“For adults, you should get at least 150 minutes, and possibly up to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week – that means up to an hour of physical activity most days of the week,” he said.
“You can do a little, between 70 and 150 minutes, if it’s at a higher intensity, so we kind of escalated it by saying we probably need to do a little more than has been recommended in the past.”
As the changes recommend more exercise, Australians seem to be significantly reducing the amount of physical activity they do.
According to updated guidelines, 85 percent of Australian adults do not achieve the recommended goals for physical activity, while only one in five children achieve their suggested goal of at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
Professor Biddle said that any exercise is better than no exercise.
“If you are not up to the recommended level of exercise, everything matters. Start with a level of exercise that you feel comfortable with and build slowly, but doing whatever is the key.”
“We also said you should be strengthening muscles at least two days a week, which is really important, like push-ups, squats, and even just using your body weight.”
The WHO guidelines also delve into specific guidelines for specific first-time groups, including pregnant women and people with a disability.
The professor said the goal of the WHO guidelines was to set a model for governments to follow, and urged Australian governments to use it to do more to encourage people to move again.
“Australia, like most developed countries, is not doing well in meeting these recommendations,” he said. “We have some active sectors of the population, but we are not stacking well.”
“I think WHO guidelines give more political leverage to get this into politics.”
It is estimated that physical inactivity contributes to around 16,000 Australian deaths annually. When combined with other factors such as obesity, it is categorized along with smoking as a major risk factor for disease burden in Australia.
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Stuart Light covers Health, Science and Technology for the Brisbane Times. He was previously the Queensland State Political Correspondent for AAP.
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