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Seven ways to get moving for better heart health

5 min read
Seven ways to get moving for better heart health

Do you feel too old to exercise? You're not alone.

New research from the Heart Foundation released today for Heart Week shows close to one in five Aussie seniors feel they are too old to be physically active.

But it's never too late to benefit from exercise.

"Evidence shows that physical activity really is a wonder drug and the easiest thing you can do to improve yourself," said foundation spokesperson Trevor Shilton.

"Regular physical activity is important at all ages and stages through life.

"Almost all of us can incorporate three 10-minute blocks of activity a day. Easy ways to achieve this include going for a walk around the block or doing active household chores such as vacuuming."

At least 30 minutes of physical activity a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 35 per cent; it can also help manage depression and anxiety, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and lower the risk of dementia later in life.

Associate Professor Shilton said working out with a buddy makes people significantly more likely to feel good after exercise.

"You are more likely to feel motivated to be physically active and keep up the routine if you are active with a buddy - whether that be a friend, pet or family member.

"Only two in five seniors said they have a physical activity buddy, so this Heart Week I would really encourage them to reach out to find someone to keep them motivated."

Associate Professor Shilton said social isolation is a growing problem for seniors and increases the risk of heart disease.

"Heart Foundation Walking groups are a great way to meet new people and to stay active. Many people join the walking groups to lose or maintain weight and stay healthy, but the friendships they make are a powerful motivator for remaining with the program."

Tips to add exercise into your day

  • Take the stairs: Often our default is to take the lift or escalator, however walking the stairs is an easy way to build movement into your day.
  • Embrace active chores: Regular housework such as vacuuming or dusting for 10 minutes can help you meet your daily physical activity goals.
  • Let your green thumb lead the way: Gardening and activities such as mowing the lawn and raking the leaves are great ways to get moving.
  • Walk to lunch: Break your routine and take your lunch to the park or walk to your favourite cafe.
  • Ask a friend to go for a walk and coffee: Rather than spending the whole catch-up at a cafe, go for a walk before enjoying a coffee together.
  • Try a living room workout: Find a 10-minute workout routine online that you can watch and replicate at home to help you get physical.
  • Try public transport: A third of public transport users achieve the 30 minutes of physical activity they need for good health, without even thinking about it.

Tips courtesy the Heart Foundation.

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