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Exercise Guidelines Made Easy

Most of us know that living an active life is integral to having good health, but what does living an active life really mean?

We’ve heard different answers to this question over the years, which often results in confusion about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. How do you know what information is backed up by up to date evidence and research, and what is out of date and no longer recommended?

At Move, our Physiotherapists use best practice guidelines established by the Australian Government’s Department of Health. These recommendations are widely trusted and implemented by medical professionals, and explain the ideal combination and amount of exercise for most individuals.

For exercise to work as a therapy the body’s tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and bones) must be exposed to certain amount of stimulus (exercise) for them to positively change (become more efficient, stronger, more resilient). This is why the national guidelines, and our guidelines, strongly recommend at least two strength training sessions per week.

Adults aged between 16 – 64 should:

  • Be active on most (preferably all) days of the week
  • Undertake a total of 2.5 to 5 hours of physical activity per week
  • This should be made up of low to moderate exercise AND moderate to high intensity exercise
    • Ideally, moderate to high intensity exercise would make up 1 – 2.5 hours per week, and low to moderate exercise would make up the rest of your physical activity each week, totalling between 2.5 – 5 hours of exercise per week
    • This should also include at least 2 sessions of muscle strengthening per week. This can contribute to either the moderate to high or low to moderate intensity exercise sessions (depending on how hard you work!)

And for those of us 65 years or older, we should;

  • Be active every day in as many ways as possible
  • Take part in a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility
  • Try and continue to lead an active lifestyle even if you have some pain (a Physiotherapist can prescribe a tailored exercise programme which is appropriate for you. It’s very important to take your personal situation and medical history into consideration when deciding what types of exercises are appropriate)
  • Accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity preferably every day

Your specific situation may not always benefit from these general recommendations, so before starting a new exercise routine it’s best to consult with your physiotherapist or GP prior to commencement.

How Do I Start?!

After reading the guidelines, some of you may be thinking “it’s all well and good to say we should be exercising between 2.5 to 5 hours per week, but how is that actually achievable?!”.

Many people experience the same barriers when it comes to exercise, including:

  1. Not having enough time in the day!
  2. Financial limitations
  3. Lack of motivation
  4. Unable to exercise with confidence due to existing pain or injuries

If you fall into one of these categories, here are some options which may help you get more from your exercise regime:

1. Not enough time

  • Small group classes even once a week can allow you to exercise more efficiently and make better use of your time. Supervised classes can help ensure that you’re completing exercises correctly with proper technique, with Physios on hand ready to guide you
  • Start small – Start with once per week and work up!
  • Use a lunch break or short bursts of time in the morning to carry out low intensity exercise, a simple walk, hike or cycle will not only add up for your weekly total it will provide benefits to your energy and mood
  • We offer a range of class times (including early mornings, evenings and weekends) to give you more options

2. Lack of motivation

  • Build up your weekly programme by committing to one class or activity. It could be a Pilates or Gym class that you commit to on a weekly basis, or a team sport or training group where you’re committing to other people. This social commitment will increase the chances of you sticking with the routine
  • Get a Physiotherapist to structure your exercise programme so you can consistently (but safety) increase the level of difficulty. These regular updates and challenges mean you don’t get bored as quickly
  • Concentrate on the benefits of what you’re doing and how you’re helping your body! You can find more information on the wide-ranging positives of exercise here –
  • We will support you!

3. Financial limitations

  • If you’re unable to attend supervised classes or purchase a gym membership due to financial limitations, there are some other ways you can exercise while still having guidance from a health professional
  • At Move, we use PhysiApp, which is exercise software that allows us to send exercise programmes straight to you. You can access your programme via a smartphone app or an internet browser. PhysiApp is complete with high quality videos and instructions, and also allows you to track which exercises are completed on a daily basis. We can create programmes which only include body-weight exercises (if you have no exercise equipment available to you) or they can include dumbbells, resistance bands or other gym equipment. A home exercise programme can be created for you by a Physio, and usually involves:
    • 1 x Assessment Consultation (45 minutes) – to go over your medical history, exercise goals and current physical situation
    • 1 – 2 x 1:1 Exercise Sessions (45 minutes) – so your Physio can teach you your exercise programme and make any necessary adjustments
    • 1:1 Exercise Review (45 minutes) – every 2 to 3 months to track your progress and increase difficulty
    • Access to PhysiApp for the entire duration of your exercise program

Need some more inspiration? Here are some FREE ways you can exercise around Adelaide:

  • Hike at Morialta Conservation Park, Mount Lofty, Torrens River Walking Track, or Waterfall Gully
  • Ethel Street Reserve Outdoor Gym at Goodwood
  • CF Page Park Outdoor Gym at Cumberland Park
  • Walk or run around the block
  • Play basketball at a local park
  • Ride a bike
  • Swim at the beach

4. Unable to exercise with confidence due to existing pain or issues

  • Physiotherapists are experts at working with injuries and conditions to create safe and effective exercise options that suit you and your circumstances
  • If you have ongoing pain or niggles, your Physiotherapist will take this into consideration when putting together an exercise programme, to ensure it’s suitable for your individual needs

Our Exercise Options

Move for Better Health’s team of allied health professionals can help you achieve the ideal amount of exercise per week, including:

These exercise options can count towards the 2 strength training sessions that is recommended per week as well as contributing towards the total minutes of the low – moderate intensity exercise that should be completed each week.

When combined with a home exercise programme which provides a higher level of intensity, it may be easier than you think to get to the ideal 2.5 – 5 hours of recommended exercise per week that most of us require!


Department of Health, 2017, Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines, accessed 12/7/2018

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