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Daily habit that increases risk of developing heart disease and cancer

Daily habit that increases risk of developing heart disease and cancer Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

A sedentary lifestyle is often linked to increased risks of cardiovascular, oncological, mental, and metabolic disorders, as well as musculoskeletal conditions. However, the good news is that this habit can be overcome, according to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

How much activity is sufficient for health

"If you spend six to eight or even more hours a day sitting or lying down, choosing to lounge in front of the TV or with a book instead of taking a walk in the evening, your activity level is insufficient," says the Ministry of Health.

What constitutes sufficient physical activity

For children and adolescents aged 5-17, physical activity should be at least one hour per day of moderate to high-intensity. Aerobic exercises of high intensity, strengthening muscles, and bones are recommended at least three times a week.

For adults aged 18-64, a minimum of 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75-150 minutes of high-intensity aerobic physical activity per week is adequate. Muscle-strengthening exercises are also beneficial.

For individuals over 65, at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or at least 75-150 minutes of high-intensity activity per week is recommended. Strength training exercises and physical activity to improve coordination should not be ignored, twice or thrice a week.

Benefits of physical activity

Adequate movement helps prevent excess weight gain, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and premature death.

Moreover, exercise positively influences mental health. Incorporating sports into your life can reduce anxiety, enhance intellectual abilities, and improve sleep quality.

However, the modern pace of life doesn't always allow for an hour of daily sports, so becoming more active can be achieved in daily life. Here are some tips to achieve this:

  • Use stairs instead of the elevator.
  • If using public transport, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Whenever possible, have lunch outside the office to take a walk in the fresh air.
  • Instead of sending emails, visit colleagues to clarify something.
  • If sitting at the computer for a long time, take short breaks to stretch.
  • If talking on the phone, don't sit, take a walk.

"It's never too late to change your lifestyle. If you're just starting to become more active, let your first steps be moderate. Gradually increase physical activity and consult with a doctor before embarking on a new lifestyle," experts say.