The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening an already existing global pandemic: the physical inactivity pandemic.
Globally, physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death, resulting in the loss of more than 3 million lives per year.
It is recommended adults do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week and limit time spent being sedentary, such as when seated in front of the TV or computer.
Unfortunately, nearly a third of the world's population is not meeting this minimum recommended amount.
As we try to contain the spread of COVID-19 around the world with vaccination and other measures, personal lifestyle changes are also needed.
Adults already struggling to meet the physical activity recommendations before the COVID-19 pandemic are now spending more time at home and are less active, with research finding a 30 per cent drop in the amount of time spent doing physical activity and a 30 per cent increase in the amount of time spent seated - or sedentary.
This is a major concern as both physical inactivity and sedentary behaviours are linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, several types of cancer, diabetes and depression, among other conditions.
In order to reach a weekly target of 150 to 300 minutes of activity, people should do formal physical activity such as structured exercise training as well as incidental or day-to-day activity such as housework or walking to the shops or the supermarket.
Exercise sessions and activities should be spread throughout the day in bouts lasting anything from seconds to over 30 minutes.
People can avoid remaining seated for too long by breaking it up with short active spells like a brief walk to grab tea or water.
Evidence showing these measures are effective at preventing or minimising the health effects of COVID-19 are still lacking.
However, physical activity and exercise are an effective form of medicine to promote good health, prevent disease, increase cardiorespiratory fitness and maximise immune function.
Organisations such as the Lung Foundation Australia, American Heart Association, American College of Sports Medicine and WHO have worked on resources to guide people on how to engage in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, a more widespread public health action to keep people physically active during this pandemic is of prime importance.
Vinicius Cavalheri is associate professor at Curtin School of Allied Health, Curtin University.