If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it

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By Sarah Noske

With everything returning back to some sort of normality after the COVID-19 isolation period, many people are now getting back into to their chosen sport or activity. However, many have realised just how long it’s been since their last session when they notice their decline in cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.

The saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” has taken its course with many people not having the motivation to continue some sort of physical activity. While it may be a term that is thrown around, it does hold considerable merit.

We are hearing a lot of “I’m having trouble getting out of a chair” and “I now find I am more short of breath when I am out walking”. While it may feel more difficult to start to re-build what you have lost over the time away, the health benefits associated with exercise far outweigh the alternative.

Although loss of strength and muscle tone varies between age and fitness on average, it takes about two to three weeks to lose muscle strength. While muscle fibres will stay the same over the period of not exercising, there will be a decease in strength and power.

The degree our cardiovascular endurance declines when we are not exercising will again depend on pre levels of fitness. A highly trained athlete will experience a rapid decline in fitness within three weeks of not exercising, after this time the rate of decline tapers off. Those that have a significant level of pre fitness can preserve their fitness for about 12 weeks. Individuals with a low to moderate fitness level show a small change in cardiovascular fitness within the first few weeks, but following weeks they can expect to see more of a rapid decline. Mora-Rodriguez et al. (2014) looked at individuals that completed aerobic interval training for four months then stopped. It was found that just one month after ceasing the training, the associated health benefits gained from exercise, like improved blood pressure, were reversed.

Health professionals agree – the best way to avoid the decrease in muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance or fitness is to simply keep moving. Continue to challenge your body to minimise de-training effects that come as a result of taking time away from your usual routine.  As well as exercise, making sure we are eating well and getting enough sleep will provide the building blocks to maintain good health and decrease the degree of decline. 

If you’re struggling to re-find your form, make contact with your closest health professional and discuss the ways they can assist you in getting back to your best self.

PCOS Awareness Month

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By Millie Christou

September is PCOS Awareness Month. But what is PCOS and what does exercise have to do with it?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is an endocrine disorder where there is an imbalance of reproductive hormones in the body. This can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, fatigue, acne, hair loss, unwanted hair growth, infertility, low mood, anxiety and depression, bloating and digestive issues.

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women. However, it is estimated that more than 50% of women with PCOS are not properly diagnosed, leaving millions of women living with symptoms that go unsupported and diagnosed.

So where does exercise come in?

There isn’t much research into the specific kind of exercise that is beneficial for PCOS. However, a combination of strength and aerobic training has be shown to assist with the symptoms of PCOS. Lifestyle modifications such as nutrition and exercise have been shown to decrease fasting insulin levels as well as improve sex hormones. If we can manage insulin, we are better able to manage testosterone, the cause of a lot of PCOS symptoms.

How much exercise should I be doing?

Women suffering from PCOS should aim for:

  • 20-40 minutes of moderate activity per day
  • At least 2x strength and resistance training sessions per week
  • Increasing their incidental activity and reducing inactivity

What exercise should I do?


Moderate exercise like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming can assist with PCOS management by reducing insulin resistance, stabilising mood and boosting fertility. Doing 30 minutes or more a day can also help with weight management, mental health, and improving frequency of menstrual cycles and ovulation.

Strength Training

Resistance training can improve the function of insulin in your body, increase metabolic rate and improve body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and reducing fat tissue. By boosting your metabolism, you’ll be able to build more muscle mass which can lead to more calories burnt during exercise and rest! Combining strength training with cardiovascular exercise is the best way to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy body weight and reducing your risk of chronic diseases including Type 2 Diabetes.

High Intensity Interval Training

By incorporating intervals of short bouts of high intensity work with lower intensity recovery, you can improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce waist circumference. This time efficient exercise routine can help you achieve a 5-10% weight loss, which research has shown can decrease PCOS symptoms through the reduction of excess testosterone and improving insulin resistance.

