For adults (18 to 64 years)
Being active is essential for good mental and physical health and wellbeing. It reduces the risk of many diseases, including some cancers, and helps maintain a healthy weight. Read about how much activity adults should do each day, and how to include it in your day.
Being active helps you stay physically and mentally healthy – the more active you are, the more you benefit.
For adults, being active regularly can:
- reduce the risk of, or help manage, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- maintain or improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- reduce the risk of some cancers
- prevent unhealthy weight gain and help with weight loss
- maintain strong muscles and bones
- create opportunities for socialising and meeting new people
- help develop and maintain physical and mental wellbeing.
Adults should be active most days, preferably every day. Each week, adults should do either:
- 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity – such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn or swimming
- 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity – such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer or netball
- an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.
Include muscle-strengthening activities as part of your daily physical activity on at least 2 days each week. This can be:
- squats or lunges
- lifting weights
- household tasks that involve lifting, carrying or digging.
Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you do no physical activity right now, start by doing some, then slowly build up to the recommended amount.
Building activity into your day
Physical activity doesn’t have to be structured. Making some small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference. For example, you could:
- walk or ride your bike for short trips instead of driving
- drive to a ‘park and ride’ spot, and walk or ride your bike the rest of the way
- use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
- get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- park further away from your destination and walk
- walk to the park to eat lunch.
Limiting time sitting and lying down
Long periods of sitting can offset the benefits of being physically active, so it’s important to:
- reduce the time you spend sitting – for example, by organising walking meetings, using a standing desk, or enjoying a walk during your lunch break
- break up long periods of sitting – for example, by doing lunges or star jumps or walking around when on the phone.
Pregnancy and physical activity
It’s important to stay active during pregnancy, for the health of both mum and bub.
For more information about our activity recommendations for adults, see:
- Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for adults
- Make your move – sit less, be active for life – brochure for adults
- Tips and ideas for being active.
For older Australians, read our physical activity and sedentary behaviour recommendations for people aged 65 years and over.