Physical activity and exercise guidelines for all Australians

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines outline how much physical activity you should do, the importance of reducing the time you spend sitting or lying down, and how much sleep children and young people should get. Needs vary depending on your age.

About the guidelines

Staying active regularly is essential for good physical and mental health and wellbeing. This is true no matter how young or old you are. But the amount of activity varies, depending on your age.

To help Australians understand how much activity they need, we have developed physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for each age group and for pregnancy.

These guidelines outline:

  • how much physical activity you should do each day
  • ideas to fit more physical activity into your daily lives
  • the importance of reducing and breaking up the time you spend sitting or lying down when not sleeping
  • how much sedentary screen time is recommended
  • how much sleep children and young people should get
  • how children and young people can get good quality sleep.

Physical activity guidelines by age

Find the guidelines that apply to you.

  • For infants, toddler and preschoolers (birth to 5 years)
    Read about how much activity small children should do each day, limiting sitting and screen time, and making sure they get enough sleep.

  • For children and young people (5 to 17 years)
    Read about how much activity children and young people should do each day, limiting sitting and screen time, and getting enough sleep.
  • For adults (18 to 64 years)
    Read about how much activity adults should do each day and limiting sitting time.
  • For pregnancy
    Read about how much activity should be done each day and limiting sitting time during pregnancy for the health and wellbeing of both mum and bub.

  • For older Australians (65 years and over)
    Read about how much activity older Australians should do each day, and how to build activity into daily life.
  • For people with disability and chronic conditions
    While there are no formal guidelines for people with disability and chronic conditions, being active is important for everyone. Find out what you can do to include activity in your day according to your ability.

Order the guidelines

You can order the following printed resources by emailing health [at] nationalmailing.com.au or calling 02 6269 1080. Provide:

  • the order ID number
  • how many copies you need
  • your delivery address.

Title

Order ID number

Make your move – sit less, be active for life – adults (18 to 64 years)

NA0109

Make your move – sit less, be active for life – family guide

NA0110

24-hour movement guidelines – birth to 5 years – brochure

NA0116

24-hour movement guidelines – children and young people (5 to 17 years) – brochure

NA0117

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines – pregnancy – poster

NA0118

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines – pregnancy – brochure

NA0119

Summary by age

Children and young people

 Recommendations

Under 12 months

1 to 2 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 17 years

Physical activity

Interactive floor-based play, and at least 30 minutes of tummy time for babies per day.

 

At least 3 hours of energetic play per day.

At least 3 hours per day, with 1 hour being energetic play.

At least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous activity involving mainly aerobic activities per day.

Vigorous activities should be incorporated at least 3 days per week.

Several hours of light activities per day.

Strength

 

 

 

At least 3 days a week.

Sedentary time

Do not restrain for more than 1 hour at a time.

Do not restrain for more than 1 hour at a time.

Do not restrain for more than 1 hour at a time.

Minimise and break up long periods of sitting.

Sedentary recreational screen time

None.

Under 2 years: None.

2 years: No more than 1 hour per day.

No more than 1 hour per day.

No more than 2 hours per day.

Sleep

0 to 3 months:
14 to 17 hours.

4 to 11 months:
12 to 16 hours.

This includes naps.

11 to 14 hours, including naps.

10 to 13 hours. Some will still need naps.

5 to 13 years:
9 to 11 hours.

14 to 17 years:
8 to 10 hours.

Adults

Recommendations

18 to 64 years

Pregnancy

65 years and over

Physical activity

Be active on most (preferably all) days, to weekly total of: 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous activity or an equivalent combination of both.  

Be active on most (preferably all) days, to weekly total of: 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous activity or an equivalent combination of both.

Do pelvic floor exercises.

At least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most (preferably all) days.

Strength

At least 2 days a week.

At least 2 days a week.

Do a range of activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.

Sedentary time

Minimise and break up long periods of sitting.

Minimise and break up long periods of sitting.

 

How we developed the guidelines

We developed Australia’s physical activity guidelines based on:

  • a rigorous review of scientific evidence from around the world
  • extensive consultation with stakeholders, state and territory governments, and national and international experts.

We looked at how health is directly affected by:

  • the physical activity people do – including the amount, frequency, intensity and type of activity
  • the amount of time people spend sitting or lying down
  • the amount and quality of sleep children and young people get.

We have summarised the scientific evidence that support each of the guidelines.

 

Last updated: 
7 May 2021

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