Core Strength and Stability

Ensuring strong and stable core muscles is essential to maintaining general well-being, preparing your body for pregnancy and improving mental health. Avoiding lower back pain and improving posture can be achieved through Pilates based exercises and core specific training. These muscles support the spine and activating them can reduce risk of injury during exercise.

The bottom line!

The most effective exercise is the one you commit to and enjoy doing! Everyone is different, so every exercise program needs to be unique. At Move EP, we can provide a tailored exercise program as well as lifestyle advice and support specific to your conditions and goals. Ask Millie, our exercise physiologist with additional training in Women’s Health, how exercise can manage your PCOS!

Staying Active in Winter

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By Brooke Luethen

Winter is well and truly here. It can be hard to stay motivated as the weather gets cooler and days become shorter. However, it is as important as ever to keep out bodies moving. Here are some of our top tips to help you stay active and healthy during the cooler months.

Perform a 5-10 minute warm-up before starting exercise such as dynamic stretching or light intensity walking. Warming up helps to prepare the body for exercise and allow the body to adjust to the cold by increasing body temperature and blood flow to the muscles.

Wear the right clothes
As we exercise, our bodies generate heat. When our bodies start to feel too warm, we sweat. As sweat evaporates, it pulls heat away from the body having the effect of making you feel cooler. Layering clothes allows you to remove and add layers as needed, as well as trap the warm air to keep you feeling toasty.

Drink water
You may not feel as thirsty during the cooler months, but you are still losing fluids through sweat and breathing. It is essential to keep drinking water to keep you hydrated, especially when exercising.

Cover your extremities
When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated to our core to keep the internal organs warm. This is why our hands and feet are often the first part of our body to feel cold. In cooler weather, consider a hat or beanie, warm socks and shoes, and gloves to keep the heat in. If you have a respiratory condition, try to keep your chest and neck area covered.

Exercise with someone
Exercising with a friend or family member can help you stay motivated. It’s easier to get moving if you know someone is counting on you. Set a time and place, and have your workout gear ready to go.

Change up your outdoor routine for an indoor workout
Winter comes with its challenges such as shorter days, icy temperatures, wind and rain. When the weather takes a turn, swap out your outdoor workout for an indoor one. Stuck for ideas? Contact Move Exercise Physiology to book in an appointment with one of our friendly Accredited Exercise Physiologists to discuss an appropriate indoor program tailored to you!

Pilates. What is it and how can it help you?

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By Millie Christou

The popularity of the Pilates method has grown incredibly over the last 20 years thanks to its many high profile celebrity advocates and its presence on social media, television and in magazines. There’s no doubt you’ve heard about it – but what actually is Pilates, and how can it help you?

Originally named ‘Contrology’, the Pilates method was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s with the basic foundations still utilised in modern day Pilates over 100 years later.

Pilates is a method of exercise intended to improve strength, flexibility, muscular control, body awareness and posture through slow, low impact movements.

We live in a world where we all sit more and move less and our posture is suffering big time. I could rattle off the many postural issues I see on a daily basis and the flow on impacts from it. However, the take away message from this is poor posture leads to muscle tightness, weakness and imbalances, and of course, pain!

That’s where Pilates comes in! The Pilates method involves a balance of stretching the typically tight muscles and strengthening the typically weak while improving posture and targeting the underlying stabilising core muscles to prevent and treat back pain.

The best part about Pilates? It is suitable for everyone, from the beginner through to the elite athlete with growing research supporting the benefits of Clinical Pilates in the rehabilitation world.

If you’re interested in finding out more about clinical Pilates and how it can help you, contact us at The Injury Hub on 8522 4232.

Standing Up For Your Health

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By Brooke Luethen

On average, Australian adults spend 39 hours sitting per week. Just think about how much time you spend sitting at a desk, in front of the TV, down for meals and in the car over the course of a day. Evidence suggests sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time without a break can be detrimental to physical, mental and cognitive health. Prolonged sitting is associated with poorer health outcomes including increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders and other chronic conditions.

