How much health benefit depends on how much you do? Only aerobic activity counts. Aerobic activity is any type of large body movement that makes your heart and lungs work faster – moderate intensity activity may make you feel warm, mildly out of breath and mildly sweaty (find out more about intensity levels).
Work out your current ‘activity status’ by calculating your average weekly amount and see how much health benefit you are gaining.
Combine the two measures to arrive at an average minutes per week of activity.
A small amount of activity is better than none but you should aim to be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Some people do a mixture of moderate-intensity and vigorous intensity activity in a week. The ‘rule of thumb’ is that 1 minute of vigorous intensity activity counts the same as 2 minutes of moderate intensity activity. 1
This table shows the levels of health benefit gained with time spent on activity:
|Activity amount (minutes and type)||Status||Health benefits gained|
|Less than 150 minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity)||Low activity||Some|
|150-300 minutes of moderate activity (or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity)||Medium activity||Substantial|
|More than 300 minutes of moderate activity (or 150 minutes of vigorous activity)||High activity||More than substantial|
Your health practitioner may use a screening tool called GPPAQ to assess your physical activity level.
- Adapted from Department of Health and Human Services (2008) Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services. ↩