How to revive your New Year’s resolutions this winterNews /
It’s natural to begin a new year with lots of positive intentions about improving our health, but as we're deep into winter, it’s time to question whether New Year’s resolutions really work? Three-quarters of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases could be prevented with adequate changes in lifestyle, including increased daily physical activity and dietary modification. Clearly Australian’s need better ways to make positive lifestyle changes - all year round.
When it comes to setting health-improvement goals beyond the first two weeks of the year, start by asking yourself why you want to make changes?
Why is it important to lead a healthy lifestyle?
There are many important reasons to live a healthier lifestyle. For example, being active every day can:
- improve your long-term health
- give you more energy and make you feel confident and relaxed
- help you to manage your weight
- help you to improve your cholesterol and lower your blood pressure
- reduce your risk of heart attack
- help strengthen your bones
- help you to sleep better.
Make a positive start
The easiest way to improve activity levels is as simple as ‘move more sit less’. The Heart Foundation recommends adults aim to build up to doing at least 30 - 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all days of the week.
Joining your local fitness club, a Heart Foundation walking group or even arranging to catch up with friends for a stroll are all steps in the right direction. Asking friends to be part of your new routine sets a good foundation for helping you stay committed to achieving your activity goals.
Don’t push too hard too soon
Committing to a healthier lifestyle is great, but without a good base level of fitness, you may risk getting injured and giving up too soon if you try to do too much straight away. When it comes to changing your lifestyle, extreme workouts may be an attractive “quick fix” but they don’t always help us achieve long-term benefits.
Stay safe when exercising with these easy tips:
- Start slowly and at a level you feel comfortable with.
- If you have had a heart event or have not been physically active for some time, ask your doctor what exercises would be good for you to start with.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after intense physical activity.
- Avoid high-intensity physical activity straight after meals and alcohol, or if you have an illness.
- If you feel discomfort, have chest pain, feel faint, have trouble breathing or your heartbeat becomes too fast or irregular, stop physical activity immediately and seek medical attention.
Change up your everyday routine
Choose places and times to be active that fit in with your other commitments and try incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
- Stand while folding the washing, surfing the net or talking on the phone.
- If you have a garden, look after it yourself. Weeding, planting, digging and mowing the lawn are good ways to stay active.
- Doing housework is also a good way to stay active.
- Move around every 30 minutes is recommended to break up sitting time.
- Organise lunchtime activities with your colleagues, such as going for a walk, going to the gym or playing a sport.
- Do some stretching at least once a day if you sit at a desk.
- Stand up while talking on the phone, filing, during meetings or even while you are working at your desk.
- For short trips like the school run, walk or cycle where possible and leave the car at home.
- Park your car further away or get off public transport 1 or 2 stops from where you need and walk the extra distance.
Never stop setting new goals. Once you have achieved one goal, ask yourself what’s next and set a new one to keep yourself motivated throughout the whole year.
A great way to stay inspired is by staying active with others. Finding an exercise buddy can be a huge motivator, why not ask your friends, family or work colleagues if being more active is on their list of goals too?
Check out these simple ideas to stay active when socialising:
- Join a Heart Foundation Walking Group! Call us on 1300 36 27 87 or visit .
- Sign your kids up to Jump Rope for Heart.
- Discover your local walking tracks.
- Join a community class such as dancing, yoga or tai chi.
- Meet up with friends to do active things, such as bowling, rock climbing, bike riding, tennis, dancing, swimming and bushwalking.