How to: Getting into shape

One of the most common New Years’ resolutions is to get fit and lose weight. However, many people go about getting into shape the wrong way, by doing too much, too soon. Not only does this increase the risk of injury but also the likelihood that you’ll find your new exercise regime too difficult and overwhelming, meaning you won’t keep it up.

The current recommendations state that all Australian adults should be active on most, preferably all, days every week. Furthermore, we should aim to:

Accumulate 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, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.

Do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.

Start slowly

If you haven’t been active in a while, the above recommendations can be daunting, so it’s best to start slowly and build from there. Before embarking on an exercise program, you should

>  Get the all-clear from your doctor, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions

>  Invest  in a good pair of shoes that will support your foot appropriately

Ensure you have appropriate clothing to exercise in

>  Speak to a qualified trainer or exercise physiologist if you are unsure how to get started or how to perform certain exercises properly.

Stay Safe

When exercising, it’s important to warm up and cool down, ensuring you stretch all the muscle groups properly. This will improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. If you do feel pain of any kind while working out, stop immediately. The old adage of ‘no pain, no gain’ isn’t necessarily true. Continuing to exercise while in pain may make any injury worse!

It’s also vital you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you’re exercising outdoors.

Gentle walking is the best exercise for beginners. As you become fitter, you can try mixing it up with different kinds of exercise, different intensities and duration’s. Cycling and swimming are also good choices when starting out.

Keep up your nutrition

Even if you’re not an athlete, your body needs fuel in order to move and exercise. What you eat will have a significant impact on how your body copes with exercise, how you adapt and recover, and the health benefits you’ll gain from exercising. You’ll need an adequate intake of protein, carbohydrates, fats, along with vitamins and minerals to ensure your body is fueled correctly.

Consider supplementing your diet with a specially formulated nutritional supplement. Sustagen products contain a selected blend of nutrients including protein, vitamins and minerals, with some also containing probiotics, antioxidants or dietary fibre.

Cenovis also has a range of supplements designed to support moving bodies, including vitamin D, vitamin C, fish oil, and multivitamin and mineral blends.

However, remember that good, healthy food should be the basis of all your nutritional needs, as vitamin and nutritional supplements are designed to fill nutritional gaps, rather than provide everything your body needs.

If exercising is difficult

For some people, exercising may prove difficult particularly if urinary incontinence or urge incontinence is a problem. Fortunately, there are ways to manage this. One of the most effective ways to improve incontinence is to perform Kegel (also known as pelvic floor) exercises.

If you’re having trouble performing these incontinence exercises, a useful device to help you is the Elise Pelvic Floor Exerciser, which gently stimulates your pelvic floor, enabling you to develop stronger pelvic floor muscles. Taking a herbal preparation that helps promote good bladder health, thereby improving bladder control, may also prove beneficial.

The benefits of exercising regularly are many, so why not make a commitment to get in shape and improve your health this year.

Please note: The information supplied is general in nature. Please consult your medical practitioner for individual advice.


> Department of Health, Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines,

> Exercise Right, Accredited Exercise Physiologists, s.

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