Physical activity and heart health

Lack of physical activity is one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease.  60% of Queenslanders are not physically active enough for their heart health.  Regular physical activity makes you less likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease.  Regular activity also helps to reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol and helps you to maintain a healthy weight. 

Why is cycling good for your heart?

Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.   Evidence shows that cycling just 32kms a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. 

It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement to your health. Cycling is:

  • Low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.

  • A good muscle workout – cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal.

  • Easy – unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget.

  • Good for strength and stamina – cycling increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.

  • As intense as you want – cycling can be done at very low intensity to begin with, if recovering from injury or illness, but can be built up to a demanding physical workout.

  • Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. Research also shows that people who cycle to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than car commuters, so their lung function is improved.

Many Australian adults aren’t active enough to get health benefits. Are you one of them?

How much activity to aim for

We support Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. They recommend for adults:

  • Any physical activity is better than none. It’s fine to start with a little, and build up.
  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Aim to accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.

An easy way to achieve this is to:

  • Do 30-45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (like brisk walking) most days of the week. You can build up activity in shorter bouts, like in three 10-minute walks. 
  • Do muscle-toning activities twice a week. This could be body weight exercises (e.g. push-ups, squats or lunges), tasks involving lifting, carrying or digging (e.g. gardening or carrying shopping), or weights or other resistance training (e.g. a gym based weight training program).

This is the minimum you need for health benefits. Longer times and more days of the week are even better.

No matter how active you are, it’s also important to sit less. 

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