30 minutes to better health

The Find Thirty every day campaign aims to increase the physical activity levels and improve the health of the 42 per cent. (AGENCY)

Physical activity is the fourth leading risk factor contributing to deaths in Australia and in the world, but experts say many West Australians are not getting the message.

The Heart Foundation's research confirms findings from the Physical Activity Taskforce, which shows that females are less likely to be sufficiently active than males.

The Find Thirty every day campaign aims to increase the physical activity levels and improve the health of the 42 per cent of  women and 39 per cent of men who are not active enough for good health.

Experts said physical activity had important health benefits for all adults, but women lagged behind men in achieving recommended levels of physical activity.

It was one of the only risk factors where women fared less well than men, said Clover Maitland, the Heart Foundation's senior manager of Physical Activity and Healthy Weight.

"Australian physical activity guidelines recommend adults should aim to find at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all days of the week, for good health," Ms Maitland said.

"Yet our campaign research shows that only half of women are very confident that they can participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five days a week.

"Lack of time is by far the most consistent reason women give for not being more physically active, but you can easily find 30 minutes a day if you are willing to make it a priority."

Skills that help in "making time" appear vital to successfully finding 30 minutes. These include:

Planning ahead - schedule your physical activity in your diary or calendar

Setting a goal - for example, aim to increase your physical activity by 10 minutes each week, or set a goal of participating in a charity fun run, walk or cycle.

Making it part of your day - choose activities that fit into your daily routine such as a walk during your lunchbreak or walking the dog.

Being active with friends also increases the likelihood that women will continue with their physical activity. By making a regular appointment to be active with a friend or by joining a group there's less chance of cancelling.

The benefits for women who Find Thirty every day are spectacular. Active people find they sleep better, feel less stressed, improve relationships, have more energy and enjoy better health.

"Physical activity can reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers, and is vital in controlling risk factors for chronic disease, such as obesity, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol".

"In addition, physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your mental and social health."

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