Do you know how much exercise you should be doing? Our physiotherapist Sarah Yule highlights the recommended minimum guidelines for physical activity that we should all be doing.  A recent survey performed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics identified that only 17% of adults aged between 18 and 65 years of age met the National Physical Activity Guidelines.  Over the age of 65, only one quarter of adults met the guidelines.

What is exercise or physical activity?

Any bodily movement that results in energy expenditure. To put it simply, activities that make your breathing rate quicker and your heart beat faster.

  • Moderate intensity activity: Activities that take some effort, however you remain able to talk whilst performing them. Eg. Walking briskly, recreational swimming, social tennis, golf, dancing and household cleaning/ gardening
  • Vigorous intensity activity: Activities that make you breathe harder and faster (“huff & puff”). Eg. Running, fast cycling, organised sports.

What are the benefits of exercise and physical activity?

  • Reduce your risk of, or help manage, cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Reduce your risk of, or help manage, type 2 diabetes.
  • Build strong muscles and bones & prevent your risk of injury.
  • Maintain and/or improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Reduce your risk of, and assist with rehabilitation from some cancers.
  • Help prevent unhealthy weight gain and assist with weight loss.
  • Help you to prevent and manage mental health conditions.

How much exercise should I be doing?

The National Physical Activity Guidelines have been developed by the Australian Department of Health.  These guidelines have been developed based on extensive research that links physical activity to a significant reduction in developing chronic disease and obesity.

Current recommendations for adults between the age of 18 – 65 years of age include:

  1. Accumulation of 150 – 300 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75- 150 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise, or an equivalent combination of both weekly.


  1. Strengthening exercises on at least 2 days a week.

Recommendations for those older than 65 years of age include:

  1. Completion of 30minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day.


  1. Strengthening exercises on at least 2 days a week.

Are you doing enough exercise?

Interestingly, 65% of adults met the 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity.  However only 25% met the recommended strengthening exercises twice weekly.  Alarmingly, roughly 70% of adults reported they completed no form of strengthening at all.

How can physiotherapy help?

If you are not currently doing any physical activity, you will benefit from starting some regardless of your age or previous physical activity level of experience. You should start slowly and gradually increase the amount you do. If you are not sure where to start or how to increase your activity levels safely, consult your physiotherapist or doctor for advice on the best physical activity options available for you.

Our team at Malvern East Physiotherapy can develop an individualised and safe exercise program specifically for your goals and needs.  Whether it be a home exercise program, pilates or clinical strength – call our friendly team on 9571 6888 or book online.