Multiple studies have shown exercise along with a healthy diet can lower the risk of health problems such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. One in three women and one in four men do not take enough exercise or move about enough, too often sitting at desks all day at work, in front of the TV in the evening and travelling by vehicle.
Out of 168 countries ranked in the report on their levels of physical activity, Australia came in at a pretty shabby 97th place: 30 percent of adults here don't meet physical activity targets.
Eliminating inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets, study co-author Fiona Bull said.
A World Health Organization study based on surveys across 168 countries says about half of women and a quarter of men in India are not sufficiently active.
The study, conducted by WHO researchers, was published on Tuesday (Sept 4) in The Lancet Global Health journal. According to reports the doctors have warned that in about two decades the global activity levels have remained virtually unchanged.
Britons are among the laziest citizens in western Europe, with a third of adults failing to walk for 20 minutes a day, a global study has revealed.
"Previous research indicates that women tend to do less leisure-time activity, and lower-intensity activity than do men". In general, women are far less active than men, except in east and southeast Asia.
The average lack of activity in low-income countries was 16 percent, compared to 37 percent in high-income countries.
A new study suggests the global trend of inadequate physical activity levels is getting worse, with no real improvements since 2001.
In addition to the multiple health benefits of physical activity, societies that are more active can generate additional returns on investment including a reduced use of fossil fuels, cleaner air and less congested, safer roads.
"WHO admits that the current strategies are not working and that new tactics are needed to improve increasing physical activity in all countries", added Thompson, who is also president-elect of the American College of Sports Medicine.
The transition toward more sedentary occupations and motorized transportation in richer countries could help explain the higher levels of inactivity, researchers said.
Weekly guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity.
The WHO urged governments to implement policies to address the issue, such as improved provision of cycling and walking infrastructure and creating more opportunities for physical activity in public open spaces and parks, in workplaces and in other local community settings.