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!

Follow us on Social Media!

References

One Foot Forward image provided by the Black Dog Institute

Photos provided by Bruno Nacsimento and Jusfilm via Unsplash.com

Exercise: enhancing the lives of osteoarthritis patients!

A large portion of our population are affected by musculoskeletal conditions at some stage during their lifetime. One of the more prominent musculoskeletal conditions is arthritis, with 1 in 7 Australians being diagnosed with a form of arthritis. That’s around 15% of the population (or 3.6 million), with 50% of these people reporting physical limitations due to moderate or severe joint pain. In addition to this, 3 in 4 Australians over the age of 45 with arthritis report having at least one other chronic medical condition. This means that not only is the impact of arthritis is widespread, but it affects more than just our joints. Hence the importance in reducing our likelihood of developing arthritis. In today’s post, we’ll have a look at how exercise can help with this endeavour. But first, let’s have a brief chat about arthritis and exactly what it is!

What is Arthritis?

In simple terms, arthritis is a joint disease that encompasses a range of conditions affecting the bones and muscles around our joints. It describes permanent joint changes that can cause pain. In some cases, these changes are visible but most of the time the damages can only be seen on an X-ray.

There are over 100 different types of arthritis that are split into 4 main categories: 

      • Degenerative arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis)
      • Inflammatory arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
      • Infectious arthritis
      • Metabolic arthritis

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis affecting 2.2 million Australians (9.3%) and rheumatoid arthritis affecting 456,000 Australians (1.9%). So, instead of trying to talk about all of the different types and making this post ridiculously long, let’s just focus on osteoarthritis!

What is Osteoarthritis?

As I mentioned previously, osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative arthritis and is the most commonly diagnosed form of arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis occurs when the soft cushioning between the bones, also known as cartilage, breaks down. This can cause the joint to become painful, swollen and hard to move. It most commonly occurs in the hands, knees, hips, lower back and neck.

Causes and Risk Factors

The popular belief is that osteoarthritis is caused by the joints wear and tear. But significant research has revealed that the following factors all contribute to the development of osteoarthritis:

      • Age (particularly over the age of 50)
      • Previous joint injury
      • Overuse
      • Obesity (or being overweight)
      • Weak muscles
      • Genetics and family history
      • Gender (more common in women)

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis affects people in many ways, including:

      • Joint pain during:
          • Physical activity
          • After a long bout of exercise
          • At the end of a busy day
      • Joint stiffness
      • Reduced range of motion
      • Joint clicking or cracking
      • Swelling
      • Muscle weakness around the joint
      • Joint instability or buckling

How can exercise help?

Exercise has been proven to provide many benefits for individuals with osteoarthritis. In particular, exercise does an effective job in lowering our arthritis risk and reducing associated symptoms (see the risk factors and symptoms above).

Individuals with osteoarthritis are less likely to participate in physical activity due to their pain or the fear of aggravating their pain. Due to this, many osteoarthritis patients will have reduced muscular strength and endurance, aerobic capacity, flexibility and overall ability to complete daily tasks. Regular exercise can negate this and help osteoarthritis patients improve their physical capabilities (including muscular strength, endurance and range of motion). 

As the statistics indicate, osteoarthritis patients have an increased risk of developing a secondary medical condition. Exercise training, along with an increase in physical activity levels, will assist in reducing the likelihood of developing additional medical conditions.

As mentioned above, exercise will also help osteoarthritis patients minimise the impact of arthritis symptoms, particularly improving their:

      • Joint stiffness and pain
      • Energy expenditure, which helps with:
          • Weight loss
          • Body composition
      • Stress and anxiety
      • Self-esteem and quality of life
      • Overall mental health (i.e. risk of depression)

How much exercise should I do?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that to reduce the risk of developing or reducing the impact of osteoarthritis, individuals should complete a combination of resistance, aerobic and flexibility training. In summary, in order to maximise the benefits of exercise, you should complete:

      • Resistance Training: 2 to 3 days/week of moderate or vigorous intensity exercises. For each exercise, you should complete 2 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
      • Aerobic Training: it is ideal to complete the equivalent of 150-minutes of moderate or 75-minutes of vigorous intensity exercise across 3 to 5 days each week. Optimal activities include cycling, walking or swimming (low joint stress)
      • Flexibility Training: daily training that involves moving through your range of motion until you get the feeling of tightness/ stretching without pain. A 10 to 30 second stretch is ideal, using a combination of static and dynamic stretches.

Where should I start?

There are many ways to exercise, but as the ACSM suggest, it is best to use a mixture of strength, aerobic and flexibility training. This will ensure that we are maximising the benefits for our joints. Having some variety can also be a great way to keep things interesting and fresh – as they say, variety is the spice of life!

If you would like some suggestions on some various exercises that you could use, check out No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym! It has some great suggestions of strength exercises and cardiovascular activities (such as walking, running or cycling) that you can complete, as well as providing an insight on how to complete them safely. 

Here is a sneak peek of some general bodyweight and resistance band exercises that are discussed in this post:

Bodyweight exercises

Resistance band exercises

As for flexibility training, the 5 strategies to avoid that post-exercise muscle soreness! has some great sections about stretching and self-massage techniques that help improve range of motion. To help get you started, here are some great stretches for different parts of the body:

Stretches

It is important to consider that the optimal exercises are dependant on which joint is affected by osteoarthritis – this is different for each person. For example, we have a wonderful video (shown below) that demonstrates some exercises that are perfect for hand osteoarthritis. Although the title specifically mentions rheumatoid arthritis, they are perfect for anyone with any form of arthritis.

Keeping your exercise safe

As it is with any form of exercise, it is important to consult an exercise professional before getting started. This is especially important when you are experiencing any limitations or joint pain due to osteoarthritis. Exercise professionals, such as Exercise Physiologists, will be able to help you identify the most effective and safest exercises for your particular situation to ensure that you are maximising the benefits without any additional risk.

One Foot Forward Update!

