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Oct 12, 2014

What is muscle? How do they work? How do they get bigger?

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags muscle strength strong hypertrophy eastsports physio training weights resistance health wellbeing lifestyle

Oct 6, 2014

PART 2: Eat your way to healthy glowing skin

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)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags skin health nutrition diet lifestyle wellbeing healthy living glow food nutrients

Sep 3, 2014

The importance of 'post race' nutrition

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags food recovery refuel recharge running nutrition nutrients eat

Aug 25, 2014

Eating your way to healthy, glowing skin

The skin is our largest organ… yes it is an organ, and a very important one. It protects us from the elements, regulates our body temperature & allows us to feel sensations such as hot, cold, sharp or blunt. Given the huge surface area that our skin covers & what we expose it to its no wonder many of us run into skin related problems…. Acne, rashes, dermatitis, skin fungus, scars or eczema. These are not uncommon problems and may of us will be faced with at least one at some stage.

Can you eat your way to better skin? Simply yes you can. What you feed your insides will be reflected on the outside. The
re are other lifestyle factors that can affect your skin such as smoking, alcohol, makeup & skin care products, hormones, stress & in some cases genetic factors BUT your skin can be a whole lot better if you start being a little more conscious of what you put in your mouth.

Want to get the glow? 

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories Exercise & fitness Health and Wellbeing Tags health lifestyle skin healthy eating nutrition diet food wellbeing glowing skin

Aug 13, 2014

Dealing with stubborn tendon problems

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.

Why?

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags tendonitis tendinosis physiotherapy inflammation overuse pain running degenerative Eastsports Physiotherapy management rest

Aug 5, 2014

Your City 2 Surf 'preparation' guide

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags running City 2 Surf event race day preparation exercise fitness Sydney Bondi

Jul 30, 2014

Yoga vs Pilates. Is one better?

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags yoga pilates stretching flexibility muscle relaxation mind body namaste wellbeing lifestyle health

Jul 14, 2014

Can high heels damage your feet?

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

Categories Ankle Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags feet high heels foot pain podiatry physiotherapy stretching strengthening orthotics

Jul 2, 2014

Counting down to the City 2 Surf

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags running City 2 Surf exercise training fitness race day

Jun 24, 2014

Have you injured your meniscus?

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)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Knee Tags meniscus knee knee pain cartilage physiotherapy injury knee injury eastsports physiotherapy

Jun 3, 2014

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

It’s got many names…. rotator cuff tendinitis, swimmers shoulder, throwers shoulder, subacromial impingement or subacromial bursitis. These are all smart, intelligent sounding names for pain that occurs deep in the anterolateral shoulder (anterior meaning front & lateral meaning side… so to the front and side)

Lets do a little anatomy recap: The shoulder is a ball and socket joint; likened to a golf ball on a golf tee. The humerus or upper arm bone sits against a small socket called the glenoid. It’s an inherently unstable joint which is why we are able to perform all the weird & wacky movements with our arms.

The rotator cuff are a group of 4 muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. Their role? to depress the head of the humerus essentially assisting the joint capsule and shoulder ligaments to hold it snug in its socket.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories shoulder Exercise & fitness Health and Wellbeing Tags shoulder pain rotator cuff impingement tendonitis shoulder physiotherapy strengthening stretching massage dry needling

Are you hypermobile?

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags hypermobile flexibility movement strengthening stretching physiotherapy

Apr 7, 2014

5 of the best workouts to get your ticker going

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)

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags workout exercise fitness training running weights gym cardio

Mar 30, 2014

Stubborn hip pain? maybe its trochanteric bursitis

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories hip General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags hip pain trochanteric bursitis bursitis pain buttock pain

Mar 10, 2014

Part 2: Bags & bloated bellies. Are hormones to blame?

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.

What about our hunger? Digestion issues? Sleep? YES unfortunately hormones are responsible for controlling all of these essential functions too.

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.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags hormones balance leptin hunger tired hormonal imbalance melatonin ghrelin

Bad moods & breakouts. Are your hormones to blame?

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...

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags hormones oestrogen progesterone testosterone balance emotions thyroid sleep regulation

Feb 18, 2014

Why breakfast matters

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags breakfast energy protein nutrition wellbeing health healthy habits

Tibialis Posterior Tendonitis

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.

Why?

  • As an overuse injury through years of wear and tear associated with high impact activities such as running
  • Acutely as a result of sudden increase in training volume or intensity OR the use of inappropriate footwear

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags tibialis posterior tendonitis tibialis posterior foot pain shin pain overuse injury pain

What is inflammation?

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags inflammation chronic disease acute inflammation swelling chronic inflammation tissue damage pain

Feb 6, 2014

Why go nuts for coconuts?

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

Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags coconut coconut oil superfood health nutrition wellbeing saturated fat young coconuy

Why TRX training is 'trending'

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

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Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags TRX suspension training functional movement workout core stability strength training exercise gym fitness

Curious about Crossfit?

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.

FULL BLOG HERE:

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Categories Exercise & fitness General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags crossfit workout exercise training injury prevention olympic lifting

Dec 2, 2013

Tips to have a stress free holiday

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

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags holiday stress travel de-stress unwind relax vacation

Oct 21, 2013

Reflexology: Are you walking on the solution to your health problems?

