Wollongong University Recreation and Aquatic Centre (URAC) is getting involved in Heart Week with programs to increase awareness in the Illawarra.
The national initiative kicked off on the 6th May. Sharyn Cahill from URAC says Heart Week is about making people aware of the condition of their heart. This year’s theme is Warning Signs.
“We have some healthy activities running throughout the week. This morning, for example, we had the Heart Walk. It went for about an hour and then we had a healthy breakfast and people donated money to the Heart Foundation,” she explains.
There was a good turnout at the Heart Walk with people saying that they want to do it more often. This type of awareness is important, as heart disease is the most common cause of death in Australia.
Heart attacks kill around 10,000 Australians a year – the equivalent of one person every 53 minutes. The National Heart Foundation encourages all people to learn about the early warning signs of a heart attack in order to prevent lasting damage.
New research by the foundation shows that less than one in ten Australians recognise important heart attack warning signs like jaw, neck and back pain.
Tony Thirlwell, Heart Foundation CEO, NSW says symptoms are not always sudden or severe, and the warning signs are not what people think.
“We’re calling on all Australians to learn the warning signs of heart attack during Heart Week at heartattackfacts.org.au,” he said. “Sadly, more than 50% of people who die of a heart attack don’t make it to hospital so it’s vital to act quickly by calling Triple Zero (000).”
In addition to the Heart Walk, URAC has other initiatives running throughout the week. “We also have a healthy heart gym program that people can pick up for free,” Sharyn said.
On Friday the 11th URAC members can bring a friend to the gym for free, to encourage living for a healthy heart.
Words by: KRISTINE TARBERT
Photos by: COREY TASKER