A new year, a new opportunity to be more physically active

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Professor Garry Jennings AO

National Heart Foundation CEO

With the dawn of a new year, many people, myself included, will have again resolved to cut back on unhealthy habits.

However, how many of us will make a new year’s resolution to be more physically active when and wherever possible? The honest answer I think, is far too few.

We all lead very busy and hectic lives these days and it’s often difficult to find the space and time to fit physical activity into our daily schedules.

Throw in the allures of modern technology and the millions upon millions of hours we spend endlessly staring at screens, then it’s amazing we’ve got time for anything else!

It doesn’t always have to be this way however.

The reality is we can be more active in a variety of ways that doesn’t require huge effort or great amounts of time.

Whether it’s something as simple as walking over and talking to a colleague instead of emailing them or going for a walk around the block at lunchtime, these are all equally beneficial ways of incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine.

So why should this matter to us as Australians?

Well, with two out of three of us aged 15 years and over doing very little or no exercise and eight out of ten children not meeting minimum national guidelines of 60 minutes physical activity per day, we have a very real health problem on our hands.

In turn this is contributing to a growing chronic disease burden with conditions such as heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes costing the Australian health system $1.5 billion every year.

When we also consider that 14,000 deaths can be attributed to physical inactivity annually, then the need for meaningful action to address Aussies’ inactive ways becomes all too clear.

And that’s where small but meaningful steps to become more physically active can make all the difference.

We’re not all gym junkies however there’s undoubtedly a lot more we could be doing to ensure we don’t spend too much of our time sitting on our backsides.

Whether it’s encouraging kids to get out and play more, taking the dog for a walk or just getting out and about in the great outdoors there’s a million compelling reasons why we should all commit to being more physically active.

It won’t take an enormous amount of time and your body and in particular your heart, will definitely thank you for it!