What Is Physical Activity?
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in an expenditure of energy.
Physical Activity is not just exercise and sport. It includes taking the stairs instead of the lift, hanging out the washing, walking to the shops or to work and school, gardening, vacuuming and sweeping.
Physical activity can be as rigorous as you want – making you huff and puff and sweat (vigorous intensity), make you breathe a bit harder than normal (moderate activity) or not require much effort (light activity).
Why Be Active?
The Health Benefits Of Physical Activity
Physical activity can reduce the risk of, or improve outcomes for a number of health conditions including coronary heart disease, obesity, strokes, diabetes, cancer, depression, hypertension, osteoporosis, stress and some respiratory conditions.
There is evidence to support the current recommendation of at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity activity on most days of the week for reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes. However, the frequency, intensity, duration and type of activity required to achieve other health benefits may vary.
How much activity should I do?
30 minutes per day
Thirty minutes a day provides some health benefit, however additional health benefit can be achieved with more activity. If possible add in some vigorous activity as well. GetKidsActive.com recommends 60 minutes a day, which is backed up by strong research conducted by the World Health Organisation.
Meeting the 30 minutes per day target will be easier if you find activities that you enjoy and that you can achieve on a daily basis. Some people find having a goal such as a competition or event, helps them to keep active. If you have previously been inactive, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your activity level (duration and intensity/pace). This is particularly important and relevant for adults.
Currently there are no New Zealand physical activity guidelines for children and young people because there is a lack of evidence as to how much is required for health benefit. What we do know is that children should be more physically active than adults.
According to the World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health at least 60% of the global population fails to achieve the minimum recommendation of 30 minutes moderate intensity physical activity daily. This is a statistic that the GKA team are very concerned about and a key factor behind the GetKidsActive initiative, leading your children into a healthy active lifestyle.