WHO Says These Low-Key Activities Now Count As Exercise

The World Health Organization has updated its guidelines for the first time since 2010 and the changes may appeal to underachievers. The new standards for fitness are a reminder that some movement is better than none at all, which is helpful since the WHO reports that less than a quarter of adults around the world meet their 2010 aerobic health standards. The organization’s updated guidelines “provide evidence-based public health recommendations” with a focus on making movement standards more accessible to everyone.

Some of the chill activities that now count as exercise include:

  • Physical activity while sitting- To be more inclusive of those with disabilities, the WHO now counts activities you do while sitting as movements for your health. So now a chair yoga class totally counts as exercise.
  • Super short bouts of movement- Only feel like dancing it out to one song? That’s still exercising, according to the WHO. Their new standards ditch the requirement that movement needs to be at least 10 minutes to be a workout.
  • Lifting, not just jogging- Think lifting weights isn’t enough of a workout because it doesn’t raise your heart rate like running does? The WHO disagrees. They now recommend weight training sessions twice a week, especially as you get older.
  • Balance exercises- If your favorite online yoga class spends more time staying upright in tree pose than physically moving around, it’s good with the WHO. Their new guidelines “count” exercises that emphasize balance as important parts of fitness, particularly for older folks.
  • Leisurely walks- No need to race around speed walking with your hand weights, the WHO says a casual stroll or walking part of your commute also counts toward your fitness levels.


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