Put your best foot forward this October

Western Sydney Local Health District Population Health staffers Sarah Ip, Stephen Gammack, Michelle Nolan, with (back) Melissa O’Neil, Stacey Hopkins, Claudia Lee, Natalie Virgona and Laura Dabit.

Western Sydney Local Health District is encouraging people to pop on their walking shoes, grab their headphones and include more incidental walking every day this month as part of Walktober.

Walking is the most popular physical activity with Australian adults and the good news is 30 minutes a day can lead to health benefits.

WSLHD Centre for Population Health deputy director Christine Newman said just 30 minutes of brisk walking, five times a week, could improve aerobic fitness.

“That’s why incidental walking is so important for good health and why we’re encouraging people to choose to walk more in October,” she said.

“It’s recommended we take 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day so incidental walking is more important than ever.

“Walking costs nothing and is one of the easiest exercises to put in your day. Plus, there’s no equipment needed apart from a good pair of supportive walking shoes.”

Western Sydney Local Health District, the City of Parramatta Council and Blacktown City Council have been major supporters of the importance of walking for local communities.

In Parramatta, there has been a significant increase in walkers using the River Path since the Subiaco Creek link opened.

Since signing the Walk 21 International Charter for Walking in 2015, WSLHD and Blacktown City Council have been working together to improve urban planning, which can contribute to better health outcomes.

The organisations have committed to working collaboratively on assessing the walkability of pathways, ensuring walkability is considered in the development of major projects, investigating the design and implementation of Blacktown’s section of the Great West Walk and promoting walking to the community.

“Projects that improve walkability are a priority but we’re still looking at additional strategies to make western Sydney a walking friendly region,” Ms Newman said.

Looking for ways to increase incidental walking? Try:

  • Parking further away from the shops or work
  • Walking during your lunch break
  • Setting up a regular walking meeting with your colleagues
  • Make walking productive by listening to a podcast or audiobook
  • Start a walking challenge with your friends, family or colleagues
  • Walking around the oval while your child is playing sport
  • Set a reminder on your phone to stand up and walk around the office every one to two hours
  • Take the stairs and keep walking on the escalator, rather than standing still

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) president Cr Stephen Bali said councils played a key role in supporting community health by providing walking trails, local parks, sports facilities and breaking down barriers to participation.

“No matter what your age, interests or abilities, councils are working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be more active in their day-to-day lives,” he said.

“In fact, there are thousands of parks, paths and sports fields to explore across western Sydney, many with barbecue facilities, walkways, cycle paths, play equipment and dog-off-leash areas.

“If you haven’t been active in a while, Walktober is the perfect time to get out and explore what’s available in your local area – your body will thank you for it.”

Below are some local parks and walking trails to try:

  • Parramatta River Walk – Subiaco Creek Link
  • Terrys Creek Walk – Epping
  • The Foreshore Track – Parramatta
  • Lake Circuit – Lake Parramatta Reserve
  • She-Oak Track – Lake Parramatta Reserve
  • Banksia Track – Lake Parramatta Reserve
  • Parramatta Park – Parramatta
  • Blacktown Showground – Blacktown
  • Nurrangingy Reserve – Doonside
  • Bungarribee – Western Sydney Parklands
  • Bidwill Reserve – Bidwill
  • Alroy Park – Plumpton
  • Endeavour Park – Kings Langley

For more information on facilities in your area, visit your local council website.

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