With upping the exercise being one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, GP Dr Jill Gamberg said we should be asking, ‘What are we really wanting for ourselves with this goal?’
There’s so much more to exercise other than looking good and healthy weight control - and reminding yourself of this might help you to make exercise a habit, rather than an on-again, off-again thing.
“Regular physical activity in adults reduces the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, coronary heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, and depression.
“It improves bone health and reduces the risk of falls. It makes you feel good…It gives you more energy. It improves your sleep. It helps reduce pain. The benefits are too many to mention,” Gamberg, of Sydney’s Double Bay Doctors says.
Adults should be doing 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, according to the Department of Health - ‘moderate’ meaning your heart rate should increase and you should be sweating.
Muscle strengthening activities, such as lifting light weights, calisthenics (bodyweight exercises), or resistance band exercises should be done two or more days a week.
Tips for making exercise ongoing in the New Year:
- Workout with a partner: Guilty of repeatedly skipping your gym class? Schedule in an exercise session with a friend or family member, “great for accountability and even a little friendly competition,” Gamberg said. If your schedule makes it difficult to workout with company, Gamberg suggested joining an an online fitness group, “where you’ll find people with like-minded goals ready to offer encouragement.”
- Take advantage of summer sports. Be it swimming, beach sports, boot camp in the park, cycling or joining a beach workout group, now is the perfect time to exercise outdoors, Gamberg said. “Even walking your dog at a fast pace can be fun.” Prefer to exercise with the aircon? Numerous gyms are offering New Year’s specials, the perfect opportunity for you to try that new class you’ve been eyeing.
- Slow and steady wins the race. If you haven’t been active in a while, “start slowly and build up” to avoid injury-risk and burnout, Gamberg said. “Choose activities that are appropriate for your fitness level and [any existing] health issues. See your doctor if you’re worried about your health prior to starting a fitness program.”
- Find something you love, instead of putting pressure on yourself to do F45 or whatever is in vogue. There’s no point signing up for something that you dread because chances are you won’t stick to it.
- Don’t make the New Year your only motivator. “A New Year’s resolution is a great place to start,” Gamberg said. But regardless of the time of year, “you should just start today. Your body and mind will thank you for it,” short and long-term.
For more information visit HealthShare, a joint venture with Fairfax to improve the health of regional Australians. Or you can find a specialist near you using the health tool below.