The one big issue for over 60s’ physical wellbeing 7



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The one big issue for achieving your personal health and fitness goals during 2015 is the one most commonly overlooked: it’s having the right mindset.

Mindset is why most New Year’s resolutions don’t make it through January. If your best laid plans for 2015 have already hit a bump, there’s a big chance it is down to mindset. It’s not too late to make changes.

Here are some tips to address your mindset and ensure it is working for, not against, you:


  1. Welcome obstacles and challenges

Do you see obstacles as an opportunity to increase your fortitude, or an excuse to give up?

All health and fitness regimes will encounter roadblocks. For example, an injury or an illness may stop you for a time. But the real test is having the fortitude to ease back into your regime when you start feeling better.

Some challenges may require a change of routine – whether you are able to be flexible in these cases comes down to mindset again.

Many New Year’s resolutions fail at the first obstacle. It’s worth remembering that every time you successfully overcome an obstacle, your mindset improves.


  1. Embrace effort

A poor mindset may see you falling into the trap of thinking ‘there is no point to all this’ or ‘it won’t make a difference’ or ‘this is too hard’ or ‘what did I get myself into?’. It’s amazing how these negative thoughts can appear when the body requires an effort.

The key to maintaining effort is to keep chipping away. If your task seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller, more achievable lots. Remind yourself of how good you will feel later if you make an effort now.


  1. Use positive affirmations

Positive thinking has huge potential to improve mindset, but it’s easy to slip into a cycle of negative thinking unintentionally.

Many elite athletes have had great success using positive affirmations – these are sayings that prop you up and pep you up. For example, an athlete may say: “Each and every day I am a better athlete”.

Telling yourself a positive affirmation in the early morning, and again late in the evening, can be remarkably effective in getting you to think and feel positive – with tangible benefits for physical wellbeing. It could be something as simple as “I am better today than I was yesterday”.


  1. Welcome criticism

In your journey toward a healthier and fitter lifestyle, you may come in for criticism – hopefully this is constructive and from someone you respect, such as a physio, personal trainer or exercise partner.

A negative mindset will see you brush it aside, dismiss it, and in some cases totally de-rail your program. A healthy mindset enables you to learn from it, take it on board and improve – you won’t see it as a personal attack and your ego won’t be bruised as a result.


  1. Enjoy others’ success

We can either celebrate or feel threatened by others’ success. A healthy mindset will always appreciate and admire our peers’ achievements, and understand that it is no reflection on us. In fact, we can use it for inspiration.


  1. Consider meditation

Meditation is a huge topic, and impossible to cover in a few sentences. But for mindset the right meditations can be hugely influential.

The only requirement is an open mind. But as everybody is different, some meditations will be more effective than others. You may be surprised how many elite athletes use meditation to achieve bigger and better things.


How are your new year’s resolutions going? Have you stuck to your goals? What’s holding you back? 

Kusal Goonewardena

Kusal is a physiotherapist with over 15 years’ experience at treating seniors, families and elite sportspeople. His clinical research has involved finding preventative cures for low back pain. Kusal has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm, all currently available via Wilkinson Publishing. Kusal holds a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from Latrobe University and a Bachelor in Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. Aside from his consulting with the general public via his clinic, Elite Akademy, Kusal works closely with Melbourne University’s Sports Medicine team and works with elite athletes including several Olympians. When not consulting, Kusal is a lecturer, author, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiotherapy students around the world.

  1. Started using my exercise bike for 5 minutes daily for a week, 10 the next week , 15 a few times over the next fortnight and then tried 25 minutes . Now I’m committed to 25 minutes 4x weekly for 8 weeks as a participant in a study on cycling and knee osteoarthritis . I’m starting today ,not putting it off till tomorrow .

  2. Swim five times at least a week and dance on my fitness ball to my music selection fifteen mins every day.

  3. I walk 8000 steps a day the pain in my body never goes away..I always do it…wish it would make me feel better..but gotta keep movin

  4. I like the photo. When teaching I used to tell students who said, “I can’t do….” that “can’t” is just the beginning of “can try.” It’s a good mantra to live by.

  5. My mind set is “do what I like when I like” so my exercise is sporadic. Short bursts of running on the spot for ten seconds, then eight slow. After two minutes I am exhausted.

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