Regular physical activity and a healthy diet are important factors in maintaining a healthy weight. Ensuring that you get enough exercise is also an important factor in preventing and managing chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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.
4 in 10 Australian adults did the recommended amount of muscle strengthening activities in 2017–18
Men were more likely to be doing sufficient muscle strengthening activities than women in 2017–18
Younger adults were more likely to be doing sufficient muscle strengthening activities than older adults in 2017–18
17% of 2–5 year olds met the physical activity and screen-based behaviour guidelines on 7 days in 2011–12
12% of children and 2% of adolescents met the physical activity and screen-based behaviour guidelines in 2011–12
15% of adults met both the physical activity and muscle strengthening activity guidelines in 2017–18