Ten guidelines for a healthy life: Korean Medical Association statement (2017).
December 15, 2017 148 p (in English)

doi: https://doi.org/10.26604/979-11-5590-078-9-93510-4

Being Physically Active

Being Physically Active

Take care of your body by physically active lifestyle every day!

Summary

◆ Background

The physical inactivity of modern life is a risk factor for major physical illnesses.

◆ Purpose

These guidelines suggest physical activities and exercises that you can easily engage in as part of everyday life to improve your physical and mental health.

◆ Contents

1. Add physical activity to your daily routine!

It is not easy for busy modern people to find the extra time to exercise. Incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine—on your way to work, while doing housework, or during leisure time—will enhance your physical health and mood.

2. Get up and move every 2 hours

People who watch TV for more than 2 hours a day have a higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease than those who do not. Therefore, in order to reap the benefits of a physically active lifestyle, it is important to avoid sitting too long.

3. The basic principle of weekly exercise: Do at least 150 minutes of brisk walking a week and perform muscle-strengthening activities on more than 2 days a week

For physical and mental health, it is important to engage in more than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or more than 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. It is also important to engage in muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major groups on more than 2 days a week.

◆ Expected impact

Regular exercise reduces the risk of chronic disease, improves your health, and positively influences your mood and quality of life. Moreover, participation in community and interaction with other people through regular exercise is beneficial for society.

Keywords: Physical activity, Exercise, Physical fitness, Sedentary lifestyle, Sports

Best practices to follow

1. Add physical activity to your daily routine!

2. Get up and move every 2 hours

3. The basic principle of weekly exercise: Do at least 150 minutes of brisk walking a week and perform muscle-strengthening activities on more than 2 days a week

As society has become industrialized, the proportion of indoor office work has significantly increased. Thus, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly widespread, and physical inactivity has emerged as a new health problem. According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is a common problem in the world, and is one of the 4 major risk factors for death, along with high blood pressure, smoking, and hyperglycemia [1].

Physical inactivity is a major emerging cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as a risk factor for hypertension, hyperglycemia, and obesity throughout the world [1]. Physical inactivity is estimated to be a main cause of 21%-25% of cases of breast and colon cancer, 27% of cases of diabetes, and 30% of cases of ischemic heart disease [1]. Regular exercise can improve cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle endurance, which is important because muscle strength is known to be an independent factor that reduces the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancers, as well as mortality due to these conditions [2-7].

Physical activity is a major contributing factor to total energy expenditure. It is essential for energy balance and weight control. Engaging in aerobic exercise for 150 minutes or more per week over 12 months has been shown to result in weight reduction of 1%-3%; this is the amount of exercise needed to maintain an appropriate body weight [8]. Maintaining a healthy body weight or losing weight (if appropriate) reduces the risk of metabolic diseases, including diabetes, and the risk of death. There is an inverse relationship between maintaining a healthy body weight and the mortality rate, whether one is of normal weight, overweight, or obese [9]. Moreover, in a study of the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic diseases conducted among 1,007 adults who underwent health checkups, those who were more obese and had lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness showed a risk of metabolic diseases from 8.1 to 18.8 times higher than that of their counterpart [10].

Regular exercise is not only beneficial for preventing osteoporosis and improving bone health, but also can reduce negative moods and help alleviate conditions such as depression or anxiety. Furthermore, it increases positive moods and self-esteem, and positively affects quality of life. Additionally, participating in physical activity may lead to opportunities for socialization, networking, and the development of one’s cultural identity. Physical activity has a positive influence on the community and society by promoting social interaction and cohesion [11,12].

Fact Sheet ➊

Add physical activity to your daily routine!

1.1 Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine at home, school, and work

It is not easy for busy modern people to find the extra time to work out. Therefore, many exercise guidelines recommend being physically active as part of your everyday life, in environments such as at home, school, and work [2,8]. For example, instead of sitting or lying down at home, you can work out by moving your body, doing household chores such as cleaning or taking out the garbage, and walking while watching TV. In other words, you need to move as much as possible while at home, by reducing the time you spend sitting or lying down in one position to watch TV or to use the computer, a smartphone, or mobile gadgets. Moreover, when grocery shopping, instead of using a shopping cart, using a grocery basket will allow you to use your muscles more and increase your activity level. At work, by performing stretching intermittently to relax your muscles and by using stairs instead of elevators or escalators, you can increase your physical activity level.

