Kick-starting your year right – and sticking to it

December 20 2019

It’s that time of the year again when many people make New Year’s Resolutions. When you’re caught up in the excitement of the festive season, it’s easy to set bold and ambitions goals for the year ahead. Sticking to them isn’t always so easy. Exercising more, eating healthier and quitting smoking are among the most common resolutions. As you settle back into your day-to-day routine, these new-found habits can fall by the wayside.

We’ve put together some tips to help get you started and keep you motivated to create long-term, healthy habits – this year and beyond.

Move your body

Exercising with a lung condition can be daunting, however research shows that regular exercise helps to reduce symptoms such as breathlessness. There are lots of programs, tips and advice out there, but finding the right fit for you, your lifestyle and your health is very important. If you’re just getting started or looking to make changes to your routine, it’s important to speak to your doctor or specialist first and check in with them regularly.

Don’t go it alone
Attending a traditional gym can be intimidating and, if you’re living with a lung condition, might not provide you with the right support. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to exercise with people who understand what you’re going through.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation is a 6-8 week exercise and education program that teaches you the skills you need to exercise safely and manage breathlessness. The exercise component focuses on increasing your physical function and is individualised to cover safety considerations and to ensure you are on-track to achieve your goals.
  • Lungs in Action is a safe and enjoyable community-based exercise program designed to help people living with a chronic lung disease maintain the benefits achieved through pulmonary rehabilitation.

These classes are flexible and tailored to suit each individual’s needs – they’re also a great way to meet people in your area. To find out more about exercising with a lung condition and the programs available, visit our website here. To join a class, you will need a referral from your health professional so have a chat with them about what classes are available near you.

Goal-setting
Having a health professional tell you to exercise regularly is one thing, but creating long-lasting habits is another. It’s important to set small, measurable and achievable goals to keep you motivated on those days when you feel like giving up. Write them down and keep them somewhere you will see regularly – like the fridge. Read more goal setting tips, here.

Eat well, breathe better

There is a lot of information out there about diets and healthy eating habits – it can be conflicting and overwhelming to know what’s right and what will work for you. There is a strong message in the heart health space about diet – and rightly so – but did you know diet plays a vital role in lung health too?

Our lungs benefit from a nutritious and balanced diet as much as any other organ in our body. In fact, if you’re living with a lung condition, you may require more energy to breathe. No single food will give you all the nutrients you need, but there may be small changes in your food choices that could help improve your overall wellbeing.

Read more about eating well from our Respiratory Support Nurse, here.

Quit smoking

This can feel like an ambitious goal to set, but quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. There are lots of immediate benefits to quitting smoking at any age, and the sooner you do it the better. There are even health benefits to quitting if a person has already been diagnosed with a smoking related disease.

Don’t go it alone – chat to your family and friends, seek advice from your health professional and reach out to the many support services available to get you on the right path and keep you focused.

For tips on coping with cravings and withdrawals, cessation tools, dealing with slip ups and helpful links, click here.