Exercise for the Right Reasons

So many of us seem to have a negative relationship with exercise. We tend to see exercise as a chore; another inconvenience that we just don’t want to deal with, or as a punishment, (hands up if you ever had to run laps of the oval or do push-ups at school?)

Unhelpful messages like the ones received at school are sometimes carried on in the health and fitness industry and often contribute to a negative relationship with exercise. These messages, where exercise is promoted merely as a weight-loss tool or a way to balance out an overindulgence in chocolate, are misleading.  This Exercise Right Week (23-29 May), we are hoping to change the dialogue by encouraging Tasmanians to Exercise for the Right Reasons. 

The benefits of exercise are indisputable. We know that exercise can help improve our heart health, reduce our risk of developing a range of chronic health conditions, prevent some cancers, and can be great for our mental health. Despite this knowledge, we generally aren’t active enough with only 24.5% of adults aged 18-64 meeting the recommended guidelines.

The question is this; with the knowledge of how beneficial exercise can be, why are we not more active than we currently are? 

This is no easy question. The answer is likely to be multifactorial and will be unique to each individual.  Sometimes the traditional long term health benefits of exercise, while clear and backed by science, can feel distant and abstract. When looking to be more active, it can be useful to look at some of the great, often more immediate and tangible benefits to be gained from moving your body. 

Why I Exercise

For me, there are a lot of different reasons why I exercise. I don’t have the same motivation every time I exercise, but these are some of the reasons for me to move: 

  1. Exercise helps me relax. Heading out for a run after a busy day can help me unpack the day, clear my mind and help me to feel less stressed. 
  1. Exercise allows me to catch up with friends. Catching up for a run with friends is hugely beneficial for my mental health, particularly when we finish at a café for the all-important post-run coffee! 
  1. Exercise allows me to learn more about my body, what it’s capable of doing and the places it can take me. I’ll always be amazed by the incredible things the human body can do! 

Over the next week, you will hear from some of the team at Physiotas about their own reasons for exercising. We would love to hear from you too! We would love to see you involved in the conversation about how to Exercise for the Right Reasons on our social media pages and let us know your reasons for exercising. 

Exercise Right Week, the annual campaign by Exercise and Sport Science Australia, is aimed at encouraging all Australians to be more active and to know where to get the right advice when it comes to moving more. 

Ben Brockman 
Exercise Physiologist