The One Foot Forward Challenge Outcome!

In case you missed our post earlier this month (One foot forward for mental health!), I decided that throughout October I would participate in the one foot forward challenge. It is run by the Black Dog Institute with the aim of raising awareness for mental health and to fundraise for mental health research.

For this challenge, I set myself the goal of walking 100km. To do this, I would record the total distance that I walk throughout each day and keep a tally to track my progress. I started off really well and ended up increasing this goal to 150km, as I ended up completing just over 75km in the first two weeks!

In this post, we will discuss the outcome of this challenge and some key lessons that we can take away from it. If you would like to read about mental health, the impact it has on modern society and how exercise can help, I would recommend checking out our previous posts – It’s not just our body that we need to look after, but our mind as well! and One foot forward for mental health!

Did I reach my target?

I am pleased to report that I have smashed my goal out of the park so to speak. With another 3 days left in the month, I have managed to walk 170.7km, 20km over my adjusted goal! And yes, I was definitely surprised to see that number. To think that I was able to travel that far within a month is mind boggling!

But the question is, how did I do it? I always like to look for lessons (and solutions) to take away from my experiences, and this is no different. From this challenge, there were two key lessons.

What We Can Take Away From This

Incorporate Exercise Into Your Routine!

Sounds simple enough, but what exactly does this mean? Let’s look at an example from the challenge.

When I drive into work, there are plenty of options to park – we have some spaces out the front, and a couple of nearby streets with no parking limit. Instead of parking as close to the building as I can, I often go into a neighbouring street and park at the opposite end. By doing this, I am able to add some extra walking as I go to and from work. Just by doing that, I’ve completed 5 to 10 minutes of exercise. And when we consider that 30 minutes each day is the national guideline, I’m already a third of the way there just by going to work!

Of course, this is dependant on your individual circumstances, but there is always a way to modify your daily routine slightly to fit in more exercise. Here are some other examples that have worked well for people that I have trained:

      • Completing an exercise (such as calf raises) while brushing their teeth or watching TV
      • Standing while completing household tasks (like folding the clean washing)
      • Taking their pet for more frequent walks
      • Parking slightly further away at the shops
      • Taking the stairs instead of an elevator

The key lesson: you don’t need to drastically change your daily routine to add in exercise. All you need to do is be creative and modify your routine to create an exercise opportunity!

Every Step Matters

When we think of exercising, or walking in this particular situation, we automatically think of bigger workouts. For example, we might think of walking a few kilometres, having a full gym workout or another form of exercise that lasts for at least 30-minutes.

But who says that we need to complete all of our daily exercise at once? What matters is what you have done before the end of the day, not when you have done it. For me, I more frequently did smaller bouts of walking throughout the day instead of one big long walk. By completing multiple 5 to 10 minute walks (or less) throughout the day, I would still accrue at least 30 minutes of walking before the end of the day. This made it easier to complete, as I didn’t need to find one big block of time to fit in my walk. Instead, I could go for small walks in by breaks and small gaps during my day.

This strategy worked wonders for me during this challenge, but it applies to all forms of exercise as well. Let’s say you are completing a home exercise program that involves resistance training. Instead of needing to find time to complete all 30 minutes at once, we could break it up into 3 blocks of 10 minutes. By the end of the day, we have still done the same amount of exercise and will still get the same benefits from it.

In short, don’t feel like you need to complete all your daily exercise at the same time. Completing multiple shorter efforts throughout a day is just as effective!

Need Some Help?

Are you fighting your own mental health battle? Do you want to become a healthier version of yourself? Need some help finding ways to fit exercise into your daily routine? No matter what the goal is, our Exercise Physiologists can help! Contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists and kick-start your health journey!

Check out some of our other posts!

Here are some related posts that may interest you:

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Thursday! In particular, we are working on a brand new series “How I live strong and prosper”. In this series, we’ll be chatting with Simply Stronger clients and finding out what they do to live strong and prosper!

Please leave a comment below if you have any topic ideas that you would like us to discuss!

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One Foot Forward image provided by the Black Dog Institute

Photos provided by Bruno Nacsimento and Jusfilm via

Hair today – Gone tomorrow

Easy come, easy go or so I like to think with regards to my hair.

This particular hair cut has been two years in the making……slowly, slowly growing my hair to the required 20cm of length.

Many thanks to the wonderful people at Sustainable Salons who collect the donated ponytails on behalf of Variety, who then turn them into wigs for children living through cancer treatment. It takes approximately six ponytails for each wig, so after my third donation I have contributed to half a wig!

A huge thanks has to go to Katherine of Liana Jane Hairdressing who first suggested I donate my hair via Sustainable Salons. As Kat was snipping away at the many small plaits she had created with my hair, I asked if they get many donations and amazingly Kat herself has collected four in the last month. She then regaled us with some of the statistics including the information that Sustainable Salons have now collected and donated over 43,000 ponytails and collecting ponytails is only a small part of what Sustainable Salons do.


You can check out their website to see more of what they do, but in short, they have helped Liana Jane and many other salons to become recycling havens. Liana Jane now recycle up to 98% of their waste which is just amazing!

Is your salon a sustainable salon?

The first time I donated my hair the requirements were much stricter 30cm, no dye and less than 15% grey. Variety, however, simply want 20cm and have no stipulations as to the colour of your hair. The chances are the recipient will want a more interesting colour than the dark blonde my hair is and who could blame them. If you’re going to wear a wig why not make it fun with a bright pink, green, orange or blue perhaps.

