Life Wellbeing Personal balance is the key to good health

Personal balance is the key to good health

To nap or to hit the gym, that is the question. Photo: Getty
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It’s a familiar weeknight dilemma: You know you should exercise, but you just feel too tired. Maybe an early night is best, instead?

Deciding which was most important – sleep or exercise – came down to working out the crux of the issue, accredited practising dietitian Charlene Grosse said.

“It’s very much about mindfulness,” she said.

“What is the driver? What is the action that will help you make better choices?”

For all of us, diet, exercise and sleep are inter-related.

“They’re all quite important and will affect our health and different issues. It’s very much about getting a balance,” Ms Grosse said.

“If you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy levels, it affects your food choices.”

“So much of snacking is not hunger-related – often it’s about boredom.”

Beware the trip to the fridge that is boredom-driven. Photo: Getty

Guidelines are for seven to nine hours of sleep every night for adults. Worryingly, 40 per cent of Australians don’t achieve this.

For many of us, exercise could be the key to a better night’s shut-eye. Which, in turn, would break the cycle of sleep-or-exercise – and not getting enough of either.

“It could be exercise that helps reduce stress,” Ms Grosse said.

“It’s taking a step back and seeing what is the imbalance, and what you need to do.”

She said clients often told her they were too busy to exercise at night – but they had time to trawl social media or watch TV.

“It’s about being savvy and clever and including daily exercise into your routine,” she said.

She sometimes advises clients to schedule exercise into their daily routines. It was also important to recognise that exercise didn’t have to mean a full-on session at the gym.

Find ways to incorporate exercise into your day, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift. Photo: Getty

“We often have a perception that unless we are doing it at full intensity, it’s no good to us,” Ms Grosse said.

“It’s more about keeping moving … finding ways in what you do daily. Take the stairs and not the lift, park your car further away and walk into work.”

She said a good motto was for “up” exercises – up stairs, up hills and push-ups.

The New Daily is a media partner of the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, which takes place in 100 locations across Australia on Sunday, May 13, raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help fund breast cancer research. Registrations are open here.