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Keeping active is food for the mind and body!

Happy to share another fabulous post from our guest blogger Sherie Sourial (Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Credentialed Diabetes Educator):

If someone told us they have a secret to feed the mind and body, we would run to it. No pun intended.

Activity is shown to release happy signals to put us in a relaxed and happy state.How awesome is that?

Heinsight is often a good reflection. How often after physical activity do we say to ourselves "it wasn't that bad after all". In fact after going through some slight aches, we may even say "it felt great".Taking the first step requires motivation and will power.It is almost like we know it's good for us, we can feel the benefits when we do it, but taking that first step is so far fetched.Right?

Here are some benefits of physical activity:

*General well-being. In the busy life we lead today we owe it to ourselves to have an outlet, a healthy energy release, an opportunity to recoup our mind. Physical activity helps provide this.
*
Blood glucose control. Physical activity has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and therefore help improve blood glucose levels. It is important to liaise with a health professional to adjust medication and food in order to be safe when you're active.
*Weight loss. The whole energy in versus energy out scenario. Physical activity helps to burn calories and therefore aid in weight loss. However you don't have to lose weight to reep the benefits.
* Helps with aches and pains. Engaging our joints and muscles into movement, aids in releasing the pain and aches associated with the sedentary and rushed lifestyle we lead.
* Reducing our risk of other chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure etc.
* So many other benefits

So what will it take to make that first step and sustain it?

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) in their guidelines for type 2 diabetes suggest 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week.  For those engaging in this level of activity already it is recommended to keep it up. For others, we need a starting point. Here are some tips to help:
 
* Set realistic goals. Remember to make the healthy choice, the easy choice. Set SMART goals that we can meet. Enough to be challenging but not too off putting.
* Make it fun. The saying "no pain no gain" is important to note but perhaps changing this to "aim to sustain". We need to enjoy it in the moment, that way we're in it for the long term.Whether it is going for a regular walk, swim, jog with a friend etc. Whatever it is, make it fun and consistent.
* Seeing the benefit. When we can see the benefit in something, can connect with it and make it fun, we're driven to take the first step and sustain it too. Bonus!
* Find your drive.We may all be doing the same thing, but our drive for doing it differs which is what makes us so unique. Find your motivation! What is it that makes you want to jump up and reach for the stars? Whether it's your achy back, your energy with your grandkids, your ability to tie your shoelace, that half marathon you want to complete, etc etc. Whatever it is, make it personable, make it real!

So, where to?  Let's make it happen!

* Take time to sit and reflect on where we're at and where we want to be?
* Don't over think it. Some types of activity require us to budget around it, but guess what? If we want to start somewhere, we can go for a walk, be involved in community based activity; that's free!
* Take the first step! We need to start somewhere. Aim for a short 10 minutes at a certain time of the day, build that momentum and then challenge yourself to the next goal.
* Ask your GP to refer you to a health professional that can help you set realistic goals if there are other coniditons or injuries you are also wanting to consider.
* Remember we're in it for the long-term so let's make it real!

Come on, what are we waiting for?
Happy living everyone

Sherie Sourial
Accredited Practicing Dietitian 
Credentialed Diabetes Educator

References
* http://www.aihw.gov.au/
* http://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au
* https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/
* http://www.racgp.org.au

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