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Walking helps the planning process.



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CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

MDP 84 GPO Box 9848 Canberra ACT 2601 Telephone: (02) 6289 8408 Facsimile: (02) 6285 1994

MEDIA RELEASE 5th October 2005.

Walking helps the planning process

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath, has been in the thick of public health emergency management over the past several months, coordinating Australia’s response to bird flu or a pandemic influenza, and more recently the aftermath of the Bali bombings.

“Walking helps the planning process,” Professor Horvath said today. “A brisk walk around the streets, or a park each day gives me time to think clearly and keeps my mind and body fit for the tasks I face.”

“Exercise promotes better health and I am encouraging as many Australians as possible to try the experience. A good time to start is National Walk to Work Day next Friday, October 7th. Leave the car at home, or some distance from work, and walk to work with thousands of other Australians all around the country.”

Professor Horvath said the importance of adequate levels of physical activity for health is now widely recognised.

“Undertaking regular moderate-intensity physical activity has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and can improve mental health.

“Of particular importance to an ageing population, physical activity improves cardiovascular fitness and endurance, increases strength and balance, and can reduce a person’s risk of falls, regardless of a person’s age.”

Professor Horvath said regular physical activity can also help with stress management, alleviate depression and anxiety, strengthen self-esteem, enhance mood boost mental alertness and provide social benefits through increased social interaction.

“Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity (such as brisk walking) on most or all days of the week is required to gain a health benefit. This 30 minutes need not be continuous - 10-minute bouts, three times during the day is the minimum required for health benefit,” he said.

On Friday in Canberra, Professor Horvath will join the Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery; Dr Peter Shergold, the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet; and other public servants on a walk from Floriade to Parliament House. Similar walks will be held all around Australia as the Pedestrian Council of Australia promotes the benefits of walking.

For more information go to www.walk.com.au Media Contact: Kay McNiece 0412132585