Experts warn 'sitting is the new smoking' in relation to health

People in Dublin are getting the least amount of exercise

Experts warn 'sitting is the new smoking' in relation to health

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A new survey is warning that an avoidable health crisis is looming for Irish adults if current trends continue.

The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) say two in three Irish adults are not getting enough physical activity.

They survey suggests that 18-24 year olds may be the least physically active amongst all adults.

The 18-24 year olds surveyed were just expending 1,496 METmins per week, while the the total population was doing just over 2,137 METmins per week.

The METmin is a unit that describes volumes of physical activity. 60 METmins is the same amount of energy consumed by sitting quietly for one hour.

New recommendations on physical activity levels say maximum benefits can be achieved by getting between 3,000 and 4,000 METmins of activity per week.

The survey also found that the 55 and over age groups are outperforming the younger ones in their daily activity levels.

The survey says this shows children are spending far too much time 'on screen' - using TV, tablets and phones - when compared with International recommendations.

"This is especially concerning when you consider that peak bone density is achieved between the ages of 25-30 for most adults", the survey says.

"If younger adults fail to appropriately load their bones they can open themselves up to greater risk of osteoporosis in later life."

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading factor in global mortality and is responsible for 6% of deaths around the world.

Dublin vs Connacht/Ulster

On a regional basis, the people of Connacht/Ulster report spending the most time being physically active at 4.1 hours - compared to Dublin which had the lowest amount at 2.9 hours.

Connacht/Ulster also had the least amount of screen time per day of all the regions at 3.9 hours compared to Dublin at 4.3 hours, which was the most.

Nationally across all ages, the population are mostly getting their exercise and physical activity through household chores at 3.7 hours per week - with walking as the next most popular at 3.5 hours, followed by work-related manual labour.

ISCP President Professor Marie Guidon said: "We need the nation to recognise that sitting and being sedentary is the new smoking and that if people aren’t more physically active now then this will lead to all kinds of future problems such as greater incidence of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, mental health challenges as well as back and pelvic problems which in turn can lead to decreased mobility and poorer quality of life in later years.

"It is never too late to start being more active.

"Physical activity needs to start earlier and needs to be maintained throughout the lifespan to maintain quality of life especially in an era where the population is growing older and living longer."

The society recommends an easy activity like walking and simple strength and resistance exercises to maintain muscle strength and everyday functioning.