How much exercise to do
This general advice was accurate at the time of publication. For more information about physical activity and your individual needs, see your GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
- You should be active every day regardless of your age, weight, ability and health.
- Do a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
- Try for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on most, preferably all, days.
- Moderate intensity means getting your heart rate moving faster while you do physical activity.
- Try to reduce sitting time – break up sitting with physical activity.
- Start out slowly, with five to 10 minutes of activity and build up over time.
Physical activity if you have stopped or are starting out
- If you find 30 minutes difficult right now, start with 10 minutes once or twice a day and gradually increase (eg after two weeks, increase to 15 minutes twice a day).
- Across the week, try to include different types of activities.
- If you can do more than 30 minutes, you will get extra benefits.
Vigorous physical activity for older people
- Vigorous intensity physical activity needs more effort and makes you breathe harder and faster or “huff and puff”.
- Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines don’t recommend vigorous physical activity for every older person, however, if you have always been very active, you can keep doing vigorous physical activity.
- Speak to your doctor for advice.
Types of physical activity
Across the week, try to include different types of physical activity including:
- Moderate fitness activities – these are good for your heart, lungs and blood vessels.
- Balance activities – to prevent falls and injuries.
- Flexibility activities – to help you move more easily.
- Strength activities – to help maintain bone and muscle strength.
Always have a medical check-up before starting any new physical activity.
Physical activity examples
- Brisk walking
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Vacuuming and mopping
- Washing the car
- Riding a bike
- Yard or garden work
- Weight, strength or resistance training
- Lifting and carrying
- Climbing stairs
- Yard work including digging and shifting soil
- Calisthenics for example push ups, sit ups or squats
- Side leg raises
- Half squats
- Heel raises
- Tai chi
- Bowls (indoors or outdoors)
- Stretching exercises
- Mopping or vacuuming