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The latest National physical activity recommendations for all ages

The latest National physical activity recommendations for all ages

The Australian Government Health Department has released the latest National physical activity guidelines for all ages.

Make your move – Sit less – Be active for life!

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines are supported by a rigorous review process that considered evidence about:

  • the relationship between physical activity (including the amount, frequency, intensity and type of physical activity) and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity, and
  • the relationship between sedentary behaviour/sitting time and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity.

Children aged up to 5 years

Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

These recommendations are for all infants aged 0 - 5 years who have not yet started school, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability. The recommendations are available in the Move and Play Every Day brochure.

Physical activity recommendations

  • For health development in infants (birth to one year) physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.
  • Toddlers (1 - 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 - 5 years) should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.

Sedentary behaviour recommendations

  • Children younger than 2 years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).
  • For children 2 - 5 years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.
  • Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers (all children birth - 5 years) should not be sedentary, restrained, or kept inactive, for more than one hour at a time, with the exception of sleeping.

Further information

Children aged 5 - 12 years

Being physically active is good for kids’ health, and creates opportunities for making new friends and developing physical and social skills. These guidelines are for all children aged 5 - 12 years who have started school, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.

The guidelines are available in the Make your move – Sit less – Be active for life! brochure which provides further information and guidance about physical activity, play, sedentary behaviour (sitting) and ‘screen time’ for children.

Physical activity recommendations

  • For health benefits, children aged 5 – 12 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
  • Children’s physical activity should include a variety of aerobic activities, including some vigorous intensity activity.
  • On at least three days per week, children should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
  • To achieve additional health benefits, children should engage in more activity – up to several hours per day.

Sedentary behaviour recommendations

To reduce health risks, children aged 5 - 12 years should minimise the time they spend being sedentary every day. To achieve this:

  • Limit use of electronic media for entertainment (e.g. television, seated electronic games and computer use) to no more than two hours a day – lower levels are associated with reduced health risks.
  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

Further information

Young people aged 13 - 17 years

As young people move through school, start work and become more independent, being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour every day is not always easy, but it is possible and it is important. These guidelines are for all young people, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.

The Make your move – Sit less – Be active for life! brochure presents the guidelines and provides further information and advice about physical activity and sedentary behaviour (sitting) for young people.

Physical activity guidelines

  • For health benefits, young people aged 13 – 17 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
  • Young peoples’ physical activity should include a variety of aerobic activities, including some vigorous intensity activity.
  • On at least three days per week, young people should engage in activities that strengthen muscle and bone.
  • To achieve additional health benefits, young people should engage in more activity – up to several hours per day.

Sedentary behaviour guidelines

To reduce health risks, young people aged 13 – 17 years should minimise the time they spend being sedentary every day. To achieve this:

  • Limit use of electronic media for entertainment (e.g. television, seated electronic games and computer use) to no more than two hours a day – lower levels are associated with reduced health risks.
  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

Further information

Adults aged 18 - 64 years

Being physically active and limiting your sedentary behaviour every day is essential for health and wellbeing. These guidelines are for all adults aged 18 – 64 years, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.

The Guidelines are outlined below and are also available in the Make your Move – Sit less – Be active for life! brochure which provides further information and guidance about physical activity and sedentary behaviour (sitting) for adults.

Physical activity guidelines

  • Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 - 300 minutes (2.5 - 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 - 150 minutes (1.25 - 2.5 hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

Sedentary behaviour guidelines

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

Further information

Older people aged 65 years and older

Being physically active and staying fit and healthy will help you to get the most out of life, whatever your age. These recommendations are designed to help older Australians achieve sufficient physical activity for good health as they age. They are mainly for people who are not currently building 30 minutes of physical activity into their daily lives, and are looking for ways they can do so.

Being physically active for 30 minutes every day is achievable and even a slight increase in activity can make a difference to your health and wellbeing.

Physical activity recommendations

There are five physical activity recommendations for older Australians. These recommendations are also available in the Choose Health: Be Active - A physical activity guide for older Australians brochure which provides further information about physical activity for older Australians.

  • Older people should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities. 
  • Older people should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility. 
  • Older people should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. 
  • Older people who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity. 
  • Older people who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.

Further information