The City of Melbourne together with the Victorian Government and VicHealth is doing lots to encourage a healthy lifestyle in Melbourne. There are free exercise programs and fun fitness events throughout the year for more than 350,000 people who work in the city. Now in partnership with Heart Foundation Victoria, the Bourke Street stairs at Southern Cross Station have been transformed into a scenic garden public art display to motivate commuters to ditch the escalator and take the stairs.
Bourke Street stairs at Southern Cross Station / Photo courtesy of City of Melbourne
All the effort by the authorities is to improve the health of the Melbourne community through increased activity and healthier eating. Research shows that more than half of Australian adults are not active enough, contributing to cancer, cardiovascular disease, type-two diabetes as well as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Victorian Health Minister David Davis shared that the Victorian Coalition Government is committed to working with the community to help promote healthier lifestyles and tackle preventable diseases such as heart disease.
Melbourne already offers many options for daily exercise like public spaces, parks and pools. But I have to agree with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle that most of us struggle to find time to get to gym or go for a walk or run. The most effective way to positively change our routines is to make the transition easy and enjoyable. So here are some simple and possibly obvious, interesting and fun ways to stay healthy and active in Melbourne, that may even make your some new friends.
1. Talk a short 10 minutes walk around the block when you wake up in the morning and when you return from work.
2. Add grated apple, sliced peaches or a handful of berries to your cereal
11. Go for a stroll with the family or friends at a farmer's market around Melbourne or join one of the free market tours at the Queen Victoria Market and grab some fresh seasonal produce at the same time.
12. Deliver messages to colleagues in the same office in person instead of emailing.
13. Do some sit ups and lunges during television advertisements.
14. Walk or cycle to do your grocery shopping at the supermarket instead of driving.
15. Take the stairs for a couple of floors instead of the elevator or escalator.
A count of the stair users was taken on Thursday 26 June before the artwork was installed and on Thursday 24 July once it was in place. Another count will take place next week and at the end of the project.
There was an increase of 32% off peak (3-4.30pm) and 169% at peak time (5-6.30pm) with the artwork in place.