Oct 12, 2014
Yes, everyone knows what a muscle is… in the sense that we all have them and we need them to move around…. BUT have you ever actually wondered what muscles actually are and how they work?
A lot of us probably take our muscles a little for granted. They are literally our ‘engine’. Our ideas and thoughts manifest in the brain but in order to convert those ideas into action we need muscles. Feel like smiling? For that you need all your facial muscles. Type a text message? You need the muscles in your fingers and arms. Want to dance around in your underwear? You need almost every muscle in your body to do that.
Clinically speaking ‘muscle’ is a bundle of fibrous tissue in a human (or animal) body that has the ability to contract, to produce movement within the body. Most people think biceps or triceps when they think of muscles, these are examples of ‘skeletal muscle’. Skeletal muscles are not the only types of muscles we have. In fact there are 3 types. Did you know that the heart is actually a muscle? Cardiac muscle is found only in the heart. The third type is smooth muscle which is found in our organs such as stomach, intestines and bladder.
For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on SKELETAL muscle.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Oct 6, 2014
We have all heard it before…. ‘you are what you eat’. It’s no new discovery that our diet affects our bodies in many weird and wonderful ways. Our skin is one of the big ones but unfortunately one that a lot of people don’t consider when it comes to nutrition.
I have spoken in previous blogs about foods your skin LOVES (check out that blog HERE). As always there are several foods that can play havoc with your skin and leave you with breakouts, blackheads or dry, tired skin.
One of the worst offenders is DAIRY. Removing (or significantly reducing) dairy from your diet could be the single best thing you can do for your skin. Milk contains high levels of a hormone IGF-1 which is designed to make baby cows grow big and strong BUT in humans this hormone contributes to build up of inflammation in your body. Dairy products also increase the production of oil and mucous which clogs your pores and can eventually lead to acne.
(READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Sep 14, 2014
Iliotibial band (ITB) Friction syndrome is one of the most common causes of lateral (outside) knee pain that we see, especially in runners. It’s also probably one of the most frustrating problems both for myself and for the patient. It is largely an overuse injury due to the repetitive nature of activities such as running. It often starts out as a little ‘niggle’ however gradually worsens & worsens until it quite literally will stop you in your tracks.
(READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Sep 3, 2014
You finally did it….. you are a finisher… you can’t get that shiny medal around your neck fast enough…. and yes you will wear it (along with your race bib) around for the rest of the day, just so everyone knows….. that you did it. (that is totally me)
It’s a pretty good feeling crossing the finish line of a fitness challenge you have spent weeks training for. It’s relief, exhaustion and a whole lot of satisfaction all bundled into one.
You catch your breath, find your feet, collect your thoughts. Now what?
Well for me the first thing on my mind always is FOOD. Post-race nutrition is really important when it comes to how well your body will bounce back. Not only do your muscles need nutrients to help with repair and recovery BUT you sure as hell deserve to reward yourself with a little bit of a feast.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Looking for some great nutritious food ideas? Check out NOURISHMENT BOWL
Aug 13, 2014
Treating and managing ‘tendon’ problems one of the most frustrating group of injuries I encounter, mainly because their recovery often has no time frame, it’s never linear, instead they tend to be a 2 steps forward one step back kind of problem. If it’s frustrating for me, I can only imagine how my patients must feel.
The answer isn’t black & white (it never is in medicine). There are however a few anatomical and physiological factors that can help explain why tendon problems can be stubborn as all hell.
I’ll quickly given you a little anatomical insight as to what a tendon actually is, and no a tendon is not a ligament (I do kind of understand why people get this concept confused). Tendons are thin fibrous bands which connect a muscle to a bone. Their function is to transmit forces, essentially providing stability with no real ‘active’ work. Not all tendons function the same. Some are positional purely assisting with controlling the position of the joint (fingers) while some can actually store energy & work as springs to assist with basic movements of the body such as walking.
Tendon dysfunction is usually a result of overuse due to repetitive stress being placed through one particular area of the body. Common sites include the Achilles, the patella tendon, the rotator cuff, tennis elbow & the hamstring tendon.
Aug 5, 2014
Isn’t it so EXCITING that City 2 Surf is only 5 days away!?! It’s easily the best day on Sydney’s fitness calendar & my favourite day of the year to run a muck (literally) in Bondi. For me this day marks the beginning of the end of winter… It’s usually always sunny, people rock bright clothing & some of the most incredible costumes, there is music, people dancing, face paint & people lining the sidewalk cheering the runners on. It’s almost as if for a day everyone in Sydney is one big happy fun fit family!
So many of you have been training for this day, getting up early & braving the cold for early morning running sessions and heartbreak hill sprints. This weekend you get to see all of your hard work pay off & then there is the celebratory breakfast (or brunch) with a few celebratory beverages of course! Nothing says congratulations like a jug of fresh Pimms punch!
When it comes to being prepared, what you do over the next 5 days is almost as important as what you have done for the last 6 weeks. Don’t fall off the wagon in the home straight, just follow these couple of basic tips so you are super super prepared come Sunday.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Jul 30, 2014
I get asked this question ALL the time from my client and honestly I sometimes find myself not really knowing which to suggest as there is no straightforward absolutely correct answer. Both forms of exercise have many positives and from a clinical point of view I don’t think either is necessarily superior to the other.
Some would say it’s a head to head battle between strength & stretching BUT I tend to disagree. I’m certainly no yogi or a Pilates guru but I have done a little of both and I would say there is definitely a strength & flexibility component to both styles. The main difference I believe lies in what not only your body but your mind will get out of each session.
Yoga is one of the most widely practiced exercise forms in the world, it’s said to help with uniting the mind, body & spirit to restore balance and harmony within the body. I would say it’s somewhat therapeutic for many, if done correctly it facilitates awareness about alignment, posture and imbalances within the body. There are many styles of yoga with choice purely a matter of personal preference.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Jul 14, 2014
Very excited to have a little guest blog from our friends down at PodMed in Double Bay. We treat alot of women with foot & lower limb problems…. when discussing aspects of their rehabilitation the wearing of high heels is often a question that comes up… So we asked the podiatrists…. they are at the end of the day experts when it comes to feet!
READ THE BLOG HERE
Jul 2, 2014
It’s that time of the year again…. The foot race that stops a nation…and by nation I mean thousands and thousands of Sydneysiders.
It’s one of the most renowned fitness events on the running calendar, boasting 14 grueling km through the winding hills of the Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It also just happens to be one of my favourite days of the year. Over the past few years I traded in my running shoes for blue body paint and a smurf outfit, choosing to cheer people from the sidelines with beverage in hand rather than actually run the race. This year however, I’ve signed up to the pain train.
For many preparation for the big day is well and truly underway; for those of you a little more like me plans to prepare are in place but the actual act of it hasn’t quite started yet. Don’t stress, yesterday marked 6 weeks till the run and that is more than enough time to get some miles in those legs and make sure you are more than ready on race day.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Jun 24, 2014
The knee is of the most commonly injured areas in the body. Generally we see a pretty even spread between acute knee injuries sustained from a traumatic event such as during sport or from a trip or fall; on the other hand we have the overuse knee problems…. the runners that pump out a huge amount of km per week resulting to overload or inflammation of some of the structures in and around the knee.
The meniscus or menisci (we have two in each knee) and one of the internal cartilages within the knee joint that can be prone to injury both acutely and as a result of overuse.
The menisci are moon shaped cartilages that are located in the knee. They are the ‘shock absorbers’ which permit us to undertake such high intensity and high impact activities. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Jun 3, 2014
As physiotherapists we spend ALOT of time working with people who have stiff joints, tight muscles, reduced movement….. All of these things present as a lack of mobility, which is, in most cases, resulting in pain (hence why they are sitting in my waiting room).
BUT sometimes we forget about the other side of the coin….. The hypermobile ones, those that have TOO much movement, their joints have more range than required, their muscles are too flexible.
This is actually a problem that exists far more commonly than one may think, often it is asymptomatic & people won’t even be aware that their body is a little more like an elastic band than their best friends, BUT in some cases joint hypermobility syndrome can cause pain.
Joint hypermobility is usually inherited; if your mum is super super flexible, chances you will be too. There is nothing you can do to change it or prevent it, unfortunately its due to a gene representation in the connective tissue (the glue that holds our bodies together) causing it to become more pliable& more stretchy allowing for excessive movement at certain joints.
People with hypermobile joints have a higher incidence of dislocation and sprains of involved joints. The hypermobility tends to decrease with age as we naturally become less flexible.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Apr 7, 2014
Are you sick of spending hours slugging it out at the gym? Feel like you ‘don’t have time’ to workout effectively? Would you like to burn some serious calories in just 30 minutes?
Yes all of the above is possible. In fact its proven to be better for you to perform shorter workouts at a higher intensity. Imagine if you could squeeze a killer workout into your lunch break so you could be home every night to tuck your kids into bed? That’s some serious brownie points with the wives fellas…
How? Well I’m glad you asked….. Here are 5 of my absolute favourite workouts to get a serious sweat in a short space of time. I’ve mixed it up a little with some weights and cardio ideas for you!
