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Being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour every day is essential for health and wellbeing. Physical activity can include exercise and sport, as well as daily activities like walking and gardening.
Sedentary behaviour is sitting or lying down (with the exception of sleeping) are what is called 'sedentary behaviours.'
The amount, type and intensity of physical activity needed depends on a number of factors, including age and physical development.
Physical activity is classed as moderate intensity or vigorous intensity.
Moderate intensity activities require some effort and include:
Vigorousl intensity activities include:
Sedentary behaviour is associated with poorer health outcomes and it is recommended the hours spent sitting each day be reduced.
To reduce sedentary behaviour:
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 0 to 5 years should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day. These children 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.
It is recommended that children under the age of two years not watch any television.
It is recommended that children aged between 5 to 12 years should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. This should include a combination of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity and on at least three days per week children should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
To reduce health risks, children aged 5 to 12 years should limit the use of media for entertainment, e.g. television, seated electronic games and computer use, so long periods of sitting is reduced.
It is recommended that young people aged 13 to 17 years should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. This should include a combination of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity and on at least three days per week children and young people should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
To reduce health risks, children aged 13 to 17 years should limit the use of media for entertainment e.g. television, seated electronic games and computer use, to no more than two hours a day, so long periods of sitting is reduced.
It is recommended that adults aged 18 to 64 years accumulate at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
Adults are encouraged to do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
Adults who are currently doing no physical activity should gradually build up to the recommended amount if they are able.
It is recommended older Australians accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days. Activities can be things like brisk waling, swimming, golf, water aerobics, housework, walking the dog and gardening.
Older Australians are encouraged to included activities that will help strengthen muscles, improve balance and stay flexible.
It is recommended that those older Australians who enjoy vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided safety procedures and guidelines are followed.
Australia's Physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines can be accessed here.