You do not have to get yourself into a lather of sweat and state of breathlessness to reap the benefits of physical activity.
High Intensity Interval Training - or HIIT as it is known - might work perfectly for some because it can offer a quicker way to improve your fitness. But, as the name suggests, it does require a higher intensity of training which is not for everyone.
Keeping exercise simple can also be of great benefit, and more achievable for many. By starting simple you are more likely to stick with it as well than something that pushes you so far out of your comfort zone that you find it difficult to back up the next day or later in the week.
Finding what works best for you is the key to successful exercise outcomes.
Walking is a great place to start for those who might be new to exercise, haven't exercised for some time or need a low-impact alternative to running or jogging, for example.
According to www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/, "walking for 30 minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health".
They list the health benefits of walking as:
- improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes;
- increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness;
- reduced risk of heart disease and stroke;
- stronger bones and improved balance;
- increased muscle strength and endurance;
- reduced body fat.
Walking is an exercise that can be done every day and you can start to progress it after a period of time to make it harder.
This could be by increasing your distance and/or time, walking at a faster pace or adding in some hills.
Once you have increased your fitness, you might even start to add in some short jogging.
You could also set a goal of completing a community walking event. While many were cancelled and went virtual instead last year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, plenty have been planned for 2021.
The Memory Walk & Jog is one such event. Held in various locations around Australia throughout the year, the event raises funds and awareness for Dementia Australia and the courses are family friendly and suitable for all levels of fitness.
You can choose to take part as an individual or get a team together, and select whether you participate in a two-kilometre or 7.5km walk, jog or run.
Funds raised through the Memory Walk & Jog series help provide invaluable support, education and resources for people living with dementia in Australia, their carers, families and friends.
In all, there are 17 Memory Walk & Jog events planned across the nation this year. Events have already been held in Albury-Wodonga and Illawarra.
Upcoming events include in the Hunter, at Speers Point Park on March 21, Ballarat (April 18), Geelong (March 14), Western Sydney (May 9) and Sydney (May 23).
You can find out more through www.memorywalk.com.au.
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Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.