1. STAIRS: One of the easiest and most challenging cardio workouts you can done. This is always a go to for me when I’m traveling… hotels have stairs & lots of them! 30 minutes of solid stair running is a gets the ticker going but also uses all those ‘big muscles’.. think glutes, hamstrings, quads which is a great way to sculpt those pins. Ladies do you want long lean legs?
(Read full post HERE)
Mar 30, 2014
How odd are cravings….. I always find when I’m seriously craving something it’s usually really bizarre, like totally left field OR it’s something I have denied myself from having for a while… For the last 6 weeks I have had a relentless craving for peanuts. I gave in pretty soon after they started because I legitimately couldn’t stop thinking about it for a large portion of my day.. So I went to town on a bag of salted roasted peanuts. I had tablespoons of peanut butter. I made satay sauce for my chicken salad. I tried EVERYTHING. It’s now been 4 weeks.. at least.. and I still have a lingering craving.. Quite frankly it’s really starting to piss me off.. I can’t spend much longer with my hand in the peanut jar!!!
Curiosity got the better of me so I did a little research into what certain food cravings mean. Our bodies are exceptionally smart & to a certain extent I believe that when we lack a vitamin or mineral it’s sure to be expressed somehow our food choices or food cravings.
What an entertaining exercise, so interesting in fact that I googled a few of my other weirdest & wackiest cravings…
PEANUTS: The top two answers I found (from the most respected sites I could find) were that peanut cravings often indicate a lack of protein and / or a lack of fats in one’s diet. Eating a relatively low carb diet can often result in too few calories being consumed and may leave you with cravings for things like peanuts due to high fat content. Peanuts are a great source of the ‘good fats’. By no means does that allow you to polish off a jar every day. 25-30% of our daily calories should come from fats.
What is it? Trochanteric bursitis is one of the common causes of pain on the lateral (outside) of the hip and is the result of inflammation of the superficial (& deep in severe cases) trochanteric bursa.
In some cases inflammation of these two bursae can be accompanied by local tendonitis or inflammation of the gluteal tendons & hip rotator muscles.
Why? Trochanteric bursitis can occur as an overuse injury due repetitive friction of the gluteal tendons as they pass over the greater trochanter during activities such as running and cycling. In these cases there is usually biomechanical deficiencies that need addressing. It can also be of acute onset from a direct blow or fall onto the lateral side of the hip.
Mar 10, 2014
If you read (and took anything from) my last post we would all agree that SOMETIMES it’s understandable that we blame our bad moods and breakouts on unhappy hormones.
Me personally there are two things that make me incredibly grumpy…. Lack of food & lack of sleep (first world problems right here) I’ve trained myself to run on about 6.5-7 hours sleep, any less than that and I’d probably put my underwear on backwards & leave the house without my left shoe.. Hunger… well everyone gets HANGRY once in a while. It’s totally natural!
MELATONIN: The sleep hormone
This little baby helps you go to sleep. We spoke earlier this week about the stress hormone, cortisol. Normally cortisol should peak in the morning for that natural ‘pick me up’ and as the sun goes down cortisol should begin to fall making way for melatonin which helps us drift off to sleep. Suffering from insomnia? Struggling to get to sleep? Tossing & turning all night? These are all sure signs your melatonin levels are too low.
Hormones are wonderful things…. Most of the time. They pretty much keep us ‘regular’. They regulate our menstrual cycle, control our thyroid function & regulate sleep. They dictate our sex drive, mood, what we look like, our digestion & our emotions. It would then make perfect sense that when we feel out of ‘sync’, hormones are the first thing we blame.
Can we really put our bad moods and breakouts down to the happiness of our hormones?
Unfortunately YES we can. I had a ‘hormone’ week this week. I was tired; apparently a little more irritable than usual which in hindsight is probably spot on; & I had what I call a’ best friend day’ where all I wanted was to do was call my girlfriend and cry.
When we are feeling at our best our hormone levels are pretty well balanced BUT beware the roller coaster of emotions when things are not quite right.
How are hormones regulated? The production of hormones in the body is almost always regulated by a delicate set of feedback relationships. Most of them are negative feedback loops where the amount of a substance in a system regulates its own concentration. When concentration of a hormone rises to above desired levels, a series of steps is taken to lower the concentration. On the flip side if the concentration falls, steps will be taken to increase it.
Lets look at a few of the key hormones...
Feb 18, 2014
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’
We have all heard it, read it, seen it written somewhere; if you’re a parent chances are you preach it to your kids; health professionals advocate it; & fitness magazines write about it ALL THE TIME.
So why it is that 1 in 4 people still skip breakfast during the week? Or worse 1 in 6 adults never even eat breakfast?
I have never quite been able to get my head around it because when I roll out of bed at 5:15am every morning my stomach is growling in desperation for SOMETHING TO EAT; and after an hours workout I’m like an impatient toddler lining up for a slice of birthday cake as I wait for my eggs & bacon to cook.
People skip breakfast for a handful of reasons… lack of time; some claim they ‘can’t stomach food so early’; while other are ‘generally just not hungry’; my personal favorite to limit their daily calorie intake. In my opinion these are all terrible terrible excuses. If you have time to blow dry your hair and make sure your scarf matches your shoes & pants then you have more than enough time to prepare something of nutritional value for breakfast. FYI a triple shot latte does not count as breakfast.
The name says it all for you… BREAK – FAST. Quite literally breakfast is the meal that essentially ‘breaks’ the 7-8 hour fast your body has had while you sleep. So the longer you hold out on getting some fuel into your body the longer you are in the fasted state.
Tibialis posterior dysfunction is one of the most common overuse injuries found in the foot & ankle.
The tibialis posterior muscle originates high in the shin from the back surfaces of the tibia and fibula. It tracks down along the inside border of the tibia, passes around the inside of the ankle and terminates via two attachments in the foot. The main insertion (and that of interest to this particular injury) is into the tuberosity of the navicular.
The tibialis posterior is an extremely important stabiliser of the foot & ankle. It functions to produce inversion at the ankle and also plays a major role in maintaining and supporting the medial arch.
Athletes with poor foot biomechanics such as flat or pronated feet, tight calves and poor pelvic stability are at more risk of developing tibialis posterior dysfunction.
It would be a fair assumption that most of us have suffered from some form of inflammation during our lives…. Whether it be an infected graze; sprained ankle or ingrown toe nail the basics of the bodies inflammatory response are exactly the same.
If I went around a room of strangers and asked everyone what they perceived was the meaning of inflammation I think 90% of responses would be something along the lines of ‘the pain and redness that you get when you hurt yourself’ and generally that’s pretty spot on. But why does this response take place? And is it harmful to the body?
Inflammation is the biological response that your body undergoes in response to a ‘threat’ whether it be bacteria, virus, cell damage ,fungus, parasites, trauma or toxic chemicals. In most situations this is an effective protective mechanism to eliminate the injurious stimuli and initiate the healing process.
To live a healthy balance lifestyle small amounts of inflammation in the body are essential BUT it is possible, and interestingly becoming more and more common for the inflammation process to get out of hand with the consequences ranging from fueling chronic disease to weight loss problems.
Feb 10, 2014
The rugby season is rapidly approaching… training is back in full swing… the club is finally showing a few signs of life again; felt a little like a ghost town during the off-season… and the best part? (Insert sarcasm here) I trade sunny Saturday afternoon’s lazing poolside for sweaty footballers, strapping tape and deep heat.
In most professional sports these days a lot of time and money is invested into ‘injury prevention programs’. Players are screened individually with data used to create personalised gym programs tailored to suit each athletes specific strength and mobility needs…. All this in attempt to try and keep players on the field week in week out.
A big focus in all codes of rugby and also football (or soccer as I like to call it) has been preventing hamstring strains and tears. Easily one of the most common injuries that can sideline players for weeks and furthermore when correct rehabilitation doesn’t take place the chance of re-occurrence can further delay return to play.
To develop an effective ‘prevention’ program we need to address the reasons why hamstrings seem to be so vulnerable to injury.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Feb 6, 2014
Coconuts have been around for years and years; however in the last 12 months they have ‘come into vogue’ in the health industry with many health professionals and scientists now beginning to sing their praises. You only have to trace it back to its ‘roots’ to find out there is something pretty special about this nut.. In ancient India coconut trees are known as kalpa vriksha which is sanskrit for “the tree that supplies all that is needed to live’
Is coconut really a superfood? Can it really prevent and cure heart disease? Does coconut actually have health benefits when it comes to weight loss and insulin stabilisation? We don’t have all these answers in black and white BUT what we do know is there are multiple health benefits to be gained from the array of coconut products on the market.
