Olya Solodovichenko – Atticus Hastings Physiotherapist

The Atticus team is thrilled to welcome Olya to our Hastings clinic. She will be joining Nikki our exercise physiologist and Chloe our podiatrist as part of our allied health team. Together with our GPs and nurses, allied health gives us the opportunity to offer more specialised health assistance to our patients from within the one clinic.
If you have not already had the pleasure of meeting Olya, this is her story:
“It feels like I was born as a physio! I worked for Australian Defence Force (Army and Navy), for acute-care hospitals in Australia and overseas, for private physio- and general practices, primary health care, sports & fitness clubs and even for Disability Sports & Dancing Club!
As a member of Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, I strongly believe, that we can manage and fix most of our health problems by better choices of our daily living, such as movements, nutrition, sleeping, thoughts and emotional reactions to our circumstances.
Working with my patients as a team, I try to show them the deepest roots and hidden causes of their problems, not only going through and correcting their postural and movement errors, but also their nutrition, sleeping habits, stress levels, worries and fears, and any other things that might contribute to their aches & pains, inflammation or poor healing rates.”
Qualifications: PhD – Sports & Exercise Science; Master of Applied Sciences (Clinical Exercise Science); Master of Physiotherapy Studies; Bachelor of Physical Education & Sport

Diabetes Week 2019 – Take Diabetes 2 Heart

Australian National Diabetes Week this year is from the 13th to the 20th July. The theme for Diabetes Week 2019 is “Take Diabetes 2 Heart“, focusing on the relationship between type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Those with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease in their lives. The Take Diabetes 2 Heart campaign is encouraging Australians living with type 2 diabetes to work towards good heart habits.

Those at higher risk

  • People with family history of diabetes
  • Those over 55 years of age
  • Anyone over 45 and overweight or with high blood pressure
  • Those over 35 and of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
  • Women who have experienced gestational diabetes, or had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

If you are aged between 40 and 45 and believe you are at risk, you can book in with our clinic nurse to receive a diabetes assessment.

Diabetes Australia offers an online risk calculator, for determining your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You can click here to find out your risk.

Ways to improve cardiovascular health

  • Maintaining a balanced diet
  • Ensuring you get plenty of regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keeping track of your blood pressure
  • Not smoking
  • Managing your cholesterol levels


State Prevention Programs

The Victorian government is running Life! which is a free healthy lifestyle program that aims to assist in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Expert health professionals are offering this program through a group course, or through a telephone health coaching service, to accommodate various needs. Additionally, the website offers tips and recipes for supporting a healthy lifestyle.


If you have diabetes and believe you need assistance maintaining a good relationship with your heart health, book now to speak to your GP. You may be eligible for an exercise plan with Nikki, our exercise physiologist, who works at both our Hastings and Carrum clinics. Alternatively, you can sign up for membership at our Hastings or Carrum on-site gyms for full access and discounted group and private sessions.


Mother’s Day Classic

Mother’s Day is approaching, and what better way to celebrate than to take your mum on a fun run raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation? The event is held in many locations and offers different participation options to accommodate for varying fitness levels.


The Mother’s Day Classic is a fitness and fundraising event that has been ongoing for 22 years and so far has raised over $35 million for the NBCF. What a wonderful thing to be a part of!

You can forms teams with your friends, family, workmates or other groups. Fundraising is encouraged, and there is merchandise available online. One of the most important things to do is dress up in as much pink as you can find! There is just something about seeing hundred of men, women and children embracing the spirit of the event that makes you really feel a part of something special.

The Balnarring-Somers event begins at the Coolart Wetlands and Homestead and offers a 4km walk, a 4km run and an 8km run. The walk goes through the wetlands and park and is suitable for most fitness levels. Both runs will go through the surrounding roads and the paddocks in the homestead. My team and I will be splitting between the 4km walk and the 4km run and meeting up again at the end.

The Flinders event departs from the Flinders Yacht Club and has the option of 4.5km walk, 4.5km run or 9km run. The Flinders walk and runs both follow a course that wind above the cliffs of Flinders, offering spectacular views of the ocean.

For those wanting to support the cause, but unable to attend the event, you can either sponsor a participating friend or family member, or else donate directly to the NBCF through this link:


I hope to see some of you at the Balnarring-Somers event! Send us any fun photos from the event, wherever you participate.

Active April

If you’re looking for something to spice up your fitness routine, now is the perfect time! Take advantage of the Premier’s Active April initiative. Active April is a program that is run every year, by the Victorian Government to promote healthy and active lifestyles.

Welcome to Premier’s Active April

You can register online, or download the app to your mobile phone. Once you have registered, the program will list all the participating local facilities and events. Participants receive passes to local fitness centres, exclusive invitations to fitness-related events, and a large variety of discounts for entrance to participating businesses, ranging from Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium to Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

If you are a Hastings local, Somerville Health and Fitness Studio is offering a free 10 day Recreation Pass to all Active April participants. This includes swims, group fitness classes and use of the gym. So even if you’re already a visitor to our gym here at the Hastings clinic, you could still take advantage of this deal to diversify your fitness interests. So far, I have used my participation in Active April to add lap swimming back into my fitness regime.

