The final weeks of the year are always busy and stressful. Never ending gatherings, end-of-year school activities, family visits and the cost of Christmas can leave you feeling frazzled and anxious. This can all lead… More
Is it time to ditch the scales?
When you are trying to lose weight it is easy to get fixated on the numbers on the scale, as it validates all your hard work…but does it really? What makes the scales change can be more than a reduction or increase in body fat and they are not necessarily an accurate reflection of all your hard work.
Athletes are an excellent example of why scales don’t tell you what you need to know about how well you are progressing with your healthy weight loss goals. Athletes have a high percentage of muscle in their body to be strong enough to compete and low levels of fat so they are not carrying unnecessary weight that might slow them down. Due to this on the traditional BMI measurement of weight to height ratio, many athletes are considered overweight and in some cases obese.
This is because athletes have an increased level of lean body mass, and it is not only ideal for athletic performance, it is also ideal for reducing your risk of developing diseases like heart disease and diabetes, as well as unnecessary injury from bone fractures.
Therefore, if you have been trying to lose weight but are finding that the scales aren’t reflecting the time you have put into exercising this could be due to you building muscle. Even though it may seem a bad thing when you look at the scales, it is a sign of a healthier, stronger body.
The list below outlines some key factors that indicate if you are succeeding at increasing your lean body mass but your scales show you are putting on weight:
- Are you feeling like you have more energy each day?
- Are your clothes feeling looser?
- Did you drop a size last time you bought new clothes?
- Are your blood results from the doctor showing lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels?
- Have you been able to reduce any of your medications?
- Are you exercising more often than you used to?
- Are you eating better and being more mindful of your food choices?
- Are people noticing that you have lost weight?
- Each month your weight decreases a little more on the same set of scales at same time of day in same type of clothing?
- Is there a change in your comprehensive anthropometric measurements?
You may be wondering what is a ‘comprehensive anthropometric measurement’. These measurements are taken through analysis your body fat and muscle composition, which is great if you like to have numbers to support your progress. There are several options that are considered relatively accurate measurement tools, and certainly more accurate than the single anthropometric measurement provided by your humble scales when they are measured regularly. These include:
- Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) which includes your bone mineral density (BMD) or
- Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), which uses the resistance of electrical flow through the body to estimate body fat
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- 7 point Skinfold combined with 5 point Circumference using callipers and a tape measure by an Accredited ISAK Anthropometrist
So is it time to ditch the scales? No, not entirely, they can still provide you with some information on your progress and general health. But you do need to consider what else is happening in your body that maybe affecting those numbers, measure your progress in a number of different ways and keep up your motivation to strive for a healthier you!
Image sourced from: http://masteringmymidlife.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/going-weightless.html
Your posture on the loo affects the way you poo!
Sometimes it can be difficult to go the toilet but instead of asking a health practitioner for advice many people persist and end up doing damage from straining too hard. However, simply changing the way you sit on the toilet can significantly help when you go to the loo.
Maintaining a good position whilst on the toilet can be useful for people who have difficulties passing a stool, suffer from constipation, strain when emptying their bowels, or just for better bowel habits for us all to prevent these things from occurring.
The following pointers may help make going to the toilet easier:
- Lean forward when you are sitting on the toilet and place your hands in your thighs
- Ensure your knees are bent and are higher than your hips (A footstool may be useful)
- Try to breathe to the bottom of your lungs with your mouth open to prevent straining and contracting your pelvic floor
- Bulge your stomach muscles forward as you take a deep breath in and then ‘brace’ your stomach to prevent it from bulging further forwards. Do not tighten your stomach muscles
- Relax your anal sphincter to open your bottom and let the stool out
- Take a deep breath to increase the pressure in your abdomen and then push down towards your anus
The image below illustrates the above steps:
So the next time you go to the toilet, see if adjusting your position helps you go!
Get ready to ride
With the weather heating up now is the perfect time to strap on a helmet and go for a ride to enhance your fitness.
Bike rides are great for:
- Cardio – they are a great low impact alternative to running
- Leg strength and endurance
- Stress reduction
- Heart health – regular cycling can help manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels
However, before you start out on your bike it is important that you set up your riding position correctly to avoid being uncomfortable and to enable you to ride greater distances with less effort.
Here are five simple ways to get you ready to ride:
- Foot position – Your feet should be placed on the pedals with the balls of your feet centred over the pedal axel, unless you have small feet for which the ball of your foot should be slightly behind centre. If you use toe clips, the ideal distance between your shoe and the clips should be about 2mm.
- Saddle position – If the saddle of your bike isn’t correctly positioned you are more likely to experience tight arms and shoulder tension. To avoid this, the saddle should be adjusted so that it is flat and parallel with the road.