Let’s talk a little about coconut oil. This seems to be the topic that has all the health big wigs talking. Coconut oil is the safest and healthiest oil to cook with. Yes it is exceptionally high in saturated fat BUT they aren’t your ‘run-of-the-mill’ fats like you find in cheese, steak and other foods we readily consume. Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently in the digestive system and have been proven to have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders including Alzheimer’s. I think medical professionals may begin to see the light on this one. SATURATED FAT IS NOT THE ENEMY.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
There is always new ‘trends’ when it comes to the health and fitness industry… whether its dance style aerobics, crossfit, hip hop yoga ‘raves’ or high intensity interval training. When push comes to shove most of these varieties of training have positives and negatives; some more positives than others of course depending on what you are aiming to achieve with your health and fitness goals.
Suspension training or TRX as many people know it was created by the NAVY seal as a form of ‘functional training’ that allowed the troops to stay in shape wherever they were in the world. Our bodies were designed to move and shake in many different planes. In the past traditional weights training has seen very linear almost robotic movement patterns based around machines that allow a single joint to move in a single plane.The body needs to be trained as the body shall be used!
What does suspension training involve? TRX training moves the body in many planes integrating fluid motion and ‘real life’ movement patterns. The main idea behind this form of training is using our body weight to determine the resistance level depending on how close or how far away you are from the anchor point. This allows you to easily control and manipulate the difficulty and intensity of the workout.
Crossfit is literally taking over the world.. Ok so maybe that’s a little exaggeration but seriously crossfit gyms are EVERYWHERE. 6 months ago most of the fitness world probably thought this was just going to be another ‘fitness fad’, kind of like Zumba the ‘calorie burning dance fitness party’ that would trim and tone your buttocks; or my personal favourite the ‘power bracelet’ that promised improved athletic performance and endurance. Crossfit, despite its fair share of negative press seems to be ever growing in popularity.
Crossfit is a form of strength and conditioning that utilises functional movements and Olympic style lifts performed at high intensity.The demands of a crossfit workout are quite unique in that many of these ‘functional movements’ require unrestricted full range of movement; at multiple joints with perfect technique in order to prevent strain and injury. While many people may be under the impression that crossfit has a greater tendency to harm than other forms of exercise we must consider that all high intensity sports from rugby to running are prone to both traumatic acute injuries and overuse injuries.
Dec 2, 2013
Don’t you just love leg day? That burning feeling in your quads as you complete the your last set of jumping lunges, or the aching in your calves as you reach the top of your last stair run. How good is the feeling the next day when every muscle in your legs groans as you bend down to pick up the morning paper…. Call me weird but I love this feeling. Sore is the new sexy….. right?
Post exercise soreness, or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is your muscles response to unaccustomed strenuous exercise. Like anything our bodies are programmable.. do the same workout everyday very quickly your brain and muscles will learn how to cope and surprise surprise it becomes easier. That’s why the fitness world is constantly calling for us to shock our body, do something new, progressively overload your workouts etc etc.
When it comes to our ‘lower limb chain’ its GREAT that you can squat double your body weight or that you can deadlift 150kg BUT are you including enough of the basic stability exercises to complement this ‘lets get massive quads workout’?
In my opinion there are a few stock standard exercises that should be regulars in your legs program to keep your biomechanics in check. These exercises if performed at least a few times a week will help injury proof your legs.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
I seriously love my job. Yes of course I have days where my sunny courtyard is much more appealing than the inside of a physio practice, If I didn’t I wouldn’t be normal. The thing I love most; apart from the insanely awesome team I work with, is that no two days are the same. The only common thing? They are all suffering pain.
It’s bizarre how life goes, and this has happened to me several times now. I’ll have someone present with a condition that I haven’t seen for a AGES; suddenly within that week 2-3 more people will walk through the door with the exact same problem. It’s as if it becomes the ‘trending’ injury for that week.. and then I won’t see another one for another few months!!!
I have had one of those months. This months ‘trending’ injury is quite literally a pain in the ass.
People with this problem usually come in complaining of ‘sciatica’ that starts deep in their bottom. Just to clear a few things up because people often get this confused, sciatica is not a diagnosis as such; but a set of symptoms. Basically if someone says they have sciatica it means they have pain running down the back and/or outside of their leg. This can originate in the lower back due to a variety of things or it can start deep in buttock area. It’s caused by an irritation of the sciatic nerve at some point along its windy path from the lumbar spine (lower back) to the foot.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
I’m far from your typical ‘girly’ girl. I hate champagne; I never get my nails done; my makeup selection is actually a joke; I don’t even own a hairdryer; and on average I think I get ready to go out quicker than my boyfriend! BUT the one thing I love, along with most females is some good old GIRL TIME.
This weekend I am heading to Singapore for a ‘girls weekend’ with my mum and sister.. I can hardly contain my excitement!!! This is not a typical Esslemont family activity, the last family holiday we went on was about 10 years ago and we haven’t been away together since; I think traveling through Europe for 6 weeks with 3 kids and 13 suitcases was slightly more stressful than my parents envisaged.
Travel, whether for work or pleasure is often not all bells and whistles. It is change after all and not many of us deal well with change; different time zone, unfamiliar environments, different bed, unusual foods. Yes it’s exciting seeing new sites and new cities but it’s actually quite a stressful transition for your body.
There are a few simple things that can be done to minimise unnecessary stress. There is no point going on a holiday if you return more frazzled than you were when you left… right?
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Oct 21, 2013
As a physiotherapist massage makes up a pretty significant portion of my days work, and a lot of people may find it odd but I find giving massages strangely therapeutic… most of the time; the 100kg footballer wanting a deep tissue massage maybe not so much. The worst part about it is that I get insanely jealous of the person on the table thoroughly enjoying an hour of zen time while I am lost in thought about what I would do to trade places with them.
finally did it. Thursday night late night shopping of all places, in search of an outfit for the races, next minute I was dozing off in a reclining chair enjoying a 40 minute reflexology foot massage. Best $45 I ever spent. (and no I didn’t find a dress for the races that day). While in my sleep like state I did manage to notice that there were certain points on my feet that were incredibly painful compared to the rest and I couldn’t help but be curious about what these particular points meant in the world of Chinese medicine. Unfortunately I didn’t get any groundbreaking information from it, all my tight areas corresponded to neck, shoulders and back which are generally stiff and sore as a result of my work.
My very western orientated medical brain doesn’t really believe that releasing pressure points in the hands and feet can treat the range of medical conditions it says it can BUT I am trying the whole be ‘open minded’ and the more I read about it the more it interests me.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a form of massage that involves releases pressure points in the hands and feet which coincide with certain areas of the body. Basically our feet and hands are maps which correspond to parts of the body including our organs and vital systems such as the nervous and circulatory system.
Oct 17, 2013
I was chatting away on the phone to my darling mother the other day about this, that and the other when our conversation took its usual progression onto health / medical related topics. Mum always has some insightful new information about the latest study or trend in the medical world to share with me and it’s often something obscure like how mushrooms can actually provide humans with their daily vitamin D requirements. This particular calls topic was high intensity interval training and for the first time I think I was actually more knowledgeable on the topic that mum was.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that is growing in popularity in the fitness industry. No one has time to be slogging it out at the gym for 2 hours every day, which I guess is a good thing because research now shows that just 20- 30 minutes of high intensity exercise is actually better for you, both for fat loss and cardiovascular gains!
What does this form of training involve? If you think about it it’s kind of self explanatory… Short bouts of HIGH (not medium) intensity work where you literally bust your guts and push yourself to your limits, followed by a short period of rest and away you go again. The work to rest ratio is the key component of the training and it will be determined by what you are setting out to achieve.
Oct 10, 2013
The short answer here is probably no… I would estimate 80% of people reading this right now are under slept! As a working adult the recommended sleep requirement is around 8 hours. Can you actually remember the last time you got a solid 8 hours sleep? Because I certainly can’t! I average 6.5 – 7 hours of sleep a night and trust me I am feeling it by Friday afternoon!
The benefits of getting enough sleep stretch far beyond banishing the dark circles under your eyes… it is ESSENTIAL to your health; both mentally and physically. Pretty much 99.9% of us are grumpy individuals when we don’t have enough sleep, not to mention our attention span diminishes to that of a two year old; you become irritable, irrational and unproductive.
Why is sleep so important?
Sep 29, 2013
Imagine the fittest person you know… and by fit I don’t just mean your mate who can run 20km with ease or your boyfriend who squats 100kg.. Now multiply that by 10 and you have Adam Becker. I’m not kidding this guy is on another level of fit. Mentally and physically he is the fittest person I know.
A few weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to do a running session with him. I considered it until I found out it was 100 x 100m efforts on the clock. The other option was 28 x 1km efforts. I’m not sure which is worse all I know was that there was no way I was attempting either session with this crazy kid!
I first met Adam when he playing footy down at East’s Rugby. He is now the manager of Parc Ftness, a small boutique gym chain in Bellevue Hill and Rose Bay, a personal trainer, Cranbrook rowing coach and IRON MAN.
