Daily exercise helps with mental and physical health

“Encouraging people to be physically active every day has so many health benefits, from reducing the risk of developing certain diseases and becoming obese, to contributing to physical coordination, balance, strength and mental well-being. It is a very cost-effective public health tool,” said Dr Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

New research in Denmark and the United Kingdom indicates that long-term regular physical activity has a quantifiable health benefit, adding between three and five years on average to a person’s lifespan, compared to those who take little or no exercise. In western Europe, over 30% of adults are not sufficiently active and levels of physical activity continue to decline. Globally, physical inactivity causes 2 million deaths a year. It is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and is one of the reasons for the dramatic rise in levels of obesity throughout the WHO European Region. Technical developments allow people to lead their daily lives with little physical exertion. Too many people embrace these energy-saving developments without compensating with other physical activity.

WHO encourages adults to take at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, defined as any body movement that results in energy expenditure. This includes walking, cycling, playing, housework, climbing stairs as well as sports. Children should take at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Further information is available on the WHO headquarters web site :