- Saddle height– Sit on the saddle with the heel of your foot placed on the pedal at the 6 o’clock position. If your leg is straight then the saddle height is correct.
- Stem and handle bars – The stem height is correct when it is between level with the saddle height or 6cm below. To check this, sit on your bike with the cranks in the 3/9 o’clock position and if your knee just clears your elbow in this position then the stem height correct. This will help prevent muscle tension that can result in headaches and neck pain from the stem height being in the wrong position. To encourage good chest expansion and breathing your handle bars should be as wide as your shoulders.
- Engage your core – Don’t forget to engage your core to ensure that you are able to maintain your body’s position over the bike throughout your ride.
If you find that you are experiencing pain after adjusting your riding position it is important to not ignore the niggling pain and see a professional to ensure you aren’t doing further damage by continuing to ride your bike without treatment.
Image sourced from:
What is an exercise physiologist?
Here at Vibe we are lucky enough to be able to offer our patients a variety of allied health services including exercise physiology.
But what exactly is an exercise physiologist and how can they help you?
An exercise physiologist is an allied health professional who specialises in helping patients get stronger and fitter through the benefits of exercise as well as helping patients achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise physiologists (EP’s) are much more than a personal trainer. They are university qualified accredited health practitioners with expert knowledge of the human body and the benefits that exercise has on it, both mentally and physically.
Exercise physiologists are well informed about the effects that exercise has on the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. They aim to develop new and healthy habits for patients to enable them to manage their medical conditions in the best way possible. EP’s can prescribe a course of exercises for either rehabilitation or fitness and are also capable of developing behavioural modification programs.
EP’s can treat a range of musculo skeletal conditions as well as medical conditions including obesity, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, depression, asthma and cardiovascular diseases. They also work side by side with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and podiatrists to ensure patients receive holistic care.
You don’t need a referral to see an EP, anyone can come and see an exercise physiologist with patients ranging from infants to seniors.
The importance of your core
Having a strong core doesn’t mean you have a rippling six pack from doing 100 crunches every day. However, core strengthening does require you to be consistent in doing regular strengthening exercises.
But what is your core?
Your core is an important part of your body. It is made up of 4 muscle groups that work together to provide stability, strength, flexibility and balance. Your core muscles are used even when you aren’t doing anything, for example standing still or sitting down. Reaching up to grab something out of your cupboard and bending down to pick up something off the floor are just some of the day-to-day activities that engage your core, with many sports also using core muscles to power activities such as tennis and golf. Many elite sports are now reverting to a primary focus on core to improve strength, range and power output – a primary example being the Australian Olympic and Paralympic Swim teams!
Poor core strength can often be the cause of back pain and aches and pains that occur from poor posture. By stabilising your spine through improving your core you can help prevent not only back injuries and improve your posture, but also prevent injuries that occur from falling over by having better balance and stability.
The 4 muscle groups that make up your core are your transverse abdominals (wrapping around the front between your hips and rips), pelvic floor (forming a sling underneath), multifidus (strong stabiliser running down the length of your back) and your Diaphram!!
The rectus abdominis are part of the mid section of muscle groups associated with your core, but they are technically not a stabiliser, and will not prevent injuries or stabilise any movement. Therefore, basic crunches aren’t going to help build your core strength. Pilates is a great way to help build your core muscles using controlled movements that are low impact. The principals of Pilates focus on improving stability, flexibility, posture and strength through exercises that strengthen core muscles.
At Vibe our Pilates classes focus on helping people learn how to engage and build their core. For more information about our Pilates classes visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Run away from injury
Running can be great way to stay fit and clear the mind of any stress. However, the act of running has a substanital impact on the body and commonly results in injuries in the lower back, hip, knee, ankle and under foot. This is because running can place up to 3 times your body weight through each step.
When going for a run it is essential that your body is organised correctly to ensure that your body is strong enough to support the movements that occur during your run. This means that you should make sure your body is positioned perfectly when you run and that your core stabilisers are strong. To ensure you run in the correct position it is worthwhile having a running assessment done by an exercise physiotherpist.
Running is all about being balanced in all planes, if any of the elements are out this could affect foot placement, body position, rotation, endurance and speed.To help maintain correct foot positioning and drive prior to running you should do some foot and ankle strengthening and positioning exercises such as walking drills and single leg balances.
Before you start your run it is always best to start with a warm up using dynamic stretches (no static stretching holds). This could include walking heel raises, walking lunges, standing leg swings and upper body rotations. During your run you should begin with a warm up pace and then build your run up to full pace for 80% of your run.
If you are someone who regularly runs more than 3 times a week, it is worthwhile changing your runners every 3 months to ensure that you are receiving the right amount of support from your shoes.