I caught up with him following his first Iron Man in Japan a few weeks ago… (where he came 2nd in his age group I might add) to chat about his training scheduale and how he came to be the fittest human in the eastern suburbs.
Sep 15, 2013
Spring is finally here; we have already been blessed with some ripping ‘summer like’ days, the mornings are lighter, the ocean is getting a little warmer (I braved my first swim on the weekend!) and it’s even starting to smell like spring! I LOVE this time of the year!
Naturally spring means it’s time to start thinking about shedding our winter coats (literally) and getting in shape for summer. Ladies that means we need to get out butts moving so we can flaunt our bikini bodies! In my opinion stair running is the perfect workout to get your heart rate up, burn some serious calories, tone up those pins and the best part… that feeling of soreness the next day that reminds you just how hard you worked!!!
The eastern suburbs of Sydney is packed full of great sets of stairs that are a challenge for even the fittest of the fit… Supersize your workout this week and give some of my favorite sets of stairs a whirl.
Cooper Park: Located in Cooper Park at the top of Bellevue Road in Bellevue Hill these are a great little set of stairs to knock over a great workout. It’s not the longest flight of stairs you have ever seen but they are short, steep and your quads will be well and truly burning by the time you get to the top.
Sep 12, 2013
As a sports physiotherapist working with semi-professional athletes, one of the most difficult challenges we face ‘in game’ is maintaining adequate hydration levels of the players. These boys are playing at a high intensity for 80-90 minutes; they sweat ALOT and are losing vital electrolytes at a rapid rate. This not only affects their physical performance significantly but also makes them prone to muscle cramping.
Since beginning to work in the health and sport industry I haven’t been a huge fan of drinks like Gatorade and powerade; they are ridiculously high in sugar and often lack some of the essential electrolytes that you lose through sweat; making them seemingly ineffective at treating moderate dehydration.
SOS is a really exciting new re-hydration drink that is packed full of essential electrolytes; think sodium, magnesium, chloride all of which are all lost in large volumes when we sweat. SOS contains double the amount of sodium (the main electrolyte lost in sweat) found in most sports drinks.
Sep 9, 2013
If you saw last week’s post you will no doubt be right on top of all the best foods to help fight off and prevent build up of unwanted inflammation in the body. It’s all very well eating an abundance of these healthy nutritious foods BUT are you sabotaging all your hard work by consuming other foods that actually contribute to inflammation and make our bodies more ‘toxic’.
There is no doubt that diet can serve as a protective function for our body. More than 70% of our immune system cells are found in the digestive tract so it a no brainer than when you fuel your body with nourishing foods we are able to heal faster and we are less likely to develop chronic inflammation build up.
Surprise surprise number 1 on this list is refined sugar!!! It’s quite literally killing your insides and adding to your love handles. Directly linked to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and a variety of other chronic diseases. Think soft drinks, fruit juices, pastries, desserts, packaged snacks, candy etc etc
Sep 2, 2013
Sydney can, at times, be a very overwhelming place to live. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE this city and quite frankly I probably would choose it over any other place in the world especially to live my current lifestyle.
I like the hustle and bustle, the chaos, the crowds; but there are a lot of people I know who just don’t cope with the fast paced society many of us thrive on. Interestingly it’s these same people who seem to suffer ALOT with stress related problems.
The most common presentation that we get that’s driven by stress is neck / upper back pain quite often associated with headaches. So called ‘tension’ headaches are a combination of physical and emotional stress resulting in tight overactive muscles through the neck and shoulder region. This dull ache precipitates behind the eyes and feels like a tight band around the forehead can turn what you were hoping to be a productive days work into a nightmare where you literally can’t sit still and have concentration levels of a 5 year old.
Aug 13, 2013
Were you one of the 85,000 Sydney siders that took to the streets yesterday to participate in one of our nation’s most famous foot races?
A windey, up and down 14km track from leafy green Hyde Park to picturesque Bondi Beach. We were blessed with a delightfully sunny winters day.. From the pro’s to the novice runner; there were superhero’s; fairies; mums and bubs; and an unusual abundance of the latest it garment the ‘onsie’! It’s one of those days where just about anything goes, and most defiantly the only day of the year topless smurfs are allowed to run a muck in Bondi’s best pub the Beach Road Hotel!
So you finished the race and of course immediately, in true City 2 Surf tradition, headed straight for the nearest watering hole… and no I’m not referring to the sandy shorelines but rather the closest pub serving ice cold beer! Re-hydration is the key to recovery right?
A lot of the time muscle soreness following exercise that you are not usually accustomed too simply requires time. Unfortunately boy and girls this post exercise soreness tends to be worst 48 hours post exercise so if you are struggling today, don’t expect too feel much better tomorrow…BUT it’s all downhill from there I promise.
Despite feeling a little worse for wear today there are a few little things you can do to give those sore aching limbs some TLC. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Aug 4, 2013
They say doctors make terrible patients… I think physio’s do too and I have several reasons why; firstly we have an inability to take our own advice (most of the time); secondly we usually fail to get treatment on our problem areas because let’s be honest the last thing you want to do at the end of a long days work is have to treat your colleague… and thirdly is the case of too much knowledge being a potentially dangerous thing,. Naturally as humans and also medical practitioners I think we are programmed to think the worst and then work our way backwards.
Recently I was out enjoying a Sunday jog on the famous Bondi to Bronte coastal track when my two middle toes started aching and tingling. I kept running, it got worse, I kept running, by the end my jog was a hobble and surprise surprise for the rest of the day my foot was killing me. By 8pm that night I had convinced myself that I had a stress fracture (always jumping to the worst case scenario) I had visions of a walking boot, no running, no gym....
What is a Morton’s Neuroma? I’m so glad you asked... A neuroma is a growth that arises within the nerve cells. A Morton’s neuroma is the name given to an inflamed nerve between the metatarsals at the ball of the foot. It most commonly occurs between the second and third toe and is caused by irritation and compression of the intermetatarsal nerve. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)
This is a true story…… the other day I had a 22 year old male client come in for treatment to his sore knee. We chatted about his injury (sustained playing ruby) and I was going through all the typical tests to ensure all the ligaments and cartilages were ok. He then turned to me, and I would say he genuinely looked scared (remember he is 22) and said “is it arthritis?”. Luckily I know this particular patient quite well do he didn’t take too much offense when I laughed a little at his question.
NO YOU MOST DEFINITELY DO NOT HAVE ARTHRITIS AT THE RIPE OLD AGE OF 22.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is degeneration or wear and tear of the joint surfaces, specifically the articular cartilage (cartilage that lines all our joint surfaces acting as a shock absorber) and subchondral bone (first layer of bone which sits directly below the cartilage). OA most commonly affects the hands, feet and spine and large weight bearing joints such as the hips and knees. (FULL BLOG HERE)
Jul 17, 2013
Have you ever stopped and thought about how much you need your feet… Seriously? I would almost argue they are one of the most, if not the most important body part. We use them to stand, walk, run, swim, drive, DANCE….. Yet despite them being somewhat vital to every life we really don’t give them much thought. We ram them into shoes of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis, often sacrificing comfort and support to strut around in excessively high jimmy choos that might look fabulous with your outfit but realistically your feet are in a world of pain and you secretly wish you could wear your runners to work!
The anatomy and alignment of the feet is very important. Together they contain more than 50 bones, 60 joints and over 200 muscles/ligaments and tendons to hold them together and allow for all the high impact demands we place on them.
Structural ‘differences’ in the arches or not giving our arches adequate support can result in overloading or over-stressing certain structures which can have severe consequences. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Jun 30, 2013
A while back I wrote a blog about magnesium and the important role it plays in many of our bodily functions. And all of this still holds true, magnesium is arguably the MASTER nutrient. BUT now thanks to my mother (and a little extra research on the side) I have realised that getting sufficient magnesium intake is a little more complicated than taking a tablet before bed. In the process she has quite possibly found the missing puzzle piece to my night cramping conundrum.
The body is impeccably designed, so much so that everything requires a balance. Too much of one thing inhibits absorption of another etc etc. When it comes to magnesium, one must consider its relationship to calcium. Most of us know that calcium is VITAL to the health of our teeth and bones. But calcium cannot act alone, it needs magnesium. These two minerals need to co-exist together to allow many critical bodily functions to take place. Too little of one or too much of another can lead to many health consequences!
Jun 17, 2013
Anyone that has ever received physio treatment from me will know that I love DRY NEEDLING. I love it so much that I have been known to do it on myself on occasions! It is by far the most useful and important technique I have studied since leaving university. Headaches, muscle tears, swollen joints, chronic stubborn tendon problems… in my opinion it works wonders on most conditions that walk through my door.
The hardest part of dry needling is actually convincing people that it will help with their pain and recovery. Some are willing to try anything and everything without the slightest bit of interest as to why or how dry needling works, but many are interested in the theory behind why it works….. Understanding is half the cure right!
