Craig is walking away from heart health issues

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When married father-of-two Craig Riley was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, this student of karate kick-started his discipline.

With FitBit engaged, music pumping and social media postings, Craig took the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle through walking and watching his diet. After three months walking, Craig had dropped 17kgs and amazingly, no sign of type -2 diabetes.

“It was so exciting to get those blood results, to completely reverse the type-2 diabetes diagnosis and no longer require medication,” Craig said.

“It was such a win-win situation, even my doctor couldn’t believe it. I had to be retested just to make sure.”

Living in Seaford, Victoria, Craig has scenic walks and challenging hills nearby to maintain his motivation. Through his FitBit, Craig has mapped out 4km, 6km and 10km courses depending how he is feeling.

Craig has joined Heart Foundation Walking as a `Virtual Walker’, with work commitments making consistent appearances with a group difficult. However, Craig has found a social media community that motivates everyone.

“I started posting every time I was doing a walk on social media and found people commenting publicly and private messaging me. The feedback was really spurring me on and now, I have friends in every state walking each day and challenging each other, holding each other accountable,” Craig said.

“I have found the engagement through social media has opened pathways for chatting and everyone knows reaching your goals isn’t a quick process, but is fun.”

Craig found the engagement and conversations from his posts in many places, including at karate events where he watches his son compete and represent Australia.

“I have people ask me how the walking is going and I must admit, it wasn’t a good feeling being the father of an elite athlete at elite events and not addressing my own health,” Craig said.

“I still hope to lose another 18kgs over the next four to six months.”

During Men’s Health Week (June 13-19), Heart Foundation Walking is encouraging group members to `Bring a Bloke’. Walking has a wealth of benefits for everyone’s health, however, the attendance of men at Heart Foundation Walking is well below the number of women.

Whether part of cardiac rehabilitation, tackling high blood pressure, addressing type-2 diabetes or keen to shed some kilograms, you can find a Heart Foundation Walking Group at http://walking.heartfoundation.org.au or like Craig, register as a Virtual Walker.

Heart Foundation Walking is funded nationally by Fitbit and the Queensland Government.

Men and Heart Disease - for men aged 18+:

Blood Pressure (2014/15):

  • 2.13 million have high blood pressure (≥ 140/90 mmHg), or 28.4%. 
  • 550,000 men under the age of 45 have high blood pressure (≥ 140/90 mmHg), or 12% (one in eight). 
  • 600,000 have blood pressure at or above 160/100mmHg, which means their risk of having a heart event in the next 5 years is at least double.

Cholesterol (2011/12):

  • 2.73 million have high blood pressure (≥ 5.5mmol/L), or 32.4%. 
  • 750,000 have blood pressure at or above (≥ 6.5mmol/L), or 9%.

Overweight / Obesity (2014/15):

  • 2.5 million are obese (BMI ≥ 30) or 28.4%. 
  • 3.7 million are overweight (BMI = 25 to 29.9) or 42.4%.  .
  • Overall, 71% are either overweight or obese. 
  • In 1989, only 9% of men were obese.  This has tripled since then.
  • The average male in 1989 weighed 78kg.  In 2014/15, the average male weighed 86kg.
  • The average waist line for men in 1989 was 89cm.  In 2014/15, the average waistline for men was 98cm.

Exercise (2014/15):

  • 3 million do little to no exercise, or more than one in three (34%) 
  • More than one in two (52% or 5.4 million) did not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of exercising at least 150 mins across 5 or more days.

Conditions (2014/15):

  • 300,000 men have previously had a heart attack.
  • 163,000 men have previously had an angina attack.
  • 260,000 men have arrhythmia.
  • 70,000 men have heart failure.
  • 2.1 million men have a long term CVD condition.

Deaths and Hospitalisations (2014):

  • 100,000 men admitted to hospital each year due to heart disease.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Australian men.  It has been the leading cause since 1950.
  • 20,000 die each year from heart disease (including main or attributing cause).  This is one in every four deaths (26%). 

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