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Low levels of physical activity are a major risk factor for ill health and mortality from all causes. People who do not do sufficient physical activity have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, colon and breast cancers, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Being physically active improves mental and musculoskeletal health and reduces other risk factors such as overweight, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that Australians be active on most, preferably all, days every week. For extra health and fitness, the guidelines recommend some muscle strengthening activities on a least 2 days each week and to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary i.e. prolonged sitting.
These Guidelines are supported by a rigorous evidence review process that considered:
Go to Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines Evidence Summary.
Go to Risk factors FAQ for information on measuring participation in physical activity.
Physical activity has been identified as an important contributor to maintaining good overall health. The amount of time spent on physical activity has long been a focus for research and policy makers. Low levels of activity are identified as a risk factor for a range of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, as well as being a strong contributor to levels of obesity. In recent times, the dangers of high levels of sedentary behaviour to overall health have also been recognised in relation to chronic disease and obesity.
Data from the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity showed: