Birkdale woman Dawn Campbell urges Redlanders to walk their way to good health as Heart Foundation figures show two thirds not meeting activity targets

A BIRKDALE woman has urged locals to lace up the walking shoes as figures show two thirds of Redlanders are not active enough.

KEEN WALKER: Dawn Campbell has co-ordinated the Wynnum Manly Heart Foundation Walking Group for 13 years.

KEEN WALKER: Dawn Campbell has co-ordinated the Wynnum Manly Heart Foundation Walking Group for 13 years.

The Heart Foundation statistics showed of the heart disease risk factors, physical inactivity was the most common in Bowman, followed by obesity, which affected 30 per cent of locals, high blood pressure, with 21 per cent, and smoking, with 13.5 per cent.

It comes as the health charity launched its personal walking plans, free six-week programs to help people combat negative impacts of inactivity.

Dawn Campbell has co-ordinated the Wynnum Manly Heart Foundation walking group for 13 years and said walking had brought her physical and mental health benefits.

"Fifteen years ago and recently single, I moved to Manly to be near my daughter," she said.

ONE STEP AT A TIME: Ms Campbell walks 20km a week with her walking group.

ONE STEP AT A TIME: Ms Campbell walks 20km a week with her walking group.

"On her advice, I joined the local Heart Foundation Walking Group, the reasons being physical and, mental wellbeing, weight control, need of friendships.

"As a result of these friendships I've travelled overseas to five different countries and continue to travel within Australia. It's become a big part of my life."

Two years after joining the group, Ms Campbell became the co-ordinator and now organises walks four times a week.

"We try and do our 20 kilometres a week," she said.

"We're medium to fast paced and we do 6km on one of our walks in an hour.

"You can really feel the health and mental benefits from it."

Heart Foundation Group chief executive John Kelly said walking for an average of 30 minutes a day could reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, dementia and some cancers.

It could also help maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.

"That's why we often call walking a wonder drug," Professor Kelly said.

"If it were a medicine, we would all be taking it daily for longer, healthier, happier lives. "

The Heart Foundations Personal Walking Plans have been developed by the organisations experts in physical activity and exercise science, with input from consultants at Exercise and Sports Science Australia.

To get started with a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan, visit Walking.org.au.