In 2016 fitness is becoming less of a trend and more of necessity. It used to be that only bodybuilders and a few jazzercise classes filled gyms across the world. Today people have truly discovered the benefits of not only going to the gym a couple of times per week, but making it part of their daily routine. With an overwhelming rise in obesity and food being pumped with toxins we can’t even pronounce, fitness will in fact be the key to keeping our community healthy and on track.
Fitness goes far beyond the appearance of the body. It’s actually one of the key factors in maintaining a happy state of mind. It’s never too late to start working out and individuals experience the benefits of exercise in a very short period of time such as:
Improved sleep, improves posture, improved brain function, maintaining a healthy weight, improved mood, lowered stress, sharpened cognitive functions, increased energy and lowered risk of diseases common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities such as cardiovascular disease which was the leading cause of death amongst our people in 2015.
The ability to love yourself and the way you look is crucial to everyday success, and exercise is a pivotal tool that helps us achieve self-confidence.
If you’re not happy with the skin you’re in, it makes it difficult to move forward with everyday life, however exercise, fitness, and a plethora of resources available to the wider community have all made that achievable to most Australians, although Indigenous Australians continue to have limited resources available to them within communities.
Resources and spaces available to Indigenous Australians are few and far between, however the below are my recommendations for vital Sydney-based places available for Indigenous people to connect within their communities.
- The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Redfern, is providing all Indigenous people within the community a chance to make a difference in their life, with subsidized gymnasium memberships, mentoring programs, as well as education and nutrition programs that provide pivotal knowledge for a ‘healthier you’.
- Redfern PCYC is another organisation offering opportunities to the community, with free access to fitness classes and a variety of other educational programs to decreased crime rates and increase wellbeing.
- Redfern All Blacks are an outstanding football club and organisation that has drastically improved the inner city community. Redfern All Blacks is much more than a football club – they offers opportunites to young talented footballers, such as Joshua Ado-Carr who is a recent success signing a first grade contract with the West Tigers Football club.
These are just a few of the great organisations offering programs, resources, subsidised memberships and mentoring programs to help improve the fitness and wellbeing of our community. Anyinginyi Health Corporation (NT) and Kurbingui Sporting Association (QLD) are also worth looking up.
Walking is a great and easy start for all individuals willing to make a difference in their lives. However, it is important not to be intimidated by lifting weights. As you get older, you will thank yourself for building quality muscle as it can help protect the body’s structure as a whole. If you feel concerned about not knowing what to do in the gym or how to lift weights properly, hire a trainer or speak to friends/family members who’ll be willing to offer support and motivation. It will be one of the best investments you can possibly make in yourself, and it doesn’t need to be forever, just until you feel confident enough to incorporate fitness into your everyday life.
Last but certainly not least - no more excuses. Perhaps your career has gotten in the way or perhaps you’re busy raising a family. Even if fitness hasn’t been on the top list of your priorities, you can always start today. Set some new achievable goals and find some things that you truly enjoy doing, while slowly building your way up to greater forms of exercise. Keeping a log or a journal will not only help you see results, but it is also a great motivator as well. Getting fit can become an essential part of your life and when it does, you’ll feel younger in and out!
Remember, fitness is the condition of being physically fit and exercise is the condition of bodily movement. But YOU taking that first step in the right direction? That’s the condition of being a Leader.
With fitness comes self-confidence and leadership, so let’s all take that next step and make a difference in our communities. Whether you change simply change your own life, one person’s life or ten; you made a difference. Let’s LEAD from the top and become leaders of tomorrow.