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling utilises an extremely fine needle similar to that used in traditional Chinese acupuncture. However unlike the Chinese who needle based on ‘meridians’ and ‘flow of chi’ within the body, western dry needling targets over active tight muscles known as trigger points or knots.
Jun 13, 2013
I deal with ALOT of back pain patients, and I think that a huge part of treating back pain is giving the patient the ability to understand WHY they are in pain. I won't lie the anatomy of the spine is complex and can be difficult to explain in a way that people with no anatomical knowledge will understand.
So I have decided to do a couple of anatomy blogs to try and give readers a basic understanding of the body, how it works like it does, and why it often breaks down and you end up in a consultation with me!
The spine itself is made up of 33 vertebrae that is classed into 5 regions.
Often you will hear people say humans have 24 vertebrae which is correct if you count the fused sacrum and coccyx as one vertebrae each.
This anatomy series will focus on the lumbar spine or lower back. One of the most commonly injured and treated problems in our physio practise.
What is the Lower Back?
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Jun 2, 2013
Cramps have got to be one of the single most uncomfortable, uncontrollable experiences EVER, usually because they tend to arise at very INCONVENIENT times… like when there is 5 minutes to go in a crucial rugby game…or when you’re fast asleep cosy under the blankets and bang your calf goes into spasm and you’re thrust into the cold pulling your foot this way and that way to try and stretch it out. Sleep ruined.
By definition a ‘muscle cramp’ is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle. Often they can be accompanied by a visible or palpable hardening of the muscle.
Lasting for anywhere between a few seconds up to 15 minutes often one will experience multiple cramping episodes before they finally resolve.
Cramps can take on several different forms however for the purpose of this article I’m just going to focus on what are known as true cramps.
True cramps involve a muscle or group of muscles that work together to produce or bring about movement of a particular body part. These can in response to several factors.
READ FULL BLOG HERE
I was recently at a dinner party with some of my most dear friends… conversation was flowing over red wine and slow cooked lamb (which was unbelievable I might add). Amongst the gossip, general banter and chat about the budget (NOT who actually talks about that over dinner) we got into a discussion about training for upcoming events such as the city 2 surf, half marathons and general gym sessions… and this question emerged…. What is an abdominal ‘stitch’?
Now I’m a physio and I found myself trying to explain to my friends what it is, however realising it’s actually an unusual phenomenon to explain… So I will attempt to dispense this information (hopefully in a way you can all make sense of) now…
Unfortunately there is no one definitive explanation for this somewhat frustrating experience that turns your Sunday afternoon sweat session into a stop start stroll that barely gets your ticker going! There are, as always, several proposed and very convincing theories!
An abdominal ‘stitch’ known in the medical world as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP) is the name we give to that sharp, often agonising pain felt just under your rib cage that literally stops you in your tracks (usually during running or high intensity exercise)
READ FULL BLOG HERE
May 12, 2013
So you have woken up this morning and realised that YES its less than a week till the Sydney Morning Herald half marathon that you were meant to be training super hard for over the last 3-4 months but with work and the kids and the cold dark mornings your training and preparation has been average to poor…..And now you’re seriously contemplating just pulling the pin and signing up for the next one??
STOP…… DON’T PANIC… This situation CAN be resurrected…… and yes you will be on that start line next Sunday morning!
READ FULL BLOG HERE
Apr 29, 2013
I was shocked to recently learn that some sportsmen and women were turning to lollies to keep their energy levels up on game day. So I’ve put together a list of what to eat and drink to boost your energy pre game and keep you going throughout. What you eat throughout the week and in the 24 hours before the game will also aid your recovery post game (and I’m not referring to the celebratory beers!!)
1. Cut the refined sugar. We want to avoid any sugar highs – and the subsequent lows. When your blood glucose levels are spiked suddenly with a sugary food the body works rapidly to use up all the sugar. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy and the body will take what its needs from the food source replenish supplies in the brain, muscles and liver then what is left over is then converted into fat.
2. Choose your carbohydrates wisely. As I mentioned above processed flour/ refined sugar foods lack nutrients and fibre. Without the nutrients and fibre the energy from the food is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a spike in energy and then dropping it quickly. With nutrients and fibre included in a carbohydrate source there is a steadier release of energy and the nutrient rich foods leave us feeling satiated so we don’t need to eat as much.
A handful of my nearest and dearest friends are currently in full swing training for the up and coming Byron Bay Triathlon…. for 95% of them this will be their first experience in the weird and wonderful world of triathlon’s. And what a different experience it is… think it’s tough doing a 10km run of a morning? Try that after sitting on a bike for 40-50km, your quads are lactic and your legs feel like lead. It’s most certainly not a sport for the faint hearted!
It’s now four weeks out so obviously all their training programs are in full swing. BUT I thought they could all use a few little handy hints to ensure they are adequately prepared for race day. (READ FULL BLOG)
Apr 29, 2013
Ok so I’m fully aware this isn’t a ‘physio’ related post. But anything health related works is somewhat relevant! So Please read on.
I’m a huge coffee drinker; one of my favourite things of a morning is that aroma of freshly brewed coffee that wafts through my house. (Yes my nespresso machine was the best investment EVER)
Coffee is something constantly making headlines in health magazines and among health profesisonals… is it good or bad for you? Can you drink too much? Should you cut out coffee to lose weight? And like most of these hotly debated ‘health’ topics there are a thousand different opinions and theories and most of us feel like we are on a merry-go-round of mixed messages.
Let’s ponder this for a brief moment. The controversy behind coffee is of course rooted to the caffeine it contains. The scary thing is most people are not even aware of their caffeine intake; they are just adhering to the cultural norms of arriving at work coffee cup in hand. (READ FULL BLOG)
Apr 7, 2013
The result… over active upper trapezius muscles, a sore stiff neck, headaches, fatigue, loss of concentration. (READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Is chronic tendonitis plaguing you? Pain stopping you from exercising or playing sport?
Have you tried EVERYTHING possible?
What about Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy?
EastSports Physiotherapy are now using Shock Wave Therapy to treat a range of chronic tendinopathies such as Achillies tendonitis, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and patella tendonitis.
Tendonitis is a notoriously difficult problem to treat, with some cases taking 6-9 months or longer to resolve. This is because in such cases we are not dealing with pure inflammation but rather the tendon has undergone degenerative changes resulting in cell damage and small microtears within the tendon.
We understand this can be a hugely frustrating process for our patients who just want to be pain free and able to get back to their exercise routine. Shock Wave Therapy is a treatment method that is growing in popularity and research is showing it can assist with speeding up the recovery process from these ever stubborn conditions!
Mar 18, 2013
I first met Lauryn back at school when we roomed together on a rep hockey trip to lovely bathurst! Loz has an infectious sense of adventure and together I think we caused our coaches a few headaches managing to get ourselves in some pretty silly situations..
I hadn’t seen Loz since my school days but was lucky enough to bump into her recently whilst doing some physio coverage at a rugby 7′s training camp. Already an Australian professional boxer, waterskiing champion, TV personality, part time model Lauryn is now eyeing off a spot in the National Women’s 7′s Rugby team.
Eastsports Physio chatted with Lauryn a little more about how she stays healthy and happy whilst juggling several sports and a busy social life.
Mar 12, 2013
We are constantly sent samples and sachets of the latest special ‘healing’ creams. Most of them promise a natural solution to relieve muscle and joint aches and pains.. but do these often overpriced creams actually work? and is there any science behind them whatsoever?
Feb 24, 2013
I have done a little bit of yoga in my time, and by a little I mean I could probably count the number of classes on two hands. So really I’m a dead set amateur.
Yoga draws upon a completely different type of strength and mindset than that needed to run 10km or lift heavy weights in the gym. And this form of training is so important when it comes to balancing your body.It’s no suprise that some of the in the class struggling the most were the biggest, muscliest guys who probably spend alot more time in the weights room than working on the flexibility side of their training.
Feb 17, 2013
I have just returned from two AMAZING weeks in Hawaii. Now for those of you who know me you will be highly aware that I am not very good at lounging around doing nothing. So yes while I did soak up alot of sun, my days were also packed full of exploring, walking, running up dormant craters and bike riding.
This proved difficult when halfway through our adventure my travelling partner developed acute foot pain or plantar fasciitis. Most probably the result of too much walking in bad footwear (ie thongs).
Jan 31, 2013
In the early 2000s some Hawaiian blokes decided that standing up on their surfboards on flat water with a paddle would be a great way of developing their surfing skills when the surf was flat. 10 years later its emerged as a global phenomenen thats taken to our shores as the latest and greatest fitness fad. Stand up paddleboarding or SUP'ing for short is a great way to add a little zest to your boring, monotonous exercise program, and the what better way to do it than in your bikini on a hot summers day!
Jan 24, 2013
Yep It’s preseason… that time of the year where you dig out your muddy old footy boots, lace them up and head to training. The worst part about it is it normally involves ALOT of fitness, beep tests, hill sprints, time trials etc etc. And I can’t even imagine what the first session of full contact is like.
