What’s your why? It seems like a simple question but when it comes to our exercise routines and diets it can be harder to answer than first thought. Our Exercise Physiology team explains the importance of exercise and diet and how an exercise plan is one of the best ways to stay on track and achieve your goals!

The Importance of Exercise and Diet

Every year, over 2.3 million Australians aged 15 years and over “go on a diet” to help lose weight – most of these Australians are women. Unfortunately, women are also more likely than men to have higher rates of body dissatisfaction, poor body image, disordered eating, and weight-related depression and anxiety.

We have become a society obsessed with losing weight through extreme measures such as fad diets, and “magic pills”. These measures can be why most weight loss efforts fail long-term. Regular physical activity is important for the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes; and assists with the management of anxiety and depression.

It’s All About Mindset

Your mindset towards exercise or physical activity is a great determinant of your success (or failure) with weight loss. If you see exercise as a chore, then it’s likely you’ll make excuses to get out of it. Rather than feeling confined to traditional forms of exercise, get creative! Dancing, gardening, horse riding, or stand-up paddleboarding all require physical exertion and can be a lot of fun.

Another way to improve your opinion towards exercise can be focusing on the short and long-term benefits; increased moods, confidence, energy, and strength, as well as lowering your risk for chronic diseases, improved sleep quality, and setting a good example for your friends and family.

If you’re still finding it difficult to start a new exercise plan, here are Sophie’s top 10 tips for some extra help!

1. Ask yourself why.
Why is losing weight important to you? Is it to have more energy to play with your kids, look amazing at a special event, or climb stairs without getting puffed? Finding you’re why will enable you to stick to your plan when the going gets tough.

2. Set small incremental goals.  

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so break down your goal into small achievements – remember the recommended weight loss is 0.5-1kg per week.

3. Track your progress.

It’s not all about the scales – take body measurements, and photos, and perform a fitness test.

4. Keep a diary
Many studies have shown that increased awareness from tracking food and exercise throughout the day resulted in greater and more sustainable weight loss

5. Recruit friends and family

Exercise can be tough, but when you do it with other people it has been shown to increase adherence. Our group classes are a great example of this.

6. Use incentives 

Rewarding yourself for milestones can help with a long-term commitment. Book a massage, buy new exercise gear, or treat yourself to a weekend away.

7. Progress, not perfection
Focus on the small wins and positive changes you’ve made so far; did you cut out your soft drink habit? Did you take the stairs rather than the lift?

8. Plan for failure
Life happens, but you can be prepared. Put out your gym clothes the night before, pre-pack healthy lunches, and schedule exercise time so you can prioritize it.

9. Action, action, action!   

Any type of physical activity will help get you to your goal. Make sure you get up every 1-2 hours and walk around for 5 minutes, take the stairs, park further away, or set a goal of doing 100 squats off your chair.

10. Seek out professionals for help
Speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist on how to kick-start your exercise goals. Not only can they provide motivation but they are the experts of exercise and can tailor a plan specific to your body.

It’s important to understand that everyone’s exercise and diet needs are different and they generally change as our lifestyles change. If you need more help and guidance in this area, contact our amazing exercise physiologist to see how they can help you.