Fitter Stronger Better

Want to know the key to living a long and healthy life? Harvey Howard, Lifestyle Centre Manager at Annersley Bowral and ex-professional English rugby league player shares some of his insights, so you can look as good as you feel.

 

Want to know the key to living a long and healthy life? Harvey Howard, Lifestyle Centre Manager at Annersley Bowral and ex-professional English rugby league player shares some of his insights, so you can look as good as you feel.

When it comes to exercising, there’s good news – and even more good news. For starters, you’re in complete control. You can decide what you want to do and when you want to do it, based on your personal goals, schedule and lifestyle. Pick a time and training programme that you’re able to stick with consistently, and you can integrate it easily into your weekly routine.

Exercise is immensely beneficial to so many aspects of our life. Combined with eating wholesome, nutritious food, it’s the ultimate prescription for good health. There’s no medication in the world that can give you the far-reaching benefits of exercise. Numerous scientific studies have reported that it can reduce your risk of a range of serious diseases from cancer and heart disease, to stroke and diabetes. It can help you sleep better and for longer and it will improve your general wellbeing, while also keeping your body weight in check.

The secret to getting the most from a workout is to know yourself. Know what your limits are, and when you can push them. If you throw yourself into exercise and it causes you pain, you are less likely to stick with it. Like any sort of change to your lifestyle, getting fit after a period of inactivity can be daunting, but once you get started, you’ll realise it’s worth it.

Recently, we welcomed a new member to the lifestyle centre, who had joined on his doctor’s advice. His doctor had advised him that joining the gym and exercising was the best way to reduce his blood pressure and avoid sarcopenia. “Sarcopenia?” he said. “That sounds like something my wife might cook!”

Many people have never heard of that term but sarcopenia is an incredibly common age-related condition that refers to the loss of muscle mass. The more sedentary your lifestyle, the greater your risk. As you can imagine, strength training can greatly slow down sarcopenia by building muscle mass and increasing your strength.

Well, the proof is in the results: over a period of just three months, our new member reduced his blood pressure, lost eight kilograms in weight, further increased his upper body strength and rediscovered his overall balance.

The most important thing you can do is to understand your body, how it functions, and how the environment in which you live influences your health-orientated decisions. These things are fundamental to being proactive about your health. You have a choice as to whether you want to merely exist in this world or actually live. Anyone can just exist, but to really live, you have to be willing to take risks from time to time. After all, if you never take risks in life, you are not truly living.

Three simple things

Want to power up your health and fitness? Harvey shares his top tips.

  1. Choose an exercise you enjoy, whether that’s swimming, weight training or walking. Start slowly and build up your strength and endurance over time. Something as simple as a 10-minute walk after dinner each evening and then gradually building up on that is perfectly acceptable.
  2. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity on a weekly basis. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
  3. No matter your age, it's important to protect your bones, joints and muscles because they’re key to keeping you active. Work hard, but know the difference between good and bad pain. Sustainable exercise is key to healthy living.