Health & Physical Activity
Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor globally for mortality.
New snapshot of Australian physical activity participation released
A new report confirms the vital role of outdoor activities for our communities.
In October 2023, the second edition of the National Sport and Physical Activity Participation report has been updated and released by Australian Sports Commission.
The report describes AusPlay as “the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind ever undertaken in Australia”, with 20,000 Australia residents completing the survey between 2016 and 2022. The report digs into the motivators and barriers for participation for the population as a whole, and at different life stages. Data is also broken down into the different States/Territories.
The vision of Outdoors Queensland is for a world where the outdoors is a vital part of healthy lives. This report shows the critical role of non-sport activities (encompassing outdoor recreation and fitness) in physical activity.
For overall participation, the report shows that across Australia from July 2022 to June 2023, 19.1 million adults participated in physical activity:
- 10.3 million adults participated in both sport and non-sport related activites,
- 5.6 million adults participated in only non-sport related activities, and
- 3.2 million adults participated in only sport related activities.
For the same period, across Queensland the report shows 3.7 million adults participated in physical activity:
- 2.0 million adults participated in both sport and non-sport related activites,
- 1.1 million adults participated in only non-sport related activities, and
- 0.6 million adults participated in only sport related activities.
The report also provides information for children, indicating higher levels of participation in organised activities such as sports, as would be expected.
The report is presented is a variety of ways, with data visualisations and a data portal to help tell its stories. The website includes almost 60 individual sport and physical activity reports which provide detail on participation. If you are involved in one particular activity, you can get a detailed report about that activity, including motivators and barriers given for participation.
Click for the latest results (2023) of AUSPLAY ™
Sport Australia has released a Physical Literacy Position Statement to support our nation’s health.
Broadly and enthusiastically endorsed by sporting organisations, physical activity providers and education bodies, the Position Statement is a commitment to help all Australians, especially our children, bring out their best through physical activity.
The Outdoors Queensland Board (then the QORF Management Committee) formally endorses the Sport Australia Position Statement on Physical Literacy. … At Outdoors Queensland we believe that physical literacy is important for all Australians. Everybody, and most especially young people, deserve the benefits that follow on from increased physical activity – fitness, healthier lifestyles, time spent outdoors, improved social skills and much more. Read More
Sport Australia is committed to improving the lives of all Australians through sport and physical activity. We want more Australians moving more often because we know the enormous benefits to our health and wellbeing – physically, socially, psychologically and cognitively.
Download the Physical Literacy Position Statement
- Statistics show eight in 10 Australian children are not active enough and Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said it was especially crucial to help children develop physical literacy – the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for healthy lives.
“Physical literacy is far bigger than just teaching our children how to play sport, it’s about putting them on the path to healthier, happier and more active lives,” Palmer said.
“You don’t give a young child a book and expect them to understand it confidently without first teaching them how to read, so why can’t we place a greater emphasis on teaching every child to be active, which is a fundamental skill that will benefit them every day, for the rest of their lives?
“Society often talks about the role of physical activity in combating health issues like obesity, which is true, but there’s so much more to be gained by teaching our kids the necessary skills to be active, including improvement to mental health. That means things like helping kids learn better in school, building their confidence, self-esteem and motivation, helping them form social connections and friendships, plus boosting their strategic and critical thinking skills.
“Physically literacy is about holistic development – physically, psychologically, socially and cognitively.
“The Australian Government has set a goal in the national sport plan to decrease physical inactivity by 15 per cent by 2030, and so improving physical literacy in children is vital. The quality of life for this generation and for future generations depends on it.”
The Position Statement complements Sport Australia’s release earlier this year of The Australian Physical Literacy Framework.
For more information on The Australian Physical Literacy Framework and to access the Sport Australia Position Statement on Physical Literacy visit www.sportaus.gov.au/physical_literacy
See also: Children losing physical literacy
Australia's Physical Activity Guidelines
This section contains links to Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines including brochures, a summary fact sheet for each of the guidelines, tips and ideas for how to be physically active, as well as evidence review reports.
