ESSA unveils the secret to fitness in 2024

As Australians set New Year’s resolutions to hit fitness goals, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) says a motivation-free 2024 may be the key to staying ontrack.

ESSA Health & Exercise Integration Officer Brent Nicol said keeping your New Year’s health resolution is less about intensity and more about problem-solving, finding a more manageable approach to getting your 30 minutes in each day.

“As the new year begins, one of the initial aspirations for Australians is to kickstart a fit and active lifestyle; yet, for many, the allure of the snooze button gradually replaces the early morning gym sessions,” said Mr Nicol, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

“When you want to change a habit, like exercising, just feeling motivated isn’t enough. Flipping a coin to decide whether or not to exercise gives you a better chance of success than being ‘motivated’.”

“The secret to ongoing fitness success in 2024 is about being flexible, changing intentions to behaviour and taking a long-term approach that is tailored to your lifestyle.”

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, only 22% of young people aged 15-17 are hitting their physical activity targets, 25% of adults aged 18-64 achieve their targets and a tiny 13% of Aussies aged 65+ live up to their fitness goals.

“Based on this information, it’s fair to say the ‘all or nothing’ approach does not work for many Australians,” said Mr Nicol.

“A good starting point is identifying the core values you associate with movement and physical activity. It involves being realistic about your daily and weekly commitments.

“Think about why moving and being active is important to you. Then consider what you can realistically do with your daily activities.

“Instead of setting rigid goals, try asking yourself questions like, ‘How many times can I walk this week?’ Pay attention to the little things that may block your fitness goals and look at what helps you to get moving.”

ESSA acting CEO Carmen Jenkinson said while motivation is great, there are so many other ways to stay active and healthy in 2024.

“You might come home from work and not want to do the 30-minute gym workout, but even walking around the block is a step in the right direction,” she said.

“To encourage Australians to get active and stay active in 2024, ESSA’s Exercise Right brand is launching the “Just Move” campaign, encouraging all Aussies to move for 30 minutes a day.

“Whether that be a walk with the dog, cleaning the house, or ditching the car and walking the kids to school. It’s about achieving movement your way!”

Unsure how to start your fitness journey in 2024, ESSA suggests utilising an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP). AEPs are university qualified allied health professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.

Exercise Right Week is an annual awareness campaign held in the last full week of May every year. Since its inception in 2014, the campaign has aimed to highlight the benefits of exercise for your health and well-being, and to help you understand where to get the “right” advice for your individual needs.