“Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.”
– Jackie Joyner-Kersee
If diet is the main contributing factor to fat loss, then why do we need to exercise?
Research has proven that exercise, at the correct intensity and duration, not only improves the quality of life – it actually decreases the incidence of disease, chronic health conditions and obesity.
Over three-quarters (77%) of the Australian population have at least one chronic health condition (ABS., National Health Survey: Summary of Results 2004-2005), and 4 in 5 deaths occur due to natural causes involving more than 1 disease.
At the correct intensity and duration, exercise can result in:
- Physical benefits(healthy weight loss, maintenance of muscle tone, improved bone strength, fitness, flexibility)
- Improved quality of life
- Decreased incidence of disease and chronic health conditions – reduces the incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood pressure by almost 50%. It has also been shown to reduce some cancers (like colon and breast cancer) by up to 50%.
- Enhanced mental health(feelings of self worth, provides for more energy)
(Data from Australian Bureau of Statistics, World Health Organisation and Medibank Private)
So we can see it’s not all about weight loss. There are significant health benefits to be gained from merely meeting the guidelines for physical activity. Even a person moving from a sedentary (no activity) lifestyle, to just a low level of physical activity can see improvements in their overall health. It’s important to start slow and work your way up to a higher level – graded exercise. You don’t have to run marathons to gain the benefits of exercise.
So what do you need to do?
The Department of Health released the new Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Guidelines in February 2014. – For activity to be ‘regular’, it must add up to a total of 30 minutes or more per day and be done at least 5 days per week, and should be a mix of aerobic and resistance activity. Before you start an exercise program, please see an exercise professional to get some advice.
Here are some guidelines.
Aerobic Activity (cardio)
- Moderate-intensity activity for a minimum of 30min 5 days each week OR Vigorous-intensity activity for 20min on 3 days each week
- Intensities can be combined to meet recommendations E.g.: walk briskly for 30min twice each week and jog for 20min on other 2 days of the week
Resistance (Strength) Training
- To promote and maintain musculoskeletal health and physical independence 8-10 exercises performed 2-3 (non-consecutive) days each wee
- Weight training, calisthenics, exercise bands/tubes
For older Australians also include balance and stretching to reduce the risk of falls
Adult Guidelines, plus:
- Balance exercises (for falls prevention) for a minimum 3 times per week Stretching major muscle groups at least 2 days per week
- 10-30 seconds static, with each stretch performed 3-4 times