Health mis­take of 9m Aussies

Fit­ness guru Michelle Bridges is on board to get the na­tion up and mov­ing

Central Queensland News - - READ - BY Letea Ca­van­der

ARE you one of more than nine mil­lion Aus­tralians not do­ing any phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity? And of those mil­lions of in­ac­tive Aus­tralians, re­search con­ducted by Med­ibank also shows 51% of those peo­ple have not ex­er­cised in the past three months.

In re­sponse, the health fund has com­mit­ted to mak­ing free so­cial ac­tiv­ity ac­ces­si­ble to 1.5 mil­lion Aus­tralians by 2022.

Health guru Michelle Bridges, who has signed on as am­bas­sador for the Free and Ac­tive project, said she was sad­dened by the re­search find­ings.

“In a way I am shocked,” the 46-year-old said.

“It makes me sad.

“I see the other side of it. I see peo­ple get a bit of ac­tiv­ity in their life and sud­denly their view of life changes.

“I watch it all the time, men and women are chang­ing their life through ex­er­cise.”

Bridges be­gan her ca­reer in fit­ness train­ing as an 18-year-old and has cre­ated a health em­pire in fit­ness cloth­ing, train­ing pro­grams, books and reg­u­lar media ap­pear­ances.

‘‘ I see the other side of it. I see peo­ple get a bit of ac­tiv­ity in their life and sud­denly their view of life changes. I watch it all the time, men and women are chang­ing their life through ex­er­cise.

She also jug­gles a hec­tic home life with Steve “The Com­mando” Wil­lis.

The cou­ple met on the set of tele­vi­sion show The Big­gest Loser, where they were both train­ers.

Bridges’ and Wil­lis’ son, Axel, is one year old and Wil­lis also has three chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage.

The fit­ness trainer said she un­der­stood how busy mums were and for­ward plan­ning was the key to start­ing and con­tin­u­ing an ex­er­cise reg­i­men.

“You’re ac­tu­ally look­ing af­ter your­self (by ex­er­cis­ing),” she said.

“Every­one is get­ting the best ver­sion of you.

“You’re look­ing af­ter your­self, the ben­e­fits are in­cred­i­ble and the men­tal ben­e­fits of it are amaz­ing.”

She said the first part of the Med­ibank health project will roll out 40 more parkruns across the coun­try, start­ing in Vic­to­ria.

The first Queens­land parkrun of the project will start in Red­cliffe, north of Bris­bane.

Parkruns are free, fam­ily-friendly 5km timed cour­ses done at the same time weekly. Par­tic­i­pants can run, walk or push a pram around the cour­ses.

The health fund’s re­search also found that two in ev­ery three Aus­tralians ex­pe­ri­ence so­cial iso­la­tion and Bridges said the reg­u­lar­ity of the parkruns meant it was eas­ier to make con­nec­tions and friend­ships in the com­mu­nity.

“Same bat time, same bat chan­nel is an­other im­por­tant as­pect,” she said. “It en­cour­ages peo­ple into a habit or groove.

“You can meet like-minded peo­ple, it en­cour­ages you in a pos­i­tive way ... it re­ally reaches out to our com­mu­ni­ties.”

The project will also of­fer a num­ber of men­tal health pro­grams, along with ex­er­cise. To reg­is­ter in­ter­est for a Free and Ac­tive event in your lo­cal com­mu­nity visit www.med­ibank.com.au/free­an­dac­tive.

PHO­TOS: FILE/CHAN­NEL 10

◗ Top, from left, ‘Com­mando’ Steve Wil­lis, Michelle Bridges and Shan­nan Pon­ton on the set of The Big­gest Loser; and bot­tom left, Bridges is the am­bas­sador for the Free and Ac­tive cam­paign.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.