Using the website or app, you can record your activities to monitor your progress – and help achieve that 30 minutes of exercise a day! You can also form teams with your friends and family, if you want to add a competitive edge.

Another perk that has been added this year is the Get Active Workout Program, which provides various instructional videos for home-based workouts, which don’t require any equipment.

So what are you waiting for? Register now for your most active April yet!


Fitness apps for the new year


I started using this app a few years ago to improve my cardiovascular fitness, and can personally vouch for its success. With gradually increasing interval training, this app guides you through an 8-week program to get you to your goal of running 5 kilometres. There is voice prompting that tells you when to run and when to walk, and it can be used in addition to your favourite playlist or podcast.


Strava is great for the more competitive athlete, so perfect if you’ve set goals with your friends and want to motivate each other to push further each workout. It is a GPS app for various forms of exercise, where you can compare times and distances with friends for some friendly competition and motivation. You can select the type of workout you’ll be doing, with options ranging from running to cycling to ice skating to wheelchair activity. I have just downloaded this one myself, and look forward to trying it out! You can expect a blog review from me in the near future.

Down Dog

This is another app that I have had great personal success using. With Down Dog, you can personalise your yoga practice from anywhere you want, by adjusting the level, time and style of yoga each time you use the app. There are voice instructions, as well as a video guide. You can elect to have music playing along, and can even choose which instructor’s voice you want to hear. Whether you’re after a short, beginner-level practice to unwind after a long day, or a longer, more advanced practice, this app is adaptable for your needs.

Nike Training Club

Nike Training Club is very versatile. It provides training opportunities from strength and endurance to yoga, which makes it great if you’re after an all-rounder app. When you first sign up to the app, it suggests some workouts for you, based on the frequency of your exercise. I am a particular fan of the variety of bodyweight strength workouts – there are 98 No-Equipment Workouts to choose from!

7 Minute Workout

This app offers high-intensity 7 minute workouts for fitness and weight loss. I think this one looks particularly appealing for those days when you just don’t have time to commit to a full workout. It promises weight loss in 30 days, which isn’t really a good selling point to me, as we all know the key to weight loss is a balanced diet and exercise suitable to your personal needs. However, I am willing to give it a shot and see how it improves my health over a 30-day period. Stay tuned for my review!


Good luck with your fitness goals, let us know if you give any of these apps a go!


Mornington Running Festival

Book this in your calenders everyone! The Mornington Running Festival is on next Sunday the 23rd, and with the weather finally getting nicer, it’s the perfect excuse to get outside and do something social and active.

First launched in 2014, the Mornington Running Festival is partnered with beyondblue, which helps to raise awareness of anxiety and depression. This community event delivers excitement and a way to help people struggling with mental health issues.

Sign up and you can run across the Mornington Peninsula, with the start and end at Mornington park. You can choose to do the half marathon (21.1km), 10km, 5km or even the 1km dash for kids. Whatever your level of fitness, you can be a part of it! Come with your family and friends at 7am on Sunday, September 23. (also – everyone gets a medal at the end!)




How a Daily 30 min Walk Can Boost Your Wellbeing

  1. 30 minutes isn’t a long time – most of us spend that much time on Facebook or Snapchat, just doing nothing anyway. There’s something really simple we can all do to give our energy levels and our overall physical and mental well being a much needed boost – walking! All you need is your body and some shoes and you’re good to go.
    • Weight Loss + Stronger Muscles
      Walking for 30 mins burns about 150 calories (it may be more depending on your weight), about that of a muffin. Regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin and boost your metabolism, which can help reduce belly fat. It also strengthens the muscles in your upper legs and calves – this is great especially if you’ve been sitting down for a while. When it comes to muscles, the saying  goes: “use it or lose it”
    • Improved mood
      Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel calmer and happier. If you’re walking outside, being exposed to the sun helps to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (the winter blues) and may even help you sleep better at night by encouraging melatonin production.
    • Healthy Digestion
      After eating a heavy meal, don’t flop down on the couch in front of the TV. Two different studies have shown that a post-meal walk can aid in digestion. One study in 2008 showed that walking sped up the rate at which food moved through the stomach. Other studies have shown that walking also decreases blood sugar after meals, which decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A 30-minute walk will help clear that excess glucose and get things moving in the GI system.
    • It’s Great for Varicose Veins
      A 30 minute walk is the perfect exercise for people with varicose veins because it’s extremely low impact. It may also help to improve the appearance and pain of existing veins by increasing circulation in the legs.

    Everyone should be getting outside at least once per day, according to our expert at Atticus GP clinics. A 30 minute walk is also a great chance to be social and catch up with friends and family – either on the phone or in person. Also, even if you do nothing else that’s productive that day, you can still feel a little better at the end of it 🙂


Complex Carbs to Incorporate into Your Diet

One cup of chickpeas packs an impressive 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber (one third of the minimum recommended daily fiber intake, which is about 30 grams). They’re also rich in calcium and phosphate, both of which are important for bone health.

