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Page updated: 10 September 2013

The Physical Activity Taskforce has ceased operation and this website is no longer updated.

Updated: 10 September 2013

1. Introduction

 

Section one of Active Living for All: A Framework for Physical Activity in Western Australia 2012 - 2016.

Click here to download a PDF version of the following section.

Alternatively, download the full report.

 

1.1 What is Physical Activity and Active Living?

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure.1

Regular moderate-intensity physical activity – such as walking, cycling, or participating in recreation and sports activities – has significant benefits for health. For instance, it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. Moreover, adequate levels of physical activity will help manage weight and decrease the risk of a hip or vertebral fracture in older age.

The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians produced by the Department of Health and Ageing, recommend for adults 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week as the minimum requirement for good health.2 To be considered ‘physically active’ the National Physical Activity Survey states you should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity over at least five sessions in a week.3 Any individual that does not meet this level of exercise is considered to be physically inactive.

What is active living?

Physical activity is fundamental to active living and in turn the health and wellbeing of our community. 

Active living is a lifestyle choice where people incorporate physical activity into their daily routines – cycling to work or school, walking to the bus stop, playing with the kids,

gardening, or catching up with friends for active fun. It also includes competing in a sport or participating in an activity class or pursuit for pleasure and fitness. 

The aim is to build in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily for adults and 60 minutes for children.

Active living is supported by the places in which we live – through pedestrian and cycle paths, sport and recreation facilities, public open spaces, parks and town squares. It is also supported by programs – such as healthy lifestyle campaigns, information, education, and a broad range of initiatives that encourage participation in active lifestyles.

 

1.2 Overview of Active Living for All

The Active Living for All framework has been developed to provide a coordinated and collaborative approach to ensuring physical activity opportunities exist for all Western Australians. Its aim is for Western Australia to become the most active state in Australia to improve the overall health, wellbeing and quality of life of individuals, families and communities.

The purpose of the framework is to provide an integrated planning and delivery model that acknowledges, and is responsive to, a variety of existing strategies and plans across a broad range of sectors that impact and deliver on the active living agenda. These sectors include sport and recreation, planning, education, health and transport.

The framework represents the strategic direction for increasing and improving opportunities for physical activity. It builds on the existing work of others in bringing about the multiple economic, environmental, health and social outcomes provided by the active living agenda. It considers current and emerging trends in physical activity and in doing so provides the necessary context to inform a new five-year strategic direction for active living in WA. It is based on two key outcome areas – active places and active people.

A liftout summary of the framework is provided as a quick reference guide that outlines the key aims and objectives as well as the strategies for action by sector (e.g. planning and health) and setting (e.g. school and the workplace).

The framework also takes into consideration considerable desktop research, extensive consultation with over 70 organisations and a diagnosis of physical activity in WA that reviewed ten years of effort in this area.

The diagnosis resulted in a review and analysis of outputs to date relating to policy, services, delivery models and interventions aimed at providing opportunities for increasing participation in physical activity. It also identified gaps, limitations and opportunities for increasing levels of physical activity.

The findings from the diagnosis showed that positive progress has been made towards increasing physical activity in WA but that more needs to be done to increase commitment to physical activity in order to deliver significant behaviour change.

Five key priority areas emerged to inform the development of Active Living for All:

  • To strengthen public policy
  • To provide appropriate environments and programs (active places and active people)
  • To increase public motivation and understanding
  • To promote partnerships
  • To increase research into practice.

Active Living for All provides the reasons why physical activity is vital to individual, family and community wellbeing. It sets out the key strategies for action and roles of all Western Australians in activating people and places.

 

Physical Activity Framework Components

 

 

Active Living for All is informed by a diagnosis of physical activity that reviewed 10 years of outputs relating to policy, services, delivery models and interventions that support physical activity in WA. The diagnosis identified key areas of focus to move the active living agenda forward and to create change.

 

 

 

Active Living for All provides the strategic direction for all sectors and settings to activate people and places. The vision is for WA to be the most active state in Australia.

 

 

 

An evaluation and monitoring framework is under development to measure against the key indicators identified and assess the progress of policy development and activities being undertaken across a range of sectors and settings.

