While it might seem obvious that exercise is good for heart health, new research by the Heart Foundation has surprisingly found that around three-quarters of Australians are unaware of this beneficial link.
As part of the research, which was unveiled at the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference on 1 October 2020, 2895 Australians were surveyed, with results suggesting that, in general, Australians have poor knowledge of the benefits of physical activity – only 24% could accurately name three benefits of exercise spontaneously.
The Heart Foundation’s Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton says the survey reveals an alarmingly low awareness that physical activity could help protect them from heart disease.
“It’s concerning that just over a quarter of the respondents could tell us, unprompted, that physical activity is good for their hearts,” says Professor Shilton.
“This suggests many Australians still aren’t getting the message that being active is one of the best things they can do for their heart health.
“Just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking can cut your risk of heart disease by a third.”
Professor Shilton adds that the results of the survey highlight the need for public education and campaigns to raises awareness about the benefits of exercise.
“Regular physical activity not only reduces your risk of heart disease but also diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and some cancers.
“If it were a medicine, we’d all be taking it to live longer, healthier and happier lives,” he says, adding that exercise is also beneficial for mental health.
The Australian Walking and Cycling Conference is being held today (1-2 October 2020) is being run online due to Covid-19 restrictions.
For information about the conference, visit: walkingandcycling.com.au