Lack of physical activity and increased sedentary lifestyle: a major health problem

In a report published on Tuesday February 15, the National Health Security Agency (Anses) states that 95% of the French population does not practice enough physical activity and spends too much time sitting. Inactivity that has health risks.

The French, poor students in sport… Today, only 5% of the adult population has sufficient physical activity to be in good health, according to the ANSES report. When the lack of activity is combined with an excessive sedentary lifestyle, the risks of deterioration of health are higher. The study also reveals disparities within the population. Women are more affected. They are 70% to be below all the levels of activity identified to be in good health, against 42% among men. Adults with low levels of education and those under 45 are also the most affected by the lack of activity.

Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle: the vast majority of the French population is exposed to health risks.

We explain why reviewing our lifestyles must become the priority for our health

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– Anses (@Anses_fr) February 15, 2022

A major health problem according to the Montpellier doctor Olivier Coste, specialized in the sport/health mission with the DRAJES (academic regional directorate for youth, commitment and sports): “A large part of the population is far from physical activity. But what has really accelerated lately is a sedentary lifestyle, in particular because of teleworking. We sit too often at work or at home and we do not move enough. This can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, both in young people aged 25 and 50.” According to him, actions must be put in place to put sport back at the center of concerns: “It’s a real public health problem and we should fight against it, from an early age. If children are active, there is has more chance for them to become active adults. But unfortunately, nothing is done. We see that even in most programs of presidential candidates, no place is given to the theme of sport- health.”

Find the will and the time

Even if the ANSES study underlines the importance of implementing actions aimed at promoting regular practice, personal determination remains the best solution to achieve this. As Jean-François, 51, who lives in Mireval explains: “I always said to myself that it was not possible for me to play sports because I really didn’t have the time. I had I had problems with obesity, but that didn’t mean that I took up sport, when I had time since I was working from home. I went to see a nutritionist who told me that eating well was not enough and that it was necessary to combine that with a sports activity.Today, I do sports five times a week, in the morning before going to work, and I have lost thirty kilos. I think refocusing your priorities helps you find the time. Admittedly, I spend less time on the tablet or the PC but physically, I am much better.”

A feeling shared by Benjamin, 42, who works in Bagnols-sur-Cèze: “I have been doing judo twice a week since 2005. I also try to go running between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. I think that sport is essential in the psychological construction of a person and we can all find time. But it is not valued enough in companies.

Combine several activities

So how often should you practice to be healthy? In 2016, ANSES had already identified the need to combine several types of activity:

  • practice a cardiorespiratory activity (climbing stairs, cycling, running, etc.) for thirty minutes and five times a week
  • perform muscle strengthening (carrying a load, playing tennis, swimming, etc.) once or twice a week
  • perform stretching exercises (gymnastics, dance, yoga, etc.) two to three times a week

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