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Heart Week 2018
Posted by: Hannah Tarrant

With Heart Week (April 29 – May 6) almost in full swing, it’s a great time to be reflecting on your exercise habits. This year it’s shedding light on the role that physical activity has in supporting your heart health.

When it comes to exercise, how much is enough? The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that you engage in 30 minutes of physical activity on most (preferably all) days of the week. Being active for just 30 minutes every day would reduce your risk of heart disease by 35%. To gain the necessary health benefits, this can comprise:

  • 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity
  • 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity or the combined equivalent of both types of activity each week.

Walking is a simple, safe and convenient form of physical activity and offers a range of protective benefits to your physical, social and mental health. It is also one of the easiest ways to integrate more exercise into your routine and will help you on your way to achieving the recommended guidelines for physical activity!

Choose active transport

  • Those who use public transport are more likely to achieve 10 thousand steps a day.
  • Walking to and from public transport is a great way to sneak in some extra physical activity and beats being stuck in the morning peak hour!
  • Nearly a third of public transport users achieve their 30 minutes of physical activity as part of their journey.
  • You can also opt to get off a few stops earlier and make the most of time that would likely have been spent sitting.

 Stuck in the office?

  • Walking meetings - stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Walking meetings are a fun and resourceful way of including more physical activity in your day and to break up prolonged sitting. With the cognitive benefits gained from physical activity – your discussions may be more productive than usual!
  • Walk instead of email. Have something you need to share with your colleague? Why not take the opportunity to walk over and share – in addition to those extra steps, the social connection is a great way to strengthen workplace productivity.
  • Use your lunch break to find 30 – this is an easy one, and a great way to refresh your mind and body. Also, evidence shows that walking after a meal helps to improve your glucose control (which will help you avoid that 3pm crash) It’s a win-win!

 Join a walking group

  • Getting involved in a structured walking group is a fantastic way to support healthy behaviours in your workplace.
  • Regular group walks provide not just physical benefits to your health, but support emotional, social and mental wellbeing, which are critical to good health.

Best Foot Forward

Walking is great in that you can get up and go! For those starting out, here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of it:

  • Dust off the trainers – To avoid injury, it’s best to wear a pair of appropriate shoes. Pop them in a draw at work, or leave them in the car and you’ll be good to go when the time comes.
  • Be weather ready – Never forget to slip, slop, slap, slide and seek on those hot summer days. Equally – best to have a rain jacket or umbrella on hand during winter (no excuses if you have the right gear!)
  • Know your route – If you’re not familiar with your environment, map your route and avoid walking solo.

Pick up the pace

The faster you walk, the more health benefits you will receive! Aim for a moderate intensity when walking - this is when you can talk but can’t sing more than a few lines. This will allow you to maximise the healthy impact of your exercise and will also help you to meet the guidelines for physical activity.

Stairway to health

Did you know walking up-stairs uses nearly eight times the energy needed when you are resting? Take every opportunity to use the stairs instead of the lift and you’ll be walking straight towards great health.

Heart Foundation Walking

Wanting to find out more about how you can walk the talk? The Heart Foundation offers information on physical activity and can connect you to local walking groups in your area.  Get involved in a Heart Week event, download resources, and find out more.

Did you know that walking reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, helps to manage weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, can prevent and control diabetes and maintains bone density.

About

Heart Foundation Physical Activity Officer

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