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Managing physical activity


University life is busy and it can be difficult to make exercise a priority when you have so much going on. However, there are hundreds of reasons why it’s important to be active.

Regular exercise can improve your brain health (great for those university assignments!), reduce your risk of disease and ill-health, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to go about daily life.

Besides being important for your physical health, exercise is fantastic for your social and emotional wellbeing too. Exercise can help you engage with other people and maintain social connections, stay positive and relieve stress, and it can even help you feel more energetic.

Starting a new exercise habit can be a real challenge, but the benefits are well worth it. Your efforts will pay off with patience and persistence. Just remember, fitness is a journey, not a destination!

What to do

Small steps

If you’re not doing any exercise at the moment, then you don’t need to start with lofty goals, such as running a marathon. One of the best ways to start exercising regularly is to start walking.

Walking doesn’t cost anything and can be done anywhere. If you’re in need of some extra motivation, try downloading a fitness tracking app or a pedometer. Start out by setting a realistic step goal and aim to slowly increase this over time.

Make exercise more enjoyable

Sticking to any new habit can be tricky. It will be easier to stick to your new exercise habit if you enjoy it. Find an activity you enjoy to start with, it might be walking, dancing, swimming, riding your bike – it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re moving your body and you’re having fun.

Exercising with a friend can help keep you accountable and boost your social connection. If you can, exercising outdoors can give you an added boost too.

When things go astray

Life will inevitably get busy sometimes and make it tricky to stick with your new exercise habit. So it can be helpful to have a backup plan. If the weather is bad, find an indoor location to exercise in or create an at-home workout for when you just can’t get to the gym.

If something does get in the way, try to jump back in where you left off and learn from what got you off track.

Getting support

Services and support that is available. Links to webpages etc.

Deakin has a variety of gym and sporting facilities across all campuses, visit DeakinACTIVE to learn more. You might also like to join one of Deakin’s clubs or societies.

More help and advice

If you’d like to start running, the Couch to 5k program can help people new to running get into the habit of running and set achievable running goals.

To learn more about how much you should be exercising and how often, visit Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.

ReachOut has some tips on how to exercise when you’re not feeling motivated and ways to exercise that don’t feel like exercise.

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