1.2 Exercise during commuting and leisure time

You can engage in more exercise and physical activity by taking advantage of the time you spend commuting. By walking short distances, using public transportation instead of driving, and getting off a couple of stops earlier than your destination from the bus or subway to walk to your destination, you can increase your physical activity level. Riding a bicycle or walking fast to get to work or school is also a good way to boost the amount of exercise you do without taking extra time for workouts. Moreover, taking advantage of leisure time to play sports and games can be healthy and fun at the same time.

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Fact Sheet ➋

Get up and move every 2 hours

2.1 Move more to help your brain process information

Those who watch 2 or more hours of TV a day have a 15% and 20% higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes, respectively, and a 13% higher mortality rate [13]. Additionally, another study has shown that those who spend more time sitting have higher risk of mortality than those who do not, regardless of their physical activity level [14]. Therefore, in order to reap the benefits of a physically active lifestyle, it is important to avoid sitting too long.

Fact Sheet ➌

The basic principle of weekly exercise: Do at least 150 minutes of brisk walking a week and perform muscle-strengthening activities on more than 2 days a week

3.1 For physical and mental health, it is important to engage in more than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or more than 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity

Aerobic activity (also called cardiorespiratory or endurance activity) is defined as rhythmic patterns of large muscle contraction carried out for a sustained time. Walking, jogging, bicycling, aerobics, aqua aerobics, swimming, and hiking are examples. Within the diverse range of aerobic activities, choosing one that is right for your level of physical fitness and cardiorespiratory function is important. It is important to begin with low-intensity exercise and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. In particular, it is safe for beginners to start with exercise that is not burdensome, such as walking.

Moderate intensity: For those who are not used to exercise

Brisk walking, riding a bicycle (at a regular speed), climbing stairs, slow dancing, playing badminton, and hiking up a low hill

Vigorous intensity: For those who have above-average physical fitness and workout skills

Running, riding a bicycle (at a fast speed), inline/ice skating, jumping rope, fast dancing, swimming, and hiking up a steep mountain

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The American Heart Association recommends more than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or more than 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise weekly for adults [15]. However, people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes should engage in exercise following individualized suggestions from a medical professional, due to risks of increased blood pressure or low blood sugar.

3.2 Engage in muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major groups on more than 2 days a week

Muscle-strengthening activities put a load (weight) on the muscle. Increasing the load helps to strengthen the muscles. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include resistance training and lifting weights. The combination of aerobic exercise and weight training is known to improve blood sugar levels to a remarkable extent. When muscle volume is increased by weight training, the amount of glucose consumed by the muscle also increases, which is how such forms of exercise help to control blood sugar levels. Moreover, increased muscle boosts the basal metabolic rate. This allows the body to burn more calories and is effective in treating overweight or obesity. Higher metabolic rates also help to maintain proper weight. Types of weight training include push-ups, squats, and lunges. You can do weight training by using dumbbells or machines.

Physical activity guidelines for Koreans

▶ Children and adolescents (5-17 years old)

Do more than 1 hour of physical activity daily. Engage in either moderate or vigorous aerobic activity for more than 1 hour a day. Include vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days a week.

As part of the hour of daily physical activity, include muscle-strengthening activities on at least 3 days of the week. Muscle-strengthening activities for children include jungle gym and monkey bar activities.

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▶ Adults (18-64 years old)

Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or more than 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. One minute of vigorous activity is equal to 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. Set a goal of combining moderate-intensity and vigorous activities in your workout routine. Each round of activity should last at least 10 minutes.

