Sedentary time — characterized by much sitting and physical inactivity—has become a major health threat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Too much sedentary time has been linked to increased health risks and even death.
It cannot be denied that screens, tablets, and phones have become a part of everyday life.
While physical distancing measures are essential to reduce virus transmission, lengthened restrictions can lead to decreased outdoor exercise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), majority of adolescents across the globe are not getting the proper amount of exercise, as screen time increasingly replaces physical activity in homes across the world.
The amount of time that an average person spends sitting in front of the television or computer has increased. Study author, Dr. Regina Guthold of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in a release that an urgent policy action to increase physical activity is needed now since there has been a real change in the way people use their time.
The leisure activities that people are engaging in now during the pandemic tend to be more sedentary and screen-based rather than being outdoor exercise, sport or play.
Physical inactivity is highly prevalent during periods of self-quarantine. Safety measures implemented limit people to be physically active, thus making it much easier to be sedentary at home for long periods of time. Sustained physical inactivity, however, is typically associated with poor physical and mental health.
A CALL FOR ACTION
Proper amounts of physical activity for people can improve muscular fitness and bone health and have positive effects on weight, as well as social and cognitive benefits. It is recommended that people get at least an hour of moderate and rigorous physical activity each day.
Decreasing both screen and sedentary time can be a great challenge as much as outdoor activity restrictions imposed during this time of pandemic. Despite these, experts hope that with individual and collective efforts, we can help reverse these trends and improve global health.