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Physical Activity Guidelines

Physical activity recommendations from the Australian Department of Health include: Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If your patient currently does no physical activity, start by encouraging them to do some and gradually build up (increasing ~10% a week) to the recommended amount.

Physical activity recommendations from the Australian Department of Health include:

  • Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If your patient currently does no physical activity, start by encouraging them to do some and gradually build up (increasing ~10% a week) to the recommended amount.
  • Advise individuals to 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.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
  • Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting.
  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

Physical Activity Guidelines Worldwide

These recommendations are the same as those provided in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans43 and the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines44 and the UK Chief Medical Officer’s Physical Activity guidelines45. The American guidelines also reiterate that these recommendations also apply to adults with chronic disease and disabilities and that where an adult with chronic disease or disability is unable to meet the recommendations, they should still engage in regular physical activity according to their ability and to avoid inactivity.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults

The American and UK Guidelines also provide specific recommendations for older adults including:

  • Incorporating balance training in addition to aerobic and strengthening exercise each week.

The recommendations, as well as benefits are well summarised in this infographic from UK Chief Medical Officer’s Physical Activity Guidelines 201945.

UK Chief Medical Officers: Physical Activity Guidelines. Physical activity for adults and older adults. Benefits health. Improces sleep. Maintains healthy weight. Manages stress. Improves quality of life. Reduces your chances of Type II Diabetes -40%, Cardiovascular disease -35%, Falls, depression, etc. -30%, Joint and back pain -25%, Cancers (colon and breast) -20%. Some is good, more is better. Make a start today; it's never too late. Every minute counts. Be active at least 150 minutes moderate intensity per week (increased breathing, able to talk) OR at least 75 minutes vigorous intensity per week (breathing fast, difficulty talking. Swim, Brisk walk, Cycle, Run, Stairs, Sport. To keep muscles, bones and joints strong. Bulid strength on at least 2 days a week. Gym, Yoga, Carry heavy bags. Minimise sedentary time. Break up periods of inactivity. For older adults to reduce the chance of frailty and falls Improve balance 2 days a week. Dance, Bowls, Tai Chi

Health professional and patient resources:

You may also want to download this resource from the Australian Government to share with your patients or refer to during your consultations: Department of Health – Australia’s Physical Activity Guidelines: Adults (18-64 years)

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