This year it has become more evident than ever that if you don’t move your body, you do indeed ‘lose it’. With most people working from home, routine physical activity has changed and some people have stopped working out all together.
Low levels of physical activity are linked to increased levels of morbidity and mortality, depression, non-communicable diseases and an overall increased risk of poor quality of life. In 2016 a study completed by the centre for disease control discovered that 27.5% of adults over the age of 50 completed no physical activity and only 10% of older adults meet the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. It is thought that if this number was to rise and more people were to engage in physical activity, 6-10% of major non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease would be eliminated.
The reason why we don’t engage in physical activity is multifactorial. For most people the major factor seems to be motivational. Most people when given the choice will act upon their non-conscious or automatic behaviours – these are the things which are easy for us such as lying on the couch. Other barriers include not having access to a place where one can be active, low self efficacy, weather conditions, time constraints and not seeing the value of physical activity.
It’s hard to find the motivation to start physical exercise, trust me, I have been there! Some strategies which help improve motivation include the following:
- Choosing an activity you enjoy – running, climbing, skating, exercise based video games or team sports. Finding something which you enjoy will help improve your attitude to exercise and the value you see in exercise.
- Doing exercise with friends or family. Having others to exercise with is a great form of motivation, not only will you be letting yourself down, you will be letting others down. Physical activity can also be a fantastic way of making new friends and socialising.
- Finding an environment you enjoy to exercise in. Not everyone enjoys going to the gym and ‘sweating it out’, but that’s okay if you do. Taking a run around a nearby park, running along the beach or doing an online class or workout in the comfort of your own home are all ways of increasing your physical activity.
- Making physical activity apart of your routine is a great way of getting around time constraints. Set out your physical activity as an appointment in your diary or calendar. Having a set appointment makes you more accountable and ensures that time is made for your health and well-being.
If you need ideas to get yourself more active or are having trouble sticking to your routine, get in touch with one of our Physiotherapists here in the Sydney CBD. We offer both in-clinic and telehealth appointments.