4 in 10 Victorians not doing enough exercise. Make 2016 your fittest year yet: health experts


Victorians are being urged to make 2016 their fittest year yet, as latest figures show 4 in 10 adults are not active enough for good health[1].

The most recent Victorian Population Health Survey 2011-12 shows that 63.7% of Victorians aged 18 and over are not doing the recommended level of physical activity – 150 minutes of physical activity per week over five or more sessions.

LiveLighter Victoria Campaign Manager and Accredited Practicing Dietitian Alison Ginn said not getting enough exercise increases the risk of serious health problems.

“Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and is critical to the prevention and management of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers,” Ms Ginn said.

“In Australia, lack of physical activity is estimated to contribute to 13,491 deaths each year[2]. Any physical activity is better than none, ideally aim to do at least 30 minutes of activity that raises your heart rate each day to reduce your risk.”

Heart Foundation Victoria’s Healthy Living Manager Roni Beauchamp says many of us start the year with highly ambitious exercise goals, but struggle to stick to them.

“Engaging in regular exercise is one of the most important things we can do for our health. But despite our best intentions, it’s often the first thing we drop when life gets busy,” Ms Beauchamp said.

“Many people feel particularly motivated this time of year so it’s a good idea to set realistic exercise goals and resolutions. If you’re not a runner, don’t dive straight in and resolve to run a marathon. You’ll have a better chance of success if your goals are achievable and suit your lifestyle.

“And if you do fall off the bandwagon, don’t give up. Just keep trying until you find a physical activity regime that works for you.”

LiveLighter’s top tips for making 2016 your fittest year yet:

  1. Be accountable. Whether it’s a fitness instructor, a friend or a relative, or booking yourself into an exercise class, telling people about your fitness goals (or having someone exercise with you) can help you stick to your plans.
  2. Make social events more physical. Catching up with friends? Why not meet up for a walk around your local park, a visit to the swimming pool, a game of lawn bowls or a bike ride. You’ll get to enjoy the benefits of physical activity while socialising.
  3. Don’t undo all your hard work with unhealthy food. Even though it can be tempting to eat more after a workout, don’t undo all of your hard work with energy-dense food or by having larger portions. Exercise can help control appetite. Try going for a walk before a meal.
  4. Set realistic goals. Don’t aim to get up at 5am to exercise every day if you hate mornings. Similarly, don’t plan to go to the gym at 5pm every day if you never finish work on time. Make goals that suit your lifestyle and interests.
  5. Get active on your commute. Make the most of the warm weather and cycle or walk to work. If it’s too far, get off transport a few stops early. If you don’t have time to exercise at other times at least you can still get 30 minutes of physical activity a day as part of your commute.
  6. Plan and track your progress. Use a diary, app or website such as LiveLighter's activity planner to plan and track your progress. This can help you commit to exercise and stay motivated by seeing how much you’ve achieved.
  7. Find an exercise you enjoy. Try a variety of sports and activities until you find a couple you really enjoy. Then find a local group or sporting event to keep you motivated. 

For more tips, information and advice, visit the LiveLighter website www.livelighter.com.au 

LiveLighter is a public health education campaign which encourages Victorians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active. Delivered by the Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation, the LiveLighter campaign is funded by the Victorian State Government . For more information visit www.livelighter.com.au

Note to Editor: Upon request physical activity rates are also available for all Victorian local government areas. Contact media advisers for assistance.

[1] Victorian Population Health Survey 2011-12 . Figures include Victorians aged 18 years and over

[2] The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare