What is Physical Activity

Physical activity is what we commonly know as Exercise.WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement that is produced by skeletal muscles that require the expenditure of energy.

For any form of exercise to be deemed effective and beneficial, it has to

  • Increase in ones heart rate.
  • Increase in breathing rate.
  • Increase in temperature
  • Bring about sweating.

This body changes during exercise are an evidence of increased energy use. Energy use in this case being burning of fat, building of muscles, relaxation and stretching of joints and increasing flexibility.

Advancement in technology has made tasks more efficient. we use less energy to accomplish tasks. we are able to access foods more conveniently to get energy into our bodies but we are not able to put that energy to use as often as required. hence there is need for all to be intentional about we keeping physically fit.

Some common ways of keeping physically active include walking, cycling, sports, play, wheeling, swimming, aerobics, dance, gym and any active recreation. All these can be done at any skill level and for purposes of enjoyment for everyone.

How much exercise is good enough

How much exercise do you actually need to remain healthy and fit? Are your daily routines allowing you for enough exercise?

Being physically active during the day for even short periods of times goes a long way in achieving your exercise goals. for example deciding to walk a distance instead of driving or substituting a drive with cycling.

It is recommended that healthy adults should aim for 150 – 300 minutes( 2 hours 30 min – 5 hours ) of exercise per week, spread over several days. this averages to about minutes per day, 5 days a week.

The goal is to do enough exercise and to do it often enough to attain the desired effect. Starting small building up every week works best.

Why should you exercise?

The motivation to begin and complete a task varies for everyone and its no different when it comes to exercise. some people embrace exercise for recreation, some for competition, for work, health and some for appearance. The up side of it is regardless of the motivation, exercise is guaranteed to have a positive impact on your health.

Deciding why exercise is important helps create continuity. some health benefits of exercise include;

  • Physical activity directly improves heart function
  • Exercising minimizes the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • It enhances your general well being by releasing good feel hormones that improve your mood.
  • Physical activity improves learning, thinking, and judgment skills.
  • Exercise ensures healthy growth and development especially in the young.


Worldwide, 1 in 4 adults do not meet the universal recommended physical activity levels. More than 80% of the adolescent population in the world is inadequately physically active. An estimated 5 million deaths could be prevented yearly if the world population was more active.

Physical inactivity is among the leading risk factors for noncommunicable diseases and death worldwide. Physical inactivity increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes by about 20-30%. Lack of exercise also burdens society through the hidden and growing cost of medical care and loss of productivity.

In turn, physical inactivity negatively affects health systems by increasing the burden of disease, economic development, the well being of the community, and quality of life.

Benefits of Physical Activity:

  • Immediate benefits– Benefits on brain health that occur immediately after a session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity include enhanced thinking or cognition for children aged 6-13 years and minimized short-term feelings of anxiety for adults.
  • Weight management– both diet and physical activity are vital in maintaining healthy body weight, losing excess body weight, or maintaining successful weight loss.
  • To maintain your weight, you should aim to work up to 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
  • To lose weight and keep it off, high amounts of physical activity will be required unless your diet is also adjusted to reduce the amount of calories consumed
  • Reduces the health risks– physical activity reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (helps control the blood glucose level for those already having type 2 diabetes), some cancers such as bladder, breast, kidney, lung, endometrium, colon, and stomach cancers among others.
  • Strengthens the bones and muscles– doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening physical activity at a moderately intense level can slow down the loss of bone density that usually comes with age.
  • Enhances the ability to perform daily activities and prevent falls– Physically active middle-aged or older adults have a reduced risk of functional limitations compared to their inactive counterparts. Functional limitation is the loss of the ability to do day-to-day activities like climbing stairs, grocery shopping, and playing with your grandchildren.
  • Increases the chances of living longer

Types of Physical Activity

Aerobic– Aerobic activities make a person breathe harder and make the heart and blood vessels healthier. These activities include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Jogging and Running
  • Bicycle riding (both stationary or on a path)
  • Flexibility– Activities that enhance flexibility do ensure a decent variety of motion in the joints. Age, genetics, and gender may all impact the range of motion. Examples of flexibility-enhancing activities are:
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Stretching
  • Muscle-strengthening– these activities build up strength. They include:
  • Carrying heavy shopping bags
  • Pilates
  • Sit-ups
  • Weight lifting
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Heavy gardening
  • Push-ups on the floor or against the wall


Children under the age of 5 years

  • For infants below the age of 1, be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, especially via interactive floor-based play.
  • For children aged 1-4, spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity.
  • Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time or sit for extended periods of time.
  • When sedentary, the caregiver is encouraged to engage the child in reading and story-telling.

Children and Adolescents aged 5-17 years

  • Limit the amount of time spent being sedentary, especially the amount of recreational screen time.
  • Do averagely 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily, mostly aerobic.
  • Incorporate vigorous aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities at least 3 days a week.

Adults aged 18-64 years

  • Do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity.
  • Limit the amount of time spent being sedentary and replace it with physical activity of any intensity.
  • Do 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week.
  • Do muscle-strengthening activities at a moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. 

Adults aged 65 years and above

  • Same as for adults; and
  • Do varied multicomponent physical activity that emphasizes functional balance and strength training at moderate or greater intensity, on 3 or more days a week, to enhance functional capacity and to prevent falls. 

Pregnant and postpartum women

  • Limit the amount of time spent being sedentary and replace it with physical activity of any intensity.
  • Should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.
  • Include various muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities.

Categories: General


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *