FEELING GREAT: Sticking to healthy habits

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Let’s talk about how to stick to healthy habits…

So these last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time visiting friends in Australia.

It’s a country that is possibly the single most health conscious I ever visited:

Sun cream is not available anywhere in anything lower than factor 30, new-age outdoor gym equipment is erected in local parks by the government for anyone to use at anytime with no monthly fee required.

And state of the art swimming pools are on just about every street corner which make keeping fit fun and almost impossible not to want to go and do – even at 6am and no matter what your age.

It would be a great place to be a physio too as just about every road you drive down has one open.

But what I love most about the lifestyle in Australia is that people who are older – say in their late 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s, appear to be living very well and more active, much more so than here in Britain.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “the warm weather” makes it easier for them to do things like bike riding along the rivers, walk to the local cricket ground and even play, do a few laps of the park or walk to an open air pool and swim for an hour.

And sure, I agree that the warm weather does in fact make a huge difference to the suppleness and ease of movability of things like knee and lower back joints.

But does the weather in the UK make enough of a difference to stop you doing it completely?...

I bring it up because at the time of year when you’re likely to be contemplating new and hopefully very healthy habits, “keeping active”, “moving” and remaining “on-the-go” a touch more, will hopefully be on the list - and is often all that is required to help you maintain mobility and independence for even longer.

Because although the warm weather in somewhere like Australia makes it more likely to happen – that’s only because it appears to be more enjoyable.

But it doesn’t mean there’s any difference in the health benefits that will be achieved if you took a 30 minute walk around Ward Jackson Park every other day, than if you did the same along the Jarra River in Melbourne.

It’s very easy to always think that if you lived in a “better” or warmer place such as Australia then you’d be much more healthy and active.

But the reality is that it’s the HABIT of being active which you’d still need to find and stick to – which, for most people, takes about 30 days to form no matter what you’re trying to achieve.

So that means if you are planning on starting a new health kick this New Year, you need to stick for at least 30 days on the trot to give it chance of being successful and staying with you and the good news is that you can do that whether you’re a “ten pound pom” in Oz, or you’re living on the Fens.

On final thing on habits: you can’t stop bad ones… you can only replace them with good ones.

Happy New Year.