The Guidelines are supported by a rigorous evidence review process that considered:
- the relationship between physical activity (including the amount, frequency, intensity and type of physical activity) and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity; and
- the relationship between sedentary behaviour/sitting time and health outcome indicators, including the risk of chronic disease and obesity
National Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep Recommendations for Children (Birth to 5 years)
The Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (Birth to 5 years) show there is an important relationship between how much sleep, sedentary behaviour and physical activity young children get in a 24-hour period
Being physically active is good for kids’ health, and creates opportunities for making new friends and developing physical and social skills. These Guidelines are for all children aged 5-12 years who have started school, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.
As young people move through school, start work and become more independent, being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour every day is not always easy, but it is possible and it is important. These guidelines are for all young people, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.
Being physically active and limiting your sedentary behaviour every day is essential for health and wellbeing. These guidelines are for all adults aged 18 – 64 years, irrespective of cultural background, gender or ability.
Being physically active and staying fit and healthy will help you to get the most out of life, whatever your age. These recommendations are designed to help older Australians achieve sufficient physical activity for good health as they age
Provides information about the benefits of being physically active, and offers steps that you and your family can take towards better health, at any age.
Blueprint for an Active Australia
Getting more Australians active will help prevent heart disease
Heart disease is Australia’s leading cause of death. While there are many contributing factors to this across lifestyle, diet, family history and more,not being active is a major contributor to the burden of heart disease.
In fact, physical inactivity leads to over 20 per cent of the burden of heart and blood vessel disease in Australia. Read More
Getting more Australians active will help to prevent and manage the pain, discomfort, costs and loss of livelihoods and, indeed, the loss of life that comes from heart disease, Australia’s biggest killer.
That’s why the Heart Foundation is calling on the Australian Government to fund the development and implementation of a National Physical Activity Action Plan. This national plan will provide funding and support for implementing the recommendations in this blueprint; it’s an investment in the heart health of all Australians.
Action area 1 – Built environments
Action area 2 – Workplaces
Action area 3 – Health care
Action area 4 – Active travel
Action area 5 – Prolonged sitting (sedentary behaviour)
Action area 6 – Sport and active recreation
Action area 7 – Disadvantaged populations
Action area 8 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Action area 9 – Children and adolescents
Action area 10 – Older people
Action area 11 – Financial measures
Action area 12 – Mass-media strategy
Action area 13 – Research and program evaluation
Developed by the Heart Foundation – dedicated to making a real difference to the heart health of Australians.
Happy and Healthy go hand-in-hand
Find out what you can do to stay healthy!
If you’ve been talking about getting in shape or eating better then you’re in the right place. Explore all our healthy recipes, fun exercise videos and handy guides to get you started.
Learn More (https://www.healthier.qld.gov.au)
Outdoors Queensland endorses #8Investments for physical activity
Outdoors Queensland has formally endorsed the 8 Investments for Physical Activity as developed by the International Society for Physical Activity and Health as we too believe that physical activity helps create a better and more sustainable world for everyone.
The 8 Investments are:
- Whole of School Programs
- Active Transport
- Active Urban Design
- Public Education including Mass Media
- Sport and Recreation for all
- Community-Wide Programs
Download the EIGHT INVESTMENTS THAT WORK FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – an overview of best evidence which can be used to advocate, inform and lead physical activity policy and discussion.
The International Society for Physical Activity and Health is the world-leading society advancing physical activity science, education, capacity building and advocacy. ISPAH’s vision is of a healthy active world where opportunities for physical activity and active living are available to all.
Click to download 8 Investments Infographic
Interesting Articles & Useful Resources
by David Legg and David Finch, Mount Royal University
The past few years have been volatile for Calgary’s sport and recreation sector. Every week, it seemed, we debated and questioned our commitment to being a city that promoted and supported an active life. We considered Calgarians as members of an Olympic city, one that embraced, celebrated and aspired to lead in sport and recreation, as well as health and wellness. But was this still true?
