Types and Recommended Duration for your Physical Activity

Types and Recommended Duration for your Physical Activity

To maintain health and reduce your risk of health problems otherwise known as physical exercise, physical activity or health related fitness, health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days regular exercise.

Physical Activity Guidelines

Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines state that:

  • 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 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ 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 two days each week.

Benefitsof Regular Exercise

If you are regularlyphysically active, you may:

  • reduce your risk of a heart attack
  • manage your weight better
  • have a lower blood cholesterol level
  • lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • have lower blood pressure
  • have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis
  • lower your risk of falls
  • recover better from periods of hospitalization or bed rest
Types and Recommended Duration for your Physical Activity

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, current guidelines suggest that to stay healthy, adults between 19 and 64 should try to be active daily and follow these recommendations:


Cardiorespiratoryexercise, often abbreviated to ‘cardio’, is any exercise thatincreases the heartbeat and breathing rate.

Such exercises includewalking, running, swimming, cycling, dancing and team sports such asfootball, hockey, basketball etc.

You should get atleast 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

These recommendationscan be achieved through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise(five times a week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise(three times a week) or a combination of both types.

One continuous sessioncombined with multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) isalso acceptable.

For those startingout, gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity isrecommended. You are more likely to stay on track and avoid injury ifyou start gently.

Even if you can’treach these minimum targets you can still benefit from some activity.


Resistance exercise is concerned with working the bodies muscle groups and building strength.

It isrecommended that adults train each major muscle group two or threedays each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.

Very light or lightintensity resistance training is best for older persons or previouslysedentary adults new to exercise

  • Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
  • For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, while 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.

It is recommended thatadults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance trainingsessions.

Moderatevs Vigorous Intensity

There are a number ofdifferent ways to classify the intensity of any exercise, some basedon heart rate, some on perceived exertion and some on how theexercise affects your metabolic rate.

Generally Speaking…

Moderate-intensityactivity shouldraise your heart rate, make you breathe faster and make you feel warmenough to start to sweat.

Vigorousintensity exercisewill make you breathe hard, increase your heart rate significantlyand make you hot enough to sweat profusely.

The Physical ActivityGuidelines for Americans suggests that moderate-intensity activityallows you to talk but not to sing, whereas more vigorous activityresults in an inability to say more than a few words without pausingfor a breath.

Examples of moderateintensity exercise include:

  • Brisk walking (100 steps/minute)
  • Dancing
  • Swimming or aqua aerobics
  • Gentle cycling (5-9mph)
  • Badminton or doubles tennis
  • Volleyball

Examples of vigorousintensity exercise include:

  • Running
  • Power walking at 5mph or more, or walking uphill briskly
  • Cycling faster than 10mph
  • Aerobics
  • Martial arts
  • Competitive sports (football, basketball, rugby etc.)
  • Skipping/jump rope
  • Rowing

Overall though, anyactivity that gets you moving, gets your heart rate up and gives youenough pleasure to do it regularly and often is good for you inalmost every way.

Have fun, be healthyand feel good!

Waysto increase Physical Activity

Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day, such as walking or cycling instead of using the car, getting off a tram, train or bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, or walking the children to school.

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