Getting 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week is a great way to reduce your risk of many health issues including heart disease.
There are so many benefits of exercise and walking is one of the most popular forms of exercise in Australia. It doesn’t matter where you live, you can always walk out the front door and walk yourself healthy.
These days as things are more convenient and closer by, we don’t tend to get as much incidental exercise as we used to. In Canberra, only one in two of us gets enough exercise for our health and well-being which means that half of us could benefit from lifting our game.
Regular physical activity helps to manage blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, prevents and controls diabetes, reduces the risk of developing some cancers, helps to maintain bone density, improves balance and coordination and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. And not to mention the great feeling you get after doing exercise.
In Canberra, we are lucky to have access to a large number of great quality paths, walkways, recreational venues, parks and open spaces. We are well connected, with facilities that support regular, formal and informal physical activity. Not only does this make it easy to take part in regular physical activity, but it builds a sense of community in the region. Any movement is positive, it is important to find something that you enjoy to make sure it is sustainable and does not become a chore.
The Heart Foundation offers a range of free walking groups for those who want some company on their walk or for those who may need some encouragement to strap on the sneakers and get out. Visit walking.heartfoundation.org.au for details.
Just as keeping active is an integral aspect of good health, knowing your numbers is equally important. When we talk about numbers, it’s things like blood pressure, cholesterol, waist measurement and blood sugar levels that are important. Ideally :
aim for your blood pressure to be less than 130/80mmHg;
have your blood sugar levels checked for diabetes screening;
keep your cholesterol levels at: LDL <1.8mmol/L, HDL >1.0 mmol/L, Triglycerides <2.0 mmol/L, Total cholesterol <4.0 mmol/L, and
keep your waist measurement to <80cms for women and <94cms for men.
Ask at your local GP practice for help with getting these measurements taken and understanding the results.