50 sport leaders from Calgary and the surrounding area met to debate the future of sport. Three takeaways emerged:
- We concluded that “sport business” was the wrong term to describe ourselves. We collectively decided to start using “active city.”
- The people we invited didn’t really know each other. We had assumed they would already know one another.
- This group genuinely wanted to connect and collect, which was reaffirmed when most delegates stayed well past the session’s ending time. And lunch wasn’t even provided!
From this meeting, we concluded that Calgary’s rich regional active ecosystem was fragmented and inefficient. The result was its contribution to Calgary’s economic, human, social and environmental prosperity was being underleveraged.
The response was to create the ActiveCITY Collective: a collaboration of not-for-profit, for-profit and public-sector organizations as well as individuals engaged in Calgary’s regional active economy.
Here are two things you already know are good for you: exercise, and sleep.
But just how much of an effect do they have on your risk of dying? And is one more powerful a protectant than the other?
A group of researchers has been looking into exactly this, focusing on how sleep and physical activity interact with your risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Guest: Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney
Host: Tegan Taylor
Producer: Sarah Sedghi
ABC Radio National
Duration: 7min 16sec
Broadcast: Mon 12 Jul 2021, 5:33pm
Running is one of the most popular athletic activities for both fitness and fun. Although it can be challenging and exhausting, men and women run every day for a variety of reasons. Some of the most significant benefits of the sport are health-related. Improving heart health is one of the biggest motivators for people who choose to start running. Many people also begin a training program to lose weight and better their mental health.
Running is more potent in creating positive results when there is day to day consistency. Training should build up gradually—depending on an individual’s fitness level—to ensure desired results. Read More
Pacific Medical Training
Global Wellness Institute releases first-ever research report on the six-sector global physical activity economy, including the fitness, sports & active recreation, mindful movement, equipment, apparel/footwear and technology markets. New data pushes wellness to a $4.5 trillion industry
Singapore – October 15, 2019 – The Global Wellness Institute™ (GWI), a nonprofit research and educational resource for the world wellness industry, today released its major research report for 2019: “Move To Be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity.” In 2018, the GWI found that the fitness/mind-body market was worth $595 billion, and this new research broadens the scope of that segment to the “physical activity economy,” which is now valued at $828.2 billion globally, and includes the sports and active recreation, fitness, and mindful movement core segments—along with the supporting markets of equipment and supplies, apparel and footwear, and technology.
With this new data, wellness jumps to a $4.5 trillion global market.
An Independent Review of Research into Enablers and Barriers to Participation in
Sport, Active Recreation and Physical Activity among Children and Adolescents.
The purpose of this review is to identify what is known about barriers and enablers of participation in physical activity (including sport and active recreation) among children and young people aged 3-18 years, living in Australia. It has been compiled at the request of the NSW Office of Sport and primarily for consideration by the Committee of Australian Sport and Recreation Officials (CASRO). Read More
Bellew, B., Rose, C., Reece, L. Active and Inactive Young Australians. An Independent Review of Research into Enablers and Barriers to Participation in Sport, Active Recreation and Physical Activity among Children and Adolescents. Produced for the NSW Office of Sport by the SPRINTER Research Group, Prevention Research Collaboration, Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, 2020.
The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth use the tagline Sweat, Step, Sleep, Sit and a logo in the shape of a “4” to represent a “new movement paradigm that emphasizes the integration of all movement behaviours occurring over a whole day” – moderate to vigorous physical activity (“sweat”), light physical activity (“step”), sleep, and sedentary behaviours (“sit”). But what about the kids and teens who cannot stand, step, or sweat? The Guidelines do not include any evidence-based recommendations for children and youth with a disability.
To address this gap, a team of researchers from Queen’s University and the University of British Columbia set out to learn more about the potential inclusivity of the “sweat, step, sleep, sit” guidelines, and how the resource can be adapted for kids and teens of all abilities. Handler and colleagues (2019) interviewed 15 mothers of children and youth ages 6-17 with diverse physical and intellectual disabilities about their perceptions of the guidelines, and whether or not they considered them to be inclusive. READ MORE
Sport Information Resource Centre, Canada
There are lots of factors that influence how active kids are, including how active their parents are, and whether their homes, schools, and neighbourhoods are good places to play. One thing’s for sure though: kids are more active when they’re having fun.
