Get up, get moving!

Dec 26 2012

Researchers at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute are expanding a trial program aimed at increasing the levels of physical activity of sedentary people.

The team will assess the impact of personalised coaching from an exercise specialist on the physical activity levels of people currently not meeting national recommended weekly exercise requirements.

“The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians say weshould aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most, if not all days,” researcher, Dr Ben Ewald, said.

“We know that regular physical activity can help treat or prevent heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure; reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes and some cancers; helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints and promotes psychological well-being.

“Our participants wear a movement recorder when they begin the program so that we can understand their physical activity levels.  They then participate in either counselling sessions with an exercise specialist over three months, or receive written materials, after which we take a second reading on the movement recorder.  At 12 months we follow-up again with another movement recorder reading to see if the physical activity levels have improved.”

The trial has been running this year through 27 general practices throughout Newcastle, and is now open for more practices to join.  The project, funded through a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, is free and accessible through participating GP surgeries.

GPs interested in providing their patients with this service can contact the GP liaison officer, Ms Angie Booth, on 4042 0656 from 7 January 2013 or

HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.