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WHO Wants You to Exercise During the Pandemic — Here’s How Long and What Type

Portrait of sporty young woman with leg prosthesis in the city
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While many of us have undoubtedly found other (perhaps less healthy) ways to cope during the pandemic, the World Health Organization has issued a reminder to keep moving, even as we’re staying put.

The organization shared new physical activity guidelines to support wellness — both in body and mind. 

According to the WHO, adults should be getting at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly.

These recommendations come as research into COVID-19 suggests that there is a link between being overweight or obese and an increase of severe illness and hospitalization due to the virus. Additionally, regular exercise can help reduce the risk for early death, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and Type 2 diabetes, according to the report. 

Related: How to identify your most destructive habits

While the previous recommendations recommended that adults aged 18 to 64 do either at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, they made no mention of individuals living with chronic conditions or who are differently abled. 

Still, this is not a zero-sum proposal. Even some exercise and movement is better than none. You can also work to gradually raise your frequency, intensity and duration of exercise over time. 

Here are the WHO’s recommendations in more detail: 

For adults up to 64: 

  • At least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity / per week OR
  • At least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise / per week 
  • Exercises that strengthen all muscles should be done minimum twice weekly


For pregnant and postpartum women with no underlying conditions or complications: 

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic and strengthening activities each week
  • Stretching may also be beneficial 

The WHO notes that pregnant women should ensure they are hydrated, avoid physically risky activities and be aware of any warning signs that would alert them to stop (these include dizziness, painful contractions or vaginal bleeding). 


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