Sports band together to get Australians moving

by Rugby Australia

Sporting stars and young children equipped with sweat-bands and mega-phones have urged commuters at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station to ditch the escalator and take the stairs.

Commuters at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station have been urged by sporting stars and young children equipped with sweat-bands and mega-phones, to ditch the escalator and take the stairs.

AFL’s North Melbourne star Ben Brown, and Olympic swimming legend Michael Klim were among the sporting stars for the launch. Melbourne Renegades BBL08 Champion Mackenzie Harvey, dual Olympic and Paralympic Table Tennis star Melissa Tapper, Jaryd Clifford (Athletics Paralympian), and Melbourne AFLW player Lily Mithen had an important message to deliver.

Initiated by Sport Australia as part of its ‘Find Your 30’ campaign, the event was in response to new figures showing 65 per cent of Australian adults did not get a healthy amount of physical activity in 2018.

With rising inactivity having a negative impact on our health and waistlines, the Federal Government agency for sport has enlisted the assistance of children, labelled ‘Tiny Trainers’, to persuade adults to move.

Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said the event would encourage people to find their 30 minutes of heartrate-raising activity each day.

“The event is a call to arms from Sport Australia and Australia’s talented athletes to urge all Australians to get moving,” Ms Palmer said.

“Some people struggle to find time to get to the gym or go for a walk, so what we’re aiming to do is highlight that using the stairs instead of the escalator is just one way of integrating physical activity into our lives.”

Data from the AusPlay survey shows that competing priorities and lack of time are among the top barriers to adult sport participation – excuses Sport Australia hopes to cut through with its Tiny Trainers campaign, particularly among parents.

“Parenthood wreaks havoc with routine and often causes physical activity to become deprioritised. Tiny Trainers seeks to flip this mindset and use the pester power of children to persuade parents to move more,” Palmer said.

A sneak peek of the AusPlay data also reveals the level of influence parent’s engagement in sport has on their children.

In 2018, 77 percent of children who had an active parent were themselves physically active in organised sports or physical activity outside of school, compared to 59 per cent with an inactive parent.

Research Translation Manager Heart Foundation and Co-Chair AHKA as Adj Research Fellow at UniSA, Dr Natasha Schranz, explained: “While it’s important all adults stand up and pay attention to the physical, mental, social and environmental benefits of moving, parents should understand that active mums and dads have active children.”

Sport Australia is confident the Tiny Trainers campaign delivers a clear message, by harnessing the energy of children to get adults to prioritise their own physical activity.

“Just 30 minutes of physical activity per day reduces the risk of heart disease by 35 percent, so if Tiny Trainers can encourage Melburnians to take the stairs instead of the escalator today, it’s one easy way of building up to 30 minutes,” Palmer said.

Southern Cross Station was chosen because it is a bustling, high-traffic gateway connecting 1.4 million people every week.

For more information on the Move It AUS campaign and to get tips on how you can ‘Find Your 30’, search online at www.sportaus.gov.au/findyour30/challenge