Steps to a healthier you

Friday, 04 October 2019

Please consult your doctor and a fitness instructor before starting any new exercise regimes.

Walk, jog or run: how to kick-start your Memory Walk & Jog training.

You’ve registered for a Memory Walk & Jog event, organised your own or set your kilometre goal. Next up – training (and nutrition). Welcome to a healthier you! 

‘The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’ (Lao Tzu). 

Luckily you won’t be doing a thousand miles (or kilometres!), but that first step might be your biggest barrier. Once you’ve conquered it, the rest will follow – all the way to that finish line and a healthier you.  

To get your training journey off to a flying start, make sure you’re ready. As our fitness tips show you, it’s important to be prepared. That includes having a plan, setting some goals and checking what’s on your feet. 

Motivation is going to be your best friend. So, what will get you up and active in the morning or away from Netflix in the evenings?  

Being part of the fight against dementia is the biggest motivator of them all. The funds you raise are going to help provide vital support services to people living with dementia, their families and carers. Amazing! 

Remember, you’re also getting active for you. Nowadays people live more sedentary lives – sat at desks, in vehicles or on their sofas. That’s why we’re on a mission to get you all moving!  

A healthy body supports a healthy mind – a great way to fight back at dementia. And it makes you feel awesome! You’ll have more energy, better concentration and be less at risk of certain illnesses and diseases. Plus, you’ll find yourself moving more easily and happily. 

Once you’ve decided what distance you’d like to cover and how (walk, run or jog) you need to start a training plan. This will cover your exercise on a weekly basis. Make sure you plan how you’re going to eat as well! 

If this is your first time, or a return to exercise, start small and build up. Just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference and have far-reaching health benefits. It makes you feel good too!  

So how much should you exercise? The Australian Government Department of Health currently recommends that 18-65 year olds should do a total of 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate physical activity (i.e. a brisk walk or general gardening), or 1.2 to 2.5 hours of vigorous physical activity (i.e. running or swimming laps) per week. They also recommend you do muscle strengthening activities twice per week. And impact exercise (particularly walking!) is vital for maintaining strong bones. 

If you’ve decided to make running your thing, hurrah! A 5km race is a great first goal. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!  

Start with short distances and build up. You can also do a mix of walk-run-walk. Gradually build up so that eventually you’re able to do more running than walking. Once you’ve achieved that, think about small increases in distance. And if you’re feeling really comfortable, try a session once or twice a week where you run faster for 1 minute and jog for 2 minutes - repeating up to four times. This is called interval training and is great for building up speed, endurance and heart health! 

Are you looking to improve your 10km personal best – or step up from 5km?  

If so, make sure you allow plenty of recovery time between runs to avoid injury. Add in some weight training at least once a week, maintain good posture with regular Pilates or yoga, and mix up your cardio workouts with some swimming or cycling. If you’re not sure how to plan your training though, there are plenty of resources available online. Here’s a training plan from Runners World to inspire you. 

Once you start, those kilometres will fly by, towards a healthier you. 

Just remember, we’re with you every step (and every kilometre) of the way! Because together, we’ll beat dementia to the finish line.