Physical activity for adults aged 19-60To stay healthy, adults aged 19-60 should try to be active daily and should do:
At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that all major muscle groups (legs, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
What counts as moderate-intensity aerobic activity?
Examples of activities that require moderate effort for most people include:
- walking fast
- water aerobics
- riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
- doubles tennis
- pushing a lawn mower
5 x 30 minutesOne way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days a week. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk, but you can't sing the words to a song.
Examples of activities that require vigorous effort for most people include:
- jogging or running
- swimming fast
- riding a bike fast or on hills
- singles tennis
- skipping rope
- martial arts
In general, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.
What counts as muscle-strengthening activity?
Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is 1 complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.
For each activity, try to do 8 to 12 repetitions in each set. Try to do at least 1 set of each muscle-strengthening activity. You'll get even more benefits if you do 2 or 3 sets.
- Adults who are overweight can improve their health by meeting the activity guidelines, even if they don’t lose weight.
- To lose weight, you are likely to need to do more than 150 minutes a week and make changes to your diet.
- Start by gradually building up towards 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week.
There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or in the gym. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities for most people include:
- lifting weights
- working with resistance bands
- doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as push-ups and sit-ups
- heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling
However, muscle-strengthening activities don't count towards your aerobic activity total, so you'll need to do them in addition to your aerobic activity.
Some vigorous-intensity aerobic activities may provide 75 minutes of aerobic activity and sufficient muscle-strengthening activity. Examples include circuit training and sports such as football or rugby.