On Monday 4 September 2023, Federal Member of Parliament Helen Haines launched AUSactive’s Fit for Office Campaign at Parliament House in Canberra alongside Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Ms Allegra Spender, Senator David Pocock, Hon Dr Andrew Leigh, Hon Melissa McIntosh and Senator Dorinda Cox.
Fit for Office is a four -week, friendly competition that will run from 25th September to 22nd October 2023 between Federal politicians and their staff to see who can be the most physically active. The aim of the challenge is for politicians to act as role models, and encourage Australians to be move more often and to tackle our inactivity and health crisis.
The politicians at the launch, were clearly invested in the benefits of physical activity, which is very positive for us as an industry because they recognise the benefits that our members delivering to the community as group fitness instructors, personal trainers, tai chi, pilates, yoga and aqua instructors. Amongst the many positive comments made at the launch, Allegra Spender said that exercise was good for her mental health, Anne Ruston mentioned the preventative health benefits of exercise and Dr Andrew Leigh urged that through this campaign, we need to get more people moving.
Why is challenge important for AUSactive and its members?
This challenge is important for AUSactive and its members because it will inspire all Australians to be more physically active and spark the conversation about the importance of exercise.
This strongly aligns with the mission and purpose of AUSactive and its members who are striving to get all Australians to live an active, healthy life, which will improve outcomes in preventative health.
We currently have over 8 million Australians aged over 15 engaging in activities including exercise, fitness, yoga, Pilates and aqua each year, and through campaigns like this, we anticipate that we will see this figure increase. Inactive Australians starting physical activity will have the tendency to utilise a gym and/or use the services of a Personal Trainer, Pilates Teacher or Yoga Instructor.
This will mean that our qualified and accredited members can help even more Australians benefit from the significant physical and mental advantages of being active.
Increased awareness and discussion at the national political level of the importance of exercise and physical activity will assist with the development of a national physical activity strategy, a better understanding of the role of exercise and preventative health and a possible public health campaign.
How is the challenge scored?
Throughout the challenge, politicians and their staff will be provided with a Myzone heart rate monitor to log their physical activity and will be able to follow a live leaderboard to monitor their progress against each other.
In November, the winners will be awarded for the most active MP, the most active staff member, the office staff with the highest points and most office staff participants to reach the World Health Organisation Guidelines for Physical Activity- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity) per week.
Myzone has developed a unique measurement called “MYZONE Effort Points” (MEPs) that uses heart rate data to quantify physical activity based on each person’s effort. The more effort you put in, the more MEPs per minute you earn. This “levels the playing field” in ways that simply steps, distance, or minutes cannot which is most inclusive. All activity will count!
How can members get involved?
From 25th September to 22nd October, use your Myzone (or alternative) tracking device to show that you have reached World Health Organisation Guidelines for Physical Activity – 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity) per week, and where possible, 2 or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities. Make sure you share your workouts on social media with #fitforoffice and tag your local Federal Politician!
You can find your local Federal Member:
Or write to your local Federal Member directly and ask them to participate in the campaign! You can use this template letter: https://ausactive.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Fit-For-Office-Form-Letter.docx
So far, we have 15 Federal politicians and 100 of their staff participating in the Fit for Office campaign:
- Senator David Pocock – former Wallabies Captain and the first Independent Senator for the ACT
- Hon Dr Andrew Leigh – Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury – Member for Fenner (SA)
- Senator the Hon Anne Ruston – Shadow Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport and Member for Renmark (SA)
- Senator Malarndirri McCarthy – Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health (NT)
- Senator Tammy Tyrrell – Senator for Tasmania
- Kristy McBain – Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories and Member for Eden Monaro (NSW)
- Melissa McIntosh – Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and and Federal Member for Lindsay (NSW)
- Angie Bell – Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Shadow Minister for Youth and Member for Moncrieff
- Dr Sophie Scamps – Member for Mackellar (NSW)
- Allegra Spender – Member for Wentworth (NSW)
- Dr Helen Haines – Independent Member for Indi (Vic)
- Fiona Phillips – Member for Gilmore (NSW)
- Rebekha Sharkie – Federal Member for Mayo (SA)
- Dr Zoe Daniel- Independent Member for Goldstein (Vic)
- Zali Steggall- Independent Member for Warringah (NSW)