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Physical activity - or body movement and exercise - is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It includes structured exercise and sport, as well as daily activities like walking or gardening.
Physical activity is classed as low, moderate or high, depending on the level of energy.
Low level activities include:
Moderate level activities include:
High level activities include:
Ways of being physically active Being physically active does not mean a person has to be involved in organised sport. There are many ways of being physically active as part of everyday life:
Regular physical activity can help to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as:
Other benefits of regular physical activity include:
When a person does not do enough physical activity, their rate of metabolism (the rate at which chemical processes occur within the body) slows down and their bodies do not require as much energy (food). If people eat more food than their body needs they are at risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Being overweight or obese is associated with a range of conditions, such as:
Overweight and obesity are also risk factors for some chronic diseases including:
There are many reasons people may not exercise enough, including:
It is recommended that children aged between 5 and 18 years participate in both moderate and high levels of activity for at least 60 minutes a day, every day.
Children aged 5-12 years are active in spurts throughout the day, and they will often get enough exercise just through active play.
Children should be encouraged to join in activities which they find fun, and are varied, so as to keep their bodies challenged.
Television, computer games and other electronic equipment should not be used for more than two hours a day.
Adults are recommended to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, to improve their health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The Physical activity guidelines for Australians is included in the Healthy Lifestyle Workers Resource Pack.