How much exercise should I be doing? This is a question we get all the time as Exercise Physiologists.

The answer, as always is – it depends! Exactly how much exercise you should be doing is absolutely dependent on many factors such as your current fitness, injuries, health concerns and much more.

However, as a baseline, we should all be aiming to move most, if not each day to assist with long term health and function.

The Australian Department of Health provides general exercise recommendations for adults 18-64 years. These recommendations are noted below:

  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ? to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 -2 hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week. (Dept of Health, Aus).

If we look at completing the minimum 150 minutes of exercise per week, this equates to just 21 minutes of exercise per day! Sadly, less than half of Australian adults reach this recommended guideline, making Australia a very sedentary country, placing a huge burden on the healthcare system.

According to the World Health Organisation, physical inactivity is the second greatest contributor, behind tobacco smoking, to the cancer burden in Australia (Global Health Risks: Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. World Health Organization, 2009.)

So, how can we reach these recommended guidelines? Simple! If you can move from your desk at work for just 5 minutes, four times a day, you are reaching the minimum recommended guidelines. If you can walk down the road and back, chances are you are going to make the minimum recommended guidelines.

For bonus points, we should be aiming to increase our heart rate and utilise our muscles, allowing for positive changes in cardiovascular health and musculoskeletal strength.

Regular exercise has many benefits, however the most basic include:

  • Reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Reduce the risk of developing Diabetes.

  • Maintain and improve blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Reduce the risk of developing some forms of cancer.

  • Help manage osteoporosis & arthritic conditions.

  • Help manage mental health conditions.

  • Reduce the risk of injury and pain.

All of these benefits can be achieved with just 21 minutes of exercise!

Do you need help exercising? Contact your local Exercise Physiologist today to learn how you can start exercising safely.


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