I'm constantly amazed at the big health benefits that small changes can make to the lives of my patients. Take for example Mary*, a working woman in her late 40s who came to see me a few months ago.
I noticed she'd put on weight, her blood pressure had crept up and her insulin level was raised. She'd forgotten to take care of herself and wasn't exercising. While it wasn't serious yet, if she kept going the same way, she would be at risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Mary vowed to increase her physical activity and change her diet. She started exercising regularly but also increased her amount of incidental exercise. She took the stairs instead of the lift, parked her car a good walk away from her destination and stopped driving to the corner shops. After four months her blood pressure was normal and she'd lost over five kilos.
I'm always surprised at the power exercise has to change our bodies. But the key for those who haven't exercised before is to start small. While the recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes, five days a week, start with 10 minutes then gradually work up. For more useful info on introducing exercise into your life, head to www.measureup.gov.au.
Dr Hannah is mum to Maxine, four, and Juliette, two, and is a busy suburban doctor. Each week she'll take that's life! readers through the topics our GPs face every day.
You can email Dr Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.