Shape Up: Good habits are contagious

Good health habits can influence others.
Good health habits can influence others.

THERE seems to be one theme that’s constant in my life at the moment.

It just keeps popping up, different examples each time, but the message remains the same. 

It’s something that I like to call the filtering effect. When something filters down from one thing, or in this case one person to the next.

I don’t like to claim that it starts from the top and filters down, because that would imply that one person is above another. That is not the case. 

The filtering effect is quite simply someone going about his or her life wholeheartedly and leading the best (and most healthy) lifestyle possible. 

And it’s this example, lived and not preached, that cannot help but be noticed by others around them. It filters through.

A few days ago, I was flicking through my eight-year-old son's school portfolio and came across a poster he had made. It was one simple sentence, but it spoke volumes to me. 

It said, “What health means to me: Making good food choices and going for a run”. 

My heart swelled with pride as the realisation hit me that the lifestyle we live had transpired to our children. We don’t really talk about my work all that much at home, but the example my husband and I set through our actions had filtered through to the children. 

And at the time our son wrote this, my husband and I were training for a half marathon. So essentially, our little guy had received the message with not a word spoken. 

That’s the filtering effect.

And although I felt it so strongly as it had come directly from my son, it hasn’t simply been at home where I’m noticing this effect. 

At work I see this on a regular basis with those who change their lifestyle, make healthier food choices and commit to regular exercise. 

They feel better within themselves and there is something that changes in the way others perceive them, too. Sometimes without even speaking a word, their loved ones can see the change. Family, friends and work colleagues can feel their vibrant energy, vigour for life and the health goals achieved. It’s written on their face. 

These onlookers want a part of it too, and often ask them, “how did you do it?” 

There goes that filtering effect again.

Statistically speaking, Bendigo sits in the most obese region in Australia.  So while I’m on the topic of healthy choices filtering through to those around us, I’d like to use some real-life illustrations. 

In partnership with Bendigo Community Health Services Men’s Health Clinic, we continue with our Shape Health and Fitness 12-week program with our very own CEO of Bendigo, Craig Niemann, leading by example through his commitment to the challenge. 

If the CEO of Bendigo can make healthy lifestyle changes on top of his already very committed workload, so could you, right?

On that, we can’t forget another great leader in the community, Jonathan Ridnell from ABC Radio.

Not only is he spreading the word via radio waves but he is well and truly walking the talk (and no Jonathan, the walk to my studio doesn’t count as it’s only 100 metres!). 

With a generous amount of centimetres lost off his waist and his fitness on the up, Jonathan is doing a wonderful job of promoting a healthy lifestyle. 

Would it surprise you if I said he could talk through an entire training session and still sound smooth?

And as for Rod Case, fearless leader of the Addy, but fearful burpee participant – he is proving to be an inspiration to our community with his honesty through the written word (A Case in Point, editor’s column) and he should hold his head high with his achievements so far. 

He has said no to comfort foods that in a previous lifestyle had not served him well. He has lost an amazing amount of weight and his fitness has improved immensely! From not being able to do more than two push-ups initially, he is now doing burpees with a medicine ball (and believe me, that’s no easy task).

Let’s hope that with such great leadership in our community the filtering effect will continue on its course. Let’s change the statistics – Bendigo, let us be known for good health and vitality!

Craig Niemann, Jonathan Ridnell and Rod Case are all participating in the Shape Health and Fitness 12-week program. It is a collaborative effort between Shape and Bendigo Community Health Services' Men’s Health Clinic. You can follow their progress on Amy’s Blog at


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