We hear it all the time – exercise is important! However how much exercise do we really need to do and how often? And why is exercise so important? According to the Australian Government Department of Health, physical inactivity is the second greatest contributor behind smoking tobacco, to the cancer burden in Australia. It therefore goes without saying that being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour is essential for your health and well-being. Physical activity is classed as any activity that gets your body moving, quickens your breathing (huff and puff activity) and makes your heart beat faster. Sedentary activity on the other hand is classed as sitting or lying (except when you’re sleeping) where you’re not moving or increasing your heart rate.
What are the benefits of physical activity?
Sitting less and moving more will:
- Increase muscle strength and tone
- Reduce your risk of developing, or help manage, type 2 diabetes
- Reduce your risk of, or help manage, cardiovascular disease
- Maintain and/or improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol
- Maintain and/or improve bone density
- Assist in maintaining a healthy weight
- Create social opportunities
- Assist in mental health conditions
- Maintain good general health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally
How much physical activity do I need to do?
If you’re not currently doing any physical activity, doing some is better than doing none. Fleurieu Physiotherapy & Wellness suggest starting slowly and pacing yourself, gradually increasing the intensity of the physical activity you do.
The Australian Government Department of Health suggests that for adults between the ages of 18-64 years, irrespective of cultural background, gender and ability, each week you should aim for:
- Being physically active on most, preferably all, days of the week
- 150minutes of moderate intensity physical activity OR 75minutes of high intensity physical activity
- 300minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 150minutes of high intensity physical activity
Moderate intensity physical activities includes activities that require some effort, but you are still able to talk while you are doing them. For example a brisk walk, social tennis or a recreational swim.
High intensity physical activities include activities that require more effort and make you breathe harder and faster (huff and puff). For example jogging, fast cycling or aerobics.
For adults over the age of 64years, it is recommended that you should accumulate at least 30minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.
Older adults who have stopped exercising or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency. Fleurieu Physiotherapy & Wellness physiotherapists are all competent in exercise prescription regardless of your fitness level, age or gender. Make an appointment today to work out the most suitable physical activities for you.