Aussies alarmingly complacent about exercise and heart health
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Aussies alarmingly complacent about exercise and heart health

Media Release – 29 March 2021

The Heart Foundation has today launched a program to motivate more people to take up regular walking, as new research reveals Australians’ alarmingly high complacency about physical activity and heart health.

In a Heart Foundation survey of more than 7,000 Australian adults, two in three (65%) said they know that exercise can lower their risk of heart disease, the nation’s single leading cause of death.

Yet concerningly, two-thirds of these people also said that they do not meet Australian physical activity guidelines (30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days a week).

At the same time, 44% of survey respondents said they have been told by their doctor that they need to be more active.

“Our research suggests that while many Australians know that movement is good for their hearts, and they have been advised by their doctor to be more active, they are not acting on this,” said Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

“Overall, around one in two Australians aged 18 to 64 – that’s almost eight million people – are not active enough for good heart health. This is extremely concerning given physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease, which takes 50 Australian lives each day, or one every 29 minutes.”

To encourage more Australians to get moving, the Heart Foundation has today launched its Personal Walking Plans.

In this free, six-week program, participants will receive a walking plan tailored to their current activity levels, as identified during an easy, two-minute sign-up process.

Plans will be delivered via weekly emails and texts, which are designed not only to support and motivate participants, but also to deliver information about the many benefits of walking beyond fitness and heart health.

“This is a vital component of the Personal Walking Plans, because as our survey shows, simply understanding that physical activity is good for the heart does not equate to getting off the couch,” Professor Kelly said.

“Over this six-week journey with us, participants will learn about some of the lesser-known benefits of regular walking, like unwinding at the end of a stressful day; exploring their neighbourhood; becoming stronger and more flexible; and improving their mood.”

This is in addition to walking’s other incredible health benefits, Professor Kelly said.

“Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of not only heart disease, but also stroke, diabetes, dementia and some cancers. It can also help maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.

“That’s why we often call walking a ‘wonder drug’. If it were a medicine, we would all be taking it daily for longer, healthier, happier lives.

“By highlighting the unique and holistic benefits of walking, we are confident of recruiting an enthusiastic new generation to our Heart Foundation Walking family, while also continuing our mission to save Australian lives from heart disease.” 

The Heart Foundation’s Personal Walking Plans have been developed by the organisation’s experts in physical activity and exercise science, with input from consultants at Exercise and Sports Science Australia.

To get started with a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan, visit walking.org.au.

Heart Foundation Walking is supported by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and SportAUS.

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Find heart healthy festive recipes. ...

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

Question of the month blog...

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Physical activity and exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental health....

Key Statistics: Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease

Key Statistics: Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease

Key Statistics: Coronary Heart Disease

Key Statistics: Coronary Heart Disease

Statistics and information on coronary heart disease in Australia ...

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...

Heart Health Check Toolkit – Register Your Interest

Heart Health Check Toolkit – Register Your Interest

Heart Health Check Toolkit – Register Your Interest

The Heart Foundation will soon be launching a Heart Health Check Toolkit for GPs, practice nurses and practice managers....

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

Celebrate the life of someone you love by giving to the Heart Foundation in their memory

National tobacco strategy

National tobacco strategy

Frameworks supporting tobacco control in Australia ...

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Clinical information and links to SCAD resources....

Research shows if you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease.

Research shows if you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease.

Research shows if you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease.

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

We want to make it easier for South Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

COVID-19 & cardiovascular disease

Information and resources for health care professionals....

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Every dollar that you donate will help fund research, support and programs that help save lives....

National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

National Action Plan for Heart and Stroke

The national heart and stroke action plan aims to identify and prioritise action to reduce the impact of heart disease and stroke....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts is a six-episode series interviewing young people with lived experience of heart conditions and talking through advice for supporting emotional health and well-being....

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care