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WHF Policy Brief on Physical Activity: More people, More active, More often for heart health

30 Oct 2023

Recent trends such as growth in motorised transport, sedentary work, labour-saving devices, urbanization and screen-based recreation have contributed to a dramatic decrease in physical activity: 28% of adults and more than three in four adolescents (81%) do not meet physical activity guidelines globally.

Physical inactivity is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. WHO reports that almost 500 million new cases of preventable noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular disease, will occur globally between 2020 and 2030 due to physical inactivity. While individual choices play a part in these behaviours, government and policymakers also play an important role in ensuring people have access to the tools they need to live a healthy life, including clean air and well-planned urban spaces that encourage an active lifestyle.

The World Heart Federation Policy Brief “More people, More active, More often for heart health – Taking action on physical activity” outlines the health benefits of regular exercise and includes recommendations on effective interventions for increasing population levels of physical activity. These strategies are relevant in all countries, but particularly in low- and middle-income countries and in environments where poverty, health literacy, remoteness and other factors may impact effectiveness or reduce access.

Download the first-ever WHF Policy Brief on Physical Activity to learn more.


Join the World Heart Challenge

To mark the release of the new policy brief, the World Heart Federation is organizing a physical activity challenge on social media during the month of November. The initiative aims to inspire people to get moving and make positive changes for their heart health.

What is the #WorldHeartChallenge?

The #WorldHeartChallenge is a month-long physical activity challenge that runs from 1 November to 1 December 2023. The idea is simple: Choose from five different physical activities, complete them, and share your journey by posting a picture or video of your adventure with the hashtag #WorldHeartChallenge. By completing your challenge, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a virtual badge to showcase your commitment to a healthier heart.

Choose Your Activity

Select one (or more) of the following activities:

1) Summit Seeker: Boost your heart health by taking a hike in nature. It could be a gentle walk in the woods or a more challenging trek. Every trail counts in improving your cardiovascular well-being.

2) Splash Master: Try a water sport: Swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding… Depending on where you are in the world, these activities are fantastic for spring and summer fun. If you’re in a colder place, you may want to find an indoor swimming pool (unless the cold never bothered you anyway).

3) Pedal Warrior: Go for a bike ride and explore your surroundings. Whether you’re riding through your neighbourhood or discovering hidden spots in nature, the World Heart Challenge is not just a physical activity challenge, but also a journey of exploration.

4) Nature Nomad: Find a peaceful spot in nature that makes you feel relaxed. Practice yoga, stretch, meditate or do some breathing exercises to help calm your mind and reduce stress.

5) World Heart Day Adventurer: Join our World Heart Day Challenge by walking or running a heart shape in your city. Learn more about the World Heart Day Challenge and checked out all the people who already completed it on 29 September here.

Complete the Challenge

Throughout the month of November, engage in your chosen activity. Whether it’s hiking, running or swimming, the most important part is that you have fun.

Share your Journey

Capture your activity in a photo or video and post it on your social media channels with the hashtag #WorldHeartChallenge by 1 December. Remember, it has to be one of the five activities listed above, so please include a mention of the challenge you completed in the caption of your post. Don’t forget to tag the World Heart Federation to make sure you get your winning badge.

The #WorldHeartChallenge is also about inspiring your family, friends and loved ones to engage in regular exercise in order to keep their hearts healthy. So choose your activity, start moving, and encourage your community to join in too!