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Australians urged to reduce risk factors for stroke National Stroke Week — 14-20 September

It’s a frightening fact: one in six Australians will suffer a stroke within their lifetime.

With National Stroke Week taking place between 14 and 20 September 2015, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has called on Australians of all ages to assess their lifestyle choices and take action to reduce their risk of stroke.

ESSA Chief Executive Officer Anita Hobson-Powell said participating in regular physical activity and making an effort to eat a balanced diet could make a world of difference in improving the overall health of Australians.

“It’s certainly not rocket science; by making some basic lifestyle changes, we can avoid some of the major stroke risk factors including obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, poor diet and low physical activity levels, reducing our risk of stroke and numerous other conditions,” Ms Hobson-Powell said.

“With Australians becoming increasingly more time-poor, it can sometimes be challenge to find time to fit structured exercise sessions into the day, so it pays to look at other ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.”

Ms Hobson-Powell provided the following tips for getting active over the course of day, without having to find a spare hour to hit the gym.

  • Talk and walk — When making work calls or checking in on the grandparents, be sure to use a cordless phone or your mobile. This will allow you to go for a walk while chatting, and get the blood pumping.
  • Bust a move — Crank some upbeat tunes while cooking dinner and dance to your heart’s content! Not only will it make the cooking process a whole lot more fun, your impromptu dance-a-thon will burn some serious calories. Whether it’s David Guetta or Elvis, select a play list to get those feet tapping.
  • Ditch the desk —If you’re an office worker that stares at a computer screen all day, don’t fall into the trap of eating lunch at your desk. Use your allocated lunch break to get outside and go for a walk around the block.
  • Go for a spin — If you live relatively close to your workplace, consider dusting off the bicycle and riding to work. This may work out quicker than taking the bus or train as you won’t have any stops along the way.
  • Schedule a date with mates — Next time you plan to catch up with friends, skip the after-work drinks or movie night and sign up for a group yoga session or bushwalk. You’ll still have the quality bonding time with the added bonus of enhancing your fitness level.
  • Tune in and tone up — Can’t miss the next episode of MasterChef? Indulge your inner TV-addict while you squeeze in a workout on the treadmill, lift some weights or going for a walk about the block. TV time doesn’t have to be sedentary time.

To get in touch with an accredited exercise physiologist who can create a customised exercise program for you and your family or to find out more tips for incorporating physical activity into your day, please visit

Fast facts*

  1. 1 in 6 Australians will suffer a stroke in their lifetime.
  2. Close to 440,000 Australians are currently living with the effects of a stroke. This number is expected to jump to over 700,000 by 2032**.
  3. The total financial costs of stroke in Australia in 2012 were estimated at $5 billion**.
  4. More women die from stroke than breast cancer***.
  5. More men die from stroke than prostate cancer***.



* Sources:

1. World Stroke Organisation,; Stroke Foundation, Facts and figures about stroke, 2015,

2 and 3. Deloitte Access Economics, The economic impact of stroke in Australia, 2013; Stroke Foundation, Facts and figures about stroke, 2015,

4 and 5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia’s Health 2012, 2012; Stroke Foundation, Facts and figures about stroke, 2015,