World Osteoporosis Day

Osteoporosis is a common disease that affects around 1.2 million Australians. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causing the bones to become brittle. This leads to a higher risk of bone breakage than a normal bone.

Osteoporosis is thought of as a ‘silent disease’, as it rarely shows symptoms before the brittleness of the bones leads to a fracture. As the bones lose density and strength, a fracture – partial or complete break of the bone – can be caused by a minor bump or fall.

Who is at risk?

2019’s World Osteoporosis Day is focused on men making bone health a priority – “Real men build their strength from within“. Osteoporosis is often thought to be a women’s disease, as women are at a higher risk after menopause. When estrogen levels decrease, the bones lose calcium and minerals at an elevated rate. As testosterone levels lower more gradually, the deterioration of men’s bones may happen at a slower pace. However, there are many factors that can lead to the development of osteoporosis. These include:

  • Family history – If family members have a history of osteoporosis or broken a bone from a minor fall or bump, these can be indicators of low bone density.
  • Medical history – Low hormone levels, some chronic diseases and some medicines for breast and prostate cancer can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin D and calcium levels – Both vitamin D and calcium are essential for bone health, and low levels put you at risk.
  • Lifestyle factors – Low exercise levels, smoking history, extremely low or high weight and excessive alcohol intake all contribute to your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Detection

If you are over 50 and present with any of the osteoporosis risk factors, then it is recommended that you get a bone density scan. This is a simple scan that takes approximately 10-15 minutes. If you are concerned that you may be at risk of osteoporosis, book in with your GP for them to determine if you should be referred for a bone density scan.

Prevention

There are steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis. In addition to living a generally healthy lifestyle, there are 3 main approaches to take to lower your risk of osteoporosis:

  • Calcium – Victoria State Government’s Better Health Channel provides you with information on recommended calcium intake for different ages and life stages.
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D aids in the absorption and regulation of calcium, while also supporting growth and maintenance of the skeleton.
  • Exercise – To build and maintain bone strength, it is important to focus on the right kind of exercise. Weight-bearing exercise and progressive resistance training both work the muscles and bones sufficiently to increase bone strength.

To find the right exercise regime for your body, you can make an appointment to see Nikki, our exercise physiologist. She is available at our Hastings and Carrum clinics for personal and group classes, depending on your needs.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

https://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/

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:

https://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/how-to-donate/

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!

Saana

Fitness apps for the new year

C25K

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

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!

Saana

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!)

 

Clara

 

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 🙂

    Clara