Being active every day is really important for leading happy and healthy lives. Although you currently might not be able to do all the things you usually enjoy, there are still many ways we can incorporate physical activity throughout our day. You can do this on your own or with our family and friends, even if numbers are limited and it is at a distance.
What is physical activity?
Any bodily movement that requires more energy than if you were resting. Physical activity can mean different things to different people and can be done in many different places.
You can be active:
- at home
- at school
- in the community
- at work
- as part of travel, active play or sport
- during leisure time.
Why is it important to stay active?
Being active every day means that you:
- are more likely to feel happier and have a positive outlook, doing some physical activity can be an instant mood booster
- are less likely to develop serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer
- are more likely to maintain a healthy weight
- are more likely to sleep better
- can boost your immune system and are more likely to have improved bone health
How much physical activity should I do?
The Department of Health Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines provide recommendations as to how much physical activity we should be doing every day, regardless of how old you are - early years, children and young people (5 to 17 years), adults (18 to 64 years) and older Australians (65 years and older).
What if I find it hard to be active every day?
There are a number of things that might help motivate you to be physically active every day.
- Plan for the next day — what you will do and when you will do it, make it part of your routine.
- Set yourself personal goals that you want to achieve over a certain period of time, for example “I want to be able to do five push-ups on my knees within five weeks.”
- Stick with things you enjoy doing so being active is something you look forward to— be creative, a dance party in the lounge room totally counts.
- Organise with friends or family to do your physical activity together. If you can't be in the same location you could check in with each other after (via social media, WhatsApp, FaceTime etc) to see how it went.
- Spread your physical activity out across the day, it doesn’t all have to be done in one big chunk.
- Any physical activity is better than nothing at all, so do what you can and aim to do more when you are ready.
Staying active videos
Wellbeing SA, supported by COTA SA, Exercise & Sports Science Australia, The City of Unley - Daily Moves and Wellbeing@Work have developed some videos that focus on:
- Movement skills for pre-schoolers, children and teenagers
- Fun and easy to follow dance routines for pre-schoolers and children
- Yoga for children, teenagers and adults
- High Intensity Interval Training for beginners
- Strength, Mobility and Balance for beginners
- How to use outdoor exercise equipment for teenagers, adults and older adults
- Strength for Life activities for people over 50 years and over 40 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
Ways to stay active
For some inspiration as to how you can stay active see our suggestions below—and always make sure to follow Social Distancing rules.
Walk yourself happy
Walking is a great way to stay active every day, where possible enjoy some time in nature and is an instant mood booster. You could walk instead of taking the car for short trips to places such as work, school or the supermarket. For longer trips you could access one of the public transport apps available and combine walking with a tram, train or bus ride.
To support more walking in your day you could:
- register with the 10,000 Steps Program - set yourself a daily step goal and start tracking
- explore Walking SA's ‘Find a Place to Walk’ to discover new places to explore and stay active
- join a local Heart Foundation walking group
Get on your bike
Leave the car at home and use your bike to get to places such as work, school and the supermarket. Getting on your bike is also a great way of exploring your local area. Visit Cycling Instead to plan your journey or visit Cycling Trails SA to plan your next adventure.
A great way to be physically active when at home is by accessing the many free instructional videos on platforms such as YouTube. Check out the new Wellbeing SA Staying Active videos.
The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing website has a range of activities to explore, including:
- videos and other resources for children, adults and seniors, that are accessible and that are sport specific or for general fitness
- ways of exploring green space during this time in your local area
- finding ways of engaging with your local sporting clubs
Inclusive Sport SA in partnership with the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, have developed have developed The Return to Sport Accessible Communication material and online videos to support a smooth and safe return to sport.
Libraries SA has an abundance of print books, ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines on all sorts of active and healthy topics such as fitness and physical activity, and the natural environment. To search for and access these resources visit the Libraries SA website.
Disability Sports Australia have developed a comprehensive list of the new and innovative ways people with a disability can keep active when at home and you can join in too with things like yoga, aerobic and strength-based activities, wheelchair dancing and sport specific activities.
Special Olympics Australia have created their online 'School of Strength', which provides access to videos that you can follow along with at home (includes warm-up, aerobic and strength-based, flexibility and balance focused videos) and 'Playbooks' for coaches and carers.
If you can't do things you would normally do, it is a great time to get creative.
- Set up your own obstacle course or circuit and see if you can beat the time it takes you to get through all the movements or activities. The Heart Foundation and Exercise Sports Science Australia have developed some great resources to get you started.
- Many of your favourite sports can be modified to play in your backyard or inside — think soccer or football with socks, basketball or netball using baskets or boxes or setting up specific training drills in a different way. The Office for Recreation Sport and Racing share some great sport specific activities that you can try at home.
- Set a household challenge, every hour someone has to pick a song for a living room dance-off.
- Use household items like milk cartons and cans to replace weights that you might use at the gym — what else can you find around the house?