Training in the 6-8 weeks prior to a season is crucial not only to the sucess of the athlete but to that of the team. So why is pre-season important? (READ FULL BLOG HERE)
Jan 15, 2013
For ALOT of people summer sparks the beginning of their newfound fitness regime, especially post Christmas when your feeling just a little guilty about how much Christmas pudding you ate.
n Australian summer can be a hot one, and so far this year its been humid too. These may be great conditions for your tan but exercising in such heat can take its toll on your body. Luckily we have been designed with an inbuilt cooling system and this unmatched ability to sweat allows us to (most of the time) adequately regulate our core temperature during extreme environmental conditions.
Here are a few easy tips to exercise safely in the heat. READ FULL BLOG HERE
Dec 26, 2012
In Australia summer means alot of things; beach, BBQ’s, sunshine, mangoes... BUT if your truly Australian Summer means cricket... and lots of it! As a physio I’m always interested in the injuries that athletes in different sports suffer. If you have read the sports section of any paper recently you will more than likely have read something on ‘cricketers side strain’. Some are referring to it as a ‘right of passage’ as a young fast bowler to suffer from this injury. Take youngster James Pattison for example who left the field early on the 3rd day of the second test in Adelaide, the most probable diagnosis a side strain, or Ben Hilfenhaus ruled out on the 3rd day in Hobart with a similar injury. Peter Siddle, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, Glen McGrath have all suffered this injury at least once in their career.
Nov 20, 2012
The All Blacks are arguably the greatest rugby union team in the world… well at the moment anyway. But they haven’t always been, think back to the days when Larkham could bewitch a back line with a flick of his wrists and gregan made all things possible for his men outside. We stuck it to the All Blacks and often were victorious. Now the likes of Carter, Dagg and McCaw are just too good.
Last week I managed to get a few minutes with one of the brains behind the All Blacks, Coach Steve Hansen who shared a few interesting insights into what its like to coach one of the greatest sporting teams in history.
Oct 16, 2012
One of the most common question patients ask me on a day to day basis is should I use Ice or heat for this injury? I can understand why this can be confusing considering the amount of conflicting information we are given about when to use what. So I’m out to set the record straight.. pay attention because using the wrong treatment on the wrong injury can sometimes just make matters worse! (READ MORE)
Oct 7, 2012
Thanks to my job I spend a good 9 months of the year living, breathing and thinking rugby union. In the last 8 weeks however I’ve most definitely ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ and become an overnight AFL fan. One thing that always amazes me about not only football, but every sport, especially in finals and do or die matches is the athletes. Natural adrenalin, mental toughness and physical prowess allows them to go above and beyond what is normally possible for the human body. READ MORE
Sep 2, 2012
Throughout school at every sports training, athletics carnival and PE lesson there was always that designated 5-10 minutes where we were taken through the mandatory routine of stretching all the bodies major muscle groups. I personally enjoyed this stretching time and it’s something that I, along with most people probably need to do more of nowadays.
Stretching has always been a heavily debated topic among health professionals. Does stretching before sport actually play a role in assisting with injury prevention? Can stretching decrease the intensity of post exercise soreness otherwise known as DOMS? By stretching a short tight muscle can you actually make it longer? (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)
Aug 19, 2012
Its sports most colourful, fashionable accessory and you’re definitely not considered hardcore on the beach volleyball court if you’re not sporting an elaborate arrangement of this neon hued cloth somewhere on your body.
It’s actually been around for decades, invented in the 1970's by chiropractor and acupuncturist Kenzio Kase. I along with many I assume first noticed it adorning athletes in Beijing, and then I started seeing it in many other sporting arenas; rugby league, cycling, tennis, diving, hockey... and by London 2012 kinesio tape had gone viral! (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)
Aug 10, 2012
Raceday is almost upon us. Its just 2 sleeps to the 2012 City2Surf, and for many this can mean the end to months of early morning training sessions and gruelling heartbreak hill sprints. Don’t let all this preparation come undone by not being organised!
Sunday morning will be CHAOTIC.. that really is the only work for the thousands of runners that will be congregating on mass in Hyde park waiting for the starters gun to get their pack on the move.
Follow these few simple tips to avoid any last minute unnecessary stresses.
And finally....Look for the smurfs: As you wind into rose bay make sure you collect an energy drink from your favourite blue smurf! They will be dancing the day away just across from Pier restaurant!
City 2 Surf is easily one of the greatest days Bondi has to offer, enjoy and endulge yourself post race with delicious food and a beverage or two! Fingers crossed for some sunshine.
Good Luck Runners!
Jul 30, 2012
It's finally beginning to feel like we are teetering on the edge of some warm, sunny weather..... I hope! The mornings are getting slightly lighter, albeit still a bit nippy.. BUT it’s not too early to start thinking about making a splash and introducing some swimming into your exercise regime.
There is a general consensus that swimming is an ineffective form of exercise when compared to weights training or running, but it all comes down to what you're trying to achieve.
If weight loss is your sole goal, then I would tend to agree that swimming may not be the best way to shed some kilos, but for maintaining fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle swimming is a perfect cross training activity. You don’t have to rely on it exclusively!
Not sure where to swim? Don't let the weather spoil the fun, Cook and Phillip and Macquarie University are two great indoor facilities. If your lucky enough to be a member of Royal Sydney or the SFS both pools are heated and open all year round. For those brave enough Bondi Icebergs is an option, its cold and sometimes a little choppy... And when its open Boy Charlton provides a picturesque start to the morning!
So as the mercury rises this summer make a splash in a pool near you! You may actually enjoy it...
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Jul 22, 2012
Everyone is guilty of skipping their pre exercise warm up routine... especially when time is a factor. I can safely say for me that’s several times a week!
Coaches, trainers, teachers all tell us to warm up and stretch before exercise but do any of us really know why warming up is so important?
Warming up is preparing your body for activity, gradually raising your heart rate and increasing blood flow to the muscles. Warm up generally involves a low impact exercise such as walking or jogging that is completed before stretching and strenuous vigorous exercise.
Many people assume that when advised to warm up this means stretch, however this is not entirely correct. The stretching component is only effective if completed when the muscles are already warm. There are no benefits to be gained from stretching a cold muscle.
When warming up for a specific sport, some movements with in the warm up should involve those muscles or body parts that will be used in the sport. For example rugby warm up includes agility drills, speed work, ball work as well as a contact warm up with pads to prepare the body for tackling.
By increasing blood flow to muscles you are raising both the body and deep muscle temperatures, this allows for improved muscle efficiency, quicker reaction times and improved muscle flexibility. A warm up has also been shown to improve oxygen delivery to muscles and assist with flushing unwanted waste products out of the muscles. A small amount of evidence also suggests that an adequate warm up can also prevent post exercise soreness.
Warm up not only prepares our body physically but also assists with mental preparation and helps your mind ease into your workout. Your body goes through a great deal of stress during strenuous activity, warming up the mind increases your chances of winning the mental battle during the hardest parts of your exercise routine.
What would my typical warm up be?
When I make time for my warm up it typically consists of hopping on the exercise bike or cross trainer, with minimal resistance and at a comfortable speed for around 5 minutes. By then my heart rate is elevated and I’m just beginning to sweat. I then spend a further 5 minutes dynamically warming up key muscle groups; hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, calves and lower back. Some good exercises are walking lunges, side and front hip swings, star jumps and lumbar rotations.
Next time you hit the gym, make time for a warm up. You will get more out of your workout because your muscles and your mind know what’s coming!
Jul 15, 2012
Last week, in an attempt to mix up my exercise regime I went to my first spin class for a very long time. 45 minutes of gruelling hills and sprint tracks and I walked out acutely aware of my aching quads, sore stiff upper back and tender buttocks!
Cycling is promoted as a great low impact knee-sparing form of exercise and when compared to pounding the pavement this may stand true. However given its repetitive nature, with riders averaging 5000 revolutions per hour, you open yourself up to a spectrum of overuse injuries particularly affecting the knees.
Whether you’re riding to the local store, in your week spin class or in the Tour de France your bike needs to fit you! Not only can this help prevent overuse injuries from occurring it can make you a more efficient and faster rider.
Here are a few things every rider should check about their bike setup
If you are a regular ‘spinner’ some of these settings obviously can’t be changed. You can however adjust the seat height and handlebar height to suit your specific needs and to ensure you have the best possible riding posture.
So remember we all have different body shapes, biomechanics and preferences so everyone’s bike set-up needs to be unique. Try making these adjustments to avoid the recipe for injury; riding too far, too fast or too soon and on the wrong bike.
Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for my blog on the common injuries in cycling.
