Media releases

Walking for good physical and mental health

26 May 2010

Australians can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as half, and lift their mood by simply walking for 30 minutes or more each day.

The National Heart Foundation of Australia and Beyond Blue: the national depression initiative say that being active on a regular basis is important for maintaining both good physical and mental health.

The Heart Foundation and Beyond Blue are encouraging people to stay active this winter or kick off regular walking by joining a free Heart Foundation Walking group.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia s only network of free, community-based walking groups. Groups cater to different age groups from Mums with prams to older Australians. Because they cater to different abilities, they are especially helpful to people who aren’t used to being active or haven t been active in a long time.

“Knowing your group is waiting, is motivation enough for most people to pull on their comfy shoes and get walking. Once they re out and about they find the winter chill is actually refreshing and energising,” said Shauna Jones, National Manager- Active Living, Heart Foundation.

Walkers in our groups report that one of the biggest benefits they get from taking part is connecting with people in their local area or workplace, she said.

Deputy CEO of Beyond Blue Dr Nicole Highet says as well as the obvious physical benefits, walking can also have a positive impact on lifting mood.

“When people are physically active, endorphins are released in the brain, which have a positive impact on lifting mood. In addition to improved mood, active people reap the overall physical benefits, a sense of achievement and potential social benefits from meeting others through sports or from being active with friends all of which play an important role in preventing depression,” she says.

Depression and anxiety are major health problems in Australia. Around one million Australian adults live with depression and over two million have an anxiety disorder.

With more than 840 groups around Australia, there’s probably a Heart Foundation Walking group near you. Walkers registered with the Heart Foundation qualify for our free incentive scheme, recognising regular milestones with certificates, discount vouchers and gifts. To join the 11 500 people who have already discovered Heart Foundation Walking or to start your own group, register online

www.heartfoundation.org.au/walking  or call 1300 36 27 87.

About the Heart Foundation:

A leading charity, the Heart Foundation saves lives and improves health through funding world-class cardiovascular research, guidelines for health professionals, informing the public and assisting people with cardiovascular disease. The Heart Foundation relies on donations to continue its lifesaving work. For information visit

www.heartfoundation.org.au or call 1300 36 27 87.

About Beyond Blue: the national depression initiative:

Beyond Blue is a national, not-for-profit organisation working to raise awareness of depression, anxiety and related disorders and to help reduce the associated stigma and encourage people to seek help.

Media professionals wanting further information, a comment or an interview should contact the media team.

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