Department of Health

Physical activity

Key messages

  • Regular physical activity is essential to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines outline the minimum levels of physical activity required for health and wellbeing.
  • Increasing active living is a focus area of the Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023.

Physical activity is a key factor for health and wellbeing. Along with healthy eating, participating in regular physical activity is essential to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Physical inactivity is associated with an increased risk of ill-health and death, and has been linked to increased rates of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and depression.

Sedentary behaviour

Sedentary means sitting or lying down for long periods at a time and is associated with poorer health. A person may incorporate physical activity into their day, yet can still be considered sedentary if they spend a large amount of their day sitting or lying down at work, home, or while studying, travelling or during their leisure time.

Minimising the time spent sitting or lying down each day achieves better health outcomes. Sedentary behaviour can be minimised by incorporating incidental activity into daily routines, such as using active travel (walking, cycling) to get to work and school, taking the stairs instead of the lift and standing during activities like watching TV, reading emails or while catching public transport.

Victorian Active Living Alliance 

The Victorian Active Living Alliance (VALA) provides a coordinated platform for partners to collaboratively promote a healthy, active Victoria. Through the VALA, the Victorian government is working with local councils, the education sector, community health services, academics and peak bodies to progress action on state government active living priorities. 

VALA priorities:

  • adopt and implement a whole-of-system approach to initiatives and actions
  • increase active travel to school, shops, stations, jobs and for social purposes
  • increase safe and convenient access to parks, open spaces and public spaces
  • increase safe and convenient opportunities to lead an active life.

Guidelines

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines outline the minimum levels of physical activity required by different age groups to maintain their health and wellbeing. It also provides recommendations of daily routines to minimise sedentary behaviour.

Better Health Channel - physical activity

The Better Health Channel - Keeping active section provides current, quality assured and reliable information on physical activity to assist individuals and their communities improve their physical activity levels.

Victorian public health and wellbeing plan

The Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023 outlines the state government’s approach to preventive health. It highlights physical activity as a priority issue for promoting the health of Victorians.

Healthy kids, healthy futures

Healthy kids, healthy futures is the Victorian Government’s 5-year plan to support children and young people to have healthier futures, with a focus on supportive environments for healthy eating and active living and mental wellbeing. 
 

Reviewed 17 June 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Prevention and Population Health Branch Department of Health

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