Archive | July, 2013

Doing it RIGHT

30 Jul

“I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor” – Joan Rivers

Sound familiar?! Not exercising is easy. But as we all know, it is “good for us” and not exercising can be detrimental to our physical and emotional well-being. You will have heard this all before, but it is important to try and find a type or style of “exercise” that you enjoy, so that it becomes not a chore, but part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.

Exercise routines need to be a combination of cardiovascular exercise (or “aerobic”), such as walking, jogging, cycling (all of which can be done inside or outdoors so don’t let the weather be an excuse!), and resistance training (or “weights”), such as push ups, squats, lunges, or with hand weights or machines that you would find in a gym (again – don’t let the weather be an excuse!).

In the experience I have had, most people seem to find cardiovascular exercise easier to get their heads round and do – walking the dog, walking with friends or going for a lovely, mind-clearing jog, and it is the resistance training that seems to be harder to fit into your day.

Part of this blog is to try and demonstrate a few examples of some resistance exercises that you can do, quite easily, at home with minimal or no equipment. “But I’ve seen this a million times before!” I hear you cry! Yes, so have I. But as an exercise physiologist, my primary focus when prescribing or instructing exercise is to get it RIGHT. If you fail to perform an exercise with 100% correct technique, you will not only lose the benefit of the exercise, but you will also significantly increase your risk of injury.

Part of my experience as an Exercise Physiologist has been to rehabilitate muscle sprains and strains of patients who have performed exercises incorrectly. And unfortunately, once you have sustained an injury, you are more at risk of re-injuring yourself, so as I’m sure you’d agree, it’s much better to get it right to start with and avoid injury altogether!

So, strap yourself in and get ready for some exercises and advice that will get you moving without injury!

What is Exercise Physiology?

22 Jul

So what, exactly, IS “Exercise Physiology”??

Exercise Physiology is the study of how exercise impacts the body.

Good question! In a nutshell, Exercise Physiology is “the prescription of exercise to assist in the management of chronic disease”. It serves to improve quality of life and maintaining independence. In my job in Sydney I saw patients with cancer, diabetes (Type 1 and 2), osteoporosis, arthritis, stroke patients, people with muscle injuries or “impairments”, and everyone in between.

A principle exists, known as “Exercise is Medicine” ( whereby exercise is, quite literally, seen as medicine. It helps to treat many conditions, but the “dose” has to be right. For example, an 80 year old with arthritis probably shouldn’t be prescribed a 20 minute jog on the treadmill for his cardio training… Exercise Physiology is about finding what that correct dose is. It assesses the individual and prescribes exercise based on their physical (and sometimes mental or emotional) condition.

There is a whole “branch” of Exercise Physiology which looks at the healthy population, namely sportsmen, women and teams.

My area of expertise, however, is in chronic disease management, and that is what I’m going to stick to! So if you want to know how to improve your lower back pain, what exercise can do for diabetes, or how to recover from a shoulder injury, read away!