AUSTRALIANS will be urged to limit the time spent sitting or lazing about – and aim for up to five hours of moderate exercise each week – in the latest update of the national physical activity guidelines.
For the first time, the guidelines highlight the risks of sedentary behaviour. Quite separate to any benefits gained from exercise, prolonged periods spent at a desk or on the couch can lead to metabolic changes that are bad for your health.
Instead of recommending 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most if not all days, the guidelines all but beg Australians at least to get up and do something. Ideally, adults will accumulate 2 1/2 to five hours of moderate intensity physical activity during the week, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity.
“Doing any physical activity is better than doing none,” according to the Department of Health guidelines.
“If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.”
Recent studies found at least one in three Australians was failing to meet the previous recommendations and greatly over-estimated how active they were.
Lynne Oldfield, the chief executive of family-owned building supplies company Weepa Products, looks for innovative ways to keep her staff healthy.
Not only does Ms Oldfield encourage colleagues to have a proper work-life balance, but last year the company purchased an Infiniti treadmill gym so that they could exercise while working.
“It’s part of our culture: work shouldn’t be something that creates an incredible compromise between all the other things in life that you need to do to keep happy and healthy,” Ms Oldfield said yesterday.
The official recommendations for kids have also changed: for example, children aged 5-12 and young people aged 13-17 should still accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day, but now look for a variety of aerobic activities to get the broadest possible benefit.
The guidelines also make it clear that the more active kids are, the healthier they will be.
And they suggest that parents limit their kids’ time in front of the TV or computer to no more than two hours, or even less, each day.
Another first is recognition of the need to be strong: kids are encouraged to do muscle and bone-strengthening activities on at least three days a week, while adults should aim for at least two days each week, not only to maintain strength but also help prevent falls and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Source: The Australian
Comment: Although a little ‘more of the same’, we have included this article to indicate how exercise is now firmly accepted as a factor in metabolic and degenerative diseases, and that this line of ‘prevention’ is being constantly reassessed and reported.
However, rather like dietary guidelines, these reports should be seen as that – guidelines. It is important – always – to individualise needs and requirements with appropriate support and advice, where necessary.