Staying active is essential to physical and mental health. The more we can stay active, the better we feel and the healthier our lifestyle. Physical exercise can:
- Keep us at a healthy weight
- Improve blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Help to manage or prevent diabetes
- Contribute to mental wellbeing
- Improve muscle strength or limit muscle wastage
- Improve balance
However, it isn’t always easy to stay active. Certain barriers can make it challenging, such as an absence of inclusive gyms, or mobility. This is a contributing factor to the fact that over 70% of people living with a disability undertake less than the recommended level of exercise, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Below, St John’s Community Care has provided some simple tips on incorporating more physical activity into your life.
1. Develop an exercise routine
This may be a routine you undertake daily at a given time, such as stretching, or something you try to incorporate into your daily activities, such as going to the shops. Depending on your mobility, how this exercise routine looks will vary – it’s important to figure out what works with you, in consultation with a medical professional if required. Having certain equipment may help – for example, resistance bands that can be used on a door frame.
2. Looking into facilities near you
We are more likely to undertake and stick with exercise when it is something we enjoy, so sports can be a great way of staying motivated to be active. Sport can also contribute to wellbeing by allowing us to socialise. Finding a sports team may be easier said than done, but it is worth looking for opportunities. Similarly, a yoga class or a swimming exercise group may be of assistance. Investigating where a bike path or walking track is can also provide a good location for exercise, depending on your needs.
3. Work with the physiotherapist or other professional
A physio will be able to provide tailored advice on how to stay active, and the best ways to do so, that will have a maximum impact on your health and wellbeing, within your ability. There are many physios available and a way of making it more enjoyable may be to participate in a group physio session. Here at St John’s Community Care, we regularly work with physiotherapists who can demonstrate new ways of staying active and run through exercise sessions.
4. Keep a busy social schedule
Exercise doesn’t always have to be a deliberate thing, undertaken separately from everyday life. By staying socially active, we set ourselves up to also lead a physically active life. By maintaining friendships and enjoying the outdoors, we may find ourselves staying fit naturally. The social support groups and health and wellness activities of a community care provider such as St John’s Community Care may help to provide this social impetus. Our activity days and outings can be of assistance.