It’s World Heart Day! And here’s what you can do about it
Image courtesy ESSA
Recent research tells us that exercise protects the heart, irrespective of your age and when you start. Professor Steve Selig, Chair of Clinical Exercise Science at Deakin University says that studies published by the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, reported that previously unfit individuals in their 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s can improve their heart health and reduce their chances of heart attacks by engaging in regular, moderate-intensity exercise.
“For those thinking about getting more active in midlife, we recommend it’s as simple as walking down to the shops rather than driving, playing footy in the park or on the beach and focusing on getting active at least once a day to get your heart-rate up,” says Exercise & Sports Science Australia’s Executive Officer, Anita Hobson-Powell.
For children, engaging in less than 10 minutes of vigorous exercise as part of their daily routine appears to have heart-protective effects, say researchers from a recent Canadian study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Whatever your age, it’s never too early or too late to start exercising for heart health, and World Heart Day is the perfect day to begin.
TOP TIPS FOR GETTING ACTIVE
1. Buddy up so you can motivate each other and schedule regular exercise times and days.
2. Avoid lifts – find out where the stairs are and put them to good use to get your heart rate going!
3. Get a pedometer and set yourself a target for every day.
4. Organise a tennis tournament at the local club with other families.
5. Take the furthest parking space rather than the closest and take the opportunity for a brisk walk to up the heart rate.
6. Use active transport (cycling, walking).
7. At work, instead of sending another email, walk over to the person’s desk.
8. See household tasks as opportunities to get fitter and stronger, not as chores.
1. Play garden games such as egg and spoon races, sack races, skipping ropes and tag.
2. Hold an ever-popular disco party: pump up the music, dim the lights and get the party started!
3. Have a good run-around at the beach or the park. Try flag races, setting up a race track and timing kids as they run a lap or creating a horse jumping course with obstacles for your little ponies!
4. Explore your neighbourhood on bikes, skateboards or scooters (and why not give them a purpose by getting them to count houses)!
5. Walking the dog or the neighbour’s dog is a great opportunity to get out and get active. Plus, it’s a good way to teach your kids how to look after the fluffy member of the family!
6. Play the games with your children: this will get you, the parent, fit too!
If you feel you’re not in the right shape to start exercising alone, ask your GP for a referral to your local Exercise Physiologist to help you get started in a manageable and safe way. Or, find a local accredited Exercise Physiologist by visiting the Exercise & Sports Science Australia website at essa.org.au and enter your suburb or postcode.