A worrying three in four Aussies unaware exercise is good for heart health

Oct 02, 2020
Regular exercise has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Source: Getty.

Three in four Aussies are unaware that exercise is good for their heart health, a new Heart Foundation survey claims. The organisation said this is worrying considering physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease — the single leading cause of death in Australia.

According to the Heart Foundation, one Australian has a heart attack every 10 minutes, and heart disease claims the life of one Australian every 28 minutes.

In the survey made up of 2,895 Australians, 93 per cent agreed that physical activity is good for overall health and wellbeing. However, when asked to name specific health benefits of physical activity, only 27 per cent listed heart health. Those aged 55 and over, however, were slightly more aware, with 38 per cent listing heart health.

The survey results suggest that the majority of Australians have poor knowledge when it comes to the benefits of physical activity. In fact, fewer than one in four (24 per cent) could name three benefits. And for those who did respond, the top answers included mental health (46 per cent) and weight loss (32 per cent).

Professor Trevor Shilton said the survey results were alarming. “It’s concerning that just over a quarter of the respondents could tell us unprompted that physical activity is good for their hearts,” he said.

“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.”

That’s right, regular exercise has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure, improve blood circulation and protect from blood clotting. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start by making small adjustments, like choosing to take the stairs, power walking, or even dancing.

Professor Shilton continued: “The figures also highlight the need for ongoing public education and media campaigns to raise awareness about the many impressive health benefits of everyday physical activity.

“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.

“With so many of us still locked down or spending more time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, staying active is more important than ever to our physical and mental health.”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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