As I mentioned in the One foot forward for mental health! and The benefits of exercise on breast cancer! posts, I am embarking on the journey to complete 150km of walking to help raise awareness for mental health. Here is a quick update on my progress:

So far, I have managed to walk 127.6km! I am on track to achieve my goal of 150km by the end of the month. To do this, I’ll need to walk 2.26km each day. But lets up the ante a little bit – I’m going to aim to reach 150km before next weeks post. This means I have 7 days to go and I’ll instead need to walk 3.2km each day! Thankfully, we are now back to face-face appointments, which means I’ll be on my feet a lot more throughout the day, so I’m confident about achieving this goal. I’m on the home stretch now and the finish line is in sight!

Stay tuned for next weeks post as I will let you know how I go during the final week of the challenge! Make sure to let us know in the comments section how you are going with your One Foot Forward challenge!

Need Some Help?

Whether it is osteoarthritis or another health condition, exercise can provide tremendous benefits! Exercise Physiologist’s specialise in helping those with various medical conditions with exercise-based treatment. So, if you would like some assistance with this or in achieving your health or performance goals, contact us to organise an appointment with one of our Exercise Physiologists.

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!

Follow us on Social Media!

References and Useful Resources

Arthritis Foundation, 2020, Osteoarthritis, viewed 21/10/2020, https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis

Arthritis Foundation, 2020, What is Arthritis?, viewed 21/10/2020, https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020, Arthritis, last viewed, 21/10/2020. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/arthritis/contents/arthritis

Photos provided by Aan Nizal, Luis Quintero, Marcel Strauss, Mathew Schwartz and Sriyoga Ashram via Unsplash.com

Riebe, D 2016, ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription, Philadelphia Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health, 2014. 10th ed.

The benefits of exercise on breast cancer!

A large portion of our population is affected by breast cancer, particularly women. This makes breast cancer a prominent issue in modern society. 

Firstly, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. Additionally, it is the second most common cancer overall, accounting for 14% of all cancer diagnosis!

Secondly, in Australia alone 19,974 are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 (19,807 of which are in women). That’s 55 new cases every day! In addition to this, 1 in 7 women and 1 in 675 men will be diagnosed within their lifetime. 

Thirdly, breast cancer will result in approximately 3,301 deaths in Australia this year, 2,997 being women – that’s 8 deaths every day! The mortality rate for breast cancer is the 5th highest among cancers, accounting for 6.4% of all cancer related deaths!

October happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month! So it’s a great opportunity discuss this important topic. In today’s post, we will dive into the world of breast cancer. We will start our journey with a quick explanation of what breast cancer is and how it affects us before discussing how exercise can help! Without further ado, let’s get started!

What is Breast Cancer?

To put it simply, breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cancerous cells in the breast lobules or ducts. These cells grow uncontrollably and have the potential to spread to different parts of the body.

Risk Factors (and Causes)

Certain factors can increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of these factors are uncontrollable and cannot be changed. These unmodifiable risk factors include:

      • Increasing age
      • Family history
      • Genetics (inheritance of mutations)
      • Increased oestrogen and progesterone exposure
      • Previous breast cancer diagnosis
      • History of non-cancerous breast conditions.

Conversely, controllable lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of breast cancer. By positively adjusting the following factors we are able to actively reduce our likelihood of a diagnosis:

      • Increased body weight (overweight or obesity)
      • Sedentary lifestyle (decreased physical activity)
      • Excess alcohol consumption.

Diagnosis

Before a breast cancer diagnosis is given, there are a variety of tests that may be administered. These can include a physical examination, Mammogram, Ultrasound or Biopsy. 

This is a manual examination that aims to find any lumps that are within the breast. If there are lumps, further investigating will be completed.

An X-Ray is used to look for changes (or lumps) in the breast tissues that may be too small to be felt during a physical examination. There are two types of Mammogram:

      1. Screening Mammogram: checks for breast cancer when no signs or symptoms are present
      2. Diagnostic Mammogram: checks for breast cancer after a lump (or other sign or symptom) has been found. 

An ultrasound is used to gather further information if the mammogram has picked up tissue changes. It is a painless scan that uses sound-waves to create a picture of the breast.

A biopsy is completed after an ultrasound. It involves removing part of the affected breast tissue for further examination under a microscope.

If cancer is detected, additional scans (such as a CT or MRI scan) help determine the grade and stage of the cancer. They also determine if the cancer is centralised to the breast or if it has spread to other parts of the body.

Treatments

Treatment of breast cancer depends on its stage and severity. The various treatment methods that may be used include: Staging, Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Hormone Therapy.

This is an assessment that determines the size of the breast cancer and whether or not it has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm. To do this, CT scans of the chest and liver, as well as a bone scan, are completed to check the sites to which it most commonly spreads to.

For localised cancer, surgery may be completed to remove the breast and lymph nodes under the arms. There are two types of surgery that may be performed:

    1. Lumpectomy (or breast conserving surgery): the removal of only part of the breast 
    2. Mastectomy: the removal of the whole breast. This may be followed with reconstructive surgery.

Chemotherapy helps shrink the cancer prior to surgery, as well as reducing the risk of the cancer returning after surgery. It can also be administered after surgery if the cancer returns. It can also be given in conjunction with other treatments such as radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy (or radiation therapy) is used to destroy any cancer cells. This can be applied in isolation or as an adjacent treatment with surgery or chemotherapy.

This method uses drugs to reduce the levels of oestrogen and progesterone within the body. It aims to stop or slow the growth of hormone receptor positive cancer cells. which require these hormones to survive and spread.  

The Side Effects of Treatment

While breast cancer treatment can be quite effective at treating the cancerous cells, it also has many potential side effects. These side effects include, but are not limited to:

      • Fatigue
      • Musculoskeletal dysfunction or atrophy
      • Reduced bone mineral density
      • Lymphedema
      • Changes in body composition
      • Peripheral neuropathy or other nerve problems
      • Arthralgia / Myalgia
      • Cardiovascular toxicity
      • Increased stress and anxiety
      • Changes in mood
      • Decreased concentration and focus
      • Functional decline
      • Compromised immune system

Thankfully, exercise helps reduce the impact of many of these side effects. Speaking of which, let’s now have a look at the role of exercise in helping breast cancer patients and survivors!

