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.

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....

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....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

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

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

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...

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 Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

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. ...

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. ...

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....

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track...

Sit less, move more

Sit less, move more

Sit less, move more

You may be surprised to know that on average, adults sit for nine hours a day....

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Media Release - 26 June 2020...

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

The NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation Working Group

The NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation Working Group

What is angina?

What is angina?

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that’s a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD)....

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

Stay connected with your research alumni community. ...

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

What does a heart-friendly diet look like?...

Q&A with Dr Jessica Orchard

Q&A with Dr Jessica Orchard

Q&A with Dr Jessica Orchard

Cardiac screening of athletes: disparities and differences in electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation criteria in under-represented populations...

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Our Heart Maps allow you to take a closer look at heart disease indicators across Australia....

Coronary Artery Calcium Score

Coronary Artery Calcium Score

A Coronary Artery Calcium Score or CT Calcium test can be used to estimate your risk of heart attack or stroke....

Become a corporate partner

Become a corporate partner

Become a corporate partner

Partner with us to help us fight for Australian hearts....

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Find heart healthy seafood recipes...

Health professional online learning

Health professional online learning

We offer a number of modules focused on improving cardiovascular care....

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.

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter has lived with a rare heart condition since he was 14, but hadn’t given it too much thought until his 30s....

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

Blood pressure monitoring at home using a 24-hour blood pressure monitor test....

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Heart Foundation delivers $17.2 million for cutting-edge heart research in a challenging year

Media Release 20 October 2020...

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

For professionals: Heart Health Checks

Heart Health Checks have been supported by Medicare since April 2019....

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

All you need to know about keeping active during COVID-19....