Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour

This information related to physical activity and sedentary behaviour including links to guidelines and further information.

Page last updated: 04 April 2019

Being physically active, limiting your sedentary behaviour and getting an appropriate amount of sleep each day is essential for your health and wellbeing and is good for you in so many ways. It can create opportunities for a range of fun experiences, make you feel good, improve your health, and be a great way to relax and enjoy the company of your friends and family.

This section of the Australian Government Department of Health website provides information about physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children birth to 5 years and children and young people aged 5-17 years, and how these can affect your health. Through this site you can also access Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for adults and older Australians. The Guidelines provide information about the health benefits of leading an active lifestyle, as well as offering suggestions for how to incorporate physical activity and minimise sedentary behaviour in your everyday life.

What is…

Physical Activity? – any activity that gets your body moving, makes your breathing become quicker and your heart beat faster. You can be physically active in many different ways, at any time of day.

Sedentary Behaviour? – sitting or lying down (except for when you are sleeping). It is common for us to spend large amounts of time being sedentary when at school, at work, when travelling or during leisure time.

Sleep – we all know that the required amount of sleep to keep us healthy varies across age groups. The Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (Birth to 5 years) and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5 to 17 years) emphasises the importance of developing healthy sleep hygiene to improve growth, and development and achieve optimal health.

In this section:

About us

The Population Health and Sport Division of the Department of Health is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Australians and reducing preventable mortality and morbidity caused by chronic disease. One of its responsibilities is to promote the importance of participating in regular physical activity and minimising sedentary behaviour to improve the health and wellbeing of the Australian population.

There is strong consistent epidemiological evidence linking participation in regular moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, and minimising sedentary time, with a wide range of important health and social benefits. The Department supports a variety of initiatives to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours and to facilitate participation in suitable programs and activities to increase physical activity and limit sedentary behaviour. Further information about the Department’s work in this area can be found on this website.