Rolled oats
Rolled oats are packed with manganese, iron, folate, B vitamins, and other important nutrients. Regular intake of the soluble fiber in oats has also been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind).

Sweet potatoes
Although they’re as sweet as their name suggests, the sugar in sweet potatoes is released slowly into your bloodstream, thanks to the fiber that comes along with it. The starchy root vegetable is also high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity, and beta carotene, which is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

Butternut pumpkin
My favourite winter veg! Because butternut pumpkin is starchy but relatively low in calories, it can be a great swap for more calorie-dense potatoes and sweet potatoes if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also high in vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin. Plus, it makes great low calorie comfort food (mashed, roasted, steamed – whatever!)

Black Beans
Beans are a good source of protein and fiber, the two key nutrients that promote satiety. They help you feel full longer and can prevent you from overeating at the next meal and snacking unnecessarily between meals.

While it’s technically a seed, not a grain (making it naturally gluten-free), quinoa comes with the same heart-healthy benefits as other whole grains, and works the same way in recipes like stir-fries, salads, and grain bowls.

Brown rice
Brown rice contains the germ, bran, and endosperm of the grain, which means it’s got more fiber, protein, and nutrients than white rice (which is just the endosperm, with the germ and bran removed). Its high fiber content makes it great for satiety and weight maintenance, and it’s got a slew of other important nutrients, such as, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins.



How Exercise Stops Your IQ From Declining

Finding consistent motivation to exercise can be challenging. Sure, we all know exercise is good for us in many different ways and that there’s no shortage of reasons to hit the gym, but in my opinion, keeping your IQ from declining is the BEST reason to exercise that not many people know about.

The first thing to know about IQ is that it’s largely heritable, and this isn’t debated within the current body of research. It’s long been established that the genetic component of IQ hovers around 70%. The other 30% is mediated by environmental factors such as diet and other things that maximise healthy brain development in early life, like quality of education / brain stimulation (this works both ways – smart kids seek out more environmental stimulation, and more environmental stimulation creates smart kids).

The second thing to know about IQ is that it can be divided into two types, known as “fluid” or “crystallised” intelligence. Crystallised intelligence is your accumulated knowledge and experience, meaning things like general knowledge, your vocabulary and ability to do maths, etc. Your crystallised IQ improves over time as you go through life and gain more information and skills. On the other hand, your fluid intelligence is your capacity to deal with novel information. This means things like problem solving, abstract reasoning, creative visualisation and pattern recognition. The two have a dynamic relationship; fluid IQ moderates how much information you can take in and how fast you can take it in, meaning a higher fluid IQ increases your crystallised IQ. While there is theoretically no limit on how high you can take your crystallised intelligence, your fluid intelligence is on more of a what-you-were-born-with basis. Both types of IQ continue to increase up until your early 20’s, where they peak. Unfortunately, this isn’t how it stays for the rest of your life – fluid intelligence declines rapidly with age.


It all comes down to your cardiovascular system. The brain is an extremely physiologically demanding organ and needs large amounts of oxygen to function efficiently. If you stop exercising as you get older, your heart isn’t providing enough oxygen to supply your brain cells with energy to maintain and grow. Exercise also promotes the release of certain neurotransmitters and growth hormones that are crucial to the brain’s overall health, contributing to better concentration and memory.

A combination of cardio and weight lifting exercise a few days per week can forestall that IQ decline as you get older – who can think of a better reason to workout?


How To Maximise Exercise Recovery

Spending time going hard at the gym is great, but what you do between the workouts is just as important as the workout itself. Taking time in between exercise to allow your muscles to recover and build up is actually the time when you’re getting stronger, not while you’re working them out.

When the body is exposed to stress, it will begin a process known as the stress, recovery, adaptation cycle. When you workout your muscles, the stress produced causes them to tear and break down. When this stress is of sufficient intensity, it kick starts the cycle, and after the workout when the stress is absent, the body begins repairing muscles so that they are stronger than they were before and more capable of handling a similar round of stress.

This means giving your body significant time to recover; supplement intense exercise everyday for 3-4 days a week or one day on, one day off. The number of rest days depends on the amount of exercise you’re doing, of course, but the idea is to be giving yourself at least some rest days. Rest days don’t mean being completely sedentary, it means not pushing yourself so hard that you disrupt your body’s crucial muscle-building recovery process.

The two most important things for recovery are food and sleep. Your body needs plenty of fuel to build itself back up again. Depending on whether your training aims to lose fat or to build muscle (your body cannot do both at once), your caloric needs will vary. One central component is that you get enough protein during this time, as it’s the central macronutrient for muscle anabolism. Sleep is important too – when you sleep your pituitary gland releases human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, both of which aid muscle growth and repair. Missing out on sleep means missing out on this recovery time, so a minimum of 8 hours is good.

Using a foam roller is another treat way to reduce muscle tension post workout. Massaging your muscles with the foam toller breaks up scar tissue knotting in your connective tissue. If left unattended, this can lead to nagging aches and pains in your muscles and joints. Spending only a few minutes rolling the muscle groups you worked out can really help speed up their recovery.

Your body will surely thank you if you incorporate these tips into your exercise routine!