Australia is the 19th most sedentary country in the world, lagging dismally behind the World Health Organisation's recommended 10,000 daily steps by more than half (5059). Staggeringly, over a month period, this equates to 120 kilometres of less physical activity.
Those who reach the recommended 10,000 daily steps have a significantly lower risk of cancer, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia. Whilst studies have also shown that regular exercise is linked to greater concentration, faster learning and a prolonged mental stamina, creating a more productive workforce.
Research carried out by Steptember revealed that more than half (54%) of full-time employees blame their workload as the main barrier to exercising with only 1 in 3 (32%) leaving their desks for long enough to reach 10,000 steps a day.
Teigan Butchers from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) Youth Service and Trained Exercise Physiologist believes, 'Sitting is the new smoking and it's more dangerous than not exercising. Aussie workers are prioritising their work, sitting on that desk chair far too long in the day and not exercising."
'The World Health Organisation has recommended 10,000 steps because it helps us maintain our cardio-metabolic health which means that we are keeping our body and our heart healthy for a long and happy healthy life."
Initiatives like Steptember have proven to be successful in getting people moving more, particularly in the workplace, with 47% of those surveyed saying they would be much more likely to participate in workplace health activities if bosses and colleagues were supportive.
Tegan said, 'We can do a range of different activities that help us achieve 10,000 steps a day. Any kind of physical activity that you feel you're burning energy, you're getting your heart rate up and starting to huff and puff can be used towards reaching your goal of 10,000 steps. This could be walking, swimming or going to the gym. There are also different activities you can do if you have any sort of physical limitations."
Ben Tudhope has lived with Cerebral Palsy his whole life and at the age of 14 represented Australia in para-snowboard cross at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics. Ben believes that, 'Everybody should do exercise and be as outside and active as possible."
Ben said, 'My biggest barrier is my CP and it's a challenge I need to overcome every day. When I was diagnosed they said I may not be able to walk and I'm just so lucky to be able to, as nearly half of people with CP can't."
'The Cerebral Palsy Alliance have been helping me since I was born and Steptember is a way that everybody can participate."
With spring approaching, Steptember are encouraging Aussies to challenge themselves to take 10,000 steps a day for the month of September and signup for the 28-day challenge with friends and colleagues. The initiative raises vital funds to help the 34,000 Australians living with cerebral palsy. To take on the challenge visit www.steptember.org.au.