Tag Archives: weight-loss

Six reasons to add exercise into your day

Your body was made to move. But because of the hectic pace of 21st century living, many of us don’t fit enough exercise into our day.

Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that 56 per cent of us don’t get close to the recommended 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week[i].

If you make time for exercise you’ll benefit not just your body, but your mind, too. Sports and exercise help boost your mood and blast stress. As you know prolonged stress can lead to serious health problems.

Different exercise, different health benefits

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise helps to protect your heart and lungs, improve endurance and builds your fitness, strength and stamina.

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Strength training (working with weights) will sculpt your body because it builds muscle and burns fat. By the way, ladies, don’t worry that weight training will make you look like a man – you don’t have enough of the muscle building hormone testosterone so weight training will make you look slender – not manly!

If you have a lot to lose or have stiff joints, swimming is a great low impact-exercise. And walking is a great workout too, especially if it’s brisk.  All types of exercise burn kilojoules, helping you manage your weight.  And if you want to lose a few kilos, exercise also helps you to focus your mind on your healthy plans so it’s easier to get to a healthy, happy weight!

Not convinced? Here are six super reasons you should fit exercise into your day! 

  1. Burn those kilojoules

Dieting 101: Consume more kilojoules than you burn and you’ll gain weight. Burn more kilojoules than you consume and you’ll lose the kilos. But whether you want to lose weight or not, exercise is vital to help you get lean and stay that way. Though beware, if you’re exercising to lose weight – the exercise will need to be intensive and prolonged.

Not seeing the results you want? You may not be burning off as much as you think. For example, if you weigh around 60kg and you eat a 50g chocolate bar (1,130 kilojoules) you’ll need to cycle at a moderate pace for 35 minutes or walk for over an hour to burn it off! So, think about what kind of exercise you do and your exercise intensity so you become an active exerciser and not a distracted dieter!

  1. Boost circulation

When you exercise your working muscles produce chemicals, which leave the muscle cells and dilate (widen) tiny capillaries (blood vessels). This makes it easier for blood to reach your body and brain cells, bringing more nourishing oxygen-rich blood to your cells. Another benefit of better circulation is that you’ll nourish your internal organs. So you feel good on the inside – and on the outside, too!

  1. Support the muscles that support your joints

Exercise helps to build strong bones and maintain strength and flexibility. Strength and flexibility is important at every stage of your life but especially as you get older.

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  1. Shape up!

Ever heard that if you build lots of muscle that it will turn to fat if you don’t exercise as much? Not true. Muscle and fat are two completely different tissues so it’s not possible to replace one with the other. But you can build muscle and reduce body fat with weight training and strengthening exercises. Muscle burns more kilojoules than fat because it needs a lot more fuel to simply exist, compared with fat, which is a storage material. Exercising helps your body use up fat stores and gives a sleeker shape. That’s because muscle and fat take up a different amount of space in your body.

  1. Tone up the right places

Everyone has target areas they’d like to tackle. Aerobic exercise blasts fat from all of you, but you can target your problem areas. Fat from around the exercising muscle is used for energy as the muscle grows, enabling you to trim down and firm up trouble areas.

Lifting weights can really help to tone up! Aim for strengthening exercises with weights at least twice per week for up to 30 minutes, to slowly build up your body’s muscle. If you haven’t exercised for some time, speak with your doctor first and get the help of a qualified personal trainer who can help you get your technique, posture and balance right.

Your posture is about the way various parts of your body align in relation to one another. Good posture can help to prevent fatigue, headaches and chronic muscular tension. Perfecting your posture can also help to boost circulation, aid digestion and may help you sleep more soundly.

For good balance, you have to be able to control a number of muscles in order to prevent falls, which may help prevent injuries as you age.

  1. Feel good about you!

Australia’s Black Dog Institute says, ‘Numerous studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who do not exercise regularly. Several trials have shown that regular exercise of moderate intensity can be an effective treatment by itself for mild-to-moderate depression[ii].’

One of the reasons is that exercise boosts the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and feel-good chemicals, which helps to boost your mood[iii]. And as regular exercise helps to tone and shape your body, you’ll have another reason to feel good!