Yet what if your kids say that playing sports, skipping rope, riding their bikes, going for a hike, or even running around outside isn’t “fun” for them. What if they’d rather play video games or watch a show than go out and play? Read More
Source: Active for Life
Australia’s Health Tracker is a set of national report cards tracking the health risk factors in the Australian population that contribute to preventable chronic diseases. It includes Australia’s Adult Health Tracker and Australia’s Children and Young People Health Tracker.
Chronic disease is the biggest health challenge of the 21st century. Australia lags well behind comparable countries in preventing and reducing the main risk factors that contribute to the poor health of people and to the rising rate of preventable chronic diseases in the Australian population.
Distinct health & welfare needs related to gender & biological sex
Men and women have distinct health and welfare needs and concerns related to their gender and biological sex. This is illustrated by different rates of injury, illness and mortality; different attitudes towards health and other risks; the way each group uses health services; and differences in their health outcomes and wellbeing.
There are important biological and behavioural differences between men and women that lead to different health and welfare outcomes throughout life. By understanding these differences targeted interventions can be applied. Read More
See also: Australia’s Health Tracker 2019
World Health Organisation
What is physical activity?
World Health Organisation
Can’t find friends to go hiking with, or time to go to the gym?
You’re not alone.
According to Statistics Canada, only 16% of Canadian adults are getting the recommended amount of physical activity (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week). That means 84% of the adult population is not active enough. To find out why, ParticipACTION decided to take the pulse of physical activity in Canada.
- Canadians know physical inactivity is a problem.
- Canadians are aware people need to be more active.
- Canadians have positive feelings about being active.
- Canadians think that a more active life is within reach.
- Canadians think everyone contributes to the physical inactivity problem.
- Canadians think individuals are at the heart of the issue.
- Canadians support public policy to encourage increased physical activity.
Read Report / Infographic
A multi-national team of researchers, including authors from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), have produced clear evidence that higher levels of physical activity—regardless of intensity—are associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people.
It has been known for some time that what is good for your heart is good for your brain. But understanding how, and to what extent, your cardiovascular health might affect your risk of developing dementia is tremendously complex.
A study published on August 7, 2019 in the BMJ has found adults with good cardiovascular health at the age of 50 have lower rates of dementia later in life.
Sport and active recreation provide large benefits to Queenslanders, through various economic and social channels. Total economic and social benefits are estimated to be in the order of $18 billion, an amount equivalent to around 5% of Gross State Product (GSP).
The sport and active recreation sector directly and indirectly supports economic activity and jobs across Queensland. Sport and active recreation are estimated to make an economic contribution of around $5 billion per annum, or nearly 1½ % of GSP.
Policy analysis is considered essential for achieving successful reforms in health promotion and public health. The only framework for physical activity (PA) policy analysis was developed at a time when the field of PA policy research was in its early stages. PA policy research has since grown, and our understanding of what elements need to be included in a comprehensive analysis of PA policy is now more refined. This study developed a new conceptual framework for PA policy analysis–the Comprehensive Analysis of Policy on Physical Activity(CAPPA) framework.
Tips on staying active this winter
Is the colder weather freezing you in place when you should be keeping active?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered: download our free e-book packed with tips for staying active this winter. We’ll let you know how much physical activity you need, some simple tips to get started and how to set yourself up to succeed.
Get ready to get fit, get active, and get heart-healthy!
A new report from the Activity Alliance in the UK shines a light on non-disabled people’s attitudes on inclusive activity with disabled people.
- Increase public awareness of disabled people, especially in relation to being active. This must aim to challenge perceptions and create a more accurate and diverse picture of active disabled people among their non-disabled peers.
- Embed inclusivity in many more opportunities so disabled and non-disabled people can be active together.
