1/2 Jenner St, Nundah, Queensland 4012

How do we get more of us off the couch?? Maybe start with why we're there in the first place!

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How do we get more of us off the couch?? Maybe start with why we're there in the first place!

For most of our population, our approach to health is far greater an issue than the silver bullet approach we attempt to take. 

I was at a conference early in my career and an Endocrinologist now working in public health said the Australian issue by the numbers: 

30% of us are actively engaged in improving the quality of our lives through healthy behaviours - eating vegetables most days, exercising regularly, being aware of what we need to do and doing it. 

30% of us know we should do something but aren't for some reason. Others call them excuses, or they may be life circumstances. There is no education or ignorance issue here, probably more execution or environmental issue. 

40% of us are entirely unaware or unengaged with any behaviour to improve our health. It's not even on our radar. 

So while we discuss the nutritional differences between quinoa and rice, which may or may not improve someone's nutritional status, there are far more significant challenges at a population level. With these loose numbers rolling around in my mind, I've always been mindful of the environment we create at Your Fit for people to improve their health. In some recent professional development, we talked a lot about Australian culture and our communication. It resonated with me as I empathised with those in the disengaged or disinterested 70%. 

Truth is exercise, and our physical body and its performance are personal and so closely linked to our confidence and sense of self that it's almost criminal to make someone feel inferior. Over the years, I have enjoyed helping people run for the first time and enjoy it. While it never came naturally to me, it was necessary to play my first true love Aussie Rules and thus, a part of my routine as I grew up. For all of the chats I've had between 1-minute intervals starting out, stories of suffering through cross country events, humiliation during beep tests and the old bully PE teachers who never really grew up. I then attended my daughter's first-ever athletics day. These poor little tackers are standing around for hours waiting for their turns, herded like cats and overwhelmed by parents taking pictures to hurry up, stand here, wait there! Yikes! Thank God for snow cones! We then add these experiences with cross country events, mandatory beep tests and a culture (at least when I was at school) where the fitter kids end up the toast of the town. If I were at the back of that group or ridiculed while I walked my 2nd lap of cross country, I wouldn't want to do physical activity. Goodness, if I didn't have footy, I probably wouldn't have ever started running at all! 

If we're to re-engage that person feeling disengaged, we need to do better than promise silver bullets of before and after selfies. We need to drop the quinoa vs rice headlines. We need to listen! Maybe focus on some strengths, build confidence before adding intensity, and provide inclusion as part of the movement, not inferiority! Your attempt to change your health shouldn't be the ego strike of someone else. 

Yours in Health

Sean Cornish

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