Being active is one of the core elements of looking after yourself and investing in your wellbeing. Regular physical activity improves many aspects of our physical health, immune function and mobility. It boosts our mood, relieves stress, improves sleep, improves concentration and memory, and often helps us feel more positive and in control. It can even have a significant impact on mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Being ‘Active’ means moving more. It doesn’t necessarily mean a punishing gym routine or preparing for a marathon, however. It simply means less sitting and more moving. According to the Australian Health Guidelines, we want to be active on most, preferably all, days every week. Ideally, over the course of a week, we want to be doing 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous-intensity physical activity.
Importantly, we want to take the time to build up to these guidelines slowly. If you are currently inactive, remember that some activity is better than no activity and set small activity goals to slowly build up.
Top Tips to be Active
• If you work inside. Set yourself a goal to see the sky every day. Spend some time outside every day. We are not designed to live indoors – we need the sunshine and natural light to function well emotionally and physically – so get outside.
• When it comes to exercise, start slowly and build up. Focus on just moving more, rather than scheduling formal exercise sessions
• Split exercise sessions into multiple shorter sessions if that is easier for you to fit in. Everyone no matter how busy you are can find at least three lots of ten-minute sessions most days.
• As you get fitter, change your routine and incorporate some new activities.
• If you find it challenging to commit to a regular exercise routine consider joining a local group exercise session, or having the occasional session with a personal trainer.
• Consider joining a walking group, or meet up with a friend for a walk after work.
• Challenge yourself to increase your incidental exercise – park further away, physically get up and go and talk to someone in the office at work instead of sending them an email etc.
• Purchase a pedometer and challenge yourself to reach 10,000 steps per day- one-step at a time!
• Enter a charity fun run/ walk; raise money for charity and set a healthy, activity-based goal for yourself to work towards.
Remember to consult your GP before starting any exercise program!
Questionnaire – BE ACTIVE
The questionnaire is designed to be a quick self-assessments in relation to being active. It is not designed to be diagnostic but will give you a simple indication of your strengths and opportunities for change.
(1 always or almost always, 10 never or almost never)
|I get at least ten-fifteen minutes of sunshine/ day-light each day?|
|I am active for at least two minutes every hour while I am at work?|
|I exercise for at least 30 minutes every day (6 days/ week)?|
If you scored:
3-9 Awesome!! You are doing really well in terms of your activity. Look for any high scores to specific items for an opportunity to improve, otherwise, keep it up and look to the other 5 A Day pillars for opportunities to improve your wellbeing.
10-15 Well done!! You are doing lots of things well in terms of your activity AND there are some opportunities to improve. Review the Be Active Tips and identify simple steps you can take to strengthen this pillar.
16 + It’s time to move more! Review your responses and the Be Active Tips and consider what changes you could make, which would make a difference here. Talk with your family and friends and get their support to help you make these changes.