Exercise for Breast Cancer

Physical activity is an effective intervention for breast cancer patients. Research concludes that exercise is helpful for patients both during and after cancer treatment.

Goals of Exercise

Exercise goals vary depending on the stage of cancer treatment, the treatments prescribed and the resultant symptoms experienced by an individual.

As I mentioned earlier, exercise prior to a cancer diagnosis can have a positive impact on some lifestyle factors known to be linked with cancer development. This makes exercise a great option in helping reduce the risk of cancer development in the first place – as they say, prevention is the best form of treatment!

Once diagnosed, exercise can provide many benefits throughout treatment. During this stage, it aims to reduce the associated symptoms, in addition to maintaining physical capabilities and function along with maintaining your quality of life.

In addition, exercise also provides many post-treatment benefits for survivors. After treatment, exercise aims to help the survivor return to their pre-treatment physical function, in addition to reducing the risk of cancer reoccurrence. 

Benefits of Exercise for Breast Cancer

No matter the stage of treatment, the benefits remain the same – the only difference is the goal!

Overall, an effective exercise intervention can allow patients and survivors to:

      • Improve their:
        • Physical function (ability to complete daily activities)
        • Physical fitness, including:
          • Cardiorespiratory fitness
          • Muscular strength and endurance
          • Muscle mass
        • Self-esteem and quality of life
        • Energy levels (or reducing fatigue)
        • Body composition
        • Tolerance of treatment and completion rate (or efficacy)
        • Cancer survival rate
      • Reduce their:
        • Risk of reoccurrence
        • Stress and anxiety
        • Risk of depression

So how much exercise should I do?

Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) suggests that breast cancer patients and survivors should follow the national physical activity guidelines and complete a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (cardiovascular training) each week. In addition, it is recommended to complete at least 2 strength training sessions each week. That’s equivalent to 30 minutes of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of vigorous exercise 5 days a week. 

Of course, it is important to consider that everyone has different physical capabilities. Although this level of exercise may be realistic for some people, for others it won’t be. Hence, it is important to start at a level that is realistic for you to complete and gradually build up until you reach these recommendations. And at the end of the day, something is always better than nothing! 

If you are not sure how you can fit 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule, you could complete your exercise in intervals throughout the day. For example, you could complete 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes in the evening. That would still be 30 minutes for the day – it doesn’t have to be completed all at once!

I want to start, but I'm not sure how to...

There are many ways to exercise, but it is recommended that we use a mixture of strength and cardiovascular training. This will ensure that we are maximising the benefits for both our muscles (regarding strength, endurance and mass) and our lungs (cardiovascular fitness). Having some variety can also be a great way to keep things interesting and fresh – as they say, variety is the spice of life!

If you would like some suggestions on some various exercises that you could use, check out our No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym! post. It has some great suggestions of strength exercises and cardiovascular activities that you can complete at home, as well as providing an insight on how to complete them. Here is a sneak peek of the bodyweight and resistance band exercises that are discussed in this post:

Bodyweight exercises

Resistance band exercises

Keep in mind that you can purchase your own resistance band from Simply Stronger. We are able to post it to you anywhere in Australia at $5/m plus postage – contact us for more information.

Preventing muscle soreness

Anyone that exercises frequently can tell you about the muscle soreness that you can get after a good workout! It happens to everyone. In particular if you are starting to exercise more frequently – any increase in overall load can result in this soreness, which can potentially hold you back.

There are many ways to help manage our load to help prevent this. Some of these strategies include gradually building up your load, self-massage and stretching. Our 5 strategies to avoid that post-exercise muscle soreness! post addresses this topic in depth and can help you avoid that soreness and maximise the exercise benefits.

Keeping your exercise safe

As it is with any form of exercise, it is important to consult an exercise professional before getting started. This is especially important if you are currently going through cancer treatment. 

Although exercise provides many health benefits, it is important to make sure that you are completing the right exercises for your situation. Exercise professionals, such as Exercise Physiologists are able to help with identifying the most effective and safest exercises for your particular situation to ensure that you are maximising the benefits without any additional risk.

One Foot Forward Update!

As I mentioned in last weeks One foot forward for mental health! post, I am embarking on the journey to complete 100km of walking to help raise awareness for mental health. As promised, I’ve got a quick update ready for you.

So far, I have managed to walk 78.9km! Thats right, I’ve somehow managed to surpass 75% of my goal even though we are only half way through the month. For those who are wondering, I’ve been focussing on staying on my feet throughout the day and allocating time each day to go out for walks around my neighbourhood.

However, I never expected to go this far so quickly – maybe I underestimated my capabilities? So, I’ve decided that I’ll increase my goal to 150km. This is still realistic to achieve, as I will only need to maintain what I am already doing to achieve it. At the end of the day, the goal needs to be challenging and realistic at the same time, and I think this adjustment will help with that.

Stay tuned for next weeks post as I will provide you with another update! Make sure to let us know in the comments section how you are going with your One Foot Forward challenge!

Need Some Help?

Whether it is Breast Cancer or another health condition, exercise can provide tremendous benefits! Exercise Physiologist’s specialise in helping those with various medical conditions with exercise-based treatment. So, if you would like some assistance with this or in achieving your health or performance goals, contact us to organise an appointment with one of our Exercise Physiologists.

Check out some of our other posts!

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

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 Wednesday! 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!

Follow us on Social Media!

References and Useful Resources

Australian Government – Cancer Australia, 2020. Breast Cancer in Australia Statistics, viewed 11/10/2020. https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer/statistics

Bernstein, L., Henderson, B.E., Hanisch, R., Sullivan-Halley, J. and Ross, R.K., 1994. Physical exercise and reduced risk of breast cancer in young womenJNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute86(18), pp.1403-1408.

Cancer Council, 2020. Breast Cancer, viewed 11/10/2020. https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/types-of-cancer/breast-cancer 

Courneya, K.S., Mackey, J.R., Bell, G.J., Jones, L.W., Field, C.J. and Fairey, A.S., 2003. Randomized controlled trial of exercise training in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors: cardiopulmonary and quality of life outcomesJournal of clinical oncology21(9), pp.1660-1668.

