Physical activity one of the keys to tackling heart disease

Physical inactivity has been said to be a ticking time bomb for heart disease and the Heart Foundation has set out to change this.

With Federal funding for the Heart Foundation Walking initiative due to run out in June, a plan to get 200,000 Aussies walking is on the Heart Foundation’s Federal Budget wish list.

Lack of exercise is a leading risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions, yet a staggering 85% of adults are reportedly not meeting the physical activity guidelines.

To help turn this around, the Heart Foundation wants funding to extend its program by a further three years with the aim of doubling the number of walkers to 200,000 – currently there are more than 80,000 walkers signed on to the program.

As part of this plan the Heart Foundation would reportedly also deliver public education campaigns to raise awareness of the health benefits of walking and work with local communities to advocate for safer and more walking-friendly streets.

Given that a survey of Heart Foundation Walking participants shows 92% are clocking up the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week, Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, says a national focus on getting more Australians walking is one of the solutions to improving our poor physical activity scorecard.

“Physical inactivity is a major driver of chronic disease and contributes to the obesity epidemic, with two-thirds of Australian adults now overweight or obese,” says Adjunct Professor Kelly.

“The good news is that walking is free, easy and one of the best choices to reduce your risk of heart disease and related risk factors, while improving mental health and providing social connection.

“The Heart Foundation has invested in walking programs for many years, recognising that walking is a step Australians of all ages and fitness levels can take towards protecting their hearts.

“We urge the Federal Government to step up measures to get Australians moving, with a walking initiative that will help prevent heart disease and provide many other benefits along the way.”

The Federal Budget is due to be handed down in May.

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