By Chris Williams

It has long been established that, along with diet, physical activity is a vital ingredient in maintaining a healthy body.

While some effects of regular physical activity may be obvious such as maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI), exercise also provides many, less tangible benefits to your physical wellbeing.

Appropriate levels of physical activity can improve mental health, assist in increasing energy levels, and allow for more restful sleep. It can also help us to set simple goals for improvement, teach communication skills and provide participants with an outlet for stress.

However a recent AusPlay report released by the Federal Government points to some disturbing facts on the decline of our once great Australian sporting culture.

In particular, only 2 per cent of children were found to be active at least once a day outside of school hours and only 19 per cent exercised three or more times a week.

Adults weren’t much better in setting an example, with only 59 per cent fitting in activity three or more times a week. As a lot of us time-poor professionals would be aware, only 23 per cent of adults were active at least one day per week.

Tasmania now has the unwanted tag of being the fattest state in Australia, overtaking Queensland late last year.

Tasmania already has high rates of chronic health conditions yet we are in real danger of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, asthma, cancer as well as cardio and respiratory conditions becoming even more prevalent, brought on by our lack of physical activity.

To improve the health outcomes of all Tasmanians, we must take preventive health measures such as physical activity seriously, and turn the health of our great state around.

St.LukesHealth believes it is vital we encourage children to participate in physical activity from an early age, while also setting a healthy example ourselves.

The report mentions the most common factors contributing to a lack of activity include being time poor, organised sport having a lack of volunteers and costs impacting on participation.

It was also noted parents of children 8-years to 14 years-old had a false perception that their children were too young to start participating in organised sport.

We also shouldn’t restrict children into any particular activity; there are a variety of activities beyond the football codes and cricket. Improving participation in sport could include other activities such as basketball, skating, golf, cycling, tennis, or joining the local weekly fun run.

Some children may also extend themselves into artistic endeavours such as music, dance or acting. Not always strictly sporting activities, but still important in building values and teaching healthy habits.

Physical activity helps children build relationships and connections into our community – making them more resilient as adults.

To celebrate the opening of our new customer care centre in Kingston and to help contribute to the local community, St.LukesHealth recently offered local sporting groups, clubs and individuals in the Kingborough and Huon Valley regions an opportunity to apply for grants of up to $500.00.

Those interested simply need to contact for more information.

These grants were designed to assist in covering registration fees, uniforms or equipment all of which allowed for improved participation.