keep healthy and drink up to 8 glasses of water every day
noun (Collins English Dictionary)
1. health
2. capability of the body of distributing inhaled oxygen to muscle tissue during increased physical effort

Physical Activity
Since the industrial revolution, our lifestyle has been gradually changing to reduce our need to be physically active.  Many Australian adults can be fully occupied all day and rarely move
from a sitting position.

These changes in our lifestyle and the ready availability of food have play a role in the worldwide epidemic of
adult and childhood obesity. However weight gain is not the only negative consequence of a sedentary lifestyle.

Great Reasons to be Active
Being active is good for you in so many ways. It can provide a huge range of fun experiences, make you feel good, improve your health, and is a great way to relax and enjoy the company of your friends.

Regular physical activity can:
  • help prevent heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure;
  • reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes and some cancers;
  • help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints reducing the risk of injury;
  • promote psychological well-being;
  • improves balance, reducing chance of injury by falling;
  • improves our circulation and removal of toxins from the body;
  • improves mental health and reduces depression; and
  • reduces insulin resistance.

Because our lifestyle demands so little physical activity we need to change our attitude towards being active.
Every opportunity for movement should be seen as a bonus. As physical activity is no longer part of our daily toil or work it needs to become part of our daily recreation.

The National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend we put together at least 30 minutes of moderate - intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days as the minimum level of activity required for good health. The guidelines also recommend if you can, also enjoy some regular vigorous physical activity for extra health and fitness. For many Australians it is a challenge to fit even the minimum level of activity into their lifestyle. The Guidelines emphasize that the 30 minutes can be put together from several short activity sessions.

There is still some discipline required to ensure that the goal of 30 minutes moderate - intensity physical activity is reached on most, if not every, day. People of all ages and abilities can benefit from physical activity.
Physical activity doesn't have to be chore and doesn't necessarily mean a hard run.  Some ideas for physical activity include:
  • Swimming
  • Walking the dog
  • Riding a bike
  • Gardening
  • Trying a new sport
  • Dancing
  • Throwing a frisbee

Your 30 minutes of physical activity can also be made up by increasing the amount you move during the day (also called incidental activity) by:
  • Getting off the bus one stop early and walking the extra distance
  • Parking further away and walking the extra distance
  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalators
  • Putting down the remote and getting up to change the channel
  • Go for a walk during your lunch hour

Physical activity guidelines for adults
There are four steps for better health for Australian adults.
Together, steps 1-3 recommend the minimum amount of physical activity you need to do to enhance your health. They are not intended for high-level fitness, sports training or weight loss. To achieve best results, try to carry out all three steps and combine an active lifestyle with healthy eating.
Step 4 is for those who are able, and wish, to achieve greater health and fitness benefits.
Step 1 – Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
Where any form of movement of the body is seen as an opportunity for improving health, not as a time-wasting inconvenience.
Step 2- Be active every day in as many ways as you can
Make a habit of walking or cycling instead of using the car, or do things yourself instead of using labour-saving machines.
Step 3 – Put together at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, day.
You can accumulate your 30 minutes (or more) throughout the day by combining a few shorter sessions of activity of around 10 to 15 minutes each.
Step 4 – If you can, also enjoy some regular, vigorous activity for extra health and fitness
This step does not replace Steps 1-3. Rather it adds an extra level for those who are able, and wish, to achieve greater health and fitness benefits.

Physical activity recommendations for 5-12 year olds
A combination of moderate and vigorous activities for at least 60 minutes a day is recommended.
Examples of moderate activities are a brisk walk, a bike ride or any sort of active play.
More vigorous activities will make kids “huff and puff” and include organised sports such as football and netball, as well as activities such as ballet, running and swimming laps. Children typically accumulate activity in intermittent bursts ranging from a few seconds to several minutes, so any sort of active play will usually include some vigorous activity.
Most importantly, kids need the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that are fun and suit their interests, skills and abilities. Variety will also offer your child a range of health benefits, experiences and challenges.
Children shouldn't spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment (eg computer games, TV, internet), particularly during daylight hours.

