Physical Activity

Physical activity is important for maintaining good overall health and wellbeing [28716]. Physical inactivity is a risk factor associated with several potentially preventable chronic diseases that are prevalent in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population [33151]. The health benefits of doing physical activity begin from the first step, and include reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, anxiety, depression, musculoskeletal problems, overweight and obesity and some injuries [26979][30680].

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for adults recommend a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease and other conditions [28716][26979]. They define physical activity as ‘any bodily movement produced by one or more large muscle groups for movement’. This includes movement as part of:

  • leisure (including sports, exercise and recreational activities)
  • transport (for example walking or cycling to get to and from places)
  • occupation (including paid and unpaid work like lifting, carrying or digging).

The Guidelines recommend performing these activities at moderate to vigorous intensity:

  • moderate intensity activities require some effort, for example brisk walking but still being able to talk, swimming, dancing, social tennis, riding a bike, golf, housework
  • vigorous activities make you breathe harder or puff and pant (depending on the level of our fitness). Examples include jogging, competitive sports like football, basketball and netball, digging, and fast cycling.

There are also Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Australians (65 years and older). These Guidelines provide tips and ideas for:

  • moderate activities
  • strength activities
  • flexibility activities
  • balancing activities.

References

Key resources

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Artwork

Ceremonial Grounds 2 by Jimmy Njamme Tjampitjin

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