Is 30 Minutes Still Enough?
Most Australians will be familiar with the governments ‘Find 30’ campaign, encouraging people of all ages to find 30mins of exercise per day, incidental or planned. Since then there has been some slight revision to the physical activity recommendations, based on new research into the benefits of exercise and just how much exercise is required to obtain these benefits.
It is well known that exercise reduces the risk of health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, some cancers, musculoskeletal deterioration and long term weight gain. While 30mins of exercise each day will certainly help to deter these ailments, it is now advised that more is certainly better. Evidence suggests that as the amount of physical activity increases, the risk rate of the mentioned health issues decreases.
The guidelines have also been modified to stress that fact that moderate to vigorous activity is the most beneficial. Moderate activity is activity that whilst requiring effort, can still be completed whilst maintaining a conversation. Examples would include a fast paced walk, dancing or cycling. Vigorous exercise is that in which maintaining breath becomes harder, and thus conversation is limited. This would include jogging, running, aerobics or a competitive sport.
The guidelines still encourage physical activity on most, if not all days of the week. More specifically, they recommend an individual do the equivalent of 2 ½ - 5hrs of moderate physical activity or 1 ¼ - 2 ½ hours of vigorous activity each week. The range is provided to allow individuals to assess their needs. Those just starting an exercise program should certainly begin at the lower end of the range and build up. Those at an unhealthy weight, requiring weight loss, should aim for the higher end of the range plus more if possible.
In addition, the recommendation for two muscle strengthening, or weight bearing activities each week has been included. Weight bearing exercises help to increase muscle mass and maintain bone density. In addition, working large muscle groups is a great way to burn kilojoules and thus aids in weight loss and weight maintenance.
It is important to remember that the recommendations are merely for time and intensity of physical activity. Activity is relative, and can be planned or incidental. You may have an job involving manual labour, such as digging, lifting or carrying heavy items all day long or you may not own a car and walk everywhere you need to go daily. If these activities are moderate to vigorous, then they can certainly be included in your daily physical activity regimen and any planned exercise outside of this is of even greater benefit. If you have a more sedentary job or lifestyle, planning activity will be more important. Look for physical activity that you know you can enjoy. Join a gym, a dance class or a sporting group. If time is an issue outside of work hours, think of ways to build exercise into your work day. Organise group walking sessions with colleagues, complete your business meetings whilst taking a walk with the others involved or walk whilst on a conference call. If you work from home your activity opportunities are endless. Set your phone alarm for regular times during the day to do something active such as squats, push-ups or a brisk walk outside. Walk to the local shop to pick up a few items daily rather than drive to the shop to get everything at once or make walking to school a family event.
There is so much evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases, it is unfortunate that a large percentage of the Australian population, are not active enough. Be a good role model to your children, family and friends. Start your activity plan today!
Added to site on : Monday, 17 February 2014