Walk this way
The Heart Foundation is encouraging people from across the region to put on their runners and take part in the foundation’s Personal Walking Plan.
Data for the Geelong region, which includes Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast, Queenscliffe and the Golden Plains, ranked the area as 10th out of 17 Victorian regions for heart attack hospital admissions.
In terms of heart disease risk factors, the Geelong region had the state’s seventh highest rate of obesity, with about 35 per cent of adults obese. This is higher than the state average of 31 per cent.
The Geelong region is also in the top 10 for smoking at 17 per cent, and high blood pressure at 23 per cent.
More than 60 per cent of people in the Geelong region are physically inactive, but this is slightly lower than the state average of 65 per cent.
“Our 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,” Heart Foundation Group chief executive officer John Kelly said.
“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.
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.
The foundation will provide plans 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.
“This is a vital component of the Personal Walking Plans, because as our survey shows, simply understanding that physical activity is good for the heart does not equate to getting off the couch,” Prof. Kelly said.
“Over this six-week journey with us, participants will learn about some of the lesser-known benefits of regular walking, like unwinding at the end of a stressful day, exploring their neighbourhood, becoming stronger and more flexible, and improving their mood.”
This is in addition to walking’s other incredible health benefits.
Prof. Kelly said walking for 30 minutes a day also provided other health benefits, including reduction of 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.
“That’s why we often call walking a ‘wonder drug’,” Prof. Kelly said.
“If it were a medicine, we would all be taking it daily for longer, healthier, happier lives.
“By highlighting the unique and holistic benefits of walking, we are confident of recruiting an enthusiastic new generation to our Heart Foundation Walking family, while also continuing our mission to save Australian lives from heart disease.”
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.
To get started with a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan, head to walking.org.au.