It’s been a day for exercise. Or at least, announcements about ways to lure us to get us out and moving.
We had a sneak peak at the new Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre, due to open at the end of the month. It’s a $31 million edifice of glistening tiles, sparkling water and rows of exercise bikes.
Then there was a $2.51 million funding pledge from the Nationals for a new bike/hike trail between Murchison and Heathcote, with an onwards link to Bendigo using the O’Keefe Rail Trail.
The project, in chunks, allows for a short ride or an epic trek - depending on what takes your exercise fancy. The publicity blurb says it will attract about 34,000 visitors yearly and create 17 full time jobs.
The current reality is that too few people exercise post their school years. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey’s first edition, released in 2014/15, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of Australian adults 18 years and older were overweight or obese and that roughly the same figure (65 per cent) of Australians 15 years or older do very little or no exercise at all. It is doubtful these statistics have changed dramatically in the past few years.
Read more: Final touches applied to wellbeing centre
The question is, how do we change that?
On a fine spring weekend day you’d expect to see lots of people walking, or boating, around Crusoe Reservoir, in Kangaroo Flat. Yet last Saturday apart from a few paddleboarders, walkers and a hopeful fisherman or two it was largely deserted.
Same for the Goldfields Track hiking path on Mount Alexander. It’s normal to see only a handful of people on the mountain – even in beautiful weather. It’s a shame.
But wait, there’s hope. The next generation seems more sports inclined. The shortage of playing fields in Bendigo – a shortage caused by more children taking up sports – and talk of additional netball teams being formed in the city to cope with the demand, is encouraging.
Let’s hope more adults catch the sporting bug from their children. Let’s also hope the same kids keep the exercise bug while tackling final exams, the workforce and life.
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