68 per cent of residents are not physically active enough

The Heart Foundation is encouraging people to walk together.

Heart Foundation Walking Groups (HFWG) are officially back in action and the Heart Foundation is now calling on locals to consider joining their local walking group to decrease their chance of developing heart disease.

According to the latest Australian Heart Maps data compiled by the Heart Foundation, 68 per cent of Central Coast residents are not physically active enough to maintain good health.

With 32 per cent of the Coast’s population considered obese and with 33 per cent also recording high cholesterol.

Add in the fact that 22 per cent have high blood pressure and 20 per cent identify as smokers, heart health in the region is a major concern.

Thankfully, COVID-19 has inspired many adults to take up walking as both a hobby and form of fitness, with the most recent Heart Foundation survey indicating a big spike in the number of participants hitting the pavement during lockdown.

“When gyms and organised sport shut down due to the pandemic, walking became one of the few options for Australians to stay active,” said Heart Foundation Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton.

“Large numbers of us discovered or even rediscovered the joys of walking around the neighbourhood with their family and pets.

“This time reminded Aussies that walking is free and easy, and almost anyone can do it.

“You can walk almost any time and anywhere.

“It’s a really simple and pleasant way to get your recommended 30 minutes of brisk physical activity each day,” he said.

With restrictions now easing, the Heart Foundation wants to ensure walkers stick with their new healthy habit and is encouraging people to join their local HFWG.

“We paused our walking groups during the pandemic to protect our walkers, volunteers and the community from virus transmission, but many have resumed.

“So now is a great time to join us and keep up the walking habits you developed during lockdown,” Prof Shilton said.

“If you decide to walk in a HFWG, you can also gain great social benefits.

“Our walkers often tell us they start for the exercise but stay for the company,” he added.

The Coast has several registered HFWGs with the former Wyong LGA supported by the Bateau Bay Medical Centre Walking Group, the Munmorah Movers Walking Group and the Watanobbi Walkers.

Press release, Jun 20
Siobhan McMahon, Heart Foundation