His research, surveying 120 people in Perth’s Nyoongar community, found they preferred to take part in team sports rather than individual exercise.
‘The peer-reviewed literature suggests that some of the indigenous communities in Australia believe that taking time out to exercise alone was seen as selfish and therefore they didn’t make the effort,’ he said.
‘Other reasons, such as the expensive nature of gym membership, living in remote locations, or limited access to facilities have also emerged as significant barriers to exercise.’
Results were used to develop an exercise program based at leisure centres in Wanneroo Belmont and Southlakes.
Mr Esgin said rates of heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure could be lowered through exercise.
‘These chronic diseases not only impact quality of life, but also the socio-economic status of the community and the recruitment and retention of indigenous employees in workplaces,’ he said.
‘Exercise has been shown to improve physiological and psychological health, but the challenge is getting people to start and then make it an ongoing part of their lifestyle.’