How active are you? Most of us could do with a little more physical activity in our daily lives. Read on to find out why.
There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of a healthy diet, but when it comes to health, physical activity is just as important.
Being physically active has been shown to help prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer, and it can also help to prevent or control type 2 diabetes.
Exercise also helps promote good mental health because it can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Regular physical activity has been shown to boost your immune system as well as strengthening your muscles and even your bones;
- Regular physical activity can help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight;
- Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of getting diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and can help to reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol;
- Regular physical activity can increase the flow of feel-good hormones in your body called endorphins – this helps you feel happier, increases your self esteem and can help reduce depression
- Regular physical activity can help you sleep better;
- Regular physical activity can increase your energy levels and can also help improve your posture.
Things to Remember
- It’s important to check with your doctor before you start a new exercise program especially if you have any heart problems or high blood pressure or haven’t done any exercise for a while;
- Always remember to stretch, warm up and cool down;
- It’s best to exercise early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it’s cooler. Don’t exercise in the middle of the day when it’s very hot, as you could get dehydrated;
- Don’t exercise if you’ve been drinking alcohol;
- Remember to wear a hat and sunscreen when exercising outside and to wear loose comfortable clothes and shoes;
- If you’re tired, take a rest or slow down; and
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after your exercise.
How Do I Get Started?
When you first start becoming more physically active, it’s important to start gently and to keep it simple. One of the gentlest, simplest and easiest ways to be active is to walk for 30 minutes a day. As you feel fitter, try to walk faster and further – you’ll be surprised what a big difference your daily walk can make to your health.
If you’re not near a gym or you can’t afford expensive gym fees, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can get physical activity into your day without fancy equipment. For instance, most people don’t realise what a great work-out housework can be! Vacuuming, sweeping, washing windows or washing your car are all good ways to get more activity into your day. To make things more fun, put on your favourite music and dance around the house while you work.
Next time you need to nick down to the shops to grab some milk, why not walk or ride a bike instead of driving, if it’s not too far away? walking to the shops or even dancing around the house listening to music.
Sometimes it helps if you have a friend or family member exercise with you. This can help you stay motivated, which means you’ll keep exercising regularly. Make plans to meet once or twice a week to go for a walk together.
Kids are hard work, but they’re also great for keeping you active! Mums and dads should try and set aside some time each day or week to get outside and get active with the kids. Ride bikes, play a game of footy or shoot some hoops together – it’ll make you a healthier, happier family!
Talk to your doctor or Aboriginal Medical Service about exercise programs available in your area. Some health services offer free programs specifically targeted to different age or health groups such as the elderly or pregnant women.