So go on, get moving!

This health information is brought to you by the health and wellbeing team at rt health fund.

*The advice provided is for the average adult and should not be interpreted as being applicable to children, the elderly or those with a chronic medical condition necessitating prescribed diets and physical activity regimens.

[i] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Risk factors to health. http://www.aihw.gov.au/risk-factors/ 

[ii] Black Dog Institute. Diet & exercise – Exercise  – Getting help. http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/gettinghelp/exercise.cfm

[iii] Black Dog Institute. Diet & exercise – Exercise  – Getting help. http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/gettinghelp/exercise.cfm

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50 of the best health tips – ever!

2015Ready to improve your life in 2015? Time to kick bad habits to make room for good ones? Here are 50 better health changes that you can really use to boost your health in the coming year and every year to come brought to you by the team at rt health fund!

  1. Get moving! Regular physical activity boosts physical and mental health and fitness. So, sign up for an activity that helps you get fit, active and take on new challenges whether you want a better backhand or to sizzle when you salsa!
  2. Choose positive relationships. Studies show that we tend to mimic the behaviour of those around us. So if you’re surrounded by negativity, chances are you’ll be dragged down, too. So cut the dead wood and choose upbeat, entertaining and happy buddies.
  3. Eat more fibre. Most of us don’t get enough fibre and increasing your intake can boost your energy levels because it slows down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested and released into the blood. The result? Longer-lasting energy for body and mind! Wholegrain cereals, pulses and lentils are fibre-rich.
  4. Do some neurobics. Challenge your brain by doing tasks that activate your brain’s biochemical pathways and bring on new pathways to help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits. Try eating or brushing your teeth left-handed (if you’re right-handed) or work out a new route to a destination – these types of activities can enhance mental agility, keeping your brain sharper for longer.
  5. Get enough sleep. Lack of rest affects your mood, stress levels and appetite. Aim for seven or more hours each night and stick to a regular bedtime routine.
  6. Downsize your portion sizes. Use smaller plates and bowls and opt for tall, skinny glasses instead of round, oversized ones. You’ll consume less without feeling deprived!
  7. Get more of the sunshine vitamin! Around 30-50% of Australians are deficient in vitamin D – important for strong bones, reducing your risk for certain cancers and improving your mood. The best way to boost your vitamin D levels is via sensible sun exposure. Good food sources include fortified margarine and oily fish.
  8. Set goals. Start setting yourself some small, attainable goals. You may come across a hurdle or two, but stay consistent, stay on course and you will reach your goals!
  9. Take some time out for you. Think about things you love to do or just take a moment away from everything to relax and get in touch with yourself. A bit of ‘me time’ might be just the thing you need to de-stress, ease anxiety, be present, find respect for yourself and/or create more energy.
  10. Eat for your eyes. Green leafy veg and orange produce contain protective carotenoids, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin that act like sunscreen inside your eyes. But don’t forget good quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
  11. Don’t smoke. Smoking is linked with lung and mouth cancers and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. If you’ve tried to quit before and failed, keep trying and you’ll be more likely to succeed. Every time you try, you’re one step closer to success!
  12. Take a break from your computer screen. Watching a screen for too long can trigger eyestrain and blurred vision, headaches and dry eyes. Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking 20 feet (seven metres or so) away for 20 seconds and every two hours, get up and take a 15-minute break.
  13. Drink more water. Water is vital for every cell in your body. It is vital for digestion, regulation of body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Urine should be straw coloured – if its darker, you need to drink more water!
  14. Battle dry skin with your diet! Choose foods like avocadoes and salmon, which are rich in healthy unsaturated fats and vitamin E needed for healthy, glowing skin.
  15. Get your health checked out. Don’t dodge the doctor; health checks can actually help prevent ongoing interactions with health professionals. Make an appointment to see your GP soon!
  16. Try something new. Whether it’s learning a new language or a new skill, you’ll challenge yourself whilst boosting self-esteem and you may meet new friends at the same time!
