The Heart Foundation has released the third edition of its “Blueprint for an Active Australia” report.
The report highlights the need yet again for urgent action to increase physical activity in Australia, noting that the nation is among the world’s most physically inactive: Nearly six in ten adults, three quarters of seniors and more than eight of every ten children and young people are not active enough for good heart health.
The report’s recommended initiatives include (in part) :
- investing in walking as the most prevalent and popular physical activity that is accessible to most Australians
- increasing support for sporting and active recreation clubs and facilities, and
- public education about the benefits of physical activity and to motivate participation
As in most discussions involving sport & active recreation across Australia, the report (as in Action Area 6, p. 48-53) tends to address sport and sports facilities needs, with a lesser focus on active recreation. Yet the various statistics again summarised in this latest report (e.g. p.49) show that activities such as recreational walking and bushwalking are very popular nationwide (having a combined 58% participation, and both being within the top seven physical activities for adults); They make a greater overall contribution than sports activities in keeping people active.
Greater recognition is needed of outdoor recreation relative to sport. HikeWest has previously submitted that funding and other support for outdoors recreation in WA continues to be minimal compared with the support given to sports organisations (ref. HikeWest’s “Feedback on DLGSCI “Sport & Recreation Common Ground” discussion paper, Nov. 2018). Bushwalking/hiking should be contributing more substantially in WA to keeping people active and engaged.
The report also addresses ways of supporting a healthy and active ageing population (Action Area 10, p. 72-77). It anticipates that by 2047 more than 1 in 5 Australians will be over 65 years of age. We note that about 30% of WA’s population is already within the 40-70 age bracket. Yet the recreation focus within WA in recent years has been overwhelmingly on promoting and expanding opportunities such as mountain biking, for the relatively young, including families and the under 40’s. Along with the Heart Foundation’s own ‘Walking’ program, bushwalking / hiking, with increased promotion and support, should have a much more significant role in keeping the ageing population more active, longer.
(Posted: 7 June 2019)
- Bushwalking State of Play – AusPlay ‘snapshot’ 2019 – on this site
- Statewide Bushwalking Strategy – on this site