- Celebrate and share experiences of inclusive activity with representation for all impairment groups.
Have you recently carried heavy shopping bags up a few flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 metres to the station to catch your train?
If you have, you may have unknowingly been doing a style of exercise called high-intensity incidental physical activity … incorporating more high-intensity activity into our daily routines — whether that’s by vacuuming the carpet with vigour or walking uphill to buy your lunch — could be the key to helping all of us get some high-quality exercise each day. Read More
The Heart Foundation has, since 1959, been fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. Almost 1.5 million of us live with heart disease and each year more than 55,000 Australians suffer a heart attack.
One of the key ways of improving heart health is to increase physical activity levels – and we know that improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives.
Alongside its internationally recognised research, the Heart Foundation also advocates for environmental and behavioural changes to provide all Australians with opportunities to be healthy and active throughout their lives in the places they live, study, work and play.
A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) reveals that, across all ages, few Australians meet recommended physical activity guidelines.
Physical activity across the life stages shows that, overall, only 30% of children aged between two and 17 years and 44% of adults meet guidelines that call for adults aged between 18 to 64 years to undertake at least 150 minutes of activity a week over five sessions and children/youth aged five to 17 years to be active for at least 60 minutes per day.
Nine in 10 Australians could reduce their risk of heart disease simply by walking as little as 15 minutes more each day, the Heart Foundation said following a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Planning and managing cities has become one of humanity’s defining challenges, yet it is hard to know how to plan for what a city needs now and in the future at the same time. What can we measure to determine if a city is functioning well for its residents today and is likely to live up to its full potential in the long run?
One answer: The daily life of a toddler
The Sustrans Active Travel Toolbox provides guides, resources, tools and case studies to help local authorities and their partners make the case for and improve walking and cycling schemes. The toolbox is also designed to help you plan and deliver walking and cycling schemes in your local area.
Note: UK Based
Despite growing awareness about the importance of exercise and a nationwide campaign to ‘move more and sit less‘, almost 60 per cent of Australian adults are still not doing enough physical activity.
A new study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, comparing National Health Survey data over 20 years, found that we have not improved our activity levels since 1989
Sporting or physical recreation event participation can affect different domains of mental and social well-being if sufficiently frequent, yet previous research has focused mainly on the physical health benefits of single-location or infrequent mass-participation events. We examined overall and domain specific subjective well-being of adult participants of “parkrun”, a weekly, community-based, highly accessible and widespread running event.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life
- Governments have a central role in providing evidence-based guidelines for health and lifestyle enhancing physical activity across all age-groups.
- Governments and stakeholders can use physical activity guidelines to shape policy and implement relevant strategies.
- The total economic cost of physical inactivity to the Australian economy is substantial, it consists of increased health care costs, lost productivity, and premature mortality.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a global strategy on physical activity, advocating a mixture of ‘top-down’ and community-based actions.
Clearinghouse for Sport
Many Australian adults aren’t active enough to get health benefits. Are you one of them?
How much activity to aim for
We support Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. They recommend for adults:
- Any physical activity is better than none. It’s fine to start with a little, and build up.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Aim to accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week
Walking and cycling are popular activities that can take many different forms, including: leisure-time activity, exercise and fitness, recreation, sport, and walking or cycling used as a mode of transport. Active transport refers to unassisted travel (walking) or non-motorised (bicycle) transportation with an intended destination. There is a great deal of overlap or synergy between walking and cycling used as active transport and similar activity intended for social, recreational, and health outcomes.
Active transport has many demonstrated benefits – personal (health and fitness), social (community connectivity), environmental (reduced carbon footprint) and economic (infrastructure costs).
- Walking and cycling used as a mode of transport can contribute to personal health and fitness objectives.
- Engaging in active transport can have positive economic, environmental and social outcomes.
- Active transport is one of the most effective means of increasing levels of physical activity within a community.
Clearinghouse for Sport
This page contains Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines including links to brochures, a summary fact sheet for each of the guidelines, tips and ideas for how to be physically active, as well as evidence review reports.