A paper in the Lancet, timed to coincide with the Olympic Games, compares rates of physical activity by country. The study is the most complete portrait yet painted of the world’s busy bees and couch potatoes. It suggests that nearly a third of all adults are not getting enough exercise.
That rates of exercise have gone down is hardly a new discovery. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, technology and economic growth have conspired to create a world in which the flexing of muscles is more and more an option than a necessity. But only recently has data been collected to carry out a detailed global analysis.
The study looked at 122 countries -89% of the world’s population. The exercise benchmark was 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week, 20 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 days a week or some combination of the two.
Unsurprisingly, people in rich countries are less active than those in poor ones. And old people are less active than the young. Less obviously, women tend to exercise less than men – 34% are inactive, compared with 28% of men.
There are exceptions: the women of Iraq, Finland, Luxembourg and Croatia are more active than their men folk.
The country with the gold medal couch potatoes? Malta, where 72% of adults are not getting enough exercise. Swaziland and Saudi Arabia are tied for silver.
Surprisingly Americans are not among the worst slugs – this study claims 6 out of 10 Americans are sufficiently active. Unlike 4 in 10 Britons.
In South East Asia less than 25% of the population sits for at least 4 hours per day. In Europe it’s 64%. Even neighbours differ. Less than 2% of the Swiss walk to work while 23% of Germans do.
These inactivity rates are worrying. Human beings seem to have evolved to benefit from exercise but they avoid it if they can. That’s where we come in. We make it easier to get off the couch, into the gym, the playing field or the track. If you want to move more and be healthy we have a product for you. Visit mmusa.com