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Adding Activity to Your Workday

For those of us working at a desk all day, you often find the end of the day comes with a stiff back and low energy. Better Health Victoria has called sitting “the new smoking”. This is based on the many potentials damages prolonged sitting can do to your body. These damages include the weakening of muscles, weight gain, hip and back problems due to poor posture, increased risk of heart disease and more.

Here are some ways to incorporate a little more activity into your workday.

Use your lunch break to take a brisk walk

Take the time scheduled for your break to enjoy the outdoors. If you work close to a park, you could take your packed lunch there to appreciate the outdoors. Should your workplace not be near anywhere you can sit, simply eat your lunch at work then take an energetic stroll afterwards while you listen to some music, or just enjoy your own thoughts. Taking this time out has also been proven to improve mood and productivity in the workplace. The Scandinavian journal of medicine and science in sports performed a study of regular 30 minute walks which found notable improvements in employees’ workplace happiness.

Perform exercises at your desk

These are all exercises that can be completed while seated at your desk:

 

You can also use your desk chair to do:

 

Catch public transportation or cycle

By catching public transportation or riding a bike to and from work, you ensure that your workday begins and ends with a little activity.

You can use the PTV app or website to plan your journey and tramTRACKER as a means of tracking exactly when your next tram is arriving, in live time.

 

Wear an activity tracker

Most activity-tracking watches and devices have reminders in place to prompt activity after long periods of the wearer remaining sedentary. These reminders can be your cue to take a walk around the office or to refill your water bottle. If you work in a private space, take a moment to do some star jumps or burpees to get the blood flowing again.

 

Try a standing desk

If your workplace allows it, consider adding an adjustable standing desk to your work station. Standing desks can lower your risk of weight gain, obesity and heart disease while also decreasing back pain.

By attaching an adjustable standing desk, you have the option of lowering it when exhausted. Having the flexibility to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the workday will also change up your mindset, which can aid productivity.

Click here to see Officeworks’ range of standing desks.

 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia, and while less common, does also occur in men. Early detection is key to diagnosis, and has lead to a 91% 5-year survival rate in Australia according to the Cancer Council.

Who is at risk?

You are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer if you:

  • are female. Being a woman is the single biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer
  • are 50 years or older.
  • have a family history of breast cancer.
  • smoke, drink alcohol or are overweight/obese.
  • have a history including other factors.

To find out which risk factors relate to you, check the Cancer Australia’s interactive risk factor search.

What you can do?

Be breast aware – regularly check for changes. By performing a monthly breast self exam (BSE), you will be able to notice any changes and consult promptly with your healthcare professional. Any change in the breast’s appearance or feeling are symptoms worth investigating with your doctor.

How to help?

If breast cancer is a cause that you believe in, there are many ways to help.

  • Host a Girls’ Night In – throw a dinner party, movie night or anything fun with your girls and raise funds while having a good time.
  • Set up Go Fundraise page – dedicate fundraising for Breast Cancer Network Australia. Whether it be for a sporting event, bake sale or personal challenge – the options are limitless.
  • Host a Pink Sports Day with your local sporting group  – a time for everyone involved to ‘pink up’, PLAY4BCNA and support breast cancer.
  • Buy from BCNA partners – choose your stores and brands with BCNA in mind to make an everyday difference.

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer or know somebody who has and you want to find out more, go to BCNA’s My Journey. They will guide you to the pertinent information for your situation.

Asthma Awareness

Spring is the season for new flowers, animals being born and, unfortunately, a rise in asthma risk. Asthma Australia uses the beginning of September as the time to draw awareness to the increased risk to asthma sufferers. 1 out of every 9 Australians suffers from asthma and 80% of those also deal with the associated problems that come from hay fever. This year Asthma Australia’s theme is ‘Asthma in Disguise’.

Thunderstorm Asthma

Thunderstorm asthma is the phenomenon that occurs during grass pollen season, which in Victoria is typically from October to the end of December. Asthma Australia advises that this time of year brings about more frequent reactions of asthma and hay fever. The storms that happen over spring and summer cause winds to carry the pollen seeds over long distances and become concentrated in the wind just before a thunderstorm. These smaller concentrated particles can get further into airways than regular pollen and thus trigger more cases of hay fever and asthma.

How to Protect Yourself

The first step to take if you are unsure how to deal with asthma is to book in with your GP to make an Asthma Action Plan. This way you can work with you GP to find the best way to handle your asthma and hay fever problems year round.

Once you are aware of your sensitivity to increased pollen, whether it be due to asthma, hay fever or a combination of the two, the next step is to be aware of the pollen count before you plan your daily activities. AusPollen is an app and website that has experts gathering information on pollen counts to forecast the daily pollen risk for up to a week in advance in your area.

If you find yourself faced with a high pollen count day and your healthcare professional has advised you to be cautious of the risks this carries, you can take steps to avoid excessive exposure. Staying inside as much as possible, while keeping house and car windows closed can minimise pollen exposure. Avoid hanging clothing on outdoor clotheslines during these high-pollen periods, and instead hang indoors or use a clothes dryer. Recommend children who experience asthma or hay fever to take their school lunch breaks in the library, or other indoor options that are available. Always keep whatever prevention method your GP has recommended on hand during thunderstorm asthma season.

Asthma First Aid

If you are suffering from a severe asthma attack, the best course of action is to call 000.

If you are experiencing a mild to moderate asthma attack, it is important that you follow the 4 Asthma First Aid steps.

1 – Sit the person upright.

2 – Give 4 separate puffs of blue-grey reliever puffer.

3 – Wait 4 minutes.

4 – If symptoms have not improved, call 000 to tell the ambulance that there is an asthma attack.

To have constant access to these steps, download the Asthma App.

Extra Help

For those of you used to dealing with symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis, you are used to the associated costs that come with care. Asthma Australia has combined a list of tips to assist with managing your symptoms while saving money.