It has been found that inactivity is causing as many deaths around the world as smoking. It is estimated that as many as 1/3 of adults are not physically active enough, and it could be causing as many as 5.3 million deaths per year.
This equates to approximately 1 in 10 deaths related to issues such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers like breast and colon cancer. There are even some calls to treat the problem of inactivity as a pandemic.
What can be done?
The solution, according to health professionals and fitness industry experts, is to adopt a new way of thinking. The public needs to be made aware of the dangers of inactivity, rather than merely reminded of the benefits of an active lifestyle. Research has been conducted from centres all around the world, advising governments to look at ways physical activity can be made more convenient and affordable.
Adults are recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This can mean brisk walks, cycling or gardening, among other similar activities. It is the highest income countries that have the least active people, and the UK is among the worst as nearly 2/3 of adults are deemed inactive.
Comparisons between countries are a little difficult because estimations of activity can differ from place to place within a country. Nevertheless, concerns about inactivity around the world are serious and need to be addressed.
Questioning the comparison
Some, however, disagree with the comparison between inactivity and smoking. While the figures for deaths caused by the two are similar, there are far few smokers in the world than there are inactive people, meaning smoking is more dangerous overall for individuals. For a long time, cancer charities and doctors have been advising that stopping smoking is the most important thing one can do to prevent cancer.
However, more recent campaigns have highlighted obesity as one of the most common causes of cancer. Inactivity is a primary contributor to rising obesity levels and needs to be tackled to improve the overall health of individuals everywhere. So start thinking of some ways you can increase your activity levels; it can easily be done cheaply from the comfort of your home.