While there were many health benefits associated with quitting, Leah did notice one downside. She felt she had replaced smoking with snacking, and was starting to think it wasn’t a healthy long-term choice. “I couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore,” says Leah. “It was like, ‘No, I have to do something about this.’”
At 53 years old, Leah decided to take up exercising. “I started walking,” she says. “And I thought, ‘Hang on, I can do this.’” She began adding short bursts of running to her daily walk. Then, Leah started to ramp up the intensity, running a little further each day. “It was still hard,” says Leah. “But I felt better for it.”
Being a member of AIA Vitality helped her stay motivated, especially in those early weeks. “I would be one of those people that go, ‘Okay, I only need so many more points and then I can get Airpoints Dollars, or start donating to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand,’” says Leah.