Mental Health: Tips to getting into shape

Long days, a family, a mortgage and running a business can mean you put things like regular exercise into the ‘nice-to-have’ basket. For some motivation, check out these stats around the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.


  • Regular physical activity can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer by up to 50%. (World Health Organization)
  • People who exercise regularly are 25% less likely to develop depression or anxiety disorders. (Harvard Medical School)
  • Engaging in regular exercise can improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and processing speed, by up to 30%. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Regular exercisers are 65% more likely to report improved sleep quality compared to those who are inactive. (National Sleep Foundation)


  • A healthy diet can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer by up to 80%. (World Health Organization)
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 30%. (American Heart Association)
  • A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients can support brain health, enhance cognitive function, and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. (Alzheimer’s Association)

So you might now be wondering ‘this is great, but where do I start?’

Here are five tips to help you get started on your health journey:

  • Set Clear and Realistic Goals: Begin by setting clear and achievable health goals. Whether it’s losing weight, building muscle, improving cardiovascular endurance, or increasing flexibility, having specific objectives will keep you focused and motivated. Make sure your goals are realistic, considering your current fitness level and lifestyle commitments.
  • Start Slow and Gradually Increase Intensity: If you’re new to exercise or returning after a break, it’s essential to start slowly to avoid injuries and burnout. Begin with low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time. This gradual progression will allow your body to adapt and become stronger.
  • Mix Cardiovascular and Strength Training: A well-rounded fitness routine includes both cardiovascular exercises and strength training. Cardio workouts, like running, dancing, or cycling, improve your heart health and burn calories. Strength training, using weights or bodyweight exercises, helps build muscle, boosts metabolism, and enhances overall body strength. Balancing both types of exercises will give you comprehensive fitness benefits.
  • Stay Consistent and Establish a Routine: Consistency is key to seeing results. Create a workout schedule that suits your lifestyle and stick to it. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. Consistently fuel your body with whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive consumption of sugary or processed foods.
  • Focus on Eating Whole Foods and Watch your Portion Sizes: Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit each day. Try eating on a smaller plate to decrease your normal portion sizes and be sure to drink water before any meal.
  • Join a team sport. Dust those old footy boots off and join a social grade at the local club. Its the best way to ensure you turn up and not only is the fitness good for you but it is a whole new social group to improve mental health.

Remember, getting into shape is a journey, and it’s okay to face challenges along the way. Stay patient, stay committed, and celebrate your progress and achievements, no matter how small they may seem. If you’re new to exercise or have any health concerns, consult with a healthcare professional or a certified fitness trainer to design a safe and effective workout plan tailored to your needs.

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