Hayes, S.C., Newton, R.U., Spence, R.R. and Galvão, D.A., 2019. The Exercise and Sports Science Australia position statement: Exercise medicine in cancer management. Journal of science and medicine in sport22(11), pp.1175-1199.

McNeely, M.L., Campbell, K.L., Rowe, B.H., Klassen, T.P., Mackey, J.R. and Courneya, K.S., 2006. Effects of exercise on breast cancer patients and survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysisCmaj175(1), pp.34-41.

Mock V, Dow KH, Meares CJ, et al. Effects of exercise on fatigue, physical functioning, and emotional distress during radiation therapy for breast cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum. 1997 Jul;24(6):991-1000.

National Breast Cancer Foundation, 2020. Breast Cancer Stats, viewed 11/10/2020. https://nbcf.org.au/about-breast-cancer/breast-cancer-stats/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwt4X8BRCPARIsABmcnOp6W6x_mQUpRxDTLRNn-pWEhwDYRpPii1GVH8IQRK1ihKQS6X1h5hYaApt1EALw_wcB

Photos provided by Angiola Harry, Jenny Hill, Jon Tyson, Marcelo Leal and Peter Boccia via Unsplash.com

Schwartz, A.L., Mori, M.O.T.O.M.I., Gao, R.E.N.L.U., NAIL, L.M. and KING, M.E., 2001. Exercise reduces daily fatigue in women with breast cancer receiving chemotherapyMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise33(5), pp.718-723.

It’s not just our body that we need to look after, but our mind as well!

Here at Live Strong and Prosper, we often present information that stresses the importance of taking care of our body. But it is also important to take care of our mind as well.

With R U Ok? Day approaching, we thought it would be a good time to have a chat about mental health. Specifically, let’s discuss how we can maintain our own mental health and support those around us. 

What do we mean by Mental Health?

Mental health is defined by the World Health Organisation as: “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

Mental Health conditions affect 20% of Australian’s every year, with 45% of people experiencing a mental health condition at some stage during their lifetime. These mental health conditions include (but are not limited to) depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders and personality disorders. Each mental health condition affects people in different ways, but nonetheless they all have a significant impact on an individual’s overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Even people who are considered mentally ‘healthy’ can go through prolonged periods of sadness, stress or anxiety that can have major implications on their daily life. This is especially true in a society where we are all locked up at home all day while we try and fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many people are impacted by mental health conditions and everyone is susceptible to it. Hence, it is important that we are able to not only understand how to take care of our own mental health, but how to help those around us as well. 

If you would like more information regarding mental health, there are several great organisations with lots of detailed information. Here are three great websites that we would recommend starting with: Headspace (services for young people), Beyond Blue and Black Dog Institute

'R U Ok?' Day

‘R U Ok? day’ is a national day dedicated to reminding us to ask someone who might be struggling with life’s ups and downs if they are okay.

This year, it is being held on Thursday September 10, and on this day we encourage everyone to ask at least one person about how they are doing. This is especially important now as we are all locked up at home as we battle our way through this pandemic!

"I'm just one person, what can I do?"

There are many ways that you can help those around you. Even by yourself, you are able to change the world for one person. Just remember that you do not need to be an expert to help someone, just a great friend!

I could go on for a while about the different ways in which you can help someone who you think might be struggling. The simplest way is to get in touch with them and ask “are you okay?” These three words can be very powerful. Most of us don’t express our feelings naturally because either we are too embarrassed to mention it or just don’t know how to start the conversation. Asking the question provides someone with the invitation to open up and express the feelings that they have buried deep inside. And I’m sure we all know the amazing feeling of that weight lifting off your shoulders when you talk to someone about problem. 

If you are unsure of the best way to ask someone if they are okay, check our the R U OK? website. 

Don't just worry about everyone else!

As important as it is to check in with others and to make sure they are okay, it is just as important to take care of yourself! Maybe you are having some difficulties at home or are struggling with work?  You could be stressed about an upcoming event, missing loved ones or are just generally run down and tired. The reasons will vary for everyone and some ways might not be as important as they way you respond to them. That is why it is so important that you take some time to look after your own mental health.

Like many things, it is easier said than done. But there are many strategies that can help you improve or manage your mental health:

      • Getting some fresh air
      • Yoga or meditation
      • Mindfulness
      • “Me time”
      • Having a conversation with a friend or family member
      • Physical activity and exercise

If things feel overwhelming, keep in mind that your GP is a vital link to professional supports such as a Psychologist.

The power of physical activity

Exercise is often considered as a neglected intervention for mental health conditions. Although there is no consensus in regard to how exercise assists in mental health management, as there are many mechanisms that contribute. However, the link between exercise and positive impacts on mental health is solid and well researched.  Both general aerobic exercises, such as walking, cycling, swimming, gardening and dancing, and resistance training, done from a gym or home setting, have been shown to provide these benefits.

Regular exercise results in mental health improvements by reducing the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps improve self-esteem, cognitive function, mood, overall quality of life and the symptoms associated with social withdrawal. Further effects of exercise such as improved sleep, energy levels, weight and fatigue management, and cardiovascular fitness have also been particularly helpful for those with mental health conditions.

Where do I start?

As we have mentioned, any form of aerobic or resistance training exercise can help provide these benefits. If you are a bit unsure of what options there are, check out our No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym! post. Looking for something a bit more fun to get the family involved? Try Your guide to making exercise fun for kids! – it has some great options for families of any size!

If doing it alone seems too daunting then simply drop us an email and we’ll make an appointment with you to talk you through the best approach for you. You do not have to do this alone – we are here to help.

Enjoying this Blog?
Check out some of our other posts.

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

In the meantime, here are some related posts that may interest you:

Keep an eye out in the future for our 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!

We are here to help!

