being active at every age
Physical activity is critical for maintaining good health, yet more than half of all Australian adults are not active enough.
So, what’s meant by “moving more’’? Simply, it’s about any type of physical activity that gets you up and moving. This includes work, housework, riding a bike, regular walks or exercise and sport.
Benefits of physical activity
Physical activity can make you feel good, as well as help reduce the risk of chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and musculoskeletal disorders.
Other benefits include:
- Improving and maintaining blood pressure, cholesterol and blood-sugar levels
- Preventing unhealthy weight gain and assisting with weight loss
- Building strong muscles and bones
- Creating opportunities for socialising and meeting new people
- Improved mental wellbeing.
The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines offers good advice to adults aged 18–64 years, irrespective of culture, gender, or ability.
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start gradually, and build up to the recommended amount
- Be active on most, preferably all, days of the week
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities each week. For example, brisk walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, will give you 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise
- Do strength activities at least two days a week. Yoga, tai chi, or strengthening exercises—using either your body weight or other weights—can be good choices. meeting new people
Sedentary behaviour guidelines
- Minimize the amount of time you spend sitting.
- Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
If you are over 65, it’s still important to keep active. The Australian Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Australians differ to the guidelines for adults 18-64. However, the message is the same: moving more is essential for maintaining good health and wellbeing. Recommendations include:
- Older people should do some form of physical activity, no matter their age, weight, health problems or abilities.
- Be active every day in as many ways as possible, factoring in fitness, strength, balance and flexibility. As people age, strength and balance is even more important to prevent falls and even to undertake simple tasks easily.
- Work up to 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 manageable, gradually increasing frequency.
- Remember to stick to recommended safety procedures and guidelines.
Want more information and support?
If you are finding it hard to get motivated, speak to a local exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, the local gym, or your GP. Local councils often hold tai chi and other classes in neighbourhood parks.
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