SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Aim to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
- See everyday activities as a good opportunity to be active.
- Try to find the time for some regular, vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness benefits.
- Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting and break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
Physical activity and health
Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life.
A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits.
Benefits of regular physical activity
If you are regularly physically active, you may:
- reduce your risk of a
- have a lower
- lower the risk of and some
- have lower
- have stronger , and joints and lower risk of developing
- lower your risk of
- recover better from periods of hospitalisation or bed rest
- feel better – with more energy, a better , feel more relaxed and better.
A healthier state of mind
- Exercise may block negative thoughts or distract you from daily worries.
- Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact.
- Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns.
- Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones.
Aim for at least 30 minutes a day
To maintain health and reduce your risk of health problems, health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
Physical activity guidelines
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
Ways to increase physical activity
Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day, such as or instead of using the car, getting off a tram, train or bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, or walking the children to school.
See your doctor first
It is a good idea to see your doctor before starting your physical activity program if:
- you are aged over 45 years
- physical activity causes
- you often or have spells of severe
- moderate physical activity makes you very breathless
- you are at a higher risk of
- you think you might have heart disease or you have heart problems
- you are .
Tips and ideas for older people (65 years and older)
Four types of activity are needed to keep you healthy:
- moderate activity – for your heart, lungs and blood vessels
- strength activities – to help maintain bone strength
- flexibility activities – to help you move more easily
- balance activities – to improve your balance and help prevent falls.
Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.