Time to change our thinking on 30 minutes of exercise

Is 30 minutes of Exercise a Day Really Enough?

We think it is time to change our thinking.

We all know how important exercise is in life. I don’t need to tell you again. 

BUT how many of us actually get enough??

The “recommended” daily amount is 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise. 


That amount is not cutting it! 

If it was we would not see statistics like this…

  • 65% of the Australian population are over weight or obese
  • 1 in 2 Australian’s suffer at least one chronic disease
  • 3 in 5 over the age of 65 years have 2 or more chronic conditions
  • Chronic conditions accounted for 9 in every 10 deaths in 2015 (imagine it 4 years later!)
  • Of those 9 deaths, people had an average of 3 chronic diseases, 20% had 5 or more!! 

If that does not scare the shit of you then your head is stuck in the sand!

“One third of chronic disease states are manageable and modifiable through lifestyle changes!”

What are modifiable lifestyle changes?

  • Poor diet
  • High body mass / high body fat
  • Smoking
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Stress

That is just to name 6.

Despite our awareness to chronic disease and the positive influence of exercise on it, the problem is still getting worse!

Physical Inactivity and its effects

What we know about the "Exercise Pill" for chronic disease!

  • Reduces high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Reverses type 2 diabetes 
  • Reduces the need for medication in chronic pain
  • Reduces the risk of early death
  • Improves mental health for depressed and anxious people
  • Significantly reduces the risk of falls and associated death in the elderly
  • Slashes the risk of stroke, heart and lung disease by more than half!
  • Reduces risk of developing some cancers
  • Increase life expectancy 
  • Regardless of when you start exercising in life, the positive impact is the same!
Exercise Pill

So why is is 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day NOT enough?"

Todays life is easy on us physically.

Put simply, 30 minutes is not enough to correct our sedentary lives!

Many people just don’t move enough each day or engage in activities that physically stress the body and its systems.

We wake up, sit to eat breakfast, sit on the commute to work, sit at work, sit for lunch, sit till we finish, sit again on the commute home, sit and watch TV then sit for dinner.

Inactivity is ultimately an unhelpful behaviour and a habit. 

A single bout of moderate exercise doesn’t undo it!

How to do it?

That is the hardest bit right!

We all know “why”.. its clear from the above stats.

And we have all seen “how” we need to exercise and move. We are drowned in it daily. 

Maybe we need a different approach to changing physical activity and exercise. 

A cognitive-behavioural approach to exercise, physical activity and movement.

So here is 5 steps to changing your thinking to influence exercise and movement behaviours!

  1. Our mind runs the body, the body doesn’t run the mind: to change a habit or behaviour you need to be aware of the excuse in your head, that thought stopping you moving. 
  2. Challenge the thought & just do it: the biggest issue we see is procrastination, “i’ll start tomorrow”, “when I feel better I will get fit” , and excuses “I need more time”, “Work is too hectic”, “I have no energy” blah blah blah! Instead of buckling to a thought in your head, just get up and do it next time these pop into you mind. 
  3. Set a new routine: If you did it once, do it often.  Make movement, exercise or physical activity part of your day, EVERY DAY. Set it in your diary, make it a task or just something you do like taking a shower, brushing you teeth, washing the dishes.
  4. Stick to the routine: take action, do it and engage in it long enough (hint it needs to be a lot more than a 30 day challenge) to develop a new habit or behaviour. “Once you feel uncomfortable not moving, you know it is habitual!”
  5. Beware of relapse: it happens, we are triggered back to old ways. Ensure you recognise when the wheels to activity have fallen off and why, then challenge it and get back to “just doing it!”

Well add a few extra hints and tips…

  • Most people won’t ever look as good from exercise in reality as Instagram tells us
  • FADS.: “Ficticious Actions Done Short-term” most fads fail to stand up to the test of time and science.
  • “I saw on Facebook…” if you start a conversation around exercise with this you might want to look at your source before finishing the sentence!
  • “I’ve tried everything” is code for I did a lot of nothing, for a very short period of time expecting miracles. Commitment and consistency is king!
  • Remember YOUR HEALTH is an investment and NEVER a cost
Dean Phelps

Dean Phelps is the founding owner and senior physiotherapist at Fighting Fit Physiotherapy. He has a special interest in the highest physiotherapy care which focuses on progressive, results based treatments that ensures patients meet their goals, move optimally and enhance their health.