Published Wednesday, 18 July 2012
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UTV NEWS POLL
With more than 60% of people in Northern Ireland considered ‘inactive’, how do you see yourself?
While just over 40% of Americans are classed as 'inactive', the figure rises to over 53% in the Republic of Ireland, around 62% in Northern Ireland and over 63% UK-wide.
That means that the majority of people don't undertake either 30 minutes of moderate activity, like a brisk walk, at least five days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least three days a week.
And when it comes to teenagers, inactivity is a global issue with 80% of those aged between 13 and 15 not getting the recommended minimum of an hour's moderate exercise a day.
According to the Public Health Agency, the action that needs to be taken isn't even all that drastic - but it could make a big difference to our general health and well-being.
We can’t all be Olympic athletes, but we can all increase the level of exercise we take.
Mary Black, Public Health Agency
"You just need anything that gets the heart rate increased," Mary Black from the PHA told UTV.
"Walking to the shops instead of taking the car, going to the park, going for a walk with the children ... Simple, ordinary things like getting off the bus a stop earlier or taking the stairs instead of the lift."
The UK definitely has a way to go though, with one of the highest proportion of inactive adults in Europe - in fact, coming third behind only to Malta (71.9%) and Serbia (68.3%).
And there are actually few countries right around the world where higher levels of inactivity exist, with Swaziland topping the list at 69%.
The figures are the result of research using World Health Organisation data and suggest we really should be following the example set by the super-fit Dutch.
Only 18.2% of people in the Netherlands are considered inactive.
Lack of physical activity is considered to have a similar impact on health to smoking or obesity and can contribute to conditions including heart disease, type-two diabetes and some cancers.
But with the Olympics just on the horizon, there should soon be plenty of motivation to get active.