It is important to be active every day. Research shows us that the more time we spend sitting and the less active we are the greater our risk of health problems such as type-2 diabetes. The National Physical Activity Guidelines encourage Australians to aim for 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, or 75-150 minutes if it’s more vigorous exercise. This equates to 30-60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
What do different physical activity levels mean?
- Sedentary activities mainly involve sitting or lying down, using little energy
- Light activities include standing and moving around in the home, workplace or community
- Moderate activities require some effort, but you can still have a conversation. For example walking briskly, gentle swimming, or social tennis
- Vigorous activities make you huff and puff, so talking is difficult. For example jogging, aerobics, football, or netball
It’s important to remember to build up to these levesl gradually over time, especially if you haven’t exercised regularly for a while. Start off with a small amount and build on it each week. You can accumulate your activity over the day, so if you only have the time for short bouts you can break it up into 2 x 15 minute or 3 x 10 minute blocks.
The National Physical Activity Guidelines also encourage us to do some strength or resistance type exercise at least twice a week. You don’t need to have a gym membership to do this either. Exercises using your own body weight such as squats, lunges, calf raises, push-ups and sit ups are all great exercises to help strengthen your muscles.
Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.