There are many benefits to getting active, including having healthy blood pressure, managing weight, avoiding heart attack and stroke and lowering stress levels. Choose activities that you enjoy and that you will stick with in the long term. Having a health check before starting regular physical activity is a good idea.
Exercise is important
Getting active will help you to:
- Lose weight or avoid gaining weight
- Keep your blood pressure healthy
- Prevent or control diabetes
- Keep your bones and muscles strong
- Avoid heart attack and stroke
- Cope with stress and worry
- Spend more time with your family and community.
Types of activities to keep fit
The main thing is to choose activities that you enjoy and that you can stick with in the long term. It is a good idea to:
- Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. If you have to walk to get somewhere, think of it as a good thing.
- Be active every day and in as many ways as you can. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift or park further away from the shops.
- Put together at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This is activity that makes you puff, but not so much that you can’t talk.
- If you can, also enjoy some regular, vigorous activity. This is activity that makes you feel puffed out, like running, playing footy or basketball.
Starting an exercise program
If you are not used to being active, it is important to consider having a health check before you start regular exercise and checking with your doctor first if you have any health problems.
Once you start exercising, remember to:
- Start off slowly and gradually build up – don’t push yourself too hard
- Warm up with gentle exercise beforehand
- Stop your activity immediately if you have any pain, and get treatment if necessary
- Cool down and stretch after your activity
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
- Wear socks and appropriate shoes that fit you properly.
If you have diabetes
There are special things to consider if you have diabetes. Make sure you:
- Test your blood glucose level before and after exercise
- Carry jelly beans with you in case you have a ‘hypo’ (low blood sugar)
- Check your feet for redness or blisters after activity
- Get your feet checked regularly at a foot clinic.
Ideas to get you physically active
Exercise is not just about playing sport or doing star jumps. There are lots of ways you can get active including:
- Walk or ride instead of driving
- Work in the garden
- Mow the lawn
- Vacuum the house
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Take the dog for a walk
- Play outside with the kids
- Park further away from the shops so you have to walk
- Try a new activity that you will enjoy.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Victorian Aboriginal Health Services Tel. (03) 9419 3000 or 132 660 (after hours)
- Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Tel. (03) 9411 9411
Things to remember
- Physical activity will help you to be fit and healthy.
- Choose activities that you enjoy and that you can stick with in the long term.
- If you are not used to exercise, start slowly and gradually build up your activity level.
- Stop your activity immediately if you have pain, and get help if necessary.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Department of Health and Human Services - Aboriginal health
Page content currently being reviewed.
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