Exercise Really Improves Your Life By David Williams

Exercise influences almost every aspect of the rest of our life - our longevity. It improves our ability 
to manage a huge variety of conditions, including:

  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety
  • Maintaining memory
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Risk of being overweight and obese
  • Osteoporosis, muscle wasting (sarcopenia), falls and fractures

No single exercise program is likely to satisfy all the requirements of a healthy future. We each have 
different priorities, capabilities, access to exercise facilities, available time, and goals. Like exercise 
itself, getting and keeping this going requires some effort. 

One approach is to simplify your quest by clarifying two things – what do we want to address now, 
and what are we planning for down the track.

Do it now

The Australian Department of Health has upgraded its website. It’s easy reading and informative. 
You can get on track by choosing one of two categories – Under 65 and Over 65. Once you have 
read it through, look for the ‘tips and ideas’ summary at the end of the category.

Then choose a starting point at what you know or would like to try. Take time to get into a routine 
on this – start slowly and gradually add time and depth.

Involve your health advisers before you start – they can add ideas and encouragement, especially if 
you are feeling anxious about how your body will respond.

Down the track

Once you begin, think about your preferences, and perhaps see some constraints you didn’t realise. 
The following checklist can sharpen up how you will integrate exercise into your way of life.

You might want to consider:

  • Lifetime habits you wish to continue
  • If you prefer to exercise on your own
  • If you prefer to exercise in company, such as aquarobics, pilates, tai-chi, gym 
    classes, group walking, cycling or swimming
  • How convenient is the place of exercise – and do you want to improve that by 
    making getting there a part of the program
  • What you enjoy, and is it better inside or outside
  • Best time of day

For more ideas about exercise, the Heart Foundation website has some excellent material which could help you craft your own approach to exercise here.

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