CQ University physical activity and health researcher Professor Corneel Vandelanotte encouraged locals to get active this Heart Week to prevent heart disease.
CQ University physical activity and health researcher Professor Corneel Vandelanotte encouraged locals to get active this Heart Week to prevent heart disease.

CQ in Australia’s top regions for heart disease

Central Queensland is in Australias top regions for lack of physical activity and heart health, prompting researchers to encourage residents to get healthy and active in Heart Week.

Central Queensland University Physical Activity Research Group lead Professor Corneel Vandelanotte said the latest Heart Foundation data showed regional Queensland topped the nation when it came to poor heart health.

Professor Vandelanotte said physical activity was one good way to help overcome the risk of heart disease.

“The data released by the Heart Foundation shows that Queensland regions dominate Australia’s top ten least physically active locations,” Professor Vandelanotte said.

“In addition, other risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and smoking are also among the highest in regional Queensland compared to the rest of the nation.

“This week is Heart Week and I strongly encourage people, especially regional Queenslanders, to think seriously about their heart health and the ways that they can reduce their risk of heart disease.

“Having a heart disease has a severe negative impact on quality of life, both mental and physical. It’s not fun having to manage a chronic disease, not to mention the associated cost and inconvenience.”

The free 10,000 Steps program is a great way to improve heart health say Professor Corneel Vandelanotte and Anetta Van Itallie.
The free 10,000 Steps program is a great way to improve heart health say Professor Corneel Vandelanotte and Anetta Van Itallie.

Heart Foundation data reveals Gladstone has a physical inactivity rate of 76 per cent, while Rockhampton residents are slightly more active at 72 per cent.

Both figures easily exceed the national physical inactivity rate of 66 per cent.

A member of the Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network QCVRN steering committee, Professor Vandelanotte is the lead researcher behind the long running, free 10,000 Steps program.

Professor Vandelanotte said there were many basic steps that could be taken to improve heart health outcomes including increasing daily physical activity, eating a healthier diet, quitting smoking and reducing stress.

“Increased physical activity is one of the most effective ways to improve our overall health and wellbeing and reduce our risk of heart disease,” Professor Vandelanotte said.

“Many people think that this means long hours in the gym or intense cardio sessions, but this isn’t the case.

“Increasing physical activity can be as simple as increasing the number of steps we walk each day; it doesn’t have to be strenuous or time consuming.

“It doesn’t matter what you do, just find something you enjoy doing and then keep doing it long-term.

“Increasing your activity is also shown to help reduce stress levels and help you get better sleep.”

The QCVRN has released a video demonstrating the benefits of research on cardiovascular disease, that can be viewed here.

Physical activity tips

Keep track of your activity using a pedometer or activity tracker

Set encouraging but realistic goals for increasing your activity levels

Find friends or family to be active together

Start small, build gradually in volume and intensity

Do an activity you really like, so you will never stop doing it

Use freely available programs to help you be active, such as the 10,000 Steps program

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