If isolation and working from home has you sitting down for prolonged periods, check out some of our top tips to help you stand up for your health and reduce time spent sitting.

  1. Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible – this may involve setting a timer on your phone, or watch to remind you to stand up, or getting up during ad breaks while watching TV.
  2. Walking catch ups – if you are long overdue for a catch up with a friend, family member or colleague, why not talk and walk!
  3. Invest in a stand-up desk – alternatively, stand up each time you answer a phone call or read a document. Walk over to a colleague to deliver a message instead of sending a text or email.
  4. Park your car further away from shops or your workplace – maximise the time you spend moving!
  5. Set yourself a goal – pedometers can be an easy and effective way to monitor your activity levels during the day. You can compete against yourself or others.

Book an appointment with one of the friendly Exercise Physiologists from Move Exercise Physiology to discuss individualised goals and ways to get you sitting less and moving more!

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

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By Brooke Luethen

Bowel Cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the second most common cancer in men and women in Australia. Bowel cancer develops when cells in the lining of the bowel grow too quickly, forming a clump known as a polyp or an adenoma. Polyps can often be harmless, however over time can develop into a cancerous tumour if left undetected. In advanced cases, the cancerous tumour can spread (metastasise) beyond the bowel into other parts of the body.

Around 17,000 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. However if detected early, 90% of cases can be successfully treated. Upon diagnosis, treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

During the early stages of bowel cancer, there may be minimal or no symptoms, which is why screening is so important. Screening is recommended for Australians aged 50 to 74, and involves a non-invasive test for blood in the faeces which can be done at home. Symptoms include recent, persistent change in bowel habit; blood in the stool; abdominal pain, bloating or cramping, anal or rectal pain; a lump in the anus or rectum; unexplained weight loss or swelling; and unexplained tiredness and/or weakness.

Bowel cancer risk is increased by having a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive red and/or processed meat consumption, drinking alcohol, and being overweight or obese. These risks can be addressed through diet and lifestyle and are referred to as modifiable risk factors. There are also non-modifiable risk factors including age, family history and hereditary conditions.

Exercise plays a significant role in bowel cancer prevention and management. Evidence suggests individuals who engage in regular exercise are at a reduced risk of developing bowel cancer. There is also emerging evidence that suggests exercise can prevent physiological decline, assist fatigue management and improve quality of life for people with bowel cancer and cancer survivors.

Exercise for people with bowel cancer should be prescribed and delivered by an Allied Heath Professional, such as an Exercise Physiologist. An Exercise Physiologist will be able to develop an appropriate exercise program tailored to a person’s capacity, exercise preferences and goals. Our exercise physiologist, Millie, has undergone additional training in Exercise Oncology and can prescribe safe exercise programs for individuals with any type of cancer, in both individual and group class settings.

Freeze “the Beast”

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By Sarah Noske

With Fight MND- Big Freeze 6 just around the corner, non-footy followers may wonder what all the fuss is about and why so many people are donning a blue beanie. The Big Freeze may look a little different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions- there’ll be no big slide in the stands of the ‘G and they certainly won’t be packed with 90,000 plus roaring fans cheering on the poor souls who dare to plunge into the ice water. However, the cause stays the same, the fight to find a cure for Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is still as big a goal as ever.

MND, dubbed “the beast,” is a progressive, terminal neurological disease and to this date, there’s no cure. In Australia alone, two people are diagnosed with MND each day and a further two die from the condition. People with MND progressively lose the use of their limbs and ability to speak, swallow and breathe, while their mind and senses are usually not affected. In 2015, taken from the Deloitte Access Economics report Economic Analysis of MND in Australia, the cost of MND in Australia was $2.37 billion; this equates to $1.1 million per person of the 2000+ people already diagnosed. For every diagnosis, it is estimated that a further 14 people of their family and friends will live with the effects of MND forever.

