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Taking strides in the fight for our lives

By Erin Lalor - posted Monday, 9 November 2015

Think about what you have planned this evening. You might be squeezing in a dinner with those friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with for months. Maybe you’re finishing off a report due on your bosses’ desk by 9am tomorrow.

Perhaps you’ll try and carve out a few minutes for yourself on the couch in between trying to get dinner on the table and the kids to bed.

What too few of us have planned is exercise. And it’s literally killing us.


Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for stroke and other related conditions like heart disease and type two diabetes. Skipping exercise increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol – both serious risk factors for stroke and blood vessel disease. 

Despite the dire consequences, according to the statistics almost half of Australians are physically inactive and less than one in five adults reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day. 

In addition to being less active we’re also spending an increasing amount of time in front of screens at work and at home. 

Australians spend an average of four hours a day on sedentary leisure activities. Watching television or sitting behind a computer has sadly become our national pastime. 

Our increasingly busy schedules, long work hours and sedentary lifestyles are putting us at serious risk of disability or even death.

It is predicted that more than 11,000 Australians will be killed by stroke next year and countless more left with permanent disabilities.


The devastation caused by stroke is not inevitable. We can all make simple lifestyle changes to help protect ourselves – one of the most important is being physically active.

Health experts recommend just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, though doing any level of exercise is better than none. 

Regular, lifelong physical activity halves your likelihood of experiencing and dying from cardiovascular disease.

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About the Author

Dr Erin Lalor is CEO of the National Stroke Foundation.

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