Leading an active life improves your health and wellbeing.
By moving more and sitting less, you can reduce the risk of ill health and death from any cause.
Regular physical activity helps to prevent and treat many diseases such as:
- heart disease
- some cancers
- musculoskeletal conditions
- depression (Booth, Roberts and Laye 2012; Pedersen and Saltin 2015).
Being physically active and having a healthy diet reduces other risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure and over-weight and obesity (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017).
How much physical activity is enough?
The definition of sufficient physical activity depends on how old you are, as shown in this table:
|Physical activity category||Age 18–64||Age 65 or over|
|Sedentary||0 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity and 0 muscle strengthening exercises||0 minutes|
|Insufficient||Less than 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities and/or less than 2 days muscle strengthening activities each week||Less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day|
|Sufficient||150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities and muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week||30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day|
Physical activity in Victoria
In Victoria, 50 per cent of men and 49.2 per cent of women did sufficient physical activity. Approximately one quarter of adults spend eight hours or more sitting on an average weekday (Department of Health and Human Services 2018).
There were no significant differences between rural and regional Victorians and those from metropolitan areas.
There was, however, a significantly higher proportion of adults aged 65–84 years who did adequate physical activity compared with all other Victorian adults (Department of Health and Human Services 2018).
By contrast, only 23 per cent of young people (10–17 years) did sufficient physical activity and completed 60 minutes or more of activity every day.
Furthermore, 68 per cent of young people exceeded the recommended two hours per day of screen time, which can be associated with increased levels of sedentary behaviour (Department of Education and Training 2017) and negative health effects.
Find out more
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Risk factors to health. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Booth F, Roberts C and Laye M 2012, ‘Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases’, Comprehensive Physiology, vol. 2, no. 2.
Department of Education and Training 2017, Victorian Student Health and Wellbeing Survey, 'About You' - Summary Findings 2016, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.
Department of Health and Human Services 2018, Victorian Population Health Survey 2016, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne.
Pedersen B and Saltin B 2015, ‘Exercise as medicine: evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases’, Scandanavian Journal of Medicine, Science and Sports, vol. 25.
Reviewed 05 June 2023