We have to face it – Australians have a problem with inactivity, and it’s taking a heavy toll on our health and our wallets. Alarmingly, the requirements for reaching the minimum levels of active living are quite low, with the Australian Government recommending:
Children 5-12 years: 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day
Young people 13-17 years: 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day
Adults 18-64 years: 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
Older Australians 65+: 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day. If levels of physical activity have dropped over the years, building up to the recommended 30 minutes should be done gradually and in manageable amounts.
Muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week
However, a 2017 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare gave us some alarming statistics:
29.7% of Adults are insufficiently active / 14.8% were inactive
Why is it important to be active?
Being active is hugely beneficial to people of all ages -
Children benefit from being active: Active kids learn new skills, begin muscle development, are less likely to become obese, learn independence, and are given the opportunity to socialise and make friends.
Adults benefit from being active: Active adults are less stressed, have better weight management abilities, have less risk of developing heart conditions, obesity and osteoperosis, have stronger bones and muscles, recover better from hospital or injury, and have lower blood cholesterol.
Seniors benefit from being active: Older Australians who are active are less likely to suffer a fall, have a more engaging social life, have better retention of muscle and bone density, maintain lung and heart health, better joint health and lower levels of body fat.
What are the risks of being inactive?
Not only do you miss out on the benefits of being active, you are more at risk of developing/suffering from:
- Bowel and uterine cancer
- Breast cancer
- Coronary heart diseases
What can I do to be more active?
Luckily, it takes almost nothing to be more active and see drastically improved results. The AIHW report estimates that if Australians did an extra 15/30 minutes of brisk walking, five days a week, we would reduce disease burden caused by inactivity by 13/26%.
Being active should be enjoyable, so try to find a sport, exercise routine or activity that is fun, engaging, and challenging!
Looking to take the next step in your health?
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Health.gov – Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines
Health.gov – Physical and Sedentary Behaviour Research and Statistics
Better Health Victoria – Physical activity – it’s Important
Better Health Victoria – Physical activity for seniors
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2011
Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.