Physical activity recommendations for 12-18 year olds
At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day is recommended. This can built up throughout the day with a variety of activities.
Physical activity should be done at moderate to vigorous intensity. There are heaps of fun ways to do it:
  • Moderate activities like brisk walking, bike riding with friends, skateboarding and dancing.
  • Vigorous activities such as football, netball, soccer, running, swimming laps or training for sport.
Vigorous activities are those that make you “huff and puff”. For additional health benefits, try to include 20 minutes or more of vigorous activity at least three to four days a week.
Try to be active in as many ways as possible. Variety is important in providing a range of fun experiences and challenges and provides an opportunity to learn new skills.
Make the most of each activity in your day. For example, you can walk the dog and replace short car trips with a walk or bike ride.

Physical Activity Recommendations for Older People
It’s never too late to start becoming physically active, and to feel the associated benefits. “Too old” or “too frail” are not of themselves reasons for an older person not to undertake physical activity. Most physical activities can be adjusted to accommodate older people with a range of abilities and health problems, including those living in residential care facilities.
Many improved health and well-being outcomes have been shown to occur with regular physical activity. These include helping to:
  • maintain or improve physical function and independent living;
  • improve social interactions, quality of life, and reduce depression;
  • build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injuries from falls; and
  • reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and some cancers.

There are five physical activity recommendations for older people.
1. Older people should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities.
2. Older people should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
3. Older people should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
4. Older people who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.
5. Older people who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.

Physical Activity Q&A

What are the health consequences of physical inactivity?
Physical inactivity increases the risk of mortality from a range of diseases and conditions. Physical inactivity can lead to an increased risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. In contrast, regular physical activity reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, helps to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, helps to prevent falls among older people and promotes feelings of well-being.

How much physical activity should I be doing?
Try to build up to doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a day – or more! You don’t have to do it all at once – you can accumulate your 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity by combining a few shorter sessions of about 10-15 minutes each throughout the day.If you are looking to lose weight try building up to doing 60-90 minutes per day.

How can I be more physically active with my family?
Less active family members need plenty of encouragement and support, especially in the beginning.  Ideally, find an activity you can do together.

Here are some ways to get everyone moving:
  • Play actively with your children – kick a footy around, skip, jump on the trampoline
  • Go on a family bike ride
  • Take your dog (or the neighbours dog) for a walk
  • Walk your children to school
  • Buy a fitness DVD and get the whole family to join in – a great way to have a laugh and be active.
  • Include physical activity in family outings
  • Keep a box full of bats, balls, kites, frisbees etc. – both at home and in the car and you will be always ready for action
  • Walk and talk – practice spelling and maths homework on the move; or go for a walk while you all catch up on each others day

How can I be more physically active when I have no time?
Life can be extremely hectic, and it is easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active, however, like most things; you just need to plan and prioritise.  There are tremendous benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically.  Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.

Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention and delaying the development of chronic diseases. All you need is 30 minutes of physical activity on at least 5 days of the week.  You don’t have to do it all at once – you can accumulate your 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity by combining a few shorter sessions of about 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day.  Research has shown that accumulated short bouts of moderate-intensity activity are just as effective at improving health factors such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.

Here are some activities you can do everyday:
  • Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes in the car or at work and you will always be ready for a walk or run
  • Build as much incidental activity into your daily routine as you can. Just getting up out of your chair every half hour and going to get some water or walking to see a neighbour or co-worker instead of calling can make a difference
  • Take the stairs rather than the lift, or walk rather than rest on escalators
  • Go for a short walk during your lunch break at work
  • Start a walking group with work colleagues or friends and stick to a routine of certain days or times to go out together
  • Buy yourself a pedometer – a gadget which when worn on your hip counts how many steps you take. Use this to motivate you to keep increasing your daily steps
  • Work in the garden
  • Catch up with friends by walking together rather than meeting for coffee or a meal
  • Walk or cycle instead of using the car for short trips

What is the difference between “moderate” and “vigorous” physical activity?
Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate.  A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing.  Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time. Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; for example, where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.  Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging, andfast cycling.

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