05:14am Tuesday 12 December 2017

Top 12 tips for festive season health and fitness

Clockwise from top left are Associate Professor Corneel Vandelanotte, Stephanie Alley, Dr Betul Sekendiz, Stephanie Hall, Stephanie Schoeppe and Dr Amanda Rebar.

1. Indulge in some activity before indulging in festive foods and drinks.

2. Aim to spend at least 30 minutes a day on physical activity and if you can do 10,000 Steps a day, you’re a champ! Go to www.10000steps.org.au for details.

3. Don’t give up. Every day is a new start.

4. Try scheduling time and planning specifics of what physical activity you are going to do.

5. Why not find an activity buddy?

6. Plan to spend some of your Christmas holidays doing outdoors activities with your family.

7. Enjoy some festive foods and drinks but portion control and moderation is the key to not overdoing it.

8. Have your snack or meal at least two hours before physical activity (why not have a banana or an apple?).

9. Prefer physical activity in the late afternoon or early evening to avoid the possibility of heat exhaustion and sunburn.

10. If being active outdoors at night, don’t forget to wear light-coloured or reflective clothing for safety.

11. Keep well hydrated before, during and after physical activity. Water can be just fine for most types of low intensity or moderate physical activity such as brisk walking.

12. Before embarking on a new type of physical activity, check your general health status with your GP or via the new online Adult Pre-exercise Screening System http://fitnessriskmanagement.com.au/screening-tool/  * to minimise your risk of injury or other health related problems.”

The online Adult Pre-exercise Screening System (APSS) (http://fitnessriskmanagement.com.au/screening-tool/) has recently been developed by Professor Kevin Norton, University of South Australia on behalf of the AFIRM Project team. The online tool is available on the AFIRM Project website (http://www.fitnessriskmanagement.com.au/ ). Fitness industry professionals and clients can access all publications and tools developed as part of the AFIRM Project on the website.

The APSS (https://www.essa.org.au/for-gps/adult-pre-exercise-screening-system/) is the current industry standard in Australia and consists of 3 stages of risk assessment; with Stage 1 being compulsory, and Stages 2 and 3 being optional.

Stage 1 – which can be self-administered by the client consists of seven questions which are answered YES or NO, and are designed to identify individuals with signs or symptoms of underlying disease, or who may be at higher risk of an adverse event during exercise. If the individual answers NO to all seven questions, then the individual is free to undertake low-moderate intensity exercise, but importantly, not high intensity exercise. Definitions of exercise intensities using a range of objective and subjective criteria are clearly specified in the APSS documentation. A YES to any Stage 1 question, identifies the individual being at “higher risk”, which then requires a referral to an appropriately qualified allied health professional, such as AEP or a GP for additional guidance and assessment, prior to undertaking exercise.

The AFIRM Project was funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project Grant in partnership with Fitness Australia and Sports Medicine Australia. Dr Betul Sekendiz from the Exercise and Sport Sciences Program, School of Medical and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity Australia is one of the chief investigators on the AFIRM Project.

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