Aussies alarmingly complacent about exercise and heart health: new data

Article published 31 March 2021

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Recently, the Heart Foundation launched a program to motivate more people to take up regular walking, as new research reveals Australians’ alarmingly high complacency about physical activity and heart health.

In a Heart Foundation survey of more than 7,000 Australian adults, two in three (65 per cent) said they know that exercise can lower their risk of heart disease, the nation’s single leading cause of death.

Yet concerningly, two-thirds of these people also said that they do not meet Australian physical activity guidelines (30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days a week).

At the same time, 44 per cent of survey respondents said they have been told by their doctor that they need to be more active.

The Heart Foundation’s research suggests that while many Australians know that movement is good for their hearts, and they have been advised by their doctor to be more active, they are not acting on this.

Overall, around one in two Australians aged 18 to 64 – that’s almost eight million people – are not active enough for good heart health. This is extremely concerning given physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease, which takes 50 Australian lives each day, or one every 29 minutes.

To encourage more Australians to get moving, the Heart Foundation has launched its Personal Walking Plans initiative.

In this free, six-week program, participants will receive a walking plan tailored to their current activity levels, as identified during an easy, two-minute sign-up process.

Plans will be delivered via weekly emails and texts, which are designed not only to support and motivate participants, but also to deliver information about the many benefits of walking beyond fitness and heart health.

Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of not only heart disease, but also stroke, diabetes, dementia and some cancers. It can also help maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.

The Heart Foundation’s Personal Walking Plans have been developed by the organisation’s experts in physical activity and exercise science, with input from consultants at Exercise and Sports Science Australia.

So get started with a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan, or check out CPSA’s Seniors Activities Guide to find a walking club near you (NSW only at this stage).

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