Exercise Physiologists specialise in helping people identify the type of exercise that will help them achieve their goals – not just in a gym with weights, but to include in your everyday life! If you would like some assistance in determining the best type fo exercise for you to help you achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.

Follow us on Social Media!

References and useful resources

Beyond Blue, What is mental health?, viewed 04/09/2020, https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/what-is-mental-health

Black Dog Institute, Facts and Figures about mental health, viewed 04/09/2020, https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/1-facts_figures.pdf

Callaghan, P., (2004). Exercise: a neglected intervention in mental health care?. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing, 11(4), pp.476-483.

Photos provided by arek Adeoye, Fernando Cferdo, Josh Riemer, Mor Shani and Sincerely Media via Unsplash.com

R U Ok? Day – https://www.ruok.org.au/join-r-u-ok-day

Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 8(2), 106.

Stay together, stay strong!

Here I am, sitting here at my desk thinking about what to write. I had originally planned on writing about how exercise can help with the prevention and management of Diabetes – it is Diabetes awareness week after all!

But, then I remembered why we developed this blog in the first place. Live Stronger and Prosper was designed with the sole purpose to help people. Writing about exercise and Diabetes would be helpful for so many of you, but I can’t help but think about what is in the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. The elephant in the room – stage 4 restrictions.

Our lives are changing

Here we are, living in Victoria trying to make the most of a bad situation. As Covid runs rampant around the world, we now gear up for another change to our lives with more restrictions coming into place. 

Now, we all know these restrictions are necessary in the fight against coronavirus, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy for any of us. And I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m worse off than anyone else. I know there will be many of you reading this that will have it worse off than me. I really feel for you, all of you, and I want to help. 

So that leads me to this post – what can I do here that will help people? There are many issues that will have or are going to present themselves over the next six weeks. Unfortunately, a blog post with some well meaning words doesn’t really change that. But I do think there are some essential things that we can all do to help each other out. We are a community, and if we are to get through this, it has to be together. “We’re all in this together” – I can honestly say I never thought I would be quoting High School Musical, but here we are!

Touch base with friends and family

It’s tough to not be able to be around our families and friends, so don’t hesitate to make contact with them! Whether it’s a phone call, a meeting on Zoom, Skype or FaceTime, a quick message on social media or a text message. Hearing from and having a conversation with those that mean the most to you is an uplifting feeling, which is a feeling we all need right now. So not only will this help those you care about, but it will help you as well. We are human after all, and all humans crave those social connections with others. So take a minute out of your day to get in touch with someone. If you speak with 1 person each day, you will have made 42 people’s day better by the end of these restrictions.

Use your one hour of exercise effectively

Being locked up at home can drive people crazy – I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling at some stage already this year! Getting outside and being active is a great way to not only escape, but to look after both our physical and mental health. Just getting some fresh air and sunshine (subject to the amazing Melbourne weather!) can make a big difference!

Since we only get one hour, we need to make the most of it. And there is plenty we can do within 5km of our home. You could go for a walk or run (maybe bring your pet along?) You could go down to the local park or oval and do some yoga or stretching. Or maybe you would prefer a bike ride or rollerblading? Whatever it is, get out and be active – we must place an emphasis on maintaining our health to avoid complications down the line.

If you would like some advice on great ways to exercise, contact us to organise an appointment with one of our Exercise Physiologists. We also offer Telehealth appointments if you would prefer to stay within the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, our previous post “No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym!” has some fantastic home exercise suggestions to help you get started!

Get creative, have some fun!

There is an ad going around on TV at the moment that is the perfect example of how creative we can be. It shows just how much fun we can have with others without leaving our house!

I’m talking about the ad where a heap of kids in the same apartment block make a giant car track that goes through the entire building. It goes in and out of windows and through all of their homes – one giant race track. If you haven’t seen it, keep an eye out for it!

Anyway, back on topic, a great way to pass the time is to come up with a fun and creative game or activity. There are so many different things you can do to have some fun together (while being a part as restrictions require!). Maybe a board game, card game, charades, or even a game of hide and seek (where maybe you ‘accidentally’ take a while to find the kids – I won’t tell if you don’t!)

So get creative, and let us know in the comments below what activities you have come up with! To help get you started, here is a video that we created featuring some two people games, which can easily be modified to include the whole family!

Make time for you

Don’t forget to have some quiet time for yourself, some time to just get away from everything and relax. You could read a book, go for a walk, have a nice relaxing bath, pottering int he garden or enjoy your favourite comedy (okay, maybe I’m really enjoying binging Brooklyn Nine Nine on Netflix!). It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, all that matters is that you are able to relax and let all the stress just float away.

If you are not sure of what the best way for you to relax is, maybe Mindfullness is for you? Try it out by following along with this video!

Check out our previous posts!

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

In the meantime, here are some related posts that may interest you:

And here is a little sneak peek into some posts that will be coming your way over the next few weeks:

      • Hey kids, did you know exercise can be fun?
      • Exercise for mental health 
      • Strategies to overcome obstacles
      • Strengthening your bones

Also, keep an eye out for our brand new series “How I live strong and prosper”. In this series we’ll be chatting with Simply Stronger members 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!

We are here for you!

Exercise Physiologists specialise in helping people identify the type of exercise that will help them achieve their goals – not just in a gym with weights, but to include in your everyday life! Even if you don’t feel comfortable coming into our clinic, we can help you via telehealth appointments. If you would like some assistance in determining the best type fo exercise for you to help you achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.

References

Photos provided by Alex Motoc, Artem Beliaikin, Dylan Ferreira, Julia Vivcharyk and National Cancer Institute via Unsplash.com

4 tips to help everyone stay limber and focused at your desk!

The inspiration for this post came from a teacher. They were asking about strategies and tips for helping kids survive the many hours they now spend at a desk. 

So here we are – let’s have a chat about how we can help students in the classroom. More specifically, let’s dive into the ideas and concepts relating to a great sitting posture, relieving tension, and using movement to regain focus. All of which will help your students stay loose and focussed throughout a long day of studying. Simply Stronger’s amazing Director, Sara, will be taking you through the journey to discover the four important ways that we can help your students achieve this.

