Physical Activity

This page contains information about the benefits of physical activity as well as tips and ideas for how to be active every day.

Page last updated: 17 February 2014

Physical activity can take many different forms, in many different places. You can be active at home, at school, at work and in the community, as part of leisure time, travel, active play, organised and non-organised sports, games or physical education. Information on how to be more active is available for all age groups on the Tips and Ideas sheets.

Tips and Ideas for:

What are the benefits?

For Infants (Birth to 1 year), Toddlers (1 to 3 years) and Pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years), being physically active every day is fun and can:
  • Help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Build strong bones and muscles.
  • Improve balance, movement and coordination skills.
  • Promote social skills through interactions with people.
  • Support brain development.
  • Encourage self-confidence and independence.
For Children (5 to 12 years) and Young People (13 to 17 years), being physically active every day can have:
Social benefits, like:
  • Opportunities for fun with friends and family.
  • Reduced anti-social behaviour, including aggressive and disruptive actions.
  • Helping to develop cooperation and teamwork skills.
Emotional and intellectual benefits, such as:
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence.
  • Help with management of anxiety and stress.
  • Improved concentration.
Health benefits, such as:
  • Promotion of healthy growth and development.
  • Strong muscles and bones.
  • Improved physical fitness, including coordination and movement skills.
  • Reduced risk of disease and unhealthy weight gain.
For Adults (18 to 64 years), regular physical activity can:
  • Reduce the risk of, or help manage, type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduce the risk of, or help manage, cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Maintain and/or improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Reduce the risk of, and assist with rehabilitation from, some cancers.
  • Prevent unhealthy weight gain and assist with weight loss.
  • Build strong muscles and bones.
  • Create opportunities for socialising and meeting new people.
  • Help to prevent and manage mental health problems.
  • Help to develop and maintain overall physical and mental well-being.
For Older Adults (65 years and older):
Being physically active makes you look and feel better.
  • Gives you more energy.
  • Helps you sleep better.
  • Helps you to relax.
  • Helps you to meet people and make friends.
  • Is fun.
  • Tones your body.
Being physically active is good for your mind.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Improves concentration.
  • Improves self-confidence.
  • Reduces feelings of sadness.
Being physically active is good for your body.
  • Helps to control:
    • weight (and reduces body fat);
    • blood pressure;
    • cholesterol;
    • type 2 diabetes; and
    • bone and joint problems (e.g. arthritis).
  • Reduces the risk of:
    • heart disease;
    • stroke; and
    • some cancers.
  • Helps to manage pain.
  • Helps to maintain and increase joint movement.
  • Helps to prevent falls and injury.
If you are new to physical activity, have a health problem, or are concerned about the safety of being (more) active, speak with your doctor or health professional about the most suitable activities for you.

Move more, sit less, every day!

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