An implementation plan that will outline the role of the Physical Activity Taskforce is also under development to support stakeholders in the delivery of Active Living for All. Both will be available during 2012.

 

 

The outcomes of Active Living for All will be improved overall health, wellbeing and quality of life of all individuals, families and communities in WA through activating people and places by providing active living opportunities.

 

 

1.3 Active Living Principles

Active living is a lifestyle choice where people incorporate physical activity into their daily routines – cycling to work or school, walking to the bus stop, playing with the kids, gardening, or catching up with friends for active fun. It also includes competing in a sport or participating in an activity class or pursuit for pleasure and fitness. The aim is to build in at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily for adults, and 60 minutes for children.

Active living is supported by the places in which we live – through pedestrian and cycle paths, sport and recreation facilities, public open space, parks and town squares. It is also supported by programs – such as healthy lifestyle campaigns, information, education and a broad range of initiatives that encourage participation in active lifestyles.

The key principles for active living are:

  1. Physical activity can improve physical and mental health, overall quality of life and bears multiple economic, environmental and social outcomes.
  2. Everyone, regardless of age, gender, language, ethnicity, economic status or ability, should have accessible, safe, convenient and affordable choices for physical activity.
  3. Places should be designed to provide a variety of opportunities for physical activity and should accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  4. Land development patterns should encourage mixed uses, compact design, and a variety of transport choices.
  5. Transport systems should support active transport options providing safe, convenient and affordable access to the home, workplace, school and community facilities and services.
  6. Parks and public open space, including trails, should be safe, accessible, multi-functional and part of a transportation network that connects key destinations, such as the home, workplace, school, community facilities and services, and other places with high population density.
  7. Buildings should be designed and oriented to promote opportunities for active living and reduce sedentary behaviour.
  8. Local councils and other governing bodies should plan for ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration, promotion of facilities, behavioural supports, policies that embed the vision of active living, and routine maintenance that ensures continued safety, quality, functionality and attractiveness of the physical infrastructure.
  9. Community governing and planning processes should address the multiple impacts of the built environment and transport choices on residents’ ability to be physically active.
  10. The community should be consulted in decision-making and planning opportunities for an active lifestyle.

(These principles have been adapted from information provided by the Active Living Resource Center, United States of America.4)

Key messages, tips and ideas to encourage individuals and families to take personal action:

  • Be physically active every day in as many ways as you can and, if appropriate, do some vigorous  exercise* 

  • Adults – put together at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days** 

  • Use active transport where possible – walk, ride a bike, use public transport, take the stairs* 

  • Replace short car trips with walking, cycling or public transport 

  • Reduce the amount of time sitting still at home and in the workplace* 

  • Find out about local walking groups in your area 

  • Organise to walk regularly with friends or family to catch up 

  • Use your lunch break to do some activity 

  • Take a quick stretch or walk breaks during the day 

  • Volunteer in the community 

  • Encourage and support your child to be active 

  • Be a positive role model to your child with regards to physical activity and time spent using electronic media 

  • Turn off the tv/computer and get active with your child 

  • Participate in physical activity as a family 

  • Walk or cycle with your child to school or to their friend’s house 

  • Make sure physical activity is a part of your child’s daily routine** 

  • Enjoy a family bushwalk 

  • Join a local sport or recreation club

      * Sourced from the National Preventative Health Strategy
      ** Sourced from the National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australian


      Proceed to Section 2 - The Importance of Physical Activity

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      1 World Health Organization. (n.d.) Retrieved on the 08/11/2011, from http://www.who.int/topics/physical_activity/en/.

      2 Department of Health and Ageing, (2010). National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians. Retrieved on the 08/11/2011, from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines. Australian Government.

      3 Armstrong T, Bauman A & Davies J (2000). Physical activity patterns of Australian adults. Cat. no. CVD 10. Canberra: AIHW.

      4 Active Living Resource Center. (n.d.) Retrieved on the 15/11/2011, from http://www.activelivingresources.org/assets/AL_principles.pdf#search=”principles”.