Aussies drop the ball on daily cardio, strength training for health

The first study to examine whether Aussies are engaging in enough cardio and strength training for optimum health has found 85 per cent aren’t meeting the daily recommendations.

Research published in BioMed Central was the first to assess whether Australians were meeting the national Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, revised in 2012. The guidelines incorporate recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity, strength training for teenagers and adults, and sedentary behaviour.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said it was a concern that only 15 per cent of Australian adults were fully meeting the guidelines. “Previous research measuring moderate to vigorous physical activity levels alone showed about half of all Australians were insufficiently active for health,” Ms Clift said.


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“This study shows when combining physical activity with strength training and sedentary behaviour guidelines, the inactivity far exceeds any previous estimates. There are significantly low levels of strength training among Australian adults, which is of huge concern for short and long-term health of the population.

“Only 1 in 4 Australian adults aged 18-24 fully met the guidelines, and this decreased with age – with only 1 in 25 of those aged over 75 meeting the guidelines. Sedentary behaviours are linked to an increased risk of overweight and obesity, and developing a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers.”

Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or a combination of both, every week. Adults should be active on most, preferably all, days of the week, do muscle strengthening at least two days each week, and minimise the amount of time spent sitting.

“We all need to break up long periods of sitting as much as possible – being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour is essential for health and wellbeing,” Ms Clift said. “The study showed efforts to reduce sedentary behaviours should be targeted at males, younger age groups, those with high levels of education and obese Australians. Staying fit and healthy will help you get the most out of life, no matter your age.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.