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.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags reflexology massage trigger point reflex points foot massage de-stress deep tissue massage

Oct 17, 2013

HIIT your fitness peak this summer

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.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags HIIT High Intensity Interval Training training exercise aerobic fitness fitness summer work/rest training

Oct 10, 2013

Are you getting enough sleep?

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?

1. HELPS TO REDUCE STRESS: When you’re functioning on a lack of sleep your body can enter a chronic state of stress. Several of my previous blogs highlight how detrimental too much stress can be to our health and wellbeing. Too much stress releases cortisol (stress hormone) constantly which can contribute to chronic disease such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease; curb weight loss results and leave you feeling generally run down and emotional.
 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags sleep recover hormones health wellbeing stress mood memory rejuvenate

Sep 15, 2013

Stairway to heaven... or hell?

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.

(READ FULL LIST HERE)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing New Category Tags stairs cardio workout running Coogee Stairs Cranbrook Stairs exercise health

Sep 12, 2013

SOS: The most effective re-hydration solution on the market

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

 

sos

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags hydrate sweat electrolytes hydration re-hydration cramping SOS sports drinks

Sep 9, 2013

Foods your body will LOVE you for avoiding

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

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags inflammation chronic inflammation diet lifestyle health refined sugar processed food

Sep 2, 2013

Why stress can be a real pain in the neck.

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.

 

(READ FULL BLOG)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags stress headache muscle tension neck pain pain physiotherapy massage

Aug 13, 2013

5 ways to give your sore, aching muscles some TLC

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)

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags City2Surf recovery stretching massage sauna running magnesium

Aug 4, 2013

What is a Morton's Neuroma?

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)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags Morton's Neuroma neuroma foot pain toe pain running intermetatarsal nerve

Jul 8, 2013

Are you guilty of 'overtraining'?

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt over the last year is that conditioning requires a balance between training and rest. At the end of the day rest is almost just as important as a regular exercise routine. If you don’t allow time for your muscles to repair and recover not only will your results plateau, weight loss will stall, you may begin to feel un-motivated, you won’t workout to your full potential and you will put yourself at higher risk of injury!

Put simply hard training sessions break you down, make you weaker. Rest allows repair, recovery and rejuvenation. An imbalance = lack of rejuvenation and drop in performance. You will have stressed your body beyond its capacity to recover resulting in a collection of emotional, physical and often psychological symptoms that are just NOT YOU.

Categories Health and Wellbeing Tags overtraining fatigue recovery repair rest training

Jun 17, 2013

What is Dry Needling

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.

Categories Anatomy Series Ankle Athlete Interview Back General Issues Guest Blog - Nutrition Health and Wellbeing Knee Neck Shin Pain Tags Dry Needling Western Acupuncture Pain Muscle spasm trigger points twitch response headaches

Jun 13, 2013

Anatomy Series: Back to Basics - The Lower Back

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.

  • The cervical region (or your neck) has 7 vertebrae
  • The thoracic region (mid back) has 12 vertebrae
  • The lumbar region (low back) has 5 vertebrae
  • The Sacrum (joints the spine to the pelvis) has 5 vertebrae which are all fused as one
  • The coccyx has 4 small vertebrae all fused together

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

Categories Anatomy Series Ankle Athlete Interview Back General Issues Guest Blog - Nutrition Health and Wellbeing Knee Neck Shin Pain Tags lower back spine vertebrae facet joint intervetebral disc spinal cord anatomy

Jun 5, 2013

Sauna Sessions. For your Mind, Body and Soul

Sauna’s have never really been my thing… I hate being uncomfortably hot and sweaty, it makes me feel slightly hysterical and almost claustrophobic. So you can imagine I wasn’t so keen on the idea of using it as a mode of ‘recovery’ for my body!

For a good year my personal trainer has been at me to try hitting the sauna on a Sunday morning, merely as a way of ‘detoxifying’ my body for the week that has been.

Last Sunday, when torrential rain hit Sydney I decided to ditch the running shoes and hit the sauna to see exactly what all the fuss was about.

The verdict……… AMAZING!

So now that I’m potentially converted to this ritual I did a little research and saunas are seriously good for your health on all levels and can be used on a regular basis as a little TLC for our mind, body and soul!

READ FULL BLOG HERE

Categories Health and Wellbeing Tags sauna detoxify cleanse recovery de-stress relaxation

Apr 29, 2013

Are you eating right on game day? Nutritionist Jess Rutledge shares her expertise!

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.

READ FULL BLOG HERE

 

 

Categories General Issues Guest Blog - Nutrition Health and Wellbeing Tags nutrition hydration game day energy performance carbohydrates protein sugar electrolytes

Apr 29, 2013

Confused about coffee? Don't be...

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)

 

Categories General Issues Health and Wellbeing Tags caffeine coffee performance energy weight loss

Mar 18, 2013

What's the latest on Lauryn Eagle's sports agenda?

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.

(READ FULL INTERVIEW)

Categories Ankle Athlete Interview Back General Issues Guest Blog - Nutrition Health and Wellbeing Knee Neck Shin Pain Tags Lauryn Eagle boxing waterskiing Women's 7's exercise Lady Luck