FITNESS FEB


Get active this February and make a physical activity a healthy habit for the year 2018! I have been a bit lazier than usual over the January break, so I will definitely trying to move more this month!

Exercise doesn’t just mean you need to go for a run or to the gym and lift heavy weights; in fact, we can easily incorporate movement in our everyday lives. The aim is to sit less and move more.

In Australia, we are lucky to have a wealth of knowledge as provided through evidence-based research into how we can improve our health. Physical activity is seen as a major contributor to improved health outcomes for every age, whether it be an infant to an older adult. As humans, we were in fact designed to move from the minute we were born.

What exactly is physical activity?

Physical activity is any activity that involves body movement, makes your breathing quicker, and increases your heart rate (1).

Aiming to limit sedentary behaviour (physical inactivity)

Except for when you are sleeping, sedentary behaviour is considered any waking activity where we stay in one spot for a long time, such as when we sit or lie down (1). In our daily lives, many of us are sedentary at work, when we travel, or during our leisure time, particularly as many of us spend much time watching TV. We want to aim to reduce the amount of sedentary behaviour we participate in during the day, as it is linked to negative health incomes including, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, obesity (1), and even poorer mental health (2)

What are the health benefits of physical activity (3)?

- Improved cardiovascular health

  • Reduced risk of developing, or managing cardiovascular disease

  • Maintenance or improvement of blood pressure and cholesterol

- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

  • Improved blood sugar management

- Maintenance of a health weight

- Prevention of unhealthy weight gain

- Assistance with weight loss

- Reduction of the risk, and assistance with recovering from some cancers

- Building stronger muscles and bones

  • Improved posture, mobility and balance

  • Reduced risk of falls and injuries

  • Prevention and management of osteoporosis

- Improved lymphatic flow

- Improved lung function

- Improved mental health

  • Prevention and management of mental health problems

Develops healthy habits

  • Maintenance of overall physical and mental wellbeing

  • Often people start to eat healthier when they exercise

How much physical activity should I be doing each day?

The amount of physical activity differs for each age group. The current guidelines (3) suggest:

- Infants (Birth to 1 year)

  • Supervised and safe interactive floor-based play

  • For those not yet mobile, during awake periods, 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day is encouraged

- Toddlers (1 to 2 years)

  • At least 180 minutes spread across the day of a variety of physical activities, particularly energetic play

- Pre-schoolers (3-5 years)

  • At least 180 minutes spread across the day of a variety of physical activities, with 60 minutes being energetic play

- Children (5-12 years)

  • At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity spread across the day, everyday

  • Should include a variety of aerobic activities, which includes vigorous intensity activity (such as running around) everyday

  • At least 3 days per a week, should participate in activity that strengthens muscles and bones (such as weight-bearing exercise)

- Young People (13-17 years)

  • At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity spread across the day, everyday

  • Should include a variety of aerobic activities, which includes vigorous intensity activity (such as running around) everyday

  • At least 3 days per a week, should participate in activity that strengthens muscles and bones (such as weight-bearing and resistance training exercises)

- Adults (18-64 years)

  • Doing any physical activity is better than none

  • Be active on most, preferably all, days of the week

  • Accumulate 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity activity, or 75 -150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity over the week. You can also combine these exercises.

  • Do muscle and bone strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week

- Older Adults (65 years and older)

  • Physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day

  • If you find it difficult to do 30 minutes currently, start with 10 minutes once or twice a day. You can gradually increase the more fit you become

  • Choose moderate intensity activity (such as walking) at a minimum

  • If you have enjoyed a lifetime of vigorous activity, carry on doing so, provided safety measures are in place

Types of Exercise

  • Moderate Intensity Activities:

Take some effort however you should be able to keep a conversation flowing whilst you are doing it. Examples include: a brisk walk, recreational swim, dancing, or household tasks such as vacuuming

  • Vigorous Intensity Activities:

Require more effort, causing you to breathe harder and faster. Examples include: jogging, running, aerobics, playing a sport, taking a boxing class, or doing a lot of lifting, carrying and digging

  • Weight bearing exercise:

Requires you to stand up, bear your own weight, and work against gravity. Examples include hbrisk walking, bushwalking , jogging, dancing and stair walking

  • Resistance Training

Exercises that build muscle. Examples include lifting weights (hand and ankle) and use of gym equipment

Tips to get you moving more (4)

  • Invest in a fitness tracker: Fitness trackers are a great way to encourage you to move more, particularly if you have one that notifies you when you have been sedentary for too long!

  • Choose active travel: Walk or cycle for short trips, walk or cycle part of the way for longer trips, choose the stairs over the lift or escalator, get off the bus a stop early and walk to your destination, part further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way (this is great particularly when you go shopping!)

  • Be active at work: Park your car further from work than usual so it’s a longer walk, leave your desk between work tasks, organise meetings where you walk, go for a walk on your lunch break

  • Instead of going to a café, why not catch up with a friend and go for a walk?

  • Plan activities that suite weather conditions. For outdoor activities, why not go for a bike ride, bush walk, run, swim or play some tennis? For indoor activities, you could try indoor rock climbing, bowling, indoor swimming or the gym

  • Do some gardening!

  • Invest in a gym membership, that way you’re more likely to go

  • Pre-pay for your classes, pilates and yoga are perfect for this!

  • Hit the gym with a friend

  • Join a sport

  • Join a group, there are many groups out there, particularly running and hiking groups

So why not try getting moving this February, your body will thank you for it! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, I am more than willing to help! For now, stay fit!!!

References

1. Australian Governement, Department of Health. Make your move - Sit less, Be active for life! Department of Health . [Online] 2014. www.health.gov.au.

2. Government, Victorian State. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour, Evidence summary. VicHealth. [Online] 2016. https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/.

3. Australian Government, Department of Health. Sedentary Behaviour. Australian Government, Department of Health. [Online] 2017. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/sbehaviour.

4. —. Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Department of Health. [Online] http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines.

5. Osteoporosis and exercise . Better Health Channel . [Online] 2015. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis-and-exercise.

6. Exercises . Osteoporosis Australia . [Online] 2014. https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/exercise.


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