Fitter, happier, more productive

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift shares five steps to fitness.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to stay fit, while others fail?

Fitness is not necessarily just a matter of nature or nurture – for most of us the key factors are characteristics such as persistence, discipline, and determination.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with five steps to help you be your fittest, happiest self.

One, post your plan. Research shows we’re more likely to follow through with promises when we make them in front of friends, either in person or via Facebook and Insta. Incentives can have a powerful effect. Try making a commitment to exercise an hour a day, three days a week for 12 weeks, and promise yourself an activity-based reward. Make it last by committing to a long-term goal – ensuring your head-talk stays focussed on the long-term benefits. Strategies like this can be transformative, reframing both your outlook and your fitness level. Working out with a friend also provides for a pep-talk whenever you need a boost.

Two, tailor your own trend. It’s important to find a workout you enjoy, so that you stay motivated. Try to find the right running path, class or exercise machine – whether it’s a hip-hop dance class, hot yoga or tai chi –find something that suits your unique style. If you spend your workout time doing something you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with it.

Three, focus on fit thinking. How you think affects how you feel which influences how you behave. Visualising the benefits of behaviour can be a very effective motivational strategy. On the days when you wake up feeling non-committal about your fitness, remind yourself of how good it feels to be physically active, to see the sun rise as you sweat off last night’s Caesar salad. And if you find yourself consistently too unmotivated to exercise in the morning, try a workout at lunchtime or in the afternoon.

Four, reward yourself. While weight loss and improved fitness are long-term rewards – sometimes you need something a little more tangible to get you through a gruelling sweat session. After exercising treat yourself to a healthy smoothie or a protein shake. Having an extrinsic reward can reinforce the behaviour, and increases the likelihood you’ll keep up your practise. Over time your mind will link exercise with mood-boosting endorphins – and the motivation becomes hard-wired.

Five, set goals. Getting in shape can take time. Deploy technology to your advantage, download apps like MyFitnessPal to track your performance improvements. Or register for a fundraising event such as Bridge to Brisbane (August 30) and develop a training schedule for each week leading up to the challenge. If you’re returning from injury or inactivity, start at a pace that suits your fitness level and seek medical advice if you have any health concerns. Always listen to your body.

Follow these five steps to fitness – you’ll feel happier and healthier in no time.

For more information, please contact:

Eliarne Iezzi, Senior Media Advisor, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5153

Or Kim Ryan, Senior Media Specialist, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5239