Mum’s massive weight loss all down to walking
For mother-of-three Kerri Heiner, the obesity problem in her family ends with her.
Reaching 183kg late last year gave her the shock needed to realise something had to change.
Pregnant with her third child, the 29-year-old Caboolture mum was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease, a form of hypothyroidism.
"I put on 40kg between my second and third pregnancies," Mrs Heiner said.
"When you're overweight you don't weigh yourself. I wasn't aware of how much I'd put on until I stepped on the scales at the hospital during one of my pregnancy appointments."
With a history of debilitating post-natal depression (PND), Mrs Heiner feared not only for her physical health but also her mental wellbeing.
Adaline was born in May and five weeks later, the determined mum took up walking.
"I just started picking the kids up from school by walking from our house to get them - about 3km," she said.
"It was really hard to start with, it would take 30 to 40 minutes to get there."
Mrs Heiner can now walk 10km in 1.5 hours, her resting heart rate has dropped from 80bpm to 59bpm and she is 48kg from reaching her goal of weighing less than 100kg before turning 30 in August.
"I think something just clicked in my brain," she said. "Getting under 150kg has been pretty amazing in my mind."
She credits not getting PND for a third time to walking and is determined to keep her two daughters from having weight issues like most women in her family.
"I'm feeling great, I haven't been down, I just feel happy," She said. "Walking gives me more time to think things through.
"I have two girls now and I don't want them to ever be in my position. I'm trying to break that mould."
Toll of inaction
Heart disease kills 48 Australians each day - that's a loved one dying every 30 minutes - making it the nation's number one killer.
An inactive lifestyle increases your risk of heart disease by 25-30 per cent and cuts two to five years from your life.
Most of us can change this simply by adding activity in every day, in fact, 15 minutes a day will reduce the risk for nine out of 10 Australians.
Walking for 30 minutes each day can lower your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease by one-third.
According to University of South Australia research fellow Dr Dorothea Dumuid (pictured right), incorporating these 30 minutes into each day requires planning.
The mum of four's research on building your best day for cardiovascular health looks at the healthiest way to spend time across daily activities such as sleeping, screen time and exercise.
"A 2018 national survey (by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) found four in 10 Australians said the reason they didn't do sport of recreational physical activities was because they didn't have enough time and too many commitments as an adult," Dr Dumuid said.
"It's quite easy to get motivated to change but it's hard to maintain that lifestyle change. It's hard to make the changes part of a routine, so it's really important to build routine into the day.
"Not having enough activity is modifiable and something people can work on. You have to make that conscious decision, kind of like doing a budget or making a plan. You only have a finite amount (of time) in the day so making a plan around how to use that time will help.
"Just start with what you can manage. Even small amounts make a difference. Just going from none to 10 minutes is huge, that is 10 minutes at moderate intensity where you're exercising so you're puffing a little and can still talk."
She said it's important to remember you don't need to clock up your 30 minutes in one go.
"Walking fast, doing stairs, you don't have to get your activity all in one big output," Dr Dumuid said. "Evidence is that if you accumulate activity in smaller bouts, it's going to benefit you. A little bit is better than nothing.
"Things like running to the letterbox instead of walking, just getting your heart rate up even if it seems like a small amount."
This month (November), the Heart Foundation is calling on all Australians to #showsometicker and walk their way to better health.
The Foundation has operated Australia's largest free walking program for more than 23 years and it continues to grow in popularity as more people realise the benefits of joining.
With more than 1100 free walking groups nationwide happening at various times, days and durations and with more groups starting every month, it's easy to stay active and be part of your local community.