Do resistance exercises on more than 2 days a week, involving major muscle groups of the body. Repeat each exercise 8 to 12 times per set. After working out, let each body part that you exercise rest for 1 or 2 days before you focus on it again. If the exercise becomes easy, add more weight or repeat the exercise 2 or 3 more times in each set. Muscle training includes weight-bearing exercises (e.g., sit-ups, push-ups, and climbing stairs) and exercise using equipment (e.g., dumbbells or stretch bands).

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▶ Adults older than 65 years old

Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or more than 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. One minute of vigorous activity is equal to 2 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. Set a goal of combining moderate-intensity and vigorous activities in your workout routine. Each round of activity should last at least 10 minutes. It is recommended to split the weekly amount of exercise over several days. In case you do not engage in the recommended amount of exercise, it is advisable that you exercise as much as your physical fitness level allows, rather than not exercising at all or exercising excessively.

To maintain your health and physical independence, it is important to engage in exercises that help maintain or improve your muscular strength and muscular endurance. Do weight training more than 2 days a week, involving every major body part. Do 8 to 10 types of exercises and repeat 10 to 12 times per set. If the exercises are too strenuous, reduce the weight and increase the number of sets [16]. After working out, let each body part that you exercise rest for 1 or 2 days before you focus on it again. Examples of muscle training include weight-bearing exercises (e.g., sit-ups and push-ups) and exercise using equipment (e.g., dumbbells or stretch bands).

In particular, to improve balance and to prevent falls, do balance training—more than 3 days per week—as the level of your physical fitness allows. Examples of balance training include tai chi, walking sideways, walking on your heels, walking on your toes, and sitting down and standing up. You can increase the level of difficulty of this type of exercise. First, start your workout by holding on to a fixed supporting structure. Then, try to exercise without the support.

References

1 

World Health Organization Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks Geneva World Health Organization 2009 Available from URL: http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/4420 (accessed 25 April, 2017)

2 

World Health Organization Global recommendations on physical activity health 2010 Available from URL: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_recommendations/en/ (accessed 25 April, 2017)

3 

Korea Institute of Sport Science Assessment criteria of health-related physical fitness for Korean adults and elderly, 3rd annual report 2016

4 

SN Blair HW Kohl 3rd RS Paffenbarger Jr DG Clark KH Cooper LW Gibbons Physical fitness and all-cause mortality. A prospective study of healthy men and women JAMA 1989 262 2395 2401

5 

SW Farrell JB Kampert HW Kohl 3rd Influences of cardiorespiratory fitness levels and other predictors on cardiovascular disease mortality in men Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998 30 899 905

6 

MJ LaMonte CE Barlow R Jurca JB Kampert TS Church SN Blair Cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with the incidence of metabolic syndrome: a prospective study of men and women Circulation 2005 112 505 512

7 

PT Katzmarzyk TS Church SN Blair Cardiorespiratory fitness attenuates the effects of the metabolic syndrome on all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men Arch Intern Med 2004 164 1092 1097

8 

Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Physical activity guidelines. advisory committee report, 2008 Washington, DC US Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Available from URL:https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/report.aspx (accessed 25 April, 2017)

9 

CD Lee SN Blair AS Jackson Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and all- cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men Am J Clin Nutr 1999 69 373 380

10 

S Hong J Lee J Park Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome among Korean adults: a cross sectional study BMC Public Health 2014 14 481

11 

YS Kim [Physical activity and mental health] Hanyang Med Rev 2014 34 60 65

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YS Yook [The Effect of continuous exercise on adult mental health] KSSS 2015 14 205 218

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Grøntved Anders FB Hu Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis JAMA 2011 305 2448 2455

14 

A Biswas PI Oh GE Faulkner Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis Ann Intern Med 2015 162 123 132

15 

Ameri can Heart Assoc iation Ameri can Heart Assoc iat ion recommendations for physical activity in adults 2014 Available from URL:http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WTdlTqOwdWx (accessed 24 April, 2017)

16 

ME Nelson WJ Rejeski SN Blair Physical activity and public health in older adults. Recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association Circulation 2007 116 1094 1105

Notes

[1] Contributing organizations and associations:

Korea Institute of Sport Science, Korea Sports Promotion Foundation

Korean Neuropsychiatric Association