  17. Sharing is caring and has many health benefits. One study by the United Health Group found that 76 per cent of people who volunteered said that it made them feel healthier and 94 per cent said that it improved their mood. Plus, a massive 96 per cent reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose.
  18. Don’t be afraid to say no. By saying yes all the time, you’re likely to be doing things that you don’t really want to and over time, this can lead to stress, resentment and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Think about yourself first and if you decide to do what you want to do – at least some of the time.
  19. Drink less alcohol. Drinking less can do great things for your wallet, your waistline, your mood and possibly even your reputation. If you need help, speak with your GP or contact an anonymous support group such as 1300 DRIVER.
  20. Spend more time with family. Your family is important and spending time with them will strengthen bonds and can be heaps of fun. This doesn’t mean you need to connect with family members that stress you out, though. You’re entitled to pick, choose and plan your quality time!
  21. Get in touch again. Reconnecting with friends is great for your health. According to research published in the journal PLoS Medicine in 2010, feeling disconnected can harm your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking. So, get in touch by phone or social media and follow up with a face-to-face visit!
  22. Be realistic. Life isn’t a Disney movie. Learn to accept its imperfections, bumps and hurdles as part of the journey. But if life is getting you down or if you feel like you can’t cope, speak with your GP.
  23. Aim to cut 100 calories a day. Weight can creep up on you without you knowing it so by axing a hundred calories each day, you could help you lose 5kg by the end of the year. Do this by swapping a cup of sugary cola for a diet version, switching from whole milk to skim milk or eating a medium orange instead of drinking 300ml of orange juice. Little changes can do a lot of good!
  24. Take a moment to take it all in. 21st century living is so fast-paced that it’s easy get stuck thinking about the future or dwelling on the past. Try to make a conscious effort to be aware of your inner and outer world – it’s important for your mental health and your inner peace. Activities like yoga can do wonders for your mind-body health.
  25. Get the help you deserve. Whether this involves speaking with your GP, talking to a support group or asking a friend to babysit so you can have a quiet meal, it’s not selfish to ask for help.
  26. Get the balance right. One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat plenty of veggies and fruits and less processed items. Pile up half of your plate with veggies; add a quarter of a plate of low-fat protein and the rest as wholegrain carbohydrates.
  27. Eat more wholegrain foods. Wholegrain foods are loaded with iron, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Plus, they don’t cause a sharp rise and then a fall in your blood glucose levels, helping you stay fuller – and mentally sharper – for longer compared with processed picks.
  28. Drink fewer fizzy drinks! A normal can of soda contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar, which can contribute to health problems like overweight and related conditions like Type 2 diabetes. The acids and sugars found in soft drinks also break down your enamel causing dental decay and yellow teeth.
  29. Wake up and stretch daily. Babies do it – and so do animals. So if you’ve forgotten the need to stretch after sleeping, relearn it! Stretching boosts circulation and digestion, and eases back pain if you do it right. Try some yoga moves to help harmonise and welcome the new day.
  30. Blast workout boredom. You can really rev up your metabolism by alternating your speed and intensity during aerobic workouts. This not only helps to prevent boredom, it can also help keep you lean and sculpted because by giving your body a jolt, you’ll burn more calories,.
  31. Protect yourself. The sun’s rays can burn, even through thick glass and under water. So, use sunscreen, strap on a hat, wear your sunnies and, if you’ll be swimming for long periods, grab some tinted goggles, too!
  32. Laugh often. Laughter is a great workout and triggers the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins. It also boosts the immune system helping you to feel well and stay well.
  33. Go nuts for nuts. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats, which are called essential because your body can’t produce them for itself. These fats cut inflammation in the arteries surrounding your enhancing heart function. Other unsalted nuts provide a wide mix of minerals and protein including Brazil nuts – just one provides your daily selenium needs.
  34. Strengthen your heart. Safely lifting weights boosts your body strength helping to lower body fat and increasing muscle at the same time. Aim for two sessions per week as well as aerobic exercise to boost your healthy HDL-cholesterol and lower harmful LDL-cholesterol.
  35. Walk more. Health experts recommend around 10,000 steps for good health. So check out how many steps you take daily and then aim to increase it by 10% each day until you’re walking 10,000 steps daily. There are also lots of free apps that can track your walking over the day.
