The NSW Heart Foundation is trying to boost the number of walkers in regional areas after statistics showed that 73 per cent of Central West residents were not physically active enough for good health.
The Heart Foundations Australian Heart Maps showed that in terms of heart disease risk factors 21 per cent of residents in the Central West region smoke; 21 per cent have high blood pressure; 73 percent are not physically active enough for good health; Approximately 38 per cent are obese; and 33.5 per cent have high cholesterol.
This region includes the following Local Government Areas: Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid-Western Regional Council, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Warrumbungle Shire, Weddin and Western Plains Regional.
One such group in Lithgow that is always welcoming walkers is that of Lithgow Parkrun. While the name may suggest that it is a runners group, coordinator Paul Vanstone has been trying to encourage walkers to join them for some time.
"We have had some success but there are more of you walkers out there that want to walk for your health but may be a little shy, don't be, we would love to meet you and welcome you anytime," Mr Vanstone said.
Parkrun is a free event that takes place on Saturday mornings at Lithgow Pony Club.
"Everybody and anybody is welcome, we may not all be runners but we can all walk," he said.
Mr Vanstone said that even some Saturday mornings they have had more walkers than runners.
"Walking is a way of being outdoors enjoying a beautiful environment, fresh morning weather, companionship and safety in numbers while walking well away from any traffic," he said.
"Walking will give you the time to enjoy a level of exercise that also allows you the energy to still be able to talk to the people around you while feeling that you have made a great start to your day.
"Starting your metabolism early in the morning may makes you feel better through the day."
Mr Vanstone said that he believed the exercising of your mind was just as important as your body.
"There is always someone to talk to at Parkrun, whether you talk a lot or a little you will find someone happy for a chat," he said.
"Bring a friend for a walk or join our walking group, either way I am sure the feeling of walking in a group will encourage the feeling within you to want to do it again.
"Regular movement in low level exercise like walking may make your joints feel better, adding a little strength to your legs, giving you a better feeling of mobility as we all get a little older."
Mr Vanstone said that walking the Parkrun course won't exhaust you, but it may give your lungs a little workout.
"I hope to see all the people that have ever thought they could do with a walk out there getting out and doing it but please remember some people may want to consider medical advice before getting back into exercise," he said.
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