At a time when most Canberrans sit all day at work, the Heart Foundation and the ACT Government have teamed up to get the local workforce out of their swivel chairs.
Activate My Day is a three-month awareness campaign which aims to build physical activity into people’s everyday routines.
It’s not about signing up for a two-for-one gym membership or spending money on big brand Athleisure – the campaign is targeting the incidental activity in everyone’s day and working on building activity into those daily routines. It could be as simple as parking a little further away or venturing to a new coffee shop with colleagues.
One in two Canberrans currently do not get enough physical activity for their health; the campaign asks, ‘which one are you?’
Heart Foundation ACT Health Manager Kathleen Moorby said Canberra has a lot of people who work in a public office environment and the latest research shows that the number of hours that we sit is quite detrimental to our health.
“People can quite easily sit for 15 hours a day, just by travelling by car and sitting all day at work and they aren’t aware of the impact it has,” Kathleen said.
The recent Territory Plan Variation 348, incorporating the Active Living Principles into the Territory Plan, means Canberra developments now have to comply to ensure built and natural environments connect, attract and are accessible for all ages, our urban environment is a fitting location to roll out a campaign of this nature. With the support of the ACT Government, the Heart Foundation has the means to encourage more people to be active.
“Canberra is progressing in regard to infrastructure and initiatives to encourage Canberrans being more physically active, and to support Canberrans in their day-to-day physical routines, but we still have a way to go” she said.
“Over the past years they have really been working towards an environment which supports Canberrans to have active space.”
For those who tuck their tail between their legs at the first sign of exercise, the campaign has been designed around making small changes to last a lifetime, rather than reaching fitness goals.
“It’s about making people aware of the choices they are making and being more conscious of making active choices in their daily routine. Basically, challenging themselves about how they are moving from point A to B and how they are moving throughout their day to then make active decisions around that,” Kathleen said.
The Activate My Day campaign consists of not so drastic changes to implement, which will in turn create an active community. They encourage people to make active choices a habit, rather than viewing these small bouts of exercise as daily chores.
Active Travel: is a fun, safe and healthy way to get to work, school or social outings. It is an easy way to take the first step (or pedal) towards a healthy and active life. With hundreds of kilometres of shared off-road paths in the ACT, a moderate climate, relatively flat terrain, an extensive trail network in our nature parks, and bike riders legally allowed to ride on footpaths, there are endless options for walking and cycling for everyone.
Physically active children: are healthier, happier and more socially connected than children who have more sedentary lifestyles. Think about how your children get to school? Why not drop them off a 10 minute walk away or encourage them to ride their bike?
Keeping our streets active: encourages healthy and active habits, and a safer environment around the school.
Activities with friends and family: Meeting up with friends and family for a walk is a good way to be active while catching up. You could also join a walking group – there are quite a few around Canberra. Making physical activity a part of family time helps set a good example and is a great way to spend some quality time together.
“The most important thing is for people to realise that every bit of activity they do counts!” Kathleen said.
“A lot of people think that unless they do an hour of exercise it’s not worth it, however evidence shows that every 10 minutes of physical activity counts towards building up to that recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day for your physical health – you can make it up in short blocks.
“Of course adopting an active routine will also minimise your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.”