Physical Activity Guidelines

What is Physical Activity?

Cardiovascular endurance exercise, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility are all important aspects of physical activity. Physical activity can be accumulated through daily tasks, incidental activity, sport, and exercise, and should be viewed as an opportunity to improve health.

Physical activity should cause a slight increase in your heart and breathing rates, and should last for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Physical activity is important throughout all life stages.

For firefighters being physically active is crucial for cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and fitness on the fire ground.

Benefits of Physical Activity

Physical activity provides a range of benefits to an individual’s overall health, fitness and wellbeing. Being physically active helps to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Decrease risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • Help build strong bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase energy levels
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Reduce cholesterol levels
  • Improve mood, promote psychological wellbeing and increase energy levels
Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults

Australian guidelines recommend that adults accumulate at least 150 - 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity, 75 – 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity exercise, or a combination of each, each week.

Whilst increasing their physical activity levels to these ranges individuals should also aim to limit their sedentary behaviour each day. Sedentary behaviours are those where you’re sitting or inactive and include activities such as desk work and watching television.

Physical activity includes tasks such as gardening, mowing lawns, vacuuming or other household chores, as well as walking, running, bike riding or playing sport. To increase physical activity levels try enlisting a friend or joining a walking group, sports team or fitness class to keep you motivated.

Always remember to include a warm up and cool down to your workout, and consult a medical professional before beginning a vigorous intensity program.

To find out more about Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines visit the website here.

Tips for staying motivated
  • Set small, realistic and attainable goals 
  • Start out with a friend or family member
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy – it won’t even feel like exercise!
  • Choose an activity close to home or work, if it’s out of your way you’ll be more likely to quit
  • Mix up your routine with different forms of physical activity, try going for a scenic walk, jog or bike ride
  • Download a fitness App to track your activity and get workout ideas