  36. Ditch the white stuff! It’s a quick and easy way to lose weight – including belly weight – and boost your overall health. White, processed carbs are often called ‘bad carbs’ because they mess with your blood glucose and affect appetite, mood and focus. So, out with the white bread, rice, pasta, sugar and flour and in with the heavy whole grains and home-cooked fare.
  37. Cook your veggies in just a small amount of water. The delicate water-soluble vitamins C and folate are lost in the cooking water. So cook for the shortest time possible and use the cooking water to make gravy. Steaming and stir-frying are good ways to retain the vitamins in your veggies.
  38. Get on top of your financials. The stress of an unhealthy hip pocket can affect your health and relationships. And long-term stress can bring a range of health problems including depression, digestive and sleep issues, heart disease, weight gain and more! So work on your financial health by talking to a financial advisor, cutting down, tracking your spending and making attainable goals for yourself.
  39. Sit less. Sitting is the new smoking because studies have shown that prolonged sitting increases your risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer (bowel and endometrial), obesity and premature death. So this year try to minimise the amount of time you spend sitting; incorporate more physical activity into your day and take breaks from your computer chair, couch or driving seat when you can.
  40. Have digital free days. Spending so much time online nowadays means you can lose touch with the ‘real world’. So go on a digital detox. Put your phone away and close that laptop. Go for a walk, read a book, do some gardening or go to the beach instead.
  41. Take a holiday. Sometimes you just need a good rest, a bit of fun and a chance to get away from the daily grind. Holidays are linked to lowered stress, better sleep and improved relationships. So start saving and plan your next destination!
  42. Work on your posture. Bad posture can lead to back and shoulder pain and is also linked to depression, gastrointestinal disorders, reduced lung function and other health problems. So stretch daily, take up a yoga class and/or visit a physio.
  43. Watch less TV. There are lots of studies that have found a link between watching a lot of television and obesity. Plus, according to a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology excessive television viewers report “lower life satisfaction … higher material aspirations and anxiety”. So get off that couch, get out and enjoy life!
  44. Work on your communication skills. Communication is so important: it connects us, allows us to convey our thoughts and ideas to others. It can even shape others’ perceptions of us. So learn to listen, work on maintaining eye contact in a conversation, read more to increase your vocabulary and learn work with different groups of people.
  45. Get organised. There’s nothing worse than feeling frustrated and jumbled: it can leave you feeling frazzled, tense or anxious. So this year make an effort to organise yourself – write lists, de-clutter, create a designated spot for all your bills, buy a planner and stick to schedules.
  46. Listen to more music. Listening to music can help relax, uplift and motivate you, ease pain, improve the quality of your sleep, decrease stress, lift your mood and more! So whether you’re relaxing, working or working out, get lost in your favourite tunes.
  47. Donate blood. According to the Australian Red Cross: ‘Only one in 30 people give blood, but one in three people will need it in their lifetime’. Giving blood has many benefits for you; it helps regulate your iron levels and means you get a mini health check every time you donate (you’ll get a quick physical before you go in, and your donation will be tested for various infectious diseases in a lab before it’s considered safe for medical use).
  48. Take your lunch break daily. Make sure you take time during your day (even if it’s for 10 minutes or so) to get away from your workstation. It can help improve your health, and afternoon productivity and interactions with your teammates.
  49. Get more calcium. Calcium builds bone strength drives many metabolic functions including muscle contraction, nerve transmission and the secretion of hormones. Aim for an intake to 1000mg-1300mg per day. Good sources include low-fat dairy foods, almonds, sesame seeds, canned fish like salmon and sardines and soya products.
  50. Meet new people. Remember how we told you that feeling disconnected could harm your health as much as alcohol abuse and smoking? Use you existing friendship group to make new friends, join a club or group where you can meet people with similar interests, talk to new people and find upbeat, positive people that can help you all enjoy time together.

Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year, this year and every year!

Brought to you from Strategic Business Manager, Rebecca Delahaye and Key Account Managers; Alison Weatherill, David Stock and Cassandra Steen from rt health fund with the very best wishes for good health and happiness now and always!