Physical Activity Guidelines
The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians outline the minimum levels of physical activity required to gain a health benefit, and ways to easily incorporate additional physical activity into your everyday life. There are different guidelines for children, adults and seniors.
There are four steps recommended for better health for Australian adults.
Together, steps 1-3 recommend the minimum amount of physical activity you need to do to enhance your health. They are not intended for high-level fitness, sports training or weight loss. To achieve best results, it is recommended that you try to carry out all three steps and combine an active lifestyle with healthy eating.
Step 4 is for those who are able, and wish, to achieve greater health and fitness benefits.
Step 1: Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience.
Where any form of movement of the body is seen as an opportunity for improving health, not as a time-wasting inconvenience.
Step 2: Be active every day in as many ways as you can.
Make a habit of walking or cycling instead of using the car, or do things yourself instead of using labour-saving machines such as hanging out the washing rather than putting it in the dryer, or washing the car by hand rather than going to the automatic car wash.
Step 3: Put together at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
You can accumulate your 30 minutes (or more) throughout the day by adding two or three shorter sessions of around 10 to 15 minutes each.
Step 4: If you can, also enjoy some regular, vigorous activity for extra health and fitness.
This step does not replace Steps 1-3. Rather it adds an extra level for those who are able, and wish, to achieve greater health and fitness benefits.
To find out how intensely you are exercising take the talk test. The talk test is a simple and reliable way to measure intensity.
- If you can talk and sing without puffing at all, you’re exercising at a low level.
- If you can comfortably talk, but not sing, you’re doing moderate-intensity activity.
- If you can’t say more than a few words without gasping for breath, this is vigorous-intensity.