#1 - Sitting posture

The first tip revolves around our posture while sitting. In the following video, Sara will demonstrate and explain the two key points that will help your students maintain a good sitting posture.

The two important messages to remember are to sit on top of your sit bones and shine your chest torch forwards. Once explained and understood, these two cues are very simple ways to quickly remind your students and yourself of the ideal sitting position.

#2 - Desk stretching

I’m sure all of us frequently experience stiffness and tightness while sitting at a desk for a prolonged period. I can imagine that you have been experiencing this yourself, as well as your students, whether  studying/working in the classroom or from home! In the next video Sara will take us through a variety of stretches that can help us reduce that stiffness and stay nice and loose.

Remember, these stretches can help relax and loosen up your bodies, all while staying at your desk:

    1. Lateral Neck Stretch
    2. Levator Scapula Stretch (another neck stretch)
    3. Shoulder Stretch
    4. Wrist Extensor Stretch
    5. Wrist Flexor Stretch

Make sure these stretches are done on both sides of your body, that you take long deep breaths and that you hold the stretch for around 20 seconds at a time.

This is by no means an extensive list of stretches, but a few very good ones to get your started. If you use any alternative stretches, or have an idea for a different stretch or area of your body you would like us to show you, let us know in the comments below!

#3 - Getting mobile

Although the desk stretches are a great place to start, there is nothing better than getting up and moving about after sitting in a chair for a long time. In this video, Sara will show you some exercises that will help your students get moving, loosen up and get rid of that tension building up in their body – especially through their back and hips!

Don’t be shy here, you know it will feel great to try it yourself!

The exercises that you can use to get your students moving are:

    1. Happy puppy, sad puppy
    2. Roll down
    3. Windmill
    4. Knee tucks
    5. Rotations

Remember, these activities can be completed in the classroom, in between classes or while studying at home. It could be a great option to encourage students to try an exercise in the middle of a class to help break up their sitting time.

#4 - Getting your heart pumping

Finally, it’s time to get our heart pumping and get that blood flowing! This is especially important for students to regain focus or maintain their concentration throughout the day. I’ll now pass it over to Sara who will explain and demonstrate some great activities to help with this.

These are the activities that are a great place to start:

    1. Arm swings
    2. High knees
    3. Arm circles (both ways)
    4. Star jumps
    5. Heel kicks

Remember, we are looking for around 20 repetitions of these exercises at a high pace to get our heart rate up – slow and steady won’t win this race!

Of course, this is a great starting point, but there are many great activities out there. If you use a different activity with your students or have an idea of a different exercise, let us know in the comments below!

Not just for teachers and students!

Although these tips have been designed specifically for teachers and their students, they can be applied to any situation that involves prolonged sitting time. Whether you are studying, teaching, working from home or you regularly work from a desk, these tips can help you! Remember, it’s all about reducing tension and staying loose to help us stay comfortable, focussed and productive!

If you do have injuries that prevent you from completing any of these exercises get in touch and we will help you to modify them.

Want to know more?

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

In the meantime, here are some related posts that may interest you:

And here is a little sneak peek into some posts that will be coming your way over the next few weeks:

      • Hey kids, did you know exercise can be fun?
      • Exercise for mental health 
      • Strategies to overcome obstacles
      • Strengthening your bones

Also, keep an eye out for our brand new series “How I live strong and prosper”. In this series we’ll be chatting with Simply Stronger members 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!

We are here to help!

Exercise Physiologists specialise in helping people identify the type of exercise that will help them achieve their goals – not just in a gym with weights, but to include in your everyday life! If you would like some assistance in determining the best type fo exercise for you to help you achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.

References

Photos provided by NeONBRAND via Unsplash.com

Tips for maintaining your health during a pandemic

Yes, today we are going to talk about the ‘P’ word – Pandemic. I think we can say that we are well and truly into uncharted territory when it comes to Covid-19. 

When I think back to the start of 2020, a pandemic wasn’t even considered a possibility. But here we are months later and our lives have been completely changed by it. Covid-19 has had a tremendous impact on our lives and it appears as though this will continue for some time. We are all having to make adjustments to what could be the new normal, at least for a while.

In a lot of situations, these changes are resulting in more physical inactivity, and declines in overall physical health. Thinking about this makes me very concerned. We currently live in a society where video games, iPhones, computers and televisions dominate our attention and already cause significant health complications.

In 2017-18, according to the Australian Institute of health and Wellness, 1 in 4 children and 2 in 3 adults were classed as obese. Physical inactivity throughout the pandemic could see this already high number increase even further.

It is essential, that as a wider community, we do everything we can to at least maintain our physical health while restrictions are in place. So, let’s have a chat about how we can stay physically active during the pandemic and avoid the potential health consequences.

#1 – Break up sitting time

The first thing I want to stress is that sitting is not bad! We all sit every day, and some of us spend more time sitting than we do standing. The issue with sitting is when we remain in the same seated position for prolonged period of time. Our body is designed to move, not remaining stationary in the same sitting position.

Previously, we posted “Sitting – is it really that bad?” and discussed the idea of breaking up prolonged periods of sitting. We also used a lovely water analogy to help explain the problem around this. If you would like to read the explanation, check out the post!

But I would like to spend this time today to focus on what we can do to break up our sitting time and move more. Some options include:

      • Walking while talking on the phone, even inside your house
      • Standing at a bench to work instead of sitting at a desk
      • Leave the remote next to the TV so you need to stand up to change the channel
      • Fold the clean clothes while standing
      • Walk or stand while you read
      • Sweep the floor, rather than always reaching for the vacuum
      • Rake your leaves rather than blowing them into the street 

If you have any other ideas on how to move more and break up sitting time, let us know in the comments below!

#2 – Game based exercise

There are many ways to be active while having fun and playing games. You could play a game like Twister, Hyperdash, Charades, Hide-and-Seek, building a blanket fort or even Duck Duck Goose! All of these can be played within your own home and, let’s be honest, us adults would still enjoy playing these games we loved as kids!

