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New Australian poll shows 61% list lack of time as main barrier to exercise

14th February 2019 - Cancer prevention Community events

The March Charge is an easy way to up physical activity and reduce cancer risk

A Cancer Council poll has found that an overwhelming 61% of those surveyed feel that a lack of time is the main thing preventing them from exercising. In light of this, the charity is calling on people across the country to take part in their fitness challenge, The March Charge, by making small lifestyle changes.

The poll also found that 13% blamed the cost of gyms for not working out, and 14% said that they weren’t exercising because sweating, sore muscles and blisters made them feel uncomfortable.

The recommended amount of moderate physical activity per week for general health is 150-300 minutes. Being physically active can help reduce the risk of bowel cancer, breast cancer (after menopause) and endometrium cancers, however, over 40% of NSW adults are not sufficiently active[1].

Wendy Watson, Nutrition Program Manager at Cancer Council NSW said: “These results are alarming, as we know that over 1,800 cases of cancer in Australia could be prevented each year simply by increasing the amount of exercise you do to meet recommendations. For those who have had cancer, being physically active can reduce the risk of some cancers coming back.

“Despite the poll showing that people don’t have time to exercise and are concerned about the cost of working out in a gym, these don’t need to be barriers to exercise. The March Charge is about finding ways to up the physical activity in your daily routine and developing new healthy habits. Could you go for a quick run or walk at lunch time, hop off the bus or train a few stops earlier or swap it out altogether? If you have a few minutes to spare, take a walk around the block! Just set a goal for the month of March, and off you go!”

By registering to take part in The March Charge and fundraising for Cancer Council, not only will you reduce your cancer risk, you will also be supporting Cancer Council’s lifesaving cancer research, vital information and support services and cancer prevention programs.

Head online and sign up to be a Charger at

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Social media:

Facebook – March Charge

Instagram – @themarchcharge

Twitter – @themarchcharge

Youtube – The March Charge

Notes to editors:

  • Cancer Council NSW polled a sample of 437 adults based in NSW as part of an online survey.
  • The March Charge is a fitness challenge that asks people to set a walking or running target to complete in the month of March and fundraise for Cancer Council.
  • The March Charge provides an opportunity for everyone, no matter what their fitness level, to get healthy and contribute to a cancer-free future.
  • Money raised from Cancer Council’s The March Charge helps fund world-class cancer research, prevention and advocacy programs, and support services to help those affected by cancer at every part of their journey.

Recommendations for participants of The March Charge:


We recommend if you’re starting out to aim for 10KM per week – so set your goal at 40KM (x4 weeks). If you’re a regular walker – aim high, 40KM per week – so set your goal at 160KM (x4 weeks).


We recommend if you’re starting out to aim for something low like 5KM per week – so set your goal at 20KM (x4 weeks). If you’re an advance runner – aim high, 25KM per week – so set your goal at 100KM (x4 weeks).

These are only guidelines and will not be displayed anywhere on your fundraising page, so choose the option closest to your level of ability or just a bit above to challenge yourself.

[1] HealthStats NSW 2017 results – 41.6% of adults aged 16 years and over undertook insufficient levels of physical activity

Cancer prevention Community events