Studies released overnight in The Lancet highlight the need to Move more, sit less, say the Heart Foundation.
One study of more than a million people found at least one hour of physical activity per day such as brisk walking and cycling could offset the risk of death of eight hours of sitting.
National Heart Foundation Spokesperson for Physical Activity Trevor Shilton says Australians could partake in activity even while supporting our green and gold heroes from their homes during the Rio Olympic Games.
“Rather than settling in for a binge on the couch, Australians should include physical activity as part of their viewing routine,” Shilton says.
“Whether as a family doing exercises on the lounge room floor, lifting weights in front of the screen and keeping the heart rate up on the stationary bike, rower or treadmill, there are plenty of options to ensure you stay healthy while cheering for our champions.
“Statistics continue to tell us that we are living alarmingly sedentary lives, whereas an active lifestyle is protective against disease and leads to longer, healthier lives.”
Only 43% of Australian adults were rated active enough for good health in a 2015 study with physical inactivity causing 14,000 deaths per year and costing the health budget an estimated $1.5 billion each year.
Shilton echoed the call for smarter approaches to physical activity and a priority from Governments to fund large-scale solutions.
“When Australia wanted to shine on the international stage at the Olympics, pathways through the Institute of Sport were established. That same passion and drive is needed for all Australians with the development of a national physical activity plan that gets Australians to Move more, sit less,” Shilton says.
“Along with smoking and obesity, physical inactivity is a major modifiable risk factor when it comes to its contribution to the total burden of disease in Australia. Physical inactivity contributes 21% of the burden of cardiovascular disease.
“This month the National Heart Foundation released statistics on physical activity and cardiovascular disease and in conjunction with the national action plan devised in 2015, Australian Governments have a clear way forward and the opportunity to ensure all Australians win Gold for Health.”