How we can be healthier

Guest posts

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
Course: MSc Public Health
Category: Health

11 February 2019

At the end of my first trimester, we had a graduate of the MSc Public health programme speak to us about her project. It was shocking to see that most people in the class including myself fell short of having at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day.

Presently, in our generation technology has made life easy: we are just a click away! Nevertheless, the effect of our choices come up sooner or later as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and obesity etc. The pressure we face at work and the tight schedules in our ever busy life can also prevent us from getting at least 30 minutes of good exercise. Some people are just hooked behind their desk for 12 hours or more and hardly move around. It takes an intentional conscious effort to exercise in between this uptight schedules.

At the start of the year, I made a new friend who was happy to have a run together sometimes, but we were just too busy to even start. Also, I tried to engage one of my flatmates to join me but it just never worked out either. Eventually, I had to remind myself that it was a personal choice and I could do this. Going to the gym and exercising with a bunch of people I don't know actually encouraged me.

Generally, based on my personal experience, it takes about 28 days to develop a new habit and most people don't cross the 10 day mark. For example, you could plan on running 5 km every other day, reading a book a week and not eating junk foods. The first few days you would be excited and look forward to it but after a while it becomes hard, monotonous, boring and we tend to go back to our old habits which seems easier because we are used to them. The weather might be another reason not to get out as it is too cold, raining, or we can't say no to free food that we know are bad for our health. Gradually, we begin to lose focus and eventually stop. It usually takes a lot of personal motivation, determination and planning to keep your goal at heart.

However, there has been no better feeling for me than taking a shower immediately after coming from the gym, I feel revitalized, happy and motivated for the day. There is a popular proverb that says 'prevention is better than cure'. The McClure twins mum is a personal motivation for me to keep my goal of being active because seeing how much weight she has lost after having her babies or seeing pregnant women keep fit on the doctor's show on YouTube has shown me that it is quite rewarding. I have never felt so proud, strong and happy with myself, the euphoria of going to the gym wakes me up. Sometimes I give it a miss, but I don't beat myself up for it.

The reality is this, sometimes we are just too hard on ourselves and we expect to see changes overnight. It is a gradual process and it requires consistency, doing something daily towards the achievement of your goal! Be proactive, if you do not plan to succeed you have already failed, project your success and give yourself sufficient time to achieve your goal. Simply put, have daily, monthly, weekly and yearly goals. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Also, have people you are accountable to and involve others who have the same goals and come together to form a group. We as humans are social beings and doing an activity which helps you to achieve your goal while making new friends or bonding with family and friends is fun and increases our mental health.

In conclusion, a proverb says the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago another best time is now, why not begin now!


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