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Sparking an Australian walking revolution


Trevor Shilton


15/11/2021 1:17:20 PM

SPONSORED: The Heart Foundation’s Personal Walking Plans program is designed to help people who will benefit from moving more.

Walking group.
Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day, at least five days per week, can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many Australians to discover (or rediscover) the joys and benefits of walking.
 
In addition to a vast array of physical benefits, walking can also reduce stress levels and improve mood. It also provides an excellent opportunity to connect with others and explore new walking routes. 
 
Do your patients know about the many ways walking can improve their heart health? Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day, at least five days per week, can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. It can also help manage risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including maintaining a healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
 
If you have patients who could benefit from moving more and may need some motivation, the Heart Foundation walking program has something for everyone.
 
The Heart Foundation launched the Personal Walking Plans program in April 2021 to complement our 1300 walking groups across the nation. As part of the free six-week program, participants receive a walking plan tailored to their individual fitness level based on their answers to a few simple questions.
 
Plans are delivered via weekly emails and texts, which are designed to not only support and motivate participants, but also to provide information about the many benefits of walking, as well as stretching and strength-building exercises.
 
Australians have been taking to the program in large numbers, with more than 700 people signing up every day from across the country in the first four months. To date, more than 100,000 Australians have a Personal Walking Plan and are reaping the health benefits. The program, combined with the Heart Foundation’s existing network of 37,000 walking group members, is getting more Australians moving, more often.  
 
A survey of more than  2300 program participants showed that 97% reported an improvement in their physical health, 90% reported improved mental health, and almost all of those who completed their plan said they would continue to walk or be physically active on a regular basis.
 
Of participants who reported doing no physical activity at all before signing up to a plan, almost a third met recommended physical activity levels by the end of the six weeks.  

And possibly most remarkable of all, more than eight out of 10 participants said their plan had helped them to achieve the health goals they had set for themselves when signing up. These goals included weight loss, improved fitness, the ability to do more steps each day, improved motivation, increased energy and feeling better about themselves.
 
The Heart Foundation is on a mission to save Australian hearts, and we will continue to offer walking groups and Personal Walking Plans throughout 2022. We are urging more Australians to sign up and experience the many benefits of walking. In fact, we are aiming to double our number of walkers over the next three years.
 
Discuss signing patients up to a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan or walking group.
 
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