Four Sydney Swans players, including captain Josh Kennedy, have battled it out against four everyday Australians as part of a health and fitness challenge from not-for-profit health fund, HCF.

The HCF Swans Jobs Challenges saw seven days of health data from Swans players Kennedy, Kieren Jack, Dan Hannebery and Luke Parker compared against data from four everyday Aussies. The results were analysed for speed, heart rate, distance travelled, recovery and nutrition by the Sydney Swans professional support team.

The four Aussies performed surprisingly well against full-time athletes, with both parties showing a similar resting heart rate of 49-52bpm, well below the Australian average of roughly 75bpm.  

Dean Gladstone (38), a lifeguard from Bondi, had double the amount of REM sleep as Dan Hannebery during the analysis period and also had an impressively low resting heart rate of 49bpm – both functions that are critically important for managing the high stress of their jobs.

The Swans took around 40% more steps daily as an average compared with the everyday Aussies which is expected. However, a school sport afternoon for primary school teacher Rohan seemed comparable with a training day for Kieren Jack, both taking around 17,000 steps.

28-year-old bicycle courier from Newtown, Jorja Creighton, was neck and neck with Josh Kennedy throughout, with her highest time spent active in one-day, 192 minutes, topping Kennedy’s 177 minutes. Kennedy did pip Jorja to the post when training was factored in – completing up to 330mins of activity in one day!

Michael Rennie, Sydney Swans Conditioning Assistant, said: “While the players normally took around 40% more steps than our participants per day, it was impressive to see that Rohan and Jorja matched our players on the days they were most physically active. The general advice for healthy Australians is to aim for 10,000 steps per day to aid in good health, which can be achieved through a combination of structured and incidental activity, just like our participants.”

Elise Cameron, Sydney Swans dietician: “It was interesting to see that Luke’s highest intake of energy was matched to his highest day of energy output. By contrast, James’ highest intake day corresponded with his lowest day of activity, which also happened to be the weekend. I think this is true for most everyday Australians, we tend to be in a good routine during the week with activity and intake and then relax eating habits on the weekends and get more incidental rather than structured activity.”

Jenny Williams, HCF CMO comments: “The purpose of the HCF Swans Jobs Challenge is to empower Australians to appreciate their health and wellbeing whether they’re elite athletes like the Sydney Swans or one of the more than 1.5 million everyday Australians using our services. It was interesting to see that the four Aussie workers could match the Swans on a variety of challenges, demonstrating that health and fitness isn’t just for professionals – sleep, everyday exercise and healthy diets are something that people of all abilities can strive for.”

Not-for-profit health fund, HCF is now in its fourth year of partnership with the Sydney Swans and created the content series to start a conversation about health at all levels and ultimately create a healthier future for all Australians.