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Get Moving- How does your activity measure up?

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

If exercise was a pill, every doctor would be prescribing it. Far reaching are the benefits for body and mind! In fact, according to Australian Burden of

Disease Study (released in November 2017):

  • 2.6% of the total disease burden in Australia was due to physical inactivity (using 2011 data)

  • The seven diseases most closely linked to physical inactivity (in descending order) were diabetes, bowel and uterine cancer, dementia, breast cancer, coronary heart diseases and stroke.

  • If all Australians did an extra 15 minutes of brisk walking for at least five days each week, this would reduce disease burden due to physical inactivity in the population by approximately 13%. By increasing this to 30 minutes, the burden of disease attributed to physical inactivity could be reduced by 26%

So what are the current health recommendations for physical activity?

If you are age 18-64 the following are recommended:

  • Healthy adults should complete 150 - 300 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise or 75 – 150 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise per week in order to achieve health benefits. (N.B Greater activity levels are associated with further health benefits)

  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week. (Include some flexibility work)

Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines

  • Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting.

  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

Being ‘physically inactive’ means not doing enough physical activity (not meeting the physical activity guidelines). However, being ‘sedentary’ means sitting or lying down for long periods. A person can do enough physical activity to meet the guidelines and still be considered sedentary if they spend a large amount of their day sitting or lying down.

According to the National Health Survey (2020-21), Nearly one in four (24.5%) people aged 18-64 years met the physical activity guidelines. When considering the recommendations of the guidelines for people aged 18-64 years:

  • Almost six in ten (59.1%) completed 30 minutes of activity on five or more days

  • 28.2% undertook strength or toning exercises on two or more days in the last week

According to the National Health Survey (2020-21), Nearly half (49.4%) of employed people aged 18-64 years described their day at work as mostly sitting

If you are 65 year or older, the following is recommended:

  • Older people should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities.

  • Older people should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.

  • Older people should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

  • Older people who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.

  • Older people who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.

According to the National health Survey (In 2020-21, around four in ten (41.8%) people aged 65 years or over met the physical activity guidelines.

Remember these guidelines are for general health. If you are training for a specific outcome, the training protocol will vary.

If you desire to reduce your weight (body fat) and clothing size:

American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM)Position Statement for Exercise & Weight Loss (2009)

  • Evidence supports moderate-intensity physical activity between 150 and 250 min per week to be effective to prevent weight gain.

  • Greater amounts of physical activity (>250 min per week) have been associated with clinically significant weight loss.


How does your physical activity measure up? And what about your sedentary behaviours?

How much time do you sit at work, or in leisure screen activities?

Is there an area that you can improve on?

A Vital Approach To Being Active

  1. Change how you think about exercise and activity! Rather than being a burden or imposition, reframe your activity as an opportunity to look, feel and be your best.

  2. Firstly, do what you enjoy and feels right for your body. Progress slowly, incrementally and do what is sustainable. Remember it is what you generally do, not occasionally, that reaps the benefits.

  3. Find more opportunities to move! How can you increase incidental activity through your day? This might include walking to the shops, conducting a walk and talk meeting, standing when taking calls or any other strategy to reduce and break up sitting postures through your day.

  4. Once you have a regular routine around activity, explore all the components of fitness and “balance your activity bank”. Am I doing adequate cardiovascular activity, resistance training, mobility, stability and balance training for my needs? Ask your trainer for guidance

  5. Connect with how your body and mind feels after your exercise sessions. If we rely solely on future weight loss and health benefits to motivate us, our drive to stay active can wane. Checking in to the “here and now benefits” will assist in developing your intrinsic muscle to move regularly and feel great.

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