Being active is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Yet, studies show that more than half of all Australians are not active enough. That’s a lot of us!
Today we look at the health benefits of movement and provide some tips for getting started on the journey to being more active.
What is physical activity?
Physical activity includes just about any movement that results in getting your body moving, makes your breathing quicker and heart beat faster. It is important for everyone, regardless of age or ability.
Physical activity includes:
- Exercises such as sports or weights
- Other types of movement like doing household chores
- Work-related activity, such as lifting
Experts recommend starting with 3-4 hours of physical activity every week, building up to over 7 hours a week as your fitness improves.
Doing a little bit every day helps build a routine.
The benefits of physical activity.
The good news is that doing any physical activity is better than doing none! There are many health benefits of being active:
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Maintain or improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Improved mental health
- Prevent unhealthy weight gain, and assist with weight loss
- Improved mobility and coordination
- Enhance your mood and relieve stress
5 tips for getting started.
1. Consult a medical professional
It is important to consider your abilities, mobility and current level of fitness before getting started. Your doctor, physiotherapist or occupational therapist can advise on activities that might work for you.
2. Choose activities that you enjoy
Finding something you enjoy doing will make it a lot easier to do it regularly. Would you prefer to be alone or with other people? Do you like being inside or outside? Do you like traditional sports or is digging in the garden more your thing?
3. Set some goals
You’re more likely to be motivated if you set some goals such as getting fitter, improving your mobility, or being active for a certain amount of time every day.
4. Find an active buddy
It’s a lot more fun to commit to a regular activity if someone else is doing it with you. Find a friend or family member with similar interests to you.
5. Mix it up
Have fun and try different things! Aim to include a balance of higher intensity activities (like cycling, hand-crank cycling, swimming or digging) along with lower intensity activities (such as lifting weights, Pilates or gardening).
The Leap in! app can help.
The Leap in! app has a dedicated section for setting and managing your goals.
Get inspiration for actions you can take towards your goal, add photos, update your progress and give yourself a thumbs up when you achieve your goal!