AUSactive applauds the Victorian Government for removing the requirement for mask wearing in gyms.

AUSactive applauds the Victorian Government for removing the requirement for mask wearing in gyms from midnight this Friday; obstacles preventing Victorians from being able to return to gyms has been problematic for both gym goers and gym managers. 

Recent research by Deakin University commissioned by AUSactive identified prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, 51% of exercise-based energy expenditure by Australians over the age of fifteen came from physical activity in fitness centres and via personal trainers, 29% came via sporting activities, and 20% via other types of exercise.

After recreational walking, fitness centre-based exercise – including yoga, Pilates and strength and conditioning, – was the second most popular choice for over half of all adult Australians.  More than cycling, surfing, swimming to name but a few. 

The Research showed the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 resulted in a 60% decline in national exercise levels due to lockdowns and the consequent lack of access to fitness centres and studios.  

As is now well recognised by experts in the field, a lack of exercise is not only detrimental to our physical health but also our mental wellbeing; again a situation exacerbated by COVID and the associated lockdowns. 

AUSactive also gives two cheers for the Government’s Get Active Kids Voucher program. We believe any incentive that encourages exercise and physical activity participation by the younger generation is not only worthwhile but vital for their long-term health.  

However, to be worthy of three cheers the program should not be limited to organised sport but rather empowering the target group to self-select what their preferred physical activity is. 

Finally, if the Victorian Government wants to achieve a standing ovation on top of three cheers, it should widen the exercise and physical activity program to all Victorians so families can exercise together, socialize with friends, their neighbours and generally reconnect with their community. 

During the research mentioned above, AUSactive also looked at the economic modeling of getting people active and it found 44% of Australians would consider beginning an exercise program if an incentive voucher was available.  

Such an extension of the Get Active Kids for all Victorians would have a return on investment to the Victorian Government of more than $3 for every dollar spent through savings to the Health Budget and the hip pocket of Victorian taxpayers. 

Healthier Victorians and healthier finances; now that’s a reason to cheer.