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Physical activity can be beneficial to our health by helping to prevent and manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Regular physical activity is also an important component in weight management and psychological wellbeing.

What is meant by ‘physical activity’? Physical activity includes just about any movement that results in energy expenditure. It can be taking part in a deliberate exercise or sport (such as running or swimming), incidental movement (for example, hanging out the washing) or work-related activity (such as lifting).

There is a difference between being physically inactive and being ‘sedentary’. A sedentary behaviour is performed sitting or lying down (with the exception of sleeping) and requires little energy expenditure. Sedentary behaviours include sitting on the couch to watch TV or read a book.

Australia has national guidelines that outline the minimum levels of physical activity required for health benefits at all stages of life.

For further information see Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.