Alternatively, depending on how large your backyard is, you can take the games outdoors. A great option is sports – cricket, basketball, soccer, footy, the list is endless! If you have the equipment, then why not head on out and use it? I know for me personally I enjoy playing downball with my sister, and all it takes is a $2 high bounce ball (or even a tennis ball). Even riding a bike, jumping on a trampoline or pogo stick, or building your own obstacle course are all great options! Your only limitation is your imagination.

If you need some inspiration, check out this obstacle course video. Here you’ll find 10 stations that we created using items you can find in your home, any of which could be used to create your own homemade obstacle course.

#3 – Visit the home gym

Everyone’s home gym will be different. Some of us will have been able to get to the shops before all of the home exercise equipment was sold out, some of us weren’t so lucky. But there is no advantage or disadvantage to this. Just as there are many ways to exercise with equipment, there are just as many options without it.

In our previous post “No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym!“, we discussed various ways that you can exercise outside of the gym. This includes activities that can be done at home with no equipment. Check it out if you need some ideas for home exercise!

Alternatively, if you would like some equipment to use at home, you can hire or buy equipment from Simply Stronger. Check out our website or contact us for more information.

#4 – Enjoy the great outdoors

The great outdoors – I’m sure we think of rainforests, a lake or a nice walking path when we think of this. But, we have our own version of the great outdoors at home – our backyard! 

You don’t even need to do anything too strenuous. Yes, walking around, playing a game or doing some exercise would be the most beneficial thing to do. But, just getting outside into the fresh air is great for our mental health, especially when we are at home all day.

#5 – Step away from the screens

I’m sure we are all aware of how prolonged time using electronic screens can impact us. Many of us spend hours upon hours staring at electronic screens. It has become an integral part of our society and many people rely on this technology.

Although our iPhones, computers and televisions are a great way to access information, stay in touch with friends a family and play games – and I can’t forget it’s importance in working from home and online learning – too much time in front of screens has a negative impact on not only our physical health, but our mental health too.

Thankfully, any of the methods discussed in this post can be used as effective ways to break up screen time. You can stand up and move around, play a game (away from the screen), complete a puzzle, or go outside and enjoy the fresh air.

Now I understand this may be difficult for those who are addicted to their screens (yes kids, I’m talking to you!), but it is essential that we don’t spend hours on end staring at a screen. 

#6 – Exercise your mind

Just as important as it is to take care of our body by being active, it is also important to look after our mind. Mental health has been coming to the forefront over the last few years and it has become clear that it is a problem within our society. From depression to anxiety and even stress, mental health cannot be ignored.

Yes, being active and getting outside is great for our mental health. Even reducing screen time is helpful with this. But keeping our mind sharp and in tip top condition is just as important. 

A great way to do this is by doing some puzzles. This could be a jig-saw puzzle, crossword, word search, sudoko or riddles. Anything that challenges your mind and makes you think is going to be good for you, especially if the alternative is watching more TV and letting your mind go to sleep!

#7 – Be social

Although we can’t go out and meet up with friends, it is important o remain social. We crave human interaction! Thankfully, we are in the golden era for social media. There are so many ways to stay in touch with our friends and family. Even if social media isn’t your forte, why not pick up the phone and give them a call? I know the younger generation love texting and social media, but that isn’t for everyone. And hearing someone’s voice over the phone is just as valuable as seeing them on Zoom or keeping touch on social media.

Want to know more?

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

In the meantime, here are some related posts that may interest you:

And here is a little sneak peek into some posts that will be coming your way over the next few weeks:

      • Hey kids, did you know exercise can be fun?
      • Exercise for mental health 
      • Strategies to overcome obstacles
      • Strengthening your bones

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

We are here to help!

Exercise Physiologists specialise in helping people identify the type of exercise that will help them achieve their goals – not just in a gym with weights, but to include in your everyday life! If you would like some assistance in determining the best type fo exercise for you to help you achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.

Follow us on Social Media!


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References

Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, 2019, Overweight and Obesity, Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, retrieved 20/07/2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/overweight-obesity/about 

Photos provided by free to use sounds, Joseph Pearson, Ross Sneddon and Zuza Galczynska via Unsplash.com

No gym? No problem! Effective ways to exercise outside the gym!

In our previous post Exercise is medicine – the importance of including exercise in your daily routine, we mentioned some of the barriers that can prevent people from incorporating exercise into their daily routine. Today you will take your first step to overcoming these barriers in the journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

One major obstacle that needs overcoming is not having access to equipment or the inconvenience of going to a gym. It can even be as simple as not being able to afford the monthly gym membership fee. Or maybe you are living through a pandemic and can’t go to a gym! But not to fear, we are here to show you that there are many ways to complete your daily exercise outside of the gym and with limited or no equipment. Let’s get started!

Bodyweight Exercises

The best thing about gym exercises is that they can also be done by anyone without any weights – bodyweight exercises. Here are some specific exercise examples:

How can I do these exercises at home?

Not only can these exercises be done without weights, but they can all be completed in the comfort of your own home!! 

If Squats are a bit too challenging, try Sit to Stands! They are a great alternative that can be completed on any seat. Although, we do recommend a seat where your knees are equal to or higher than your hips when sitting. If the seat is too low, you can place something underneath you to add some extra height!

There are alternatives to the standard Push Up if you find them too difficult. You could try them on your knees, or you can do Elevated Push Ups from your kitchen bench.

Step Ups can be completed on a step (or steps) of any height. If you don’t have any steps at home, we can create our own step. For example, we could use a small stack of  books placed against a wall for stability.

Calf Raises can be done anywhere, anytime. If they are not challenging enough, we can always do them on one leg instead! If you are having trouble balancing, try resting your hands on a bench  to give you some extra stability.

All you need is a soft surface to complete the Plank. And you can easily adjust the difficulty by increasing or reducing the time you hold it for.

As for the Lunges, there are a couple of different versions you can try. You can either complete them standing in the same spot or by taking a step forward after each lunge. If you need some assistance with balancing, rest your hands on a bench and grab onto it when needed. 