Donating my hair is such an easy was to help someone else that I will never know. It grows at a steady rate and luckily is healthy and reasonably thick. Fortunately, I also enjoy wearing my hair both short and long and coming into summer, I am sure I’ll be happy for the shorter crop.

If you’d like to know more about Simply Stronger’s recycling campaigns including shoes  and bread tags  check out our other blog posts.

hair donation

If the shoe no longer fits

There has to be a better option to dispose of our worn-out shoes than just throwing them in the bin!

A sentiment I started to consider as I went through my third pair of runners in under a year. As some of you will be aware I completed the Oxfam Trailwalker in March this year which was a 100km walk to be completed in under 36 hours. My team and I  trained for over 8 months for this event, hence the increase in shoe obliteration. So, what could I do with all these shoes? They were not good enough to be donated to charity, the soles were worn down and the inner was moulded to my foot like an old pair of slippers. Then I started to wonder if there was a way to recycle the shoes, in part or as a whole?

Shoes can be recycled!

A little bit of research taught me that we can in fact recycle up to 90% of the shoe and not just our runners, but all shoes. The materials harvested from the worn-out shoes will then be used to make products such as gym mats or the flooring you find in kids play grounds – how amazing is that!​

After a conversation with the recyclers, Advanced Resource Recycling  I learned that within Australia we import over 100 million pairs of shoes each year –  that is 1 with 8 zeros after it!! And of the shoes destined for land fill they managed to recycle between 70-80,000 shoes in 2018.


At Simply Stronger we have vowed to help increase that number by becoming a collection point for dead shoes. To help in this effort, a gold coin donation with each pair of shoes helps both in the transport and recycling costs but is not essential and in the last month we have collected over 20 pairs of shoes. While this feels so very small and pales in comparison with the thousands of shoes recycled already, we have been buoyed by the idea that these shoes would ordinarily have been destined for land fill. We are committed to this campaign in an ongoing capacity and plan to track our progress, keeping you all informed as the numbers continue to rise.

Shoes collected
Changing the world one pair of shoes at a time 83%

If the shoe no longer fits – then turn it into something else!



This little piece of plastic is worth so much more than you know!

Our collection of bread tags continues to build!

A few month ago I noticed a campaign to somehow turn bread ties into wheel chairs and I have to say it had me intrigued. So I decided to look into it further.

An amazing woman Mary Hunybun, in South Africa started an organisation in 2006 with the vision of helping people with disabilities to become more mobile, whilst also helping the environment. Since then she has developed a network of over 300 collections sights across, South Africa, Australia and America collecting enough bread ties to distribute 75 wheelchairs annually.   This in itself is no small feat, as it takes 200kg of bread ties to afford a wheelchair. 

Working towards our first 1kg
Bread Tags Collected - Woohoo 100%
Kilogram 2!
Here we go again. 100%
Kilogram 3
Now we are getting somewhere! 78%

How does it work?

The bread ties are collected and sent to South Africa, where they are then sold to recyclers that turn the high grade polystyrene into items like coat hangers, seedling trays and photo frames. The money raised through this process is then used to purchase wheelchairs for those in need. 

What a wonderful concept, taking an item that would ordinarily end up in landfill and turning it into someone useful. We felt we had to get involved and after only three months have managed, through the help of our clients friends and family to have already collected 731grams. 

While 200kg may very well be an unobtainable target for a single organisation like Simply Stronger, this program is yet another reminder that from small things, even something as small is a little bread tie, big things really do grow.

As exercise professionals we are all about setting achievable realistic goals, therefore we will be setting ourselves the goal of collecting 10kg of bread ties. Watch this space for updates on our progress.

10kg Goal
Making something from nothing! 23%

Oxfam Trailwalker: 100km one step at a time.

I would like to start by saying a big thank you to everyone for their support in seeing Simply Stronger’s Oxfam Trail Walker team through the 100km walk. We finished the walk in an amazing 27:33hr which was a personal best for myself and very exciting. 


It was a tough challenge from the outset with one member struggling with a calf strain from about the 5km mark. We fought through and climbed over Mount Dandenong to meet our support crew in Olinda for a wonderful lunch and boy were we in need of some good food by then. Seven hours since breakfast and a mountain under us, the salad rolls really hit the spot and gave us the energy to go on. Continuing down the mountain we met up with our support crew in Lilydale, where Evan needed to retire after carrying his injury for the first half of the trail.  

Down to three we continued through the night, as it got darker, colder and disappointingly wetter. We were joined once again by our support crew with hot soup and fresh bread in Donvale. Thankfully the rain had stopped, so it was just cold now. Buoyed by the ever chatty Jack and Anthony we headed off into the night again, trying to get as many kilometres behind us before the sun came up. 


As we were heading in to the last rest point before the final stretch to the finish line the sun began to rise and with it our desire to finish. Body parts were aching, blisters continuing to grow and it seemed to only get colder. Thankfully Helen was there to meet us with fresh cooked porridge and fruit, along with blankets and she had even secured a table near some heaters. I can tell you we were very grateful.


With our bellies full we headed off for the final 12km, just as the rain started again in earnest. I have to say that by this point we didn’t really care, the finish line was in sight and a hot shower couldn’t be too far away after that. Coming into Fairfield we were greeted by what at the time seemed to be the steepest set of steps you could imagine. Our weary legs took them slowly to avoid sliding down to the finish line. We received an almighty cheer as we crossed the line. 100km done and over $5000 raised for Oxfam to aid in reducing poverty around the world, we are all very proud of our efforts. Will we do it again? Only time will tell, but the appeal is certainly there for me.