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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 14, 2014

Are you 'running into problems'?

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)

Categories General Issues Knee Tags knee pain ITB running overuse ITB friction syndrome physiotherapy massage exercise

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

What's your weirdest food craving?

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.

(READ FULL BLOG HERE)

Categories General Issues Tags food craving salt sweet chocolate nutrients balanced diet food cravings diet lifestyle wellbeing health eating

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