Resistance Band Exercises

Resistance bands are amazing when it comes to exercise! They are very easy to use at home, come in a variety of resistances, can be found almost anywhere and are relatively cheap compared to other forms of gym equipment. In fact, you can purchase your own resistance band from Simply Stronger. We can post to you anywhere in Australia at $5/m plus postage (contact us for more information). Here are some great exercises that you can do with a resistance band.

Did Someone Say Cardio?

When it comes to exercise, cardio is a great option. We are able to get our heart rates up, get ourselves moving and work off that big work lunch! Whether it is going for a walk or run, climbing some stairs, going for a bike ride, going for a swim, doing some boxing or even some star jumps, cardio is a very easy way to get you daily exercise dose.

In our Exercise is medicine – the importance of including exercise in your daily routine, we mentioned that it is important to accumulate approximately 150 minutes of exercise every week. Have you been able to do your 150 minutes? And if so, what do you do to exercise and how much of it is cardio? Let us know how you do your cardio in the comments below!

Incidental Exercise

The best thing about exercise is that it doesn’t have to be deliberate. Many of our daily activities are considered towards our daily exercise total. This can include hanging out the washing, doing the dishes, vacuuming the house, emptying the bins, walking to school or work, and even cooking dinner! However, it is important that we remain on our feet for these activities – it would be cheating if we counted sitting down as exercise!

How do we take this to the next level?

Although these activities are great for incidental exercise, doing the same thing everyday will result in minimal change. To create the change we want to see and achieve our personal goals, we need to push the boundaries. We can do this by modifying our activities to make them more challenging. For example, when hanging the washing you could place the basket further away from the clothesline so that you do more walking. When driving to work, the shops or to pick up the kids from school, you could park the car 500m further away to increase your daily walking. While at the shops, you could walk up or down the escalator instead of standing and being carried up or down.

There are so many different ways to adapt our incidental exercise to maximise the health benefits. Let us know in the comments below how you adapt your activities. Also, keep an eye out for a future post where we will dive into the waters of incidental exercise even further and break down more ways to get the most out of your daily activities.

Exploring Nature

Ask anyone who reguarly goes out into the wild and they will tell you how amazing it is, especially as an enjoyable way to exercise. We have already mentioned walking and bike riding as two great options for cardio, but the added benefit of these is getting outside. This is especially true if you are able to go to a local park, bike track, beach or forest. For example, I often use the Blind Creek Trail for my walks and bike rides and make my way towards Jells Park. I’ve also used the 1000 steps at Mount Dandenong and have gone for walks/hikes through the parkland of Mount Dandenong. Not only am I able to be active at locations like these, but I’m able to get out and enjoy what nature has to offer.

Of course, the locations I have mentioned are not the only great spots to exercise and enjoy nature, so let us know in the comment section below where you like to go for your dose of nature!

Community Sport

Community and recreational sport are fantastic ways of being active with your friends, as well as satisfying your competitive side! It doesn’t matter what sport you enjoy – Basketball, Footy, Golf, Badminton, Bowling, Rock Climbing, Skiing, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, the list goes on! There will always be a local sporting club or team that will be able to give you regular sporting competition. So grab some friends, get involved and have a blast playing the sport that you love!

Pets Love To Be Active!

I think it is about time that I introduce you all to Daisy! Daisy joined my family 5 years ago and we couldn’t imagine life without her now.

One thing about Daisy is that she is full of energy – she could run around all day if we had enough energy to keep up with her! Whether it is running around after a tennis ball or toy, running laps of the family room when someone arrives at the house, going for “walkies”, or playing chase with one of us, she is always full of energy and is ready to be active! But realistically, this is the same for a lot of pets (especially dogs!). Being active with your pet is not only so much fun, but is really challenging too – and it doesn’t matter what your current physical capacity is. And better yet, your pet will also receive the benefits of being active too!

All this talk of playing with pets is making me want to go run around with Daisy. I think I might go and play with her once I’ve finished typing this, and get in my daily exercise while I’m at it. Maybe it is a good opportunity for you to play with your pet too?

Family Time!

Who doesn’t love spending time with their family? I’m really hoping no one put their hand up for that question! Anyway, I’m a massive fan of having some fun with my family, especially after a long day at work or coaching.

As tempting as it may be to sit around the family room and watch TV together, this is a good opportunity to be active with each other. Even better, all of your family members will be able to get the benefits of exercise instead of just yourself – they do say sharing is caring! There are plenty of options! You could go into the backyard and play a game, like some cricket? Or you would play a fun and active board game like Twister? Maybe you could all take the family pet for a walk? Or maybe you could come up with a brand new game! In the end, it doesn’t matter what you decide to do, it’s just about being active together.

If you’re not quite sure on what to do, here are some ideas that we prepared earlier. Although it specifically talks about games for two people, they can all be modified to be played by the whole family!

Video Games - That's Right, Video Games!

Traditionally, video games are played by sitting in a chair and using a hand held controller. While the majority of games still use this method, there are a large portion of games that require you to be active. The perfect example of this is the Nintendo Wii. This console requires users to hold onto a controller with one hand and complete certain movements to play the game. For example, in oder to play a tennis game, the player would need to swing the controller like a tennis racquet to hit the ball. These types of games are a great way for anyone, but particularly kids that enjoy video games, to be active while doing what they enjoy.

Additionally, there are various board games that require movement. In particular, my sister and I played a lot of HyperDash when we were younger. In summary, it was a race to go around the house and press on ‘buttons’ the fastest. Along with the active video games, these types of board games provide a fun way to be active with friends and family – it’s a win win scenario!

Want to know more?

Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!

In the meantime, here are some related posts that may interest you:

And here is a little sneak peek into some posts that will be coming your way over the next few weeks:

      • 5 ways to squeeze in exercise when you don’t have time!
      • Exercising for the mind
      • Living strong with stronger bones!
      • Hey kids, did you know exercise can be fun?

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We are here to help!

Exercise Physiologists specialise in helping people identify the type of exercise that will help them achieve their goals – not just in a gym with weights, but to include in your everyday life! If you would like some assistance in determining the best type fo exercise for you to help you achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.

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