Woman walking trailRegular physical activity, especially moderate to vigorous intensity reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease by improving many cardiovascular risk factors:

  • decreases your blood pressure
  • decreases LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol)
  • decreases triglycerides
  • increases HDL cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol)
  • decreases your weight
  • increases insulin sensitivity (decreases your chance of getting diabetes)
  • decreases stress and depression (by releasing ‘feel good’ hormones called endorphins, improves sleep)

as well as exercise makes your heart stronger:

  • can speed recovery from a heart attack
  • or reduce the risk of a heart attack recurring

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years)

Physical activity

  • Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity
    or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity,
    or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

Sedentary behaviour

  • Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting.
  • Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

 © Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Physical activity guidelines for children and older Australians


Moderate intensity physical activity requires some effort, but still allows you to speak easily while undertaking the activity. Examples include active play, brisk walking, recreational swimming, dancing, social tennis, or riding a bike or scooter.
Vigorous intensity physical activity requires more effort and makes you breathe harder and faster (‘huff and puff’). Examples include running, fast cycling, many organised sports or tasks that involve lifting, carrying or digging.
Strength training activities, where the emphasis is on building muscle strength. Examples include resistance exercise, lifting weights and stair climbing.

Remember: Always warm up at the start of a session, and take time at the end to cool down (decrease intensity), followed by some simple stretches.

Anyone with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease should seek medical advice before engaging in a physical activity program.