There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity!
We're famous for being a sporting country, but how many of us Aussies live up to our energetic reputation? The bad news is that around 75 per cent of us aren't on the go enough to meet the minimum daily recommendation for exercise.
Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems.
Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.
The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you've been inactive for awhile, use a sensible approach and start out slowly.
Barrier: Between work, family, and other demands, I am too busy to exercise.
Make physical activity a priority. Carve out some time each week to be active, and put it on your calendar. Try waking up a half-hour earlier to walk, scheduling lunchtime workouts, or taking an evening fitness class.
Build physical activity into your routine chores. Rake the yard, wash the car, or do energetic housework. That way you do what you need to do around the house and move around too.
Make family time physically active. Plan a weekend hike through a park, a family softball game, or an evening walk around the block.
Barrier: By the end of a long day, I am just too tired to work out.
Think about the other health benefits of physical activity. Regular physical activity may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It may also lower your odds of having heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or cancer. Research shows that people who are overweight, active, and fit live longer than people who are not overweight but are inactive and unfit. Also, physical activity may lift your mood and increase your energy level.
Do it just for fun. Join a sport club, play a team sport, work in a garden, or learn a new dance. Make getting fit something fun.
Train for a charity event. You can work to help others while you work out.
Barrier: Getting on a treadmill or stationary bike is boring.
Meet a friend for workouts. If your buddy is on the next bike or treadmill, your workout will be less boring.
Watch TV or listen to music or an audio book while you walk or pedal indoors. Check out music or audio books from your local library.
Get outside. A change in scenery can relieve your boredom. If you are riding a bike outside, be sure to wear a helmet and learn safe rules of the road
Barrier: I am afraid I will hurt myself.
Start slowly. If you are starting a new physical activity program, go slow at the start. Even if you are doing an activity that you once did well, start up again slowly to lower your risk of injury or burnout.
Choose moderate-intensity physical activities. You are not likely to hurt yourself by walking 30 minutes per day. Doing vigorous physical activities may increase your risk for injury, but moderate-intensity physical activity carries a lower risk.
Take a class. A knowledgeable group fitness instructor should be able to teach you how to move with proper form and lower risk for injury. The instructor can watch your actions during class and let you know if you are doing things right.
Choose water workouts. Whether you swim laps or try water aerobics, working out in the water is easy on your joints and helps reduce sore muscles and injury.
Work with a personal trainer. A certified personal trainer should be able to show you how to warm up, cool down, use fitness equipment like treadmills and dumbbells, and use proper form to help lower your risk for injury. Personal training sessions may be cheap or costly, so find out about fees before making an appointment.
Barrier: I have never been into sports.
Find a physical activity that you enjoy. You do not have to be an athlete to benefit from physical activity. Try yoga, hiking, or planting a garden.
Choose an activity that you can stick with, like walking. Just put one foot in front of the other. Use the time you spend walking to relax, talk with a friend or family member, or just enjoy the scenery.
Barrier: My family and friends are not physically active.
Do not let that stop you. Do it for yourself. Enjoy the rewards you get from working out, such as better sleep, a happier mood, more energy, and a stronger body.
Join a class or sports league where people count on you to show up. If your basketball team or dance partner counts on you, you will not want to miss a workout, even if your family and friends are not involved.
If you are feeling like a couch potato, or you are finding stress and worry is becoming a problem, get out there and exercise!
The hardest part by far is that initial step, when it can feel like exercise is the last thing in the world that will cheer you up: try to remember that exercise is one of the very best ways do do just that.