Compliance with physical activity (PA) recommendations was assessed using objective PA monitoring of ambulatory activity, in two healthy groups of individuals with active and sedentary occupations. The study showed generally low compliance with the guidelines (53% with 10,000 steps a day; 10% with 30 min of moderate activity a day; and 1% with 30 min of moderate activity a day in bouts of at least 10 min (ACSM)). Adherence to guidelines decreased as more rigorous conditions were applied to the PA data. Use of an objective monitor revealed that health enhancing bouts of activity were performed in periods of approximately 1-min duration, which may be due to unavoidable environmental interruptions. These bouts of activity are much shorter than those advocated in the ACSM guidelines, raising questions regarding how actual behaviour, based on objective monitoring, can be reconciled with guidelines based on self-reported PA.