I am
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.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

And the heartache lasts a lifetime. But you can help the Heart Foundation fund life-saving research to keep more families together....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Research Directory

Research Directory

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....

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

3 Minute Research Competition Terms & Conditions

3 Minute Research Competition Terms & Conditions

Moroccan chickpea tagine

Moroccan chickpea tagine

25-40 minutes
Serves 4

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Become a Heart Foundation fundraiser, do it for heart and make a real difference to your community....

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

Resources for providing best practice cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

A family history of heart disease could mean you are at greater risk....

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Kids recipes

Kids recipes

Kids recipes

Find heart healthy kids recipes...

Loaded veggie shepherds pie

Loaded veggie shepherds pie

Loaded veggie shepherds pie

1 hour
Serves Serves 4 (as a main meal)

Healthy chicken fajitas

Healthy chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Dessert recipes

Dessert recipes

Dessert recipes

Find heart healthy dessert recipes....

Spring back to heart-healthy eating with these delicious tips

Spring back to heart-healthy eating with these delicious tips

Spring back to heart-healthy eating with these delicious tips

With spring sprung, now is the time to get back to heart-healthy eating. ...

Pumpkin falafel wraps

Pumpkin falafel wraps

Pumpkin falafel wraps

10 minutes
Serves Serves 4 (as a main meal)

Breakfast recipes

Breakfast recipes

Breakfast recipes

Heart healthy breakfasts to start your day right...

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Explore our guide for driving and heart attack recovery. ...

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....

Pregnancy and heart disease

Pregnancy and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Discover how to plan for your return to work....

Overcoming uncertainty: Bianca Beetham’s heart story

Overcoming uncertainty: Bianca Beetham’s heart story

Overcoming uncertainty: Bianca Beetham’s heart story

Bianca Beetham is 24 years old and lives in Sydney. She is currently waiting for her first open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy five years ago....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

The National Heart Foundation of Australia Position Statement: Coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia.¹...

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

At first, it didn’t cross my mind it could be something serious. ...

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Healthy Bowl Recipes

Healthy Bowl Recipes

Healthy Bowl Recipes

Find more heart healthy bowl recipes in our Bowl Foods recipe booklet...

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....