Getting active

Physical activity or exercise is more than just maintaining a healthy weight.

Physical activity helps us keep both our body and mind healthy and can prevent many chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Physical activity is known to keep your muscles and bones strong, give you energy, and help you sleep better.

It can even help you relax, unwind and have a bit of fun!

Exercise has been shown to lower levels of stress and depression in young people, and this effect is even greater when you exercise with friends.

This fact sheet has been developed by Youthblock Youth Health Service, Sydney Local Health District for the Yhunger program.

Why do young people need to stay active?

  • Manage mood changes and stress better.
  • Have fun with friends and meet new ones.
  • Get fitter by increasing your strength, stamina and flexibility
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Make your bones and muscles stronger.
  • Relax and unwind.
  •  Sleep better.
  • Feel more energetic.
  • Boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Be kind to the body you are in. It’s just a body and it does like to move.

What does moderate and vigorous intensity mean?

One of the easiest ways to tell the level of intensity is the “talk test”.

Vigorous activity will mean you’ll struggle to talk and exercise at the same time.

Moderate activity means you’ll be able to talk but you can’t sing while you’re exercising.

Light activity means you can easily talk and sing while you’re exercising.


How much physical activity do you need?

Physical activity is anything that gets your heart pumping faster.

The amount of physical activity you need to do to keep healthy will depend on your age.

If you’re over 18 years of age, aim to do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activities each week.

If you’re under 18 years old you need 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity each day.

You don’t need to do all 60 minutes in one hit, you can break it up across the day.


Ways to boost your physical activity

Here are some ideas and tips to help you make physical activity second nature and a routine part of your day so you don’t think of all the reasons stopping you; you ‘just do it’.

  • Get your shoes, clothes and sporting gear ready the night before.
  • Fill a water bottle ready to go.
  • Think about what kind of things you are interested
    in and you enjoy doing.
  • Find an exercise ‘buddy’ (human or canine).
  • Start small and build up as your fitness improves.