Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor globally for mortality.
Australia's Physical Activity Guidelines
This section contains links to Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines including brochures, a summary fact sheet for each of the guidelines, tips and ideas for how to be physically active, as well as evidence review reports.
The Guidelines are supported by a rigorous evidence review process that considered:
- the relationship between physical activity (including the amount, frequency, intensity and type of physical activity) and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity; and
- the relationship between sedentary behaviour/sitting time and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity
National Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep Recommendations for Children (Birth to 5 years)
The Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (Birth to 5 years) show there is an important relationship between how much sleep, sedentary behaviour and physical activity young children get in a 24-hour period
Being physically active is good for kids’ health, and creates opportunities for making new friends and developing physical and social skills. These Guidelines are for all children aged 5-12 years who have started school, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.
As young people move through school, start work and become more independent, being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour every day is not always easy, but it is possible and it is important. These guidelines are for all young people, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.
Being physically active and limiting your sedentary behaviour every day is essential for health and wellbeing. These guidelines are for all adults aged 18 – 64 years, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.
Being physically active and staying fit and healthy will help you to get the most out of life, whatever your age. These recommendations are designed to help older Australians achieve sufficient physical activity for good health as they age
Provides information about the benefits of being physically active, and offers steps that you and your family can take towards better health, at any age.
Blueprint for an Active Australia
Getting more Australians active will help prevent heart disease
Heart disease is Australia’s leading cause of death. While there are many contributing factors to this across lifestyle, diet, family history and more,not being active is a major contributor to the burden of heart disease.
In fact, physical inactivity leads to over 20 per cent of the burden of heart and blood vessel disease in Australia. Read More
Getting more Australians active will help to prevent and manage the pain, discomfort, costs and loss of livelihoods and, indeed, the loss of life that comes from heart disease, Australia’s biggest killer.
That’s why the Heart Foundation is calling on the Australian Government to fund the development and implementation of a National Physical Activity Action Plan. This national plan will provide funding and support for implementing the recommendations in this blueprint; it’s an investment in the heart health of all Australians.
Action area 1 – Built environments
Action area 2 – Workplaces
Action area 3 – Health care
Action area 4 – Active travel
Action area 5 – Prolonged sitting (sedentary behaviour)
Action area 6 – Sport and active recreation
Action area 7 – Disadvantaged populations
Action area 8 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Action area 9 – Children and adolescents
Action area 10 – Older people
Action area 11 – Financial measures
Action area 12 – Mass-media strategy
Action area 13 – Research and program evaluation
Developed by the Heart Foundation – dedicated to making a real difference to the heart health of Australians.
Interesting Articles & Useful Resources
Tips on staying active this winter
Is the colder weather freezing you in place when you should be keeping active?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: download our free e-book packed with tips for staying active this winter. We’ll let you know how much physical activity you need, some simple tips to get started and how to set yourself up to succeed.
Get ready to get fit, get active, and get heart-healthy!
A new report from the Activity Alliance in the UK shines a light on non-disabled people’s attitudes on inclusive activity with disabled people.
- Increase public awareness of disabled people, especially in relation to being active. This must aim to challenge perceptions and create a more accurate and diverse picture of active disabled people among their non-disabled peers.
- Embed inclusivity in many more opportunities so disabled and non-disabled people can be active together.
- Celebrate and share experiences of inclusive activity with representation for all impairment groups.
Have you recently carried heavy shopping bags up a few flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 metres to the station to catch your train?
If you have, you may have unknowingly been doing a style of exercise called high-intensity incidental physical activity … incorporating more high-intensity activity into our daily routines — whether that’s by vacuuming the carpet with vigour or walking uphill to buy your lunch — could be the key to helping all of us get some high-quality exercise each day. Read More
The Heart Foundation has, since 1959, been fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. Almost 1.5 million of us live with heart disease and each year more than 55,000 Australians suffer a heart attack.
One of the key ways of improving heart health is to increase physical activity levels – and we know that improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives.
Alongside its internationally recognised research, the Heart Foundation also advocates for environmental and behavioural changes to provide all Australians with opportunities to be healthy and active throughout their lives in the places they live, study, work and play.
A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) reveals that, across all ages, few Australians meet recommended physical activity guidelines.
Physical activity across the life stages shows that, overall, only 30% of children aged between two and 17 years and 44% of adults meet guidelines that call for adults aged between 18 to 64 years to undertake at least 150 minutes of activity a week over five sessions and children/youth aged five to 17 years to be active for at least 60 minutes per day.
Nine in 10 Australians could reduce their risk of heart disease simply by walking as little as 15 minutes more each day, the Heart Foundation said following a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Planning and managing cities has become one of humanity’s defining challenges, yet it is hard to know how to plan for what a city needs now and in the future at the same time. What can we measure to determine if a city is functioning well for its residents today and is likely to live up to its full potential in the long run?
One answer: The daily life of a toddler
The Sustrans Active Travel Toolbox provides guides, resources, tools and case studies to help local authorities and their partners make the case for and improve walking and cycling schemes. The toolbox is also designed to help you plan and deliver walking and cycling schemes in your local area.
Note: UK Based
Despite growing awareness about the importance of exercise and a nationwide campaign to ‘move more and sit less‘, almost 60 per cent of Australian adults are still not doing enough physical activity.
A new study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, comparing National Health Survey data over 20 years, found that we have not improved our activity levels since 1989
Sporting or physical recreation event participation can affect different domains of mental and social well-being if sufficiently frequent, yet previous research has focused mainly on the physical health benefits of single-location or infrequent mass-participation events. We examined overall and domain specific subjective well-being of adult participants of “parkrun”, a weekly, community-based, highly accessible and widespread running event.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life
- Governments have a central role in providing evidence-based guidelines for health and lifestyle enhancing physical activity across all age-groups.
- Governments and stakeholders can use physical activity guidelines to shape policy and implement relevant strategies.
- The total economic cost of physical inactivity to the Australian economy is substantial, it consists of increased health care costs, lost productivity, and premature mortality.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a global strategy on physical activity, advocating a mixture of ‘top-down’ and community-based actions.
Clearinghouse for Sport
Many Australian adults aren’t active enough to get health benefits. Are you one of them?
How much activity to aim for
We support Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. They recommend for adults:
- Any physical activity is better than none. It’s fine to start with a little, and build up.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Aim to accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week
Walking and cycling are popular activities that can take many different forms, including: leisure-time activity, exercise and fitness, recreation, sport, and walking or cycling used as a mode of transport. Active transport refers to unassisted travel (walking) or non-motorised (bicycle) transportation with an intended destination. There is a great deal of overlap or synergy between walking and cycling used as active transport and similar activity intended for social, recreational, and health outcomes.
Active transport has many demonstrated benefits – personal (health and fitness), social (community connectivity), environmental (reduced carbon footprint) and economic (infrastructure costs).
- Walking and cycling used as a mode of transport can contribute to personal health and fitness objectives.
- Engaging in active transport can have positive economic, environmental and social outcomes.
- Active transport is one of the most effective means of increasing levels of physical activity within a community.
Clearinghouse for Sport
This page contains Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines including links to brochures, a summary fact sheet for each of the guidelines, tips and ideas for how to be physically active, as well as evidence review reports.