P.S. GO CADEL
Jul 8, 2012
Winter is well and truly upon us, for many this means packing your thermals and woollen socks and heading for the ski slopes. Whether you’re a first timer, seasonal partaker or expert skier, and no matter how good your knowledge of the mountain is, chances are you will stack it at least once this season (thats at least once a day for me). Most are forgettable, but all it takes is one minor incident to wind you up in the waiting room of ski patrol with a pretty nasty injury...especially when it comes to your knees. Admittedly some incidents are out of our control and just plain unlucky, but some can potentially be avoided by doing a little preparation before hitting the slopes!
If you were unlucky enough to sustain an injury on your ski holiday, make sure you get it properly assessed to ensure there is no structural damage. EastSports Physiotherapy specialises in sports injuries. If you would like to make an appointment please contact us on (02) 9328 3822
Jul 1, 2012
Has anyone noticed how ridiculously big the vitamin/supplement section of the pharmacy is these days? There is literally a pill for just about everything; women’s multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, vitamin c, CoQ10, garlic, Echinacea... I could be here all day!
I personally have never been much of a vitamin taker... However last week, following the advice of several I began taking a magnesium supplement.
Magnesium is known by users as the great relaxer and taken most effectively before bed each night. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have noticed any miraculous benefits YET but what I will tell you is that I haven’t slept this well in a very long time. (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE)
Jun 22, 2012
EastSports Physiotherapy has its first guest blogger! Personal trainer and director of 2brothersfitness, Nick Batger, shares some common excuses for missed training sessions, and why those excuses just don't fly with him... or any personal trainer for that matter!
Summer has come and gone, so to has Autumn and both were wet and miserable. Winter is now here and as a result we have cold mornings and early darkness upon us. Despite the rain, the appeal of a blanket, a warm drink and the TV in winter there should be no excuses for not getting up and burning those calories we so richly enjoy consuming. So here are the 5 common excuses I hear for skipping training, the easy answers to those excuses and some training tips.
1. Excuse: It's too cold!
Answer: Wear some warm clothes and get training! This may be the most common excuse come winter but it is the easiest to answer, if you get your body moving you will heat up and then you'll be complaining your sweating too much!
Exercise: To get that heart rate up quickly jump into 10 push ups, 10 backwards lunges and knee drives on both legs, then work your way down from 10 to 9,8,7....
2. Excuse: I don't have time!
Answer: Make time! All you need is 3 x 10 minute blocks during the day. If you can't find this time, stop working so hard... It’s called work-LIFE balance!
Exercise: Struggling for time? Try these exercises out for size. 45 seconds of mountain climbers, jumping lunges, froggies, squat jumps, burpees. Take a 1 minute break and then repeat. This quick 5 minute burst can all be done in the comfort of your living room.
3. Excuse: I'm not fit enough to start
Answer: There is only one way to get fit and it isn't sitting on the couch! Everyone starts somewhere and the beauty of training is you will see improvements very quickly.
Exercise: Start by jogging for 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds. Continue this with an Ipod of your favourite songs blasting in your ears for 20-30 minutes and you've made a pretty good start. Progress to running for 35 seconds and walking for 25 seconds and before you know it you will be running for the full 30 minutes!
4. Excuse: Exercise is too costly!
Answer: Exercise is free! There are parks to run in, beaches to swim at, mountains to hike and so much more that's the beauty of living in Australia!
Get to the park and kick a footy, go for a walk with a friend and catch up on the week that was or the current TV show engulfing your life. Hit the beach and go for a swim or if it's too cold to jump in, run up those sand hills. The options are endless!
5. Excuse: Exercise hurts
Answer: Maybe in the short-term it hurts but a lack of fitness and exercise will cripple you in the long-term. Sure you'll be sore for a couple of days following the start of new exercises but after 3 - 4 sessions doing the new exercises the delayed pain will be a but a distant memory. (Still not convinced?... check out the blog on DOMS)
Exercise: You can’t avoid the delayed pain, the only way to get rid of it is to allow your body time to adapt to the new exercise regime. Try this one: Begin with 20 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 single leg calf raises on each leg, followed by 45 seconds of an invisible chair. Then straight into 20 push ups ( on your knees if needed), 20 bent over rows, 20 shoulder press', 20 bicep curls and 20 tricep extensions. Then repeat 3 times followed by a stretch on all those muscles you worked. If you don't have access to weights improvise with household items such as milk bottles...
If you haven't worked out by now there really isn't any good excuses for missing training.. Don't get caught inside this winter.. Get training!
Jun 17, 2012
Matt Toomua is a gifted goal-kicking flyhalf contracted with the CA Brumbies Super 15 team. 2012 was meant to be a year of opportunity for Toomua, hoping to finally put his stamp on the number 10 jersey after switching between 10 and 15 throughout 2011. This all came to a bitter end when Toomua ruptured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) during the Brumbies 29-26 loss to the Sharks earlier this season causing him to be sidelined for the entire season.
I caught up with Matt last week to ask him a few questions about how he was coping with his injury and rehabilitation.
What were your first thoughts when you injured your knee?
"I was devastated when I first injured my knee. I knew something wasn’t right as soon as I did it. I have injured most parts of my knee but this felt far worse"
Is this the worst injury you have suffered in your career? If so Why?
"Yeah this is the biggest injury I have had. It has caused me to miss pretty much the whole season. I broke my jaw in a couple places before, but it happened in the last game of the year and I didn’t have to miss any games"
Why did you choose to go with the traditional surgery method over the new LARS method which would have had you back playing sooner?
"The way our season is structured the LARS option would still have meant I would miss the entire season, so there wasn’t any benefit in choosing that option. Also the traditional surgery is far more tried and tested and because I am still only 22 years old, it seemed like the smartest option. My surgery was a little unique also. I injured my left knee and so traditionally the surgeon will take the hamstring out from the left knee and put it in the knee. However when the surgeon was operating he discovered my left hamstring was damaged, probably from an old injury, and wouldn't provide an adequate graft so he had to take the hamstring out of my right leg. So I got a big shock when I woke up and saw both my knees strapped. I thought they had operated on the wrong leg! The surgeon had to calm me down and tell me what had happened
What stage of your rehabilitation are you in now?
"I’m in the 9th week of rehab now. I have just begun movement patterns in the gymnastics centre with the padded floors and trampolines"
What motivates you to do your rehabilitation every day?
"Yeah this is a tough one. With such a long rehab time it’s hard to be motivated daily. I think having small goals helps you get through, with the bigger picture in mind. Because rugby is my profession I am constantly reminded that I am not on the field, but having other hobbies or things to do does help. I have my Uni work that keeps me busy and I am doing some barista courses also. I think having these other things helps keep me fresh and not dwell on the fact that it’s a long road"
Has there been one particular person that has been instrumental in helping you mentally deal with your injury?
"Our physio Hamish McCauley has been great. I work with him pretty much every day and he has been great for my physical rehab. Otherwise I have been lucky enough to have great friends and family who have supported me. Other players who have been through an ACL rupture have given me advice. Just yesterday Jeremy Paul (former wallaby) made the effort to give me some advice as he also tore his ACL in his playing days"
What is one thing you have learnt about yourself from suffering this injury?
"That I am a very impatient person! There's a slight humorous aspect to the fact that I am very impatient and I get an injury that causes me to sit on the sidelines for 9months! But I think it is character building. I am forced to pull the reigns in, so to speak, on many things. Currently I am in a danger period for my rehab where the hamstring graft is in its weakest point, but coupled with that I am getting increased range and feel pretty good. So it’s tough to have to hold back on a few things and just remember that it’s not worth risking anything
What are your plans for next year?
"I have re signed for the Brumbies for another 2 years so I will be back in Canberra again next year."
When are you coming back to play for the Beasties?
"I don’t know! I hope it is sooner rather than later. I always enjoy coming back and seeing everyone at the club. I will be back this week for ladies day against Sydney uni, so I’m looking forward to that!!"
Do you have any advice for other players that suffer this injury?
"It's kind of tough to answer this question because I feel I am not qualified to do so yet. Being that I am still only 9 weeks post surgery I have a long way to go. I guess what I have learnt in that time is the importance of a good physio and setting small goals. Having those goals in sight allows me keep motivated and know that I am working towards something and not just training for the sake of it."
Check out the injury information section to find out more about ACL injuries.
Jun 13, 2012
Girls whether we like it or not, men play a large part in most of our lives.
Mum certainly doesn’t sneak me a cheeky $50 under the table at family lunch, and my big brother is definitely the best person I know to go to for advice. And the boyfriend, well he gets the mood swings, PMS and emotional outbursts, which is more than enough for one male to handle!
Let’s face it we all rely on a male counterpart in some way shape or form at some stage. The alarming news is we females are all living longer than our male companions. Statistically speaking male life expectancy in Australia is 79 compared with 84 for females. There is a smorgasbord of reasons that contribute to this single statistic. When you deconstruct it; men are 5 times more likely to take their own life and 3 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. Men are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviour and hold more dangerous jobs. More than half of male premature deaths are preventable. So why aren’t we preventing them?
Men’s Health Week takes place annually as a celebration of the positive roles men and boys play within our society. It’s also about raising awareness and encouraging men to be more proactive about looking after their health and wellbeing.
