Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines

This page contains Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines including links to brochures, a summary fact sheet for each of the guidelines, tips and ideas for how to be physically active, as well as evidence review reports.

Page last updated: 14 February 2014

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

Regardless of how young or old you are, there are physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines available for you. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines are supported by a rigorous evidence review process that considered:
    • 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.
The Evidence Review Reports provide a summary of the scientific evidence that supports Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Evidence Review Reports are available as follows:

National Physical Activity Recommendations for Children 0-5 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 outlined below and are also available in the brochure – Move and Play Every Day (PDF 459 KB) | HTML.

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 to 3 years) and pre-schoolers (3 to 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 to 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 to 5 years) should not be sedentary, restrained, or kept inactive, for more than one hour at a time, with the exception of sleeping.
Top of page
To order a hard copy of the brochure free of charge, please phone 1800 020 103.

Further Information

Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children (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 outlined below and are also available in the Make your move – Sit less – Be active for life! brochure (PDF 330 KB) | HTML which provides further information and guidance about physical activity, play, sedentary behaviour (sitting) and ‘screen time’ for children.

Physical Activity

  • 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

  • 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

Top of page

Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Young People (13 -17 year olds)

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 (PDF 401 KB) | HTML 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

Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (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 (PDF 1235 KB) | HTML 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 to 300 minutes (2 to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 to 2 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.
Top of page

Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines

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

Further Information

Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Australians (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.
1. Older people should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities.
2. 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.
3. Older people should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
4. 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.
5. 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

Top of page

Make your Move – Sit Less – Be Active for Life! – A resource for Families

This brochure for families (PDF 358 KB) | HTML provides you with a summary of Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for all ages. It provides information about the benefits of being physically active, and offers steps that you and your family can take towards better health, at any age. You will find information for everyone – infants and toddlers, children, young people and adults too, as well as tips and ideas for being more active and less sedentary every day.

Further Information

Document help

When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:

  1. Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
  2. Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
  3. Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file

Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking) may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is opening and/or lead to system problems.

To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.