I know what you’re thinking, and I completely agree. With a world full of health professionals, health advocates, science writers, food forums, fad diets, non-fad diets, Facebook pages, Instagram followers, celebrity chefs and more information that you can point a blog at, who in their right mind would want to write another cliché top ten health tips article? Someone who doesn’t like top ten lists, that’s who. Here are the first five important tips to a healthier new you.
1) Don’t Trust Top Ten Health List Tips. I hold a tertiary science degree, have worked within the scientific field my entire professional career and am confident that I possess enough scientific literacy to adequately navigate the virtual seas of misinformation and pseudoscience that flood our bandwidth daily. However when it comes to in-depth nutritional, medical, physiological, biomechanical, psychological or biochemical issues (to name just a few), like everybody else I should take my cues from the people in the know.
2) Make Sure They Know. The main purpose of this article would be the hope that the average Joe (or Jolene) makes the decision to become just that little bit more active, not have dessert every night, or to critically question that new diet, supplement or new piece of workout gear on the home shopping channel. However if you want to lose 30kg, run that bucket list marathon or complete a triathlon – best talk to the professionals. I mean doctors, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists and I don’t mean googling either! Go out and talk to people, visit reputable health clinics, universities and training facilities run by qualified personnel. Put it this way, if my toilet was on the fritz I wouldn’t call in someone who’s done a six week porcelain pottery course, I’d want the plumber who has waded knee deep through four years of technical training and practical experience, someone who literally knows their sh*t.
3) Get In The Habit. Marathons aside, most of us lack the time, dedication or inclination to become the next de Castella, however subtle changes to our daily schedule are well within our reach. Basically our health and fitness goals are the result of small changes, that given time and consistency become engrained in our mentality and become a natural part of our lifestyle. Whether it be an apple a day, a walk after dinner or riding your bike to the shops, after a few weeks you’ll forget why you started. Just like brushing your teeth or checking the back seat for an axe wielding maniac, you’ll feel weird if you don’t do it.
4) Do What You Like. To some the idea of hitting the treadmill brings on a cold sweat uninitiated in any way by physical activity, while to others the thought of a quick 18 holes would lead only to a deep slumber as opposed to an elevated heart rate, however I’m willing to bet however that most everyone has a favourite way of getting their sweat on. Be it walking the dog after work, a few laps at the local pool, or bouncing around at the community hall Zumba class, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you have fun doing it! The old adage “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” also applies to exercise.
5) Three’s a Crowd. Aside from clipping your toenails, belting out some Brittany into a hairbrush or learning the violin, most activities are more fun with company. Studies have shown that “Social exercise improved the stress-reducing benefits of exercise, specifically by increasing calmness after exercising with someone compared with exercising alone”. In addition, “Results being consistent with previous research examining the positive effects of social support on weight loss, smoking cessation, and encouraging positive health behaviours”(1). So sign up for a Pilates class, join a soccer team or share the love by giving a friend a five am wakeup call for a powerwalk.
(1) International Journal of Stress Management. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2001
“Does Exercising with Another Enhance the Stress-Reducing Benefits of Exercise?” Thomas G. Plante, Laura Coscarelli, Maire Ford.