Most of us are well aware of the health benefits of healthy eating and regular exercise, however between juggling family, work and social commitments, it can make it seem near impossible to find the time to squeeze in that extra bit of ‘me’ time to care for ourselves through regular, enjoyable movement.
The benefits of regular physical activity are far-reaching and can positively affect many areas of our lives, not just our physical and mental wellbeing. Did you know that the fitter you are the lower your risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease1 and Diabetes? And if you already have these conditions, a higher level of fitness improves your chances of better managing your condition! Exercise is the single most effective preventative health measure- exercise really is the best medicine!
Can’t afford a gym membership? Find going for a walk boring? Or are just not sure what kind of exercise to do to help you manage your health condition or injury?
Well, herein lies the key message – exercise does not have to mean slogging it out in the gym for hours, nor does it have to mean talking yourself into getting up at 5am every morning in the middle of winter to go for a walk (with the risk of frost-bite a glaring possibility!). That’s not to say these forms of exercise are not good options- if these are what you enjoy doing then I say go for it!
Maybe, though, it’s time we changed our perception of exercise as a whole- maybe if we focused more on moving for enjoyment- that is, finding the type of activity that you are happy to make time for, that makes you feel empowered and bursting with energy, that helps clear your mind and reduces stress levels or helps better manage your health condition. The reality is that your options for movement are only limited by your imagination (and yes, by your physical abilities if you have an injury, health condition, or, like myself, are not a natural born athlete!).
Try thinking outside of the box though: organise a weekly group exercise session with workmates or friends, play a game of footy or cricket with the kids, have a go on the ski fields this winter, let out some frustration in a kickboxing class, or try the new trampolining craze at your local centre such as Flip Out (I assure you it’s loads of fun for the whole family!). Or if you’re really keen, why not sign up for a half-marathon! (“www.exerciseismedicine.com.au” has a calendar of physical activity events in your state and other great info on exercise research and ideas)
So, maybe it’s time we focused on self-care and saying ‘yes’ to putting our health and wellbeing first for a change, because ultimately, if we are feeling our best, we are more likely to be the best version of ourselves in other areas of our lives.
Exercise Right Week is coming up on 23rd – 29th May, 2016. For more information, visit: “exerciseright.com.au”
If you have an injury or health condition or would just like some guidance on which types of activity would be most appropriate for your needs, then book in with your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist today for a thorough assessment and tailored exercise advice.
Find your local AEP through essa.org.au or book in with Belinda at Tiny Tummies Nutrition on 0415 232 008 or visit www.tinytummiesnutrition.com
Written by Belinda Russo (Accredited Practising Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist), from “Tiny Tummies Nutrition”.
1. Blair, S (2009). Physical inactivity: The biggest public health problem of the 21st century. British Journal of Sports Medicine 43: 1-2