• Aria Positive Psychology and Wellbeing

Energy. What you give, is what you get back

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

It has been argued for a long time that exercise is important to a person’s health and wellbeing. As I discussed in my blog regarding nutrition, we are often smashed with messages of health campaigns dedicated to try and get us moving. One of the more memorable campaigns I remember growing up was the ‘Life. Be in it campaign that ran from the late 70s and 80s. If you were too young, or possibly not even born, here are a few of the ads featuring Norm from the campaign.

While researching the topic of exercise and wellbeing, I was staggered to learn what the minimum levels of physical activity are according to the Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. For adults aged 18 to 64 years, it is recommended that individuals aim for an accumulation of physical activity each week consisting of:

150 to 300 minutes (2.5 – 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity


75 to 150 minutes (1.25 to 2.5 hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity


2 days per week incorporating muscle toning activities

You may be thinking, ‘well that is all good and fine, but how does this help improve my wellbeing?

Good question

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average, Aussies are only getting a small portion of the required physical activity as per the guidelines, with only 56.4% of us feeling as though we are in good health. The results of the 2017 – 2018 Australian National Health Survey also revealed that mental health was the leading health concern amongst the population. Research has shown that individuals who have greater levels of physical activity also have higher levels of perceived health and wellbeing. The benefits of the research showed that:

  • as exercise decreased, depression increased

  • individuals who exercised more had lower levels of perceived stress

  • anger was also shown to be lower amongst those individuals who exercised more frequently

How do I get started?

There are many resources freely available online to help get you started. I also want to emphasise the importance of speaking with your healthcare professional before you start an exercise program, or if you are struggling with even basic exercises. If you have read some of my other blogs, you would have read that I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea a few years back. Prior to my formal diagnosis, I had heard many ‘keep fit’ messages, and in sheer desperation, sought to hire a personal trainer at a local gym.

I recall at the gym, seeing the words on the wall,

Energy. What you give, is what you get back’.

I figured that a personal trainer should help me work hard, and miraculously get this amazing energy, look, and feel fantastic. Right? No. The first meeting was a general fitness assessment. According to the trainer, I was extremely out of shape, and had the fitness of someone much older than I should be. Needless to say, it left me feeling deflated, and somewhat depressed. I was pushing hard, yet where was my energy in return?

As it turned out, my energy was not lacking due to my efforts, but to poor quality of sleep. This is why I cannot stress enough that if in doubt seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Since treatment, I now enjoy going to the gym. I also would consider engaging with an accredited exercise physiologist, who can help develop specialist exercise interventions taking into account specific medical conditions, such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and other chronic diseases.

Best of all, if you have ancillary cover on your private health insurance, you may be able to claim a rebate on exercise physiology. In my case, hiring an exercise physiologist ended up cheaper than a personal trainer!! In addition, exercise physiology isn’t one of the covers excluded under the private health reforms in 2019 which I wrote about here. Your general practitioner may also be able to offer a subsidised treatment plan under Medicare to help get you started. It is worth asking.

Time for me to stop typing and start moving.


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