As the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia decreases, it’s time to remind ourselves of the chronic diseases that continue to be the biggest killers in Australia year after year. In today’s blog, Longevity Exercise Physiology discusses the leading causes of death in Australia and what you can do to prevent these diseases.

The top 5 leading causes of death in Australia*:

  1. Coronary Heart Disease
  2. Dementia and Alzheimer disease
  3. Cerebrovascular disease (includes stroke)
  4. Lung cancer
  5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

These leading causes of death are most commonly seen from age 45 onwards.

Alarmingly, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between the age of 15 and 44.

Let’s take a closer look at Number 1…

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) affects the blood flow of the coronary arteries around the heart which supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. CHD is typically caused by fatty deposit build up in the vessels.

Exercise WORKS!

Exercise is one of the most effective preventative and treatment measures for people with chronic diseases. Whether it is a mental health condition, COPD, Dementia, Arthritis…the list goes on; exercise has been proven to improve the quality of life and alleviate symptoms in those living with these conditions.

Take CHD for example, regular low to moderate-intensity exercise for people with CHD prevents the blood vessels narrowing further, prevents blood clotting and increases delivery of blood to the heart. These changes reduce the load on the heart at rest and during exercise, which helps to reduce the symptoms of CHD. Regular exercise also helps to reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase the HDL (good cholesterol).

How much exercise?

The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity OR 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic activity AND 2 resistance training sessions per week.

Aerobic activity can consist of walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics classes, etc. Whereas resistance training consists of exercises causing muscles to contract against external resistance. This can be anything from lifting your own body weight, free weights, machine weights, etc.

As gyms are set to re-open on the 13th of June, now is the time to put your health at the forefront of your life and start meeting the physical activity guidelines. It’s also time to think about how you can reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. Meeting the physical activity guidelines is one thing, but you can still live a sedentary lifestyle if you don’t break up sitting time. A sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity are two of the biggest risk factors for chronic disease. They are also two of the biggest modifiable factors for preventing chronic disease!

Watch the video below for tips on how to reduce a sedentary lifestyle and why getting back to the gym and building a routine again is so important,.

Longevity Exercise Physiology can help. We are a team of Accredited Exercise Physiologists who are experts in prescribing exercise for Australia’s leading causes of death. Ask us your questions today on 1300 964 002.


Written by Courtney Maher