"What's next?" is a common question in my group of friends and normally means we have just completed a goal one of us has set.
In recent years the goals have marked milestone birthdays. For instance, last weekend, we ran/walked 40 kilometres for a 40th. There have been marathons (42.2km) for 42nd birthdays and significant amounts of stairs at our favourite stair spot to celebrate significant ages.
As we ticked off the kilometres last weekend for the latest instalment of our challenges, we marvelled at how only a couple of years back some of us had never ran more than five kilometres. Each challenge has taken each of us further out of our comfort zones and given us something to keep working towards.
There is nothing like working towards a goal and a deadline to keep you motivated. For me, even ticking off the first month of winter knowing that I had still been able to stick to my goals gave me a sense of achievement.
Goals don't have to be too big. You can set longer term goals, the ones you know are going to take time to achieve. But having short-term ones that seem much more achievable today will put you in good stead to reaching those that seem further away and often less achievable. It could be as simple as, this week I am going to walk for 30 minutes every day. Or this month I am going to go the gym two or three times a week and walk, ride, run, swim on the other days.Or I am taking up trail running or bushwalking this year.
But it also does not have to be exercise related.
Go dry this July
There has been a lot of talk about how during life in lockdown over the past few months, alcohol consumption in many households increased.
Cancer Council released a statement in the lead-up to Go Dry this July, where participants are asked to abstain from drinking alcohol for the month of July to help raise funds for people affected by cancer, saying new data shows Australians were drinking "at risky levels".
The data came from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and indicated during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns more than one in 10 (14 per cent) of people surveyed reported an increase in alcohol consumption. Cancer Council report that alcohol is linked to increased risk of seven types of cancer. That includes cancer of the breast, bowel and mouth and nearly 3500 cancer cases can be attributed to alcohol consumption each year. It said that research has shown that if all Australians stuck to the current alcohol guidelines, over 30,000 cancer cases could be prevented over the next 25 years.
This year, Go Dry in July participants are being given the option of 31, 21 or 14 days without alcohol.
Benefits of team sport
In many states, the return to community sport was celebrated over the weekend. Being part of a team and committing to a winter competition is great motivation to stay active.
But it is more than just the physical benefits that participants can take from team sport. Sport Australia and Suncorp have teamed up for a Team Girls initiative aimed towards inspiring a nation of more confident girls and women through a connection with sport. Research has shown almost half of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 stop playing sport. Team Girls was initiated by Suncorp and Netball Australia in 2017 to try to decrease the drop-out rate. It is now being expanded to all sports in partnership with Australian Government agency Sport Australia.
Sport Australia acting chief executive Rob Dalton said, while it was fantastic to see the prominence of elite women's sport continuing to build in Australia, it was critical to continue matching that with increasing opportunities for all girls and women to participate in and enjoy sport.
"Sport isn't just about competing to be the world's best, it's about bringing out your best self," Mr Dalton said. "There's so much more to sport than physical health benefits. It has the ability to build confidence, self- esteem, team-work, communication, social skills, leadership, goal-setting and resilience.
"Sport Australia's AusPlay research shows girls and women are actually as active as boys and men, but they tend to move away from sport in their mid-teens in favour of exercise and gym-type activities."
Option 1 (lower intensity): Pick 5 exercises and perform each five times through at 20 seconds on with a 20sec rest. A set could either be 5 x one exercise followed by a 1min rest before moving on the next, or each exercise once followed by a 1min rest then repeat. Squats, push-ups, dead lifts with a row, lunges, opposing arm and leg extension.
Option 2 (moderate intensity): 5 exercises, eight times through each at 20sec on, 20sec rest. 1min rest between sets. Squat with shoulder press, lunges, 2 push-up with 10 mountain climbers, dead lift with row, running.
Option 3 (vigorous intensity): 6 exercises, eight times through at 20sec on, 10sec rest. 1min rest between sets. Squats with press, mountain climbers, 1 push-up with 10m sprint, dead lift with row, 20m sprints, plank/hover.
- Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. email@example.com.