Time to get physical

By Margaret Mielczarek

Despite the positive intentions of social media’s #fitspiration trend, researchers at Flinders University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences have discovered that the Instagram movement is having the opposite effect.

The study involving more than 100 women aged 17-25 years found that viewing images of women being active on social media – #fitspiration images – increased negative mood and body dissatisfaction among women and didn’t lead to increased exercise habits.

“When considering actual exercise behaviour, there appears to be no beneficial effect.

“Despite their positive intentions and popularity, #fitspiration images are yet another way to make women feel worse about themselves and their bodies,” says Dr Ivanka Prichard, Co-Deputy Director of the SHAPE Research Centre (Sport, Health, Activity, Performance and Exercise) and a member of the Craig Futures Institute at Flinders University.

So, rather than getting #FOMO by scrolling through the #fitspo pages on the socials it’s time to put the smart phone down and get out and about, and active!

In this month’s issue of the mag we explored all things exercise – how to incorporate it safely into your routine and what to do to make it a habit.

Because the health benefits – both physical and mental – of regular exercise are many.

Reap the benefits

The health benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Lower risk of developing chronic disease.
  • Increased quality of life.
  • Increased bone mineral density.
  • Reduced blood pressure.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • And more …

Think: snacking

The recommendation for exercise is 30 minutes of physical active a day.

If that sounds a little overwhelming, Dr Simon Sostaric, Exercise Physiologist from Melbourne Sports and Allied Health Clinic suggests breaking it down into “multiple exercise snacks” across the day, building up to the 30-minute target.

“Think [of it as], ‘I can do one set of 10 squats [or] I can do something on the floor for my core stomach muscles’ – that workout could take you four minutes.”

Safety first

A word of caution though if exercise hasn’t been ‘your thang’ previously or if you’re older or if you have medical conditions that need to be taken into account.

It’s important to start slowly and safely – get the all-clear from the doc!

Bryce Vockins, Exercise Physiologist from North Queensland Exercise Physiology, Genesis Health and Fitness Kirwan in Townsville, stresses the importance of consulting a “doctor or an exercise physiologist [to] get adequate screening to ensure a safe program can be implemented”.

“It’s also important that individuals are taught safe exercise techniques if they’re partaking in a gym-based exercise [program].”

Let’s get … practical

Once you’ve got the green light to move, Mr Vockins suggests the following practical ways to include exercise in your day:

  • Park further away from your destination.
  • Use the stairs instead of taking the lift.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Take the kids or grandkids to the park or for a swim.
  • Go for a 10-minute walk around the block at lunchtime.
  • … there are heaps of ways to get active!

So, leave the phone behind and get active! And soon you’ll find you have no #FOMO and that you are your own inspiration.

To read the full article, check out the latest issue of the mag: rpassistants.com.au/eMag/2020/Mar/