World Physiotherapy Day was on 8th September and a survey to mark the occasion by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists showed that 2/3 of Irish Adults are not active enough with the shock headline: Sitting is the new smoking.
What does this mean
The main findings were that over 55s are outperforming all younger age groups in time spent at physical activity. However they are not getting it completely right needing to do more resistance exercise to increase quality of life in later years. The survey suggested that 18-24 year olds may be the most physically inactive amongst all adults.
New recommendations on Physical Activity levels (BMJ 2016) demonstrate that the maximum health benefits from physical activity can be achieved by getting between 3000 and 4000 MET mins of activity per week. The MET min is a unit that describes volumes of physical activity. Sixty MET mins equates to the energy consumed by sitting quietly for 1 hour. The 18-24 year olds surveyed were just expending 1496 MET mins per week while the total population was expending 2137 MET mins per week.
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading factor in global mortality and is responsible for 6% of deaths around the world. Other health benefits from engaging in more physical activity include decreased risk of:
- Colon cancer by 30 -40 %
- Breast cancer by 20- 30%
- Cardio vascular disease by 20-35%
- Type 2 Diabetes by 20-30%
- Stroke by 20%
The suggested target for older adults (>65) is 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five times per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more. 30 minutes of brisk walking or the equivalent five days a week is often recommended. In addition, physical activity to improve strength should be done at least two days a week.
Some people can find it difficult to reach this level of activity but making modest increases in your time standing and spending less time sitting can have a positive effective.
There are associations between increased physical activity and reduction in musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and better cognitive acuity and mental health.
Our clinic at the event
On World Physiotherapy Day at Milltown Physiotherapy we set up an information area for everyone passing through that day and gave out a copy of the two WPD infographics to take away. We measured grip strength to promote the idea of needing to do strength training on two days per week. We compared grip strength against norms in age categories and did a draw for free physiotherapy sessions giving prizes to four strong winners. They all had a story to tell as to why their grip was in the ‘strong’ category. We gave a few people frights too!