.
Covid appropriate behaviour is key in these times of pandemic
Before I conclude here is an amazing line by Gene Tunney ,an American boxer.
“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise”
So go ahead and start exercising more religiously and regularly to reap its exponential benefits.
Author : Dr Chaitanya Kumar Javvaji
General Physician, MBBS .
Book your consultation with Dr Chaitanya Kumar Javvaji : https://www.eka.care/chaitanya-kumar-javvaji
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