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Health and Wellbeing - June 2019

29 May 2019

All good things must come to an end

All good things must come to an end, so they say …

This will be the last time I will put fingertips to the keyboard to write my monthly articles for the Docklands News. It has been a pleasure sharing my health and wellness knowledge and ideas with you over the past eight years.

I am sure I will miss the late nights and firm, friendly reminders from Shane about final (over) due dates for my articles each month! Recently I have had a few Docklanders thank me for the articles, so it is great to hear there are a few readers out there!

I would like to say thanks to Shane and the team at Docklands News for their support, and of course to you the readers. I hope you have enjoyed reading my articles each month and picked up some tips along the way.

Stay healthy, Andrew

If any readers would like to stay in touch, my email is (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Corporate health and wellbeing programs

Great companies invest time, energy and resources into providing opportunities for their employees and teams to access health and wellbeing programs.

Here are some reasons why your company should be driving improvements in your health and wellbeing:

  • Build the company reputation and improve cultures in the workplace;
  • Reduce direct and indirect health care costs that can be linked to sick, stressed or demotivated staff;
  • Increase individual, team and company outputs, and business performance by achieving higher levels of resilience, engagement and teamwork between employees; and
  • Demonstrate an authentic “care” for employees that will help with staff retention.

Here are some ideas for programs available in the market:

  • Group yoga or Pilates classes;
  • Meditation, relaxation and stretching; and
  • Functional training, boxing or boot-camps.

Most gyms will be happy to host one-off sessions or arrange a series of sessions for the employees. Seasonally, winter is a great time to head indoors for a yoga, hot yoga or Pilates class with spring being the perfect time to arrange your boot-camp sessions once the skies clear and the sun comes out!

Bodyweight training

Bodyweight training can be described as exercising without equipment or machines, instead using the mass or weight of the body to provide resistance. Here are seven great things about bodyweight training that should encourage you to get off the machines and use your body to its full potential.

Bodyweight training is suitable for all levels of fitness – It can be adapted to anyone’s level of fitness or goals. If you are just starting out, the intensity and repetitions maybe lower. As you increase your fitness levels, you might add speed, power, more repetitions or advanced movements to the activity. Take an exercise like the squat for example – a new exerciser might do eight to 10 reps of a half squat and rest for 30 seconds, whereas a more advanced participant might squat deeper, do more squats, add a jump and have less rest, all resulting in higher intensity!

The variation is endless – There are a couple of foundation exercises like the squat, lunge, crunch and push-up, but for each of those there might be 10-20 variations. These variations provide a range of challenges and benefits to the exerciser.

It’s portable – You don’t need any equipment for bodyweight training – all you need is your own body! Look for structures like benches, walls, trees, playgrounds, etc. to help set up opportunities to train different muscle groups in different ways.

It’s functional – Functional training is training for the purpose of living. We can link exercises like the squat and lunge in training to life because we repeatedly perform these movements every day when we move, lift and carry things. Training functionally with life in mind, daily tasks can become easier, we can perform them better and we will reduce the likelihood of injury.

Improvement in cardio fitness, strength and flexibility – Your bodyweight training will and can cover all three of these key exercise components. Make sure you take time at the end of each workout to stretch.

You will get results – Many of the bodyweight exercises use compound movements. Compound exercises like a lunge, squat or push up include movements of more than one joint and involve many muscles and large movements. If you go to a gym, a good trainer would have you completing compound exercise as a preference.

It’s free! – Once you know how to execute a few of the key exercises and movements, you are ready to go. You can work out anywhere at any time and there are no excuses not to train!

The importance of sleep

Recent statistics show that more than 35 per cent of adults are sleep deprived. Achieving your health and fitness goals will be near impossible unless you address your sleep deficit – if you have one. Unfortunately, the more active you are the more important and critical sleep becomes for both weight loss and muscle gain.

A trainer can help coach you with your exercise routines, a nutritionist or dietician can help you with meal plans and nutritional advice. Sleep, however, is really up to you. A lack of quality sleep will slow down your metabolism which is a key factor in weight loss. Additionally, sleep deprivation impacts hormone levels and balance and regulation of blood glucose levels, all which can all lead to unwanted energy conservation.

For those trying to build and retain muscle mass, it’s important to know that muscles are not built in the gym. Muscle fibres are torn in the gym then repair, recover and grow while you rest and sleep.

Here are some tips to improve your sleep quality and help you achieve your health and fitness goals:

  • No caffeine or stimulants after 5pm;
  • Have smaller evening meals, try not to eat two hours before you sleep;
  • Place electronic devices in another room overnight – buy an old school alarm clock;
  • Black out your sleeping area; and
  • Consider using “sleeping” music and meditation practices to help calm your mind leading up to bedtime.

Good luck!

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