Around Australia events are taking place each day for Men’s Health Week.
There are events for everyone and the full list can be found here: http://www.menshealthweek.org.au
In celebration of this week the “what’s your score?” survey has been created to encourage men to begin thinking more about preventative health. I took this test (yes I’m not a male, but I was curious) and my number was 57/90 meaning there is definite room for improvement when it comes to looking after my health, and I’m only 23.
Uncles, big brothers, dads, grandfathers... Take the test http://whatsyourscore.com.au/survey/ and get a checkup!
Guys it’s time to take care of yourselves, get on top of your health and set an example for younger boys that look up to you. Remember your health doesn’t just affect you!
I was lucky enough to meet Clyde Rathbone while he was playing down at Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union Club back in 2009. I was most definitely star struck, coming face to face with an international star of his calibre. Clyde was a genuine, kind person and undoubtedly an amazing rugby player.
When I read this story at the end of 2011 I was blown away. I could not believe that the same guy that had sat in the change room at Easts, chatting away, a seemingly happy person who everyone thought had the world at his feet was actually going through this battle with depression. It really is an eye opening story and one that I personally will never forget.
Clyde has allowed me to post this on my blog so that as many people as possible can read his story.
“Sometimes we have to take risks, be terrified and do it anyway. Julian Smith wrote this: http://inoveryourhead.net/100-tips-about-life/ so I decided to contact him, below is what I wrote. Just like I’ve asked Julian I’m asking you all to send this to somebody you know if you think it might help them.
I’m not really sure where to start, if this appears as unlettered and rambling as I fear please accept my apologies …
I first heard about you whilst listening to Robb Wolfs podcast, from there I found your blog, read every single post, downloaded & read “Flinch” which resonated with me in ways I’m not nearly well enough equipped to articulate so I’m forced to drag out the cliché that it changed my life, but fuck it it did!
I know my story is neither as boring or as interesting as I think it is, I hope you’ll bare with me and read it (there’s an idea at the end, and I know you like those) but if you decide not to I’m fine with that too.
I was born in South Africa 30 years ago I’m the oldest of 4 boys, I had a difficult childhood, I was abused emotionally by someone who should have been looking after me. And it had a huge effect on me. A number of things can happen when you’ve been emotionally abused. Every negative thing I heard about myself, things that were said repeatedly to me became my truth, I started to believe that negative voice until it became ingrained, it affected me in nearly everything that I did and every decision I made. Usually people who are exposed to this abuse have extremely low confidence and low self esteem, In my case that was certainly true but those that knew me in high school may well describe me as arrogant, my defence mechanism was to project an image of myself that most protected me.
I was lucky in a sense because the abuse I suffered was inconsistent and definitely not as bad as many others are exposed to. So I ended up a confused, conflicted & pretty angry child and I know what saved me was that I was always good at sports, I was good at just about any sport I tried and gradually over time I started to challenge some of these negative thoughts that I had by performing well in sport. Ironically I used those negative thoughts as a driving force, as if every time I achieved success it was a reaffirmation to myself that those negative thoughts weren’t true. Every time I trained hard or played well I felt I was winning the battle against those thoughts.
And I did this most of my childhood and adulthood, this unlikely process turned me into a world class athlete, I captained the South African National U21 team to victory in the 2002 Rugby World Cup. Shortly after that I was offered a contract to play for the Brumbies rugby team in Australia. And since I knew my family planned to immigrate to Australia soon I decided to take up the offer. It was not long before I was playing for the Australian National Team, travelling the world and basically living what I thought were my dreams. The thing is I was never happy, I felt guilty that I could not appreciate the life many others could only dream of. By this point I had convinced myself that what I had gone through as a child was not that bad and I basically tried to forget about it. The fact is those issues never left me completely, they would express themselves in many ways. I would be angry or irritable or feel tension and stress and not really know why but for the most part I would say I functioned as well as I could and anyone who met me would think I was completely “normal”. And I maintained that fictitious existence for years.
But this all began to gradually change about 5-6 years ago when I picked up some serious rugby injuries which ultimately forced me to retire @ 27. That was a catalyst for a flood of all those negative thoughts I had pushed to the background, many I had not had for years slowly began coming back and over time I slipped further and further into depression until I was chronically and severely depressed.
Though my body was broken I agreed to play some minor level club rugby, I injured myself in a match and needed surgery to insert a titanium plate in my face. I was on a lot of painkillers and I would go days when I would hardly get out of bed. I felt despairingly low all day, I had no motivation or optimism, I began having suicidal thoughts. And I want to say this about depression, I always looked at it as something that happened to “other people”, until I become depressed it never even crossed my mind that it could happen to me. What I’ve learnt over time is that any of us can become depressed given the wrong mix of experiences.
In that state, in the deepest of my depression my marriage began failing, I become short tempered and verbally abusive to my wife, there was never physical abuse but there is no doubt she suffered hugely emotionally. I completely neglected her and her needs. I did not know how to climb out of the hole I felt I was in, I did not even know where to start. Finally in Late 2010 I told my wife what I had gone through as a child, 10 years after our relationship began and 5 years into our marriage she was learning this for the first time.
And while it felt initially better to finally tell someone what happened, in some ways it made things worse because I began to see how much of my life had been affected by what happened to me as a child and it brought a lot of anger and resentment to the surface.
By mid May of last year my wife had had enough, she came to the conclusion that she could not help me. She had tried everything she knew to try and nothing seemed to change. She packed a bag and left to stay with her friend. Going through depression is difficult enough, but since I’ve recovered I’ve begun to realise just how tough it must have been for my wife to observe the person you care about most struggling for as long as I did while nothing my wife tried seemed to work. I think often we forget about the toll that depression takes on the people who are caught trying to help those suffering from it. If there is a hero in this story it’s how my wife has managed to remain as strong as she did for as long as she did.
Carrie leaving devastated me, that’s is both the most difficult and most valuable thing I’ve been through, because it was the first time I felt as though I was going to lose the most important thing in my life. It focussed my mind for the first time in a long time. I was at a crossroads, either I do whatever I must to completely rid myself of depression or it was likely going to cost me my marriage and probably ultimately kill me.
So as Carrie had been bugging me to do for ages I went to see a psychologist, I went to 5 sessions and they were incredibly valuable in helping me focus on the things I have control over and challenging the way I was thinking about things.
After I started getting some help the main thing I developed was consistency. I started working out again, dialling in my diet, working and reading like I was starving for knowledge and I began seeing old friends again.
For the last 6 months I’ve been completely free of any sort of depression, I experience the general ups and downs of life and every now and again you get a curve ball thrown your way but at no point have I ever felt as though I’m becoming depressed or that I’m slipping back into old habits. I think of my mind in the same way I think about a broken bone that heals stronger than it was before. I feel indestructible, I rarely flinch and when I do I make sure forge ahead anyway.
Today I will finally share this story with my brothers and parents, that will be both painful and cathartic. On the 10th Feb I’ll be sharing this with a few hundred people at a speaking engagement I’m doing through work (I own a corporate health business: www.healthfutures.com.au) I feel as though by talking about it at least some good can come from a bad experience, that maybe some of the people I talk too are struggling or know someone that is and perhaps hearing my story might help them to take come action.
All of this brings me to my wife. Carrie is far and away the best thing that ever happened to me, she’s the most kind, gentle, generous, smart, funny, beautiful soul. She sees the world differently to most of us. No matter how dark a situation seems her strength of character and spirit see her through. Her strength ultimately wore her down, when I was ill she told nobody, she took every single burden of my depression squarely on her shoulders and she did everything she could. By the time she left she was literally done, I had been emotionally shut down for years and I had worn her down to the point where she had to choose between becoming depressed herself or staying in an abusive situation. She did the right thing in leaving.
Since then I’ve made incredible progress, I don’t recognise myself. I’ll send you a picture taken in Jan 2011 and another taken a little while ago in November. Transforming my mind has allowed me to transform my body. I’ve never in my life felt as capable of anything I decide to do as I feel today. I seek out things that scare me and I attack them. I feel things deeper than I ever have and my mind is always searching for that next morsel that might just change the way I view the world. Julian, I feel lucky to have found your blog, to have learned who Robb Wolf is and to have been exposed to Mark Sisson’s work. I feel enormously enlightened and humbled by the works of Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. The internet is fucking amazing, I guess I just feel lucky.
And I need your help. I need this story broadcast, I need everyone I know and everyone I don’t to read this. I need that for me but mostly I just need to tell my wife that I love her and that I’m sorry, and that anything she chooses to do for her happiness is the right decision. I need her to know that she should never settle for happier than she’s been in 10 years when what she deserves is happier than she ever imagined you could be.
So what I’m asking is that you post this on your blog, send it to anyone you can, comment on it or don’t. I just need it out there…
Please share this with all your friends and family. It takes alot of courage to be so open and honest and everyone can take something from Clyde's amazing story.