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Health and Wellbeing - November 2018

01 Nov 2018

A healthy heart

Even though I am ageing, one of my own personal goals as I wrap up 2018 in a couple of months is to finish the year in an improved physical, emotional and mental state when compared with 2017.

How will I know that I have achieved this when December 31 ticks over? As they say in business, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and I think that applies to your health and wellbeing too. Therefore some objective assessments and tests will be necessary. One of those measurements is blood pressure as this simple and painless test can give a good indication of the circulatory system’s health and condition – and we all know how important heart health is.

When was the last time you had your blood pressure taken? Do you know what blood pressure measures, and what is the healthy range? A healthy target for blood pressure is 120/80. Blood pressure can be tested by health professionals of all types and it should be offered free of charge.

You should be able to get your blood pressure tested at your gym by your trainer or at any pharmacy across the country. Next time you have your blood pressure taken, ask the professional “what does that mean”? They should be able to give you a good explanation which will help you understand what’s going and what the test actually measures.

While exercise is well-known as an activity that helps reduce blood pressure and improve your circulatory system health, a reading outside of a normal range normally results with a recommendation to visit your GP for further investigation as to cause and solution. Other solutions often involve modifications to eating patterns and nutritional intake.

Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to heart disease and the best resource for anything heart health related is the Heart Foundation’s website ( Here you can find all the information you need from understanding your heart, different heart conditions, risk factors for heart attack, information on heart disease, nutrition and exercise. They even have some healthy recipes!

It’s a site definitely worth exploring and saving to your favourites. They also have a series of national, state and local events like the Prime Minister’s 1 Million Steps and the MyMarathon challenge that you can participate in with family and friends.

The Stroke Foundation of Australia has a number of public events throughout the year to increase awareness of stroke, high blood pressure and the associated risk factors. The Nation’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check and Stride for Stroke are campaigns driven by the Stroke Foundation. (visit for locations).

Indoor rowing

Indoor rowing is one of a few excellent low impact (almost no impact) activities you will find in a gym today. Taken as a warm-up, short cardio blast, part of a fitness circuit or a longer endurance activity, rowing has many great benefits for the rower.

Commercial-grade indoor rowers come in two distinct variations in the modern fitness facility – a fan-based rower that uses air as the resistance (eg the Concept C2) or a water rower that has a turbine that uses water as the resistance. Both are excellent machines selection purely comes down to personal preference. Prices for quality commercial rowers range from $1800 to $3000 per machine.

You often find rowers in a gym on the gym floor or as a station in a function group training set up. When using on the gym floor, make sure you set up the machine to suit your ability and body size. The key adjustments are the resistance, which should be light to moderate if just starting out, and the foot straps which should match your foot size. When it comes to technique, its best to ask a trainer or professional coach. Establishing proper technique from when you start using a rower will ensure you get the most out of the equipment and avoid Injuries.

Here are some great benefits of rowing for your fitness knowledge bank:

Rowing is a very low impact exercise the creates minimal stresses to the joints and spine;

Rowing helps promote weight loss – you can burn 300-400 calories in a 30-minute session;

Rowing dramatically improves cardio vascular fitness;

Like other forms of exercise, rowing helps reduce stress with the release of endorphins;

Rowing helps improve strength and muscle tone – a full body activity with variable resistance that involves the legs, core and upper body; and

Proper rowing technique and execution promotes improved posture and spinal condition and function.

It’s Pilates time!

Whether you take on Pilates for improvements in fitness, wellbeing or for rehabilitation purposes, it works and, with consistency, you will be rewarded with the results you strive for.

Here are some of the great benefits of the exercising using the Pilates Method:

1) Improved posture and alignment. Pilates helps correct imbalances in posture and alignment by training muscle groups equally and evenly. When the body is out of alignment, excessive stress is placed on the joints, ligaments and spine. Once improvements are made, the body functions more efficiently and injuries are avoided.

2) Improved flexibility. Many workouts, especially those with heavy resistance and weights focus on muscular contractions and muscle shortening. Stretches performed (if any) are typically static. With Pilates, movements and stretches are mostly dynamic and there is a focus on both shortening and lengthening the muscles.

3) Relaxation and stress relief. Pilates methods incorporate a strict focus on deep and regular breathing which brings on a sense of calm and wellbeing.

4) Muscle tone and strength. Pilates is not easy. Hard work and excellent execution of moves and sequences will bring with it improvements in strength without creating bulky muscles. Better muscle tone, especially around the thighs, hips and waist is readily achieved with time.

5) Improved physical and mental endurance. Pilates is a true mind and body workout. Body weight exercises and sequences challenge the physical capacity and ability. Completion of repetitions, combinations and sets with targets for achievement will engage and will challenge the mind.

Pilates is a wonderful way to exercise for men and women of all ages.

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