It is important to note that running is not the most effective way to lose weight. Running increases your fitness due to the cardio output, however, walking is much more conducive to weight loss as it targets a different metabolic rate. Think:
Walking = weight loss and a lower injury risk
Running = fitness with a higher injury risk
So next time you go for a run, make sure you warm up properly before hand and think about your body position whilst you are running to help prevent injury.
Image sourced from:
Never be without a physio!
Sometimes stretching just isn’t enough and you need a little extra help to relieve muscle tightness. However, the ideal option of seeing a physio or a massage therapist every time this occurs can be impractical and expensive. Thankfully, some physiotherapists banded together and created the Pocket Physio which allows you to undertake trigger point therapy at your convenience.
Trigger points are sensitive spots that have been created as a result of muscle damage or over activity which can result in muscular related pains such as headaches, joint pain and back pain. One way to reduce muscle tightness is to apply slight pressure to trigger points which prompts the muscle to relax. However, trying to apply pressure points without any help can be difficult and awkward; but with the Pocket Physio you basically have an extra hand to help you easily apply pressure to trigger points to relieve muscle tension.
For more information on the Pocket Physio ask a Vibe Practitioner at your next appointment or contact us on 02 6299 3886.
The Benefits of Kinesio Tape
Here at Vibe our practitioners often use Kinesio Tape when treating a patient.
But what is Kinesio Tape and how does it differ from other types of tape?
Kinesio is more than just a type of tape; it is a specialised taping method that was developed in Japan. The taping method is based on the ideology that there are healing mechanisms built within the body which can be influenced by practitioners to remove the barriers that prevent them from helping the body heal.
Kinesio Tape helps increase blood flow and helps control contractions within your muscles, allowing your body to heal faster and quicker.
Your practitioner may apply the tape on your neck, back, arm, leg…basically anywhere to assist in your treatment. Kinesio is used frequently by athletes to accelerate the return to sport process.
The Tape is water and sweat resistant and can be worn for several days, unless irritation has developed.
For more information on k-tape, don’t hesitate in asking our practitioners here at Vibe.
Information sourced from: http://www.kinesiotaping.com.au/
Image sourced from: http://www.tennisperspective.com/category/kinesio-tape
5 stretches to get you moving in the morning
The colder mornings have arrived.
Getting out of our nice, warm and comfy beds can be extra difficult in the chillier months. The cold can create stiffness in your joints and muscles leaving you feeling tired even before the day has started.
To help get your body warmed up in the morning we have selected 5 simple stretches to do when you jump (or crawl) out of bed.
1. The Rolldown
Lean against a wall with knees slightly bent. Drop chin into your chest let your head roll forward and your arms hang. Breathe in as you hang. Breathe out and slowly roll back up.
Repeat 5 times
2. Thread the Needle
Take one hand and cross it under the body and reach up the side of the body. Take the same arm back under the body and extend the elbow and shoulder.
Repeat with other arm.
3. Rest Position
Sit back onto your haunches keeping your bottom on your feet slowly breathe out and try to stretch the fingers further forward. Hold for 20 seconds.
The hips should be square at a 90°. Start with a neutral flat back, let the back dip down, slowly work back to neutral and then hyperarch to the ceiling.
Repeat 5 – 10 times
5. Hamstring Stretch
Sitting upright with legs wide and knees straight. Reach across with one arm towards the opposite foot. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat with opposite arm and foot.
Click on the image below to print out the exercises!
Be a “Lactavist”
It is well known that breastfeeding benefits babies, but did you know that it is also beneficial for mums?
Benefits for breastfeeding for mums include:
- Quicker recovery from childbirth
- Quicker weight loss after childbirth due to calories burned during breastfeeding
- Decreased risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer as well as Type 2 Diabetes
- Controlled glucose levels for some diabetics
- Improved mental health and reduced risk of postpartum depression
- Greater self-esteem
Breastfeeding is a learnt skill, one that can be quite challenging. The most important thing is too support yourself or a loved one who is breastfeeding but not to pressure them.
Also remember that help is at hand with lactation consultations and physiotherapists.
Physiotherapists are great at treating mastitis and engorged ducts.
Here is some advice on how to minimise the chance of breastfeeding problems/mastitis:
– Wear proper fitting maternity bras. Check when you take your bra off that there are no red marks or indentations where the bra might have cut in to your breast tissue.
– Try not to “compress” your breast into shape when breastfeeding
– Position, position, position!! Make sure that you are not leaning forward but are lifting the baby up to your breast. Use pillows or even better, try feeding in a semi-reclined position with the whole front of the baby’s body touching your front.
Remember that physio’s can also help with:
– Pelvic Floor Recovery
– Return to exercise
– Pelvic girdle pain
Image sourced from: