How to Get Moving This New Year

Get moving this New Year

“New Year, New You!”

You have likely heard the sentiment many years running. Maybe you have even set a New Year's resolution along those lines. Getting fit is one of the top five resolutions made every New Year by everyday Australians, but how do you make that happen? Let’s take a look at why getting moving is important and five top tips to help you achieve your resolution to get moving this New Years.

Why is exercise important?

The desire to move is natural and instinctive for humans. We are hardwired to want to move from the moment we are born, and we actively strive towards achieving various levels of physical prowess as we develop into adults.

“Watching my new grandson Elijah love moving his body as he explores all that is new to his senses is a blessing.  So starting them young is the key – encouraging simple play together as a Family and where possible, using Nature to inspire you and your children to embrace this inherent natural feeling is one of the biggest keys.” - Dr. Gary Leong

Unfortunately, modern society has stripped away a lot of that natural instinct to move and suppressed this desire due to shifts in lifestyle, diet and values in many countries.

From a health point-of-view, Increased sedentariness (sitting around more and not moving) is now recognised as an independent risk factor for many chronic diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cancer

Regular physical activity not only promotes, but also protects both your mental and physical health. It’s beneficial for everyone of all:

  • Ages
  • Abilities
  • Gender
  • Cultural background

It’s never too late to start including active movement into your day. As well as avoiding some of the issues listed above, regular exercise can also:

  • Improve you overall health – mental and physical
  • Improve your ability to control weight gain
  • Improve your mood
  • Increase your energy levels

If you plan to get moving this New Years as part of your health and wellbeing goals, then it’s a good idea to set yourself up for success by having a plan.

1. Get reflecting

Sometimes, to know where you are going you need to know where you have been. Self-reflection isn’t often anyone’s favourite pastime, but if you want to achieve success in moving more – this is your first step.

Getting an accurate measure of what you do now allows you to see where you are really spending your time. You can get your whole family involved, simply record what physical movement you engage in, the intensity and for how long you did it, over a period of a week. Here is a guide to intensity levels of various common activities to get you started:

Moderate Intensity Vigorous Intensity
Requires a moderate amount of effort and noticeably accelerates the heart rateRequires a large amount of effort and causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate
Examples of moderate-intensity exercise:
  • Brisk walking
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • housework or domestic chores
  • Active involvement in games and sports with children/walking pets
  • General building tasks (e.g. roofing, painting)
  • Carrying/moving moderate loads (<= 20kg)
Examples of vigorous-intensity exercise:
  • Running
  • Walking briskly up a hill
  • Cycling up a hill
  • Aerobics
  • Fast swimming
  • Competitive sports and games (e.g. traditional games, football, volleyball, hockey, basketball)
  • Heavy shovelling or digging ditches
  • Carrying/moving heavy loads (>= 20kgs)

You may be surprised by how much, or how little, physical activity you and your children participate in each day.

If you discover that your lifestyle is rather sedentary and doesn’t involve much moderate or vigorous intensity movement, ask yourself why? Knowing your barriers to both moderate and vigorous intensity movement is crucial if you want to get moving this New Years. Some common barriers include:

  • Dislike of sweating
  • Large amounts of screen time
  • Low self confidence
  • A feeling of being time poor
  • Lack of appropriate clothing and/or footwear
  • Sore joints or muscles after exercise

None of these barriers are insurmountable. In fact, by completing your self-reflection, and using the knowledge you have learned about yourself, you will be able to use this reflection to help choose the right activity for you and your family.

2. Choose the right activity

When it comes to exercise, the world is your oyster. You have so many options it can be overwhelming when you first start looking. However, there are some underlying principles that you should keep in mind when choosing your exercise activities.


Whatever you choose to do should be enjoyable for you. It may take some time to reach the point where it becomes easily enjoyable and effortless, but you should try enjoying it along the way.

If you detest running, have no desire to be a runner and generally consider the point of running to be exclusively for life saving purposes, then running isn’t going to be the movement choice for you straight away, walking can be just as much fun, slow or fast, it all helps!

It’s incredibly hard to motivate yourself to complete exercises that you simply can’t stand. Whatever you choose should make you feel positive about getting moving and motivated to schedule it into your week.


If you can, choose an activity that takes advantage of the outdoors and natural environment. This will have additional benefits for you such as getting vitamin D from the sun, as well as being more stimulating and engaging, and getting that important Vitamin N (Nature) to motivate you.


Choose an activity that you can do with an encouraging friend, your family, or a community group. You will find that making a commitment to a time, place and activity will keep you all motivated to get moving this New Years. It’s also way more fun to move in a social setting!

3. Supercharge your incidental activity

Incidental activity is the movement you do as part of your everyday life. From the time you get up until the time you go to bed, your day is full of incidental activities such as:

  • Dropping your children to school
  • Getting to work
  • Grabbing some milk from the shops
  • Checking the mail

While incidental activity shouldn’t be your primary form of exercise during the day, supercharging it is a great way to fit more movement into your lifestyle effortlessly.

If you usually drive your children to school, why not plan ahead and make it a little adventure by walking or biking? When you choose your carpark at work or the supermarket, choose one slightly further away and get a quick walk in. Why not have a walking race with your child to check the mail?

Incidental activity can be a fun and motivational way to get moving. Taking just a couple of extra minutes in your day to move soon adds up over the course of a week, month and even year.

4. Start simple

When you start something new it can be tempting to go all out to reach your goals. When it comes to exercise, this can be a huge trap leading to burn out or injury. If you plan to get moving this New Years, the last thing you want to do is take yourself out of the game by going too hard, too fast.

The key is to start simple. You know what your daily movement truly looks like because you have reflected on your current lifestyle. Use this self-awareness to make a plan that is achievable for you and your family. If you attempt to go from very little movement to 60 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week you will find it much harder to sustain than if you commit to taking a brisk 10-minute walk around the block daily.

It’s good to have an overarching goal but take the time to enjoy the process of getting there in bite size chunks that you can commit to, and achieve, daily. Challenge yourself every week by increasing the length of your exercise or the intensity, until you have reached your milestone. Then make another!

5. Make a commitment to yourself

You wouldn’t cancel your coffee plans with a friend to sit on the couch watching TV, so why would you do that to yourself?

Make a commitment to yourself to move every day and keep it. You need to be as reliable to yourself as you are to others. If your health and wellbeing goals have led you to get moving this New Years, make sure you show up for yourself.

This may mean planning your day in advance and blocking out time to take the children for a walk around the block but it’s worth it for you and your kids. You will feel a sense of achievement when you climb into bed, knowing that you honoured the commitment you made to yourself by getting out there and moving more.

Need help to create healthy exercise habits?

At Childhood Obesity Prevention, we understand how challenging it can be to change your lifestyle alone. We can help you create a plan to reach the health and wellbeing goals your family have been working towards. We have a range of support options available to suit your family, from self-guiding your journey to healthier habits with our book Ride to Life, through to personal consultations.