How much physical activity is enough???

How much physical activity is enough? This is a question I get asked all the time… so here’s the answer!

Generally (yes, everyone will be a little different), provided you’re eating the appropriate amount and types of foods, you are sleeping 7-9 hours a night and you’re not seeing any drop offs in workout performance or energy levels, then you are not at the upper limit of exercise. Simply put, you can do more! Most people are likely to have the opposite problem, as 56% of Australian adults are inactive or have low levels of physical activity.  

Government Recommended Amount

As an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, one of the main personal goals I have for my clients is to get them moving enough to meet “Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines”. This document, released by the Australian Government’s Department of Health, outlines four basic rules to follow to ensure you’re being a healthy human. If met or exceeded, these guidelines have been shown to:

  • reduce the risk of developing various diseases (including Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus)
  • aid with weight management
  • promote healthy bones/muscles/joints
  • reduce the risk of developing various types of cancer
  • improve and manage mental health
  • and they just generally make you a happier, longer living, human 

 

 These 4 rules are:

  1. Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some. Then, gradually build up to the recommended amount.
  2. Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  3. Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity each week. If you’re performing vigorous activity, this is reduced to 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) per week. You can also do a combination of both. 
  4. Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

There are also general rules for sedentary activity:

  1. Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting.
  2. Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

 

What does this look like week to week?

Basically, this looks like 2.5-5 hours or moderate exercise weekly or the equivalent of vigorous activity. This includes two resistance training sessions. That works out to be roughly 43 minutes of moderate activity per day. “Moderate activity” can be defined as any activity that takes effort but doesn’t make you so breathless you can’t hold a conversation. This includes social sports, brisk walking and more intense chores around the house, such as gardening.

In regards to resistance training exercise, experts recommend 2 sessions per week. In these sessions, you should be working every major muscle group for a total of 3-5 sets per session, per muscle group (see example below). Doing this ensures you maintain function well into later life, have healthy muscles/bones/joints and have a well functioning metabolic system which helps blood sugar management.

In summary your week might look something like this (all activities at mod. intensity):

Physical Activity

The above demo week includes 2 resistance training sessions and a total of 300 mins of moderate activity. Done! 

 

And a demo resistance training session might look like:

Physical Activity

 

So there it is: hit up your 300mins of activity and weights if you aren’t already and watch almost every aspect of your health improve for the better! If you need some guidance on your training, or need some extra encouragement, come on in for a free trial session and see how our team of qualified and experienced coaches can help you out!