To start with, even a small amount of physical activity is better than none.
If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount. Remember, the more you move the better!
How much physical activity is recommended?
Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Guidelines recommend that each week adults aim to:
- Move More: Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Move Harder: Do 2h 30min to 5h (150 to 300 min) of moderate-intensity activity; 1h 15min to 2h 30min (75 to 150 min) vigorous-intensity activity; or an equivalent combination of both.
- Move Stronger: Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
- Move Often: Minimise the amount of time spent sitting and break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
Why be physically active?
While being physically active plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight, the benefits extend well beyond this. Moving more can help you:
- Get fitter
- Do everyday tasks with ease
- Improve your mood
- Have more energy
- Sleep better
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases
How can I get moving?
There are plenty of ways you can adapt your routine to move more!
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator to get your heart pumping before settling into your chair.
- Eat lunch away from your work space and squeeze in a 10-minute walk. Better yet, get a group involved and enjoy being active together.
- Deliver messages in person to colleagues rather than sending an email.
- At the start of the meeting or as an agenda item let people know it is ok to stand and stretch within the meeting space whenever they need to.
- Are standing, treadmill or cycling desks an option? Talk to your HR department to find out.
- Schedule walking meetings.
- Use the bathrooms on a different level, and take the stairs to get there.
- Walking, cycling, running or taking public transport to work or school gives you the opportunity to get some scheduled exercise into each day. It's also good for the environment. Find out if your workplace offers end-of-trip facilities (like a shower and bike rack) that you can make use of - if not ask why not!
- If you have to drive, park further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk to the furthest ticket machine to get a few more steps into your day.
- Ask HR about providing public transport passes for short business trips.
- The key to staying active is finding an exercise you enjoy. This can be an organised sport, rock climbing, gym class, running, or simply taking a walk at the park or along the coast.
- Rope a friend into your exercise plans to help you keep motivated.
- Use technology to support your exercise goals. Create a motivating playlist, keep track of your steps via a fitness tracker or find an app that helps you move more.
- If you spend a lot of time in front of the television, try doing some light stretches/ yoga, hula hooping, skipping rope or hopping on an exercise bike while watching your favourite shows.
- Walk the dog after breakfast in the morning, or after dinner at night.
- Get outdoors for lunch or dinner on the weekend. Don't forget your hat, sunscreen and sunglasses!
- Play backyard cricket, go cycling, bounce on the trampoline or enjoy the playground at the local park.
- House tasks like gardening, cooking and vacuuming all count as physical activity – get your house in order while moving more!
Did you know?
Climbing stairs is a similar intensity to cycling or jogging, which use around eight times the amount of energy the body uses when resting or sleeping!
Whether you're taking your bike out for a Sunday ride, or using it to get to work in the morning, bike riding is a great way to get around.
Learning some basic bike maintenance is a good life skill that will save you money and increase the life of your bike. Take a look at the Department of Transport (WA)'s 'Bike Maintenance' and 'Choosing a Bike' links below.