We know exercise is good for us, but how much should we actually do?


It is a well-known fact that exercise is good for us, no matter our age, health status or fitness. Regular physical activity is linked to a decreased risk of multiple health conditions including cancers, heart disease and stroke, but how much do we actually need to do?

Photo by Jonathan Colon

Referencing the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (aged 18-64 years) from the Australia Government’s Department of Health, it is recommended that optimally we should:

  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week
  • Be doing muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week (such as Pilates or weights training)
  • Each week accumulate either:
    • 2.5 – 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity
    • 1.25 – 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity, or
    • An equivalent of both

Moderate intensity physical activity is at a level that causes some shortness of breath, but you can still talk comfortably. Examples of moderate intensity physical activity include brisk walking, gardening, housework and domestic chores, slow cycling, and water aerobics.

Vigorous intensity physical activity is at a level that causes more shortness of breath that makes talking difficult between deep breaths. Examples of vigorous intensity physical activity include running, swimming laps, tennis, faster cycling, skipping, hill walking or walking with a heavy pack.


The above recommendations are the optimal amount of exercise that an adult aged 18-64 years old should be doing per week (there are slightly different guidelines for people aged 65 and over). It is important to note that if you are currently below this recommendation, or not doing any physical activity, that you should gradually build up to the desired amount of exercise. It is also recommended that the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting be minimised, and to break up long periods of sitting with other positions such as walking.

At the end of the day, doing some physical activity is better than none, so just start!


If you need guidance on how to become more physically active, book in for a consultation with one of our Physiotherapists by calling us on 8555 4099 or click here to book online.


Meg Doyle (Physiotherapist)