Unveiling the Power of Fitness: Exercising Smart on a Budget

Expert guidance from Kieren Payne, founder and owner of Altern8 Training in Sydney’s north shore.

In a world where health is wealth, staying active emerges as the cornerstone of vitality, especially as we journey through the middle-aged and older years.

Kieren Payne from Altern8 Training unveils for Heart Research Australia Heart Health Club members, the transformative potential of exercise, tailored to fit tight budgets and busy schedules.

Let’s delve into the core of why exercise is not just a luxury but an absolute necessity for optimal well-being supplemented with a short video with some at home workout videos.

Before we dive in, make sure you catch up on our previous articles in this series: “7 Steps to Training” and “Understanding Mobility“. These pieces lay the groundwork for what’s to come.

Australian Exercise Guidelines:

The Australian government recommends adults aged 18-64 aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week (such as jogging, HIIT, fast cycling, soccer or netball.), along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week.

The physical activity guidelines for Australians for Australians ages 65+ it is recommended that they engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days. Currently according to ABS (2022) only 41.8% of older Australians are meeting these guidelines.

Keep in mind these sessions can be broken into lots of different sessions and some sessions may even combine aerobic and strength. These guidelines serve as a valuable roadmap for maintaining optimal health and fitness.

Why Exercise is Important:

If you didn’t know it already, there a huge number of reasons why exercise can help us from a science and health point of view. Some of the major benefits include:

Cardiovascular Health: Regular exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, adults who engage in regular physical activity have a 30-40% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to those who are inactive.

Brain Health: Exercise stimulates the release of hormones and chemicals that promote brain health and neuroplasticity, enhancing learning, memory, focus, and cognitive function. Research published in the journal Neurology suggests that engaging in regular exercise in midlife is associated with a 36% lower risk of developing cognitive impairment later in life.

Immune Function: Exercise strengthens the immune system, making us more resilient to infections and illnesses. It can also help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms when we do get sick. A study published in the journal Exercise Immunology Review found that regular moderate-intensity exercise can enhance immune function by increasing the circulation of immune cells and antibodies in the body.

Maintaining Muscle Mass: As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass and strength. Incorporating strength training exercises helps preserve muscle mass and functional strength. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, individuals who engage in regular resistance training exercises can increase their muscle mass by up to 40% over six months.

Bone Density: Regular exercise, particularly weight-bearing activities like walking, jogging, or dancing, helps to maintain and improve bone density. This is crucial for preventing osteoporosis and reducing the risk of fractures as we age. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, men who participate in regular weight-bearing exercise have a 62% lower risk of developing osteoporosis compared to those who are inactive.

1.Preventing Falls: Exercise isn’t just about getting fit; it’s about staying safe. Research shows that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falls by up to 30% in older adults. By enhancing balance, coordination, and muscle strength, exercise helps to keep you steady on your feet and prevent potentially dangerous slips and falls.

2. Quality of Life/Longevity: Studies consistently demonstrate that regular exercise is linked to a longer lifespan and a lower risk of chronic diseases. In fact, individuals who engage in regular physical activity have been found to live up to seven years longer than those who are inactive. Moreover, exercise is a powerful mood enhancer, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression by up to 40%.

3. Metabolic Rate: Exercise isn’t just about burning calories; it’s about revving up your metabolism for optimal health. Regular physical activity can increase your metabolic rate by up to 15%, helping you to burn more calories throughout the day. This can lead to significant improvements in weight management and a reduced risk of obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

4. Sleep Quality: Struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Exercise may be the solution. Research shows that engaging in regular physical activity can improve sleep quality by up to 65%. By reducing stress, anxiety, and tension, exercise helps to promote relaxation and prepare your body for restful sleep. Plus, the physical exertion of exercise can leave you feeling more physically tired, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

5. Social Connection: Exercise isn’t just a solo endeavour; it’s an opportunity to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. Whether you join a group exercise class, participate in team sports, or simply go for a walk with a friend, exercise provides valuable opportunities for social interaction and connection. Research shows that individuals who engage in regular physical activity with others report higher levels of social support, reduced feelings of loneliness, and increased overall well-being.

6. Self-Esteem and Confidence: Exercise is a powerful tool for boosting self-esteem and confidence. Research shows that regular physical activity can improve body image, self-esteem, and confidence levels by up to 50%. By setting and achieving fitness goals, pushing your limits, and seeing improvements in your physical appearance and performance, exercise empowers you to feel more positive, capable, and confident in all areas of your life.

Workout 1: Bodyweight Circuit


  • March in place for 3 minutes.
  • Arm circles (forward and backward) for 1 minute.
  • Leg swings (front to back and side to side) for 1 minute.

Circuit (Repeat 3 times):

Bodyweight Sit to stand: 10-12 reps

Push-ups (modified or against a wall if needed): 6-10 reps

Bodyweight Lunges (alternating legs): 8-10 reps each leg

Prone Supermans: 10-12 reps

Deadbugs: 6-8 each side


  • Stretch major muscle groups or see previous mobility video/article for guide.

Workout 2: HIIT & ISOMETRICS Routine


  • March in place for 3 minutes.
  • Arm circles (forward and backward) for 1 minute.
  • Leg swings (front to back and side to side) for 1 minute.

HIIT Circuit with ISO holds(Repeat 3-5 times):

a. Standing Bicycle: 30 seconds

b. Wall sit: 30 seconds

c. Incline Mountain Climbers:30 seconds

d. Push up holds: 30 sec

e: Squat to calf raise

f: Plank Hold (on knees if needed): 30 seconds


  • Perform low-intensity movements (gentle stretching, walking in place) for 5-10 minutes.


  • This modified HIIT routine includes simpler exercises with less impact and intensity.
  • Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, aiming for controlled movements and focusing on proper form.
  • Rest for 1-2 minutes between rounds.
  • Adjust the duration of exercises or take longer rest periods as needed to match your fitness level and comfort.
  • Stay hydrated and listen to your body. If you experience any discomfort or unusual symptoms, stop immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.
  • Perform these workouts 2-3 times per week, with at least one rest day in between sessions. Gradually increase intensity and duration as you progress.