parkrun Australia and Heart Foundation Walking have teamed up to mark Active Ageing Week by encouraging more walkers to join in at their free local parkrun event.
Active Ageing Week, which runs from 1-7 October, aims to give as many older adults as possible the means to experience wellness activities in a safe and supportive environment, while promoting the benefits of healthier, more active lifestyles.
The collaboration aims to connect the Heart Foundation Walking network – Australia’s largest free walking community – with parkrun to encourage walkers to join in at their local parkrun event.
parkruns are free, socially-focussed 5km community events that take place in 370 locations around Australia every Saturday morning. Everyone in the community is invited to get involved – as walkers, runners and volunteers – with most events finishing with a coffee at a local cafe or meeting place.
The Heart Foundation and parkrun Australia are being supported by Sport Australia through the federal government’s Better Ageing program, to help more Australians aged 65 and over to live longer and healthier.
Currently, only one in four Australians aged 65 and over are physically active enough for good health, putting them at risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, as well as some cancers and mental illness.
Heart Foundation Walking groups and parkrun events are truly intergenerational and can be enjoyed together in the great outdoors by people of all ages.
Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, the Heart Foundation’s Director of Active Living, said: “Heart Foundation Walking and parkrun Australia have a shared passion to assist and encourage older people to remain vibrant and active in society through participation in activity, increased social connectedness and volunteering opportunities.
“Physical activity is good for everyone and can have particular benefits for Australians aged 65 and over – for example, more energy and less fatigue, reducing the risk of falls, helping maintain physical strength and balance, improving cognitive function, preventing loneliness and helping people stay independent for longer.”
“We encourage all our Heart Foundation walkers to get involved in their local parkrun events.”
parkrun Australia’s Health and Wellbeing Lead Glen Turner said: “600,000 people around Australia take part in parkrun and we encourage everyone to participate in whichever way is comfortable and fun. We are proud that around 10% of people at parkrun each week choose to walk the 5km course and are delighted to team up with Heart Foundation Walking to encourage even more walkers to take part in their local parkrun.
“We know some people worry they will be holding others up or slowing them down, but this is absolutely not the case at parkrun. Each parkrun has a volunteer Tail Walker who provides support and encouragement, ensures you won’t be alone or feel pressured to go faster, and it means that nobody can ever come last at a parkrun.”
parkrun registration is free at www.parkrun.com.au/registration. Just print your unique parkrun barcode, which is then valid at any parkrun anywhere in the world every Saturday morning.
Registered Heart Foundation Walkers who list “Heart Foundation” as their club when registering online with parkrun automatically have their parkrun walks tallied towards their Heart Foundation Walker Recognition Scheme – another great reason join both great initiatives. To register or find out more about Heart Foundation Walking visit the website or call the helpline on 13 11 12.
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