While researchers are still working hard to find a cure, sufferers of MND are required to live out their lives and try to maintain function and quality of life for as long as the debilitating disease allows them. With no effective treatment to slow down the progression of the disease, one of the many goals for sufferers is to work towards improving their quality of life. As Exercise Physiologists, our greatest defence against this terrible disease is exercise.

Exercise prescription for every MND client is different and is dependent on their symptoms, progression of disease and physical fitness. Early stage treatment works towards maintaining and optimising mobility and function. Exercise prescription should be functional and goal oriented. Mid stage treatment is focused around continuing to maintain functional mobility, as well as managing pain and monitoring and addressing symptoms of respiratory compromise. During later stages of treatment, exercise prescription is all about maximising quality of life for the client.

So I suppose you are thinking, how can I help, where can I donate and where do I find myself one of those blue beanies? The Fight MND Big Freeze 6 beanies can be purchased online at www.fightmnd.org.au as well as all Coles and Bunnings stores Australia wide. Donations can also be made via the Fight MND website or if you’re looking to keep your dollars a little closer to home you can donate to MND SA via their website at www.mndsa.org.au

Multiple Sclerosis – May 50k!

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By Brooke Luethen

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease which affects over 25,000 people in Australia and more than two million people worldwide. MS is characterised by damage to myelin, the protective layer that surrounds nerve fibres, within the Central Nervous System (CNS). This damage causes sclerosis (Greek word meaning scars) which interfere with nerve impulses or messages within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS symptoms vary depending on which part of the CNS is affected, and can include muscle spasms, issues with coordination and balance, cognitive difficulties and memory loss, and fatigue.

There is currently no cure for MS. However, there are number of treatment options which can help to manage symptoms and slow disease progressions, including exercise.

In addition to optimising general health and well-being, research suggests exercise can also help manage MS symptoms. Regular exercise can have benefits for people living with MS including improving cardiovascular health, improving muscular strength and endurance, managing spasticity, helping to relieve MS-related fatigue and can contribute to stabilising mood.

Move EP took part in the May50k – a virtual fundraising challenge by completing 50km of walking or running in the month of May. This event helps raise funds and awareness for life-changing MS research. Funding of medical research is essential and people with MS still need better treatments, prevention and ultimately, a cure. We ended up doubling our goal with our 4 EP’s completing over 100km in the month of May. For more information or to donate, please head to https://www.themay50k.org/donate

We loved coming together to show that nothing will stop us from leaving MS where it belongs, behind us. For more information about exercise and MS, please contact Move Exercise Physiology and speak to one of our friendly Exercise Physiologists.

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

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By Millie Christou

What is the question that I get asked on a daily basis?

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

An Exercise Physiologist is a university qualified allied health professional who specialises in exercise prescription for individuals with chronic health conditions and injuries. We complete a minimum of four years of study to understand the complex nature of chronic medical conditions and injuries, as well as how to develop, prescribe and deliver safe and effective exercise programs.

Chronic medical conditions and injuries we commonly see include:
– Type 2 Diabetes
– Hypertension
– Obesity
– Cardiac conditions
– Stroke
– Osteoporosis
– Arthritis
– Cancer
– Mental Health including PTSD, Depression and Anxiety
– Chronic Pain
– Parkinson’s Disease
– Respiratory conditions
– And so much more!

When you are diagnosed with a chronic condition (or a few of these), it can be overwhelming to know what kind of exercise to do or where to start.

This is where an Exercise Physiologist can help!

We discuss your medical history, exercise capacity, and perform objective tests in order to help develop an effective exercise program. We are dedicated to helping you reach your health and fitness goals, and work closely with you to achieve and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

We understand that everyone is different and exercise should be tailored to the individual. Exercise and lifestyle modifications are widely prescribed as the first step in rehabilitation and management of many conditions.

We offer individual exercise sessions, home exercise programs, hydrotherapy, rehabilitation, clinical Pilates, and group exercise classes for a range of conditions, ages and fitness levels.

Something is better than nothing! Contact us at Move Exercise Physiology to find out how to move more and live better.