Nearly 500 million people worldwide will develop severe conditions like heart disease and diabetes by 2030 if they don’t increase their physical activity, according to a new study conducted by the World Health Organization.
Lack of movement costs the world $27 billion a year, researchers discovered, which would be $300 billion in total by 2030.
And more than 20% of the costs thus far were spent on treatment and management of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), chronic conditions that occur as a result of genetic, environmental and behavioral factors.
NCDs like diabetes and heart conditions are greatly impacted by physical activity, the organization notes.
Yet, only 30% of over 170 countries analyzed have national physical activity guidelines for all age groups, according to WHO’s global status report on physical activity.
And just a little over 40% of those countries have road design standards that optimize safety for walking and riding bikes.
“We need more countries to scale up implementation of policies to support people to be more active through walking, cycling, sport, and other physical activity,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General at WHO, in the organization’s press release.
Thankfully, there are simple and safe ways to incorporate physical activity — or increase the amount of what you’re already doing — into your already busy lives.
5 everyday activities that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes
Here are five light- to moderate-intensity activities that WHO recommends:
Walking up your stairs
Domestic chores like cleaning up at home
Mowing your lawn
Reducing how often you’re sitting and not moving your body
As a standard, WHO recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 complete a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes to five hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week – including mowing your lawn and dancing.
And those within the same age group should complete at least an hour and 15 minutes to two hours and 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week, like running and more strenuous forms of exercise like playing sports.
“Doing some physical activity is better than doing none,” WHO included in its guidelines for physical activity and sedentary behavior.
“Adults should start by doing small amounts of physical activity, and gradually increase the frequency, intensity and duration over time.”