Winter wellness: The importance of looking after health and fitness

By | August 12, 2019

In 2017 a quarter of people self-reported being obese in the Western Local Health District and in 2018 obesity was rated as a serious health concern by 28 per cent of participants in a Western NSW survey.

In 2017 the leading cause of death was coronary heart disease accounting for 11.6 per cent of deaths Australia wide. These results were mirrored in Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo where chronic heart disease was found as the leading cause of death in the latest report from the National Mortality Data Base.

Health experts such as Dubbo-based Marathon Health diabetes educator Anna Blackie stress the importance of maintaining good health.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with type two diabetes. And indeed the leading cause of death for all Australians;” Ms Blackie said.

“Being physically active and following a healthy eating plan is essential for the management and prevention of chronic disease- we are committed to working with communities to create better futures.”

In 2017, 53 per cent of adults in Western NSW self-reported insufficient physical activity. This rate was the highest of any NSW PHNs and 27 per cent higher than any other area in NSW.

Daniel Pollard of CityFit in Bathurst said the higher obesity and inactivity rates in the Central West are of concern.

“It’s not due to a lack of facilities, it’s due to lifestyle. People are finding it harder to make time for themselves in this day and age, people are time poor,” he said.

“Being physically active and following a healthy eating plan is essential for the management and prevention of chronic disease- we are committed to working with communities to create better futures.”

Anna Blackie, Marathon Health.

The experienced group fitness manager said setting time aside to prioritise movement and fitness is important.

“The hardest thing is getting started, it’s confronting for some, particularly if you’re new to a gym environment,” Mr Pollard said.

“Make time for yourself, the most critical thing is to get up and get moving, it becomes addictive.”

Orange-based community relationships coordinator for the Cancer Council Nicola Taylor said the exercise does not have to be high intensity or running marathons, just moving makes a different.

“Be physically active at a moderate intensity (causing a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate) for at least 30 minutes on most , if not every day of the week, you can achieve this by doing three (sessions) 10 minutes a day if you can’t manage a 30 minute block of exercise,” she said.

The Cancer Council spokesperson said by maintaining a healthy body weight Central Western residents can reduce the risk of at least one-third of cancers.

“Obesity is a risk factor for 11 types of cancer, including post-menopausal breast, bowel, kidney, endrometrial, gallbladder and pancreatic cancers,” Ms Taylor said.




No fats, no carbs, exercise moderately, exercise to a high intensity: there are a lot of messages in the world of wellness, fitness and health.

So many messages, in fact, that it can be confusing.

Many don’t know where to turn.

But if you ask health and fitness experts, they will tell you to keep it simple and ensure you’re receiving reliable information.

Bathurst’s CityFit group fitness manager Daniel Pollard said any movement is better than no movement, so don’t overthink it.

“Just make a start on your fitness and don’t over-complicate it,” he said.

By tailoring a program, Mr Pollard said people are more inclined to look after their fitness and more likely to exercise on a regular basis.

“Look at wearable technology: it’s a small investment and anything you can wear makes you accountable for your steps and active minutes,” he said.

“Any movement is better than no movement. Just make a start.”

Nicola Taylor, Orange-based community relationships co-ordinator at Cancer Council Western NSW, said people need to be aware of where their health and fitness information is coming from.

“Ensure you are accessing reliable sources of information backed by health professionals,” she said.

Ms Taylor is advising people to make sure they are aiming for goals that are maintainable.

“Make your goals achievable and realistic. Make small changes to your diet and physical activity habits that you can maintain for a lifetime,” she said.

Mr Pollard said if he could give the communities in the Central West one message, it would be to get moving.

“Get up off the lounge and get moving – go to the gym, go walking, play a team sport. Don’t over-complicate things,” he said.

Ms Taylor said the Cancer Council is committed to helping Central Western communities feel their best, and has considered that one in five children are obese, according to statistics.

“Cancer Council NSW empowers Australians to reduce their cancer risk. Our Healthy Lunchbox website, for example, is an interactive tool for parents to use with their children to plan and pack a healthy lunchbox,” she said.

“The website is a one-stop shop and shows parents how easy it can be to add more fruit and veg and pack a healthy lunchbox that kids will love to eat.”




Gosling Creek Reserve: Walk or ride along Forest Road from the heart of the city and enjoy the path to Gosling Creek Reserve. The beautiful reserve has a variety of native vegetation, wetlands and much more.

Tracker Riley Cycleway: This is a 12.5 kilometre path. This beautiful walkway takes you past the Dundullimall Homestead and Taronga Western Plains.

Abercrombie Caves: A huge system of caves which is only an hour’s drive from Bathurst. The Caves is a great day trip to see and discover beautiful waterfalls, bushwalking and hiking trails.


Mount Canobolas: Enjoy a hike up Mount Canobolas, an ancient volcano which stands 1395 metres above sea level. This is the highest peak between the Blue Mountains and the Indian Ocean.

Mount Panorama: Have you ever considered swapping your wheels for your legs and working up a sweat around Mount Panorama? Do as the locals do and take a stroll!

Dubbo City Heritage Walk: Grab a map from the Information Centre and take a walk around town having a look around town and learning as you go.


Orange: Cycling can be relaxing or for those who want to challenge themselves cycle up Mount Canobolas or the Pinnacle.

Dubbo: There’s more than 8.3km of off road cycle-paths and flat country roads within close proximity to surrounding towns. Download a map at

Bathurst: Check out Wallaby Rocks at Turon River near Sofala, this is a top spot for swimming, fishing and mountain biking on the eight kilometre trail.

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Western Advocate – Health