Time to make the team

Time to make the team

The support of others is a powerful thing. We explore the health benefits of surrounding yourself with a team that will help you care for your wellbeing.

In our last newsletter, AIA’s Vlife blog brought us an interview with Aussie table tennis champion Melissa Tapper, where she spoke about the empowering effect of exercising with a partner. “Get a gym membership and go to some classes together,” she said. “It’s important to keep things interesting.” This month with AIA helps us look into the benefits of having a team behind you to improve your fitness goals.

It turns out that variety isn’t the only benefit when it comes to teaming up: The value of exercising with company – whether that’s with a friend or as part of team – is applauded by many, and has been the subject of various scientific studies.

One of these studies (which included 136 participants) found that exercising with someone else actually makes us feel calmer (and so reduces our stress levels), compared to exercising alone.

It also found that participants also felt more tired as a result – suggesting that working out with others increases the amount of physical exercise we do too, giving us a solid workout.

But teamwork doesn’t just mean finding a running partner. The support network you surround yourself with is crucial for staying fit and healthy. The power of teamwork comes in the form of exercise, yes, but also in the support, encouragement and the inspiration that others can provide. Those people that provide you with these tools are crucial members of your team.

In practical terms, what does that team look like? Well, without a doubt, it can include your running partner, but it can also include your family (who are proud of the two kilometre run you did on the weekend), your fitness instructor (who will push you and your body to new limits), your nutritionist (who will introduce you to new methods of nurturing your body), or your best mate (who knows her kale from her spirulina, and makes a mean turmeric smoothie).

Personal trainer

A personal trainer is an invaluable support when it comes to achieving your fitness goals, but it’s important to invest your time wisely. Choose an instructor who has a long-term focus (and not just a ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality).

recent study conducted for Les Mills, carried out by Perth’s Curtin University, found that choosing a trainer skilled in motivational communication is as important as choosing one with the right qualifications. Open, positive and relatable communication from an instructor can mean the difference between sticking with it and sticking it.

Dietitian

Working with a dietitian helps you to understand how to fuel your body to work at full capacity. They can provide guidance and advice for meal preparation. Each person has individual dietary needs, and so a dietitian can help you map out the best kinds of foods for your body.

Make sure that your chosen dietitian or nutritionist is accredited and governed either by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) or the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA).

Friends

Often an overlooked aspect, but the people we surround ourselves with can have a big impact on the way we live our lives. Choose to surround yourself with people on the same wavelength as you – those who are interested in fitness or have a passion for looking after their bodies.

Of course, this doesn’t mean getting rid of old friends, just actively introducing new influences into your life. Join a new fitness group. Sign up to a cookery class and get talking. Follow new people on Instagram, who provide you with the boost you need. Reach out to those people online: in forums, on Twitter.

Make connections with those who inspire you to achieve your health and fitness goals. A recent study found that loneliness can be as detrimental to your life as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, so surround yourself with people. Create a team and then let them help you sail past those wellbeing goals.

 

Sacha Loutkovsky
sacha.l@orionfg.com.au
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