5 ways to relieve stress this silly season

5 ways

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 to unhealthy habits such as being too busy to exercise, eating all the Christmas treats and not getting enough sleep.

By the time the New Year comes around you are in need of another holiday!

Here are some simple ways to avoid and relieve some of the holiday stress:

  1. Plan ahead

Start you’re week by spending 10 minutes on the Sunday night to plan out your week. This can be as simple as noting down the commitments for the week ahead or going into more detail by planning meals and even outfits to save time in the morning. Also, as soon as you commit to an event write it on the calendar!

  1. Resist some temptations

Christmas and New Year is a time for food….lots and lots of yummy hard-to-resist food. It can be very difficult to not continuously pick at the cheese, dips, chips, cookies and cakes, especially when you go from one event to another in the same day! The excuse of “it’s Christmas” is so easy to say but the constant intake of food leaves you feeling yuck and doesn’t help your overall mood and stress levels. Try instead to eat small portions of treats and if you have more than one event in a day choose one of the events to have a treat at instead of having cookies from brunch to dinner.

  1. Light an aromatic candle

Whilst you’re busy wrapping presents light an aromatic candle to stay calm and relax. If you have a tricky shaped present that just doesn’t want to be wrapped, take a few deep breathes to increase oxygen flow to the brain.

  1. Indulge in a massage

I know, I know you’re really busy and finding the time for a massage can be hard. But even 30 minutes of a remedial or relaxation massage can not only physically help relieve stress but also mentally. When your muscles are less tense, your body will thank you! To book an appointment with our massage therapist call us on 6299 3886.

  1. And finally, EXERCISE!!

Exercise releases mood enhancing chemicals and reduces stress hormones to help you deal with the stressful busy season. You are NEVER too busy for doing some exercise. You may not be able to get a full 60 minutes in, but every minute you can do counts!  Here are some ways to add a little bit into your day:

  • Take the stairs
  • Park your car a little further away from the entrance
  • Go for a walk on your lunch break
  • Book in with Damien to develop an exercise regime for at home, the gym or the Pilates Reformer

Hope you all have a safe and stress-less Christmas and New Year!

From the Vibe Team

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Creating awareness: World Continence Week

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The Continence Foundation of Australia states the approximately 4.8 million Australians are affected by some form of incontinence, with both men and women of all ages being affected. Many people who suffer from incontinence are not aware that it can be treated, managed and in some cases even cured by seeking treatment.

There are two main categories of incontinence which are urinary incontinence (poor bladder control) and faecal incontinence (poor bowel control).  Under these two categories there are several different types of incontinence and the treatment varies depending on the type you may have. Two of the different types urinary incontinence are:

1. Stress incontinence is associated with weakness of the pelvic floor muscles and leakage of urine occurs when there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as during a cough, laugh, sneeze etc.

2. Urge incontinence tends to be associated with an over active bladder and causes an overwhelming urge to urinate that often results in leakage. Common triggers are keys in the door, arriving home, the sound of running water.

Here are some ways a physio can help someone suffering from incontinence:
– Assess pelvic floor function
– Identify the type/s of incontinence you have
– Provide exercises for pelvic floor muscles
– Bladder training
– Teach toileting dynamics
– Give advice regarding lifestyle modifications
– Help you choose safe exercises

The key thing to remember is not to be embarrassed when seeking treatment from a health care professional – and that you are not alone!

To find out more visit http://www.continence.org.au/, call there helpline on 1800 33 00 66 or ask your physio.

 

Image sourced from http://www.ics.org/committees/continencepromotion/wcw

TREATMENT SPOTLIGHT: Acupuncture and Dry Needling

acu

Acupuncture became an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) when the ancient Chinese found they could alleviate many symptoms and ailments through inserting fine needles into various parts of the body. Over two thousand years later this practice is still commonly used by traditional acupuncturists and physiotherapists to help relieve patients of pain.

The modern acupuncture method used by physiotherapists known as “Western Medical Acupuncture” uses current medical knowledge of the body to outline where the needles are to be placed in order to stimulate the nervous system. Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, is based on the circulation concepts of qi and yin/yang that makes this type of practice an alternative medical practice.

Acupuncture is used as a treatment method due to the fact it helps encourage blood flow resulting in improved circulation to the needled area and can help relieve pain for conditions including:

  • Arthritis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder and hip pain

Similar to acupuncture, dry needling involves the use of needling to help relieve pain. However, the technique differs as the acupuncture needles are inserted into painful and/or tight muscles rather than areas known to stimulate nerves. Dry needling aims to improve resting muscle tone and relax muscles and can also be used to needle ligaments or tendons, in order to encourage these tissues to heal.

Dry needling can be extremely effective in treating muscular pain, and patients often find them much more comfortable than the therapist’s elbow or thumbs! Conditions and injuries that dry needling can be an effective treatment for include:

  • Muscle stiffness and pain
  • Referred pain from muscle trigger points
  • Tennis elbow/golfer’s elbow
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Gluteal tendinopathy and hip pain
  • Headaches and neck pain

To find out more about our acupuncture/dry needling appointments or to book in with one of our physiotherapists call us on 6299 3886 or email admin@viberehab.com.au.

 

Image sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-calabro/what-does-acupuncture-feel-like_b_2860656.html

Is it time to ditch the scales?

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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:

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!

Hi all,

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:

toilet positions image

 

So the next time you go to the toilet, see if adjusting your position helps you go!

Get ready to ride

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Hi all,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
bike-posture
http://williamthom17.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/bike-posture.jpg

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.

 

Resources:

http://www.bikeradar.com/au/gear/article/technique-how-to-set-up-your-bike-16694/

http://williamthom17.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/the-cyclist-checklist-to-avoid-pain/

Image sourced from:

http://thelandings.com/step-step-directions-landings/

What is an exercise physiologist?

Hi All,

Meet Damien, our Exercise Physiologist at Vibe
Meet Damien, our exercise physiologist at Vibe

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.

core

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 admin@viberehab.com.au.

 

Source: http://www.aging-no-more.com/core-strength-exercises.html

Run away from injury

 

running-logo

Hi all,

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:

http://www.hansen.k12.id.us/

Never be without a physio!

pocketphysiored

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.

Trigger point therapy using a Pocket Physio
Trigger point therapy using a Pocket Physio

For more information on the Pocket Physio ask a Vibe Practitioner at your next appointment or contact us on 02 6299 3886.