Congratulations to our Couch 2 5km runners!
You did it!
Twice a year Health Associates organises a Couch to 5km program. A low cost, high quality learn to run program to encourage our community to not only move more, but to move well. As experienced runners and running coaches, Chris and Alana have built a strong program and strong team to deliver what we believe to be one of the most comprehensive running programs for beginners in the shire at affordable prices.
This month we had over 20 runners complete the Menai Park Run, completely redefining what they thought they we capable of. Some have never run, some never visioned themselves as endurance runners and most are juggling the millions of commitments that comes with working age and parenthood.
We are so proud of all our runners and the effort you put into the program. It has been a hard season with so much illness that set many of our runners back. But they persevered and have achieved outstanding results.
Thank you to all our participants for taking part in the program and allowing us to support and guide you. We really love to be able to encourage an active and healthy community and we are really grateful for your belief in us.
See you at the next C25K in 2018
Chris and Alana
Lower back pain can originate from many causes. It is very common in people of all ages and can feel like an ache, tension or stiffness. Common causes of back pain are sudden movements and falls, injury, or a medical condition. Many things are considered when determining how and why you are experiencing pain and as a physician I would examine what is happening with your bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles among many other things.
Considering that 1 in 6 Australians experience lower back pain each year, most Australians experience lower back pain in their life time. Most sufferers are of working age, equally among men and women. But back pain can start in youth as young as 8 years of age.
As an experienced practitioner in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain I would like to share with you my most helpful tips that can help ease your recovery or fast track you to the most appropriate care in a timely manner.
As a general statement - lower back pain can be categorised in three ways;
If you just have simple lower back pain here are some basic things to do...
If bending forward aggravates your lower back then try stretching in the opposite direction. Lying flat on your tummy, propping yourself up on your elbows and letting your lower back arch and sink down on the ground. Aim to be completely relaxed and try not to contract any muscles. It should be just a very gentle stretch into extension.
If your lower back is aggravated by extending and going backwards we would be thinking it may be a sacroiliac joint problem or a facet joint problem. Indeed you would stretch in the exact opposite direction. The easiest and safest way to do this is to lie flat on your back and bring both your knees up to your chest. Gently bringing your knees to your chest you should feel a little bit of a stretch through your lower back.
In most cases please avoid the following movements if you are experiencing lower back pain:
Please consider this advice as general in nature. You should always consult with a professional in order to achieve a diagnosis. If your symptoms worsen you are advised to see a physician.
Chris Bowles is an experienced chiropractor with one mission; to help you be 'Free to Move.'
If you are experiencing aches, pains, headaches, migraines or sports injuries then he can help you.
Chris is available Monday - Saturday from 8am - 7pm ( 8am - 12pm on Saturday)
Call 9542 3330 or book online today.
Foam rolling has been around for a long time. It seems to be a household item. Great for the kids to play on, ornamental in the living room and often collecting dust. You see them in gyms, they are used for warms ups and cool downs and often recommended by health care professionals. I want to help you claim back your foam roller and give you 3 simple tips to get rolling again and help you feel great.
1) Thoracic Spine Extension
The thoracic spine is one of the five segments of the spinal column, encompassing the shoulder and chest area.
It's essential that you maintain thoracic mobility to avoid poor posture, and unsightly rounded shoulders which can eventually lead to back pain or acute injury.
Thankfully, thoracic mobility can be easily maintained and improved using a foam roller and the thoracic spine extension exercise, as described below.
This exercise will help stretch out the chest and back muscles, relieve muscular tension and maintain thoracic mobility.
The quadriceps are responsible for leg and hip extension and are an easy muscle group to keep in good shape using a foam roller.
Foam roller exercises for the quads will alleviate muscular tension, limber the muscle, and work out any knots or trigger points for improved soft-tissue quality.
Tight calves can be the result of many things, not the least of which is a lack of flexibility training. Foam rolling can help break up tight fascia — the connective tissue surrounding your calf muscles — and work out the kinks and knots.
1. Place the foam roller underneath your calf muscles.
2. Place your hands on either side of your hips and if you can lift your bodyweight up off the floor.
3. Using your arms as a fulcrum, roll your calf slowly from top to bottom and back again, turning you leg inward and outward to hit all areas of the muscle.
So you have an MRI. Now we have THE answer!
If you have ever visited me or heard me speak on imaging - then you will have heard my rants on the use and abuse of imaging in medical diagnosis. There is even a term for it. VOMIT - victims of medical imaging technology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1126156/
The allure is powerful - "a picture tells a thousand words" we are told. Well sometimes a thousand words is too much!
Here we have a small but informative study which demonstrates the subjectivity of image interpretation. All clinical investigations have elements of subjectivity in their interpretation.
An area of practice that I am particularly passionate about is communication of imaging results. Its absolutely amazing how powerful what is communicated to a patient (and how) - especially in regards to diagnostic imaging results. The patient that walks in armed with scans or xrays from 10 years ago exclaiming "I HAVE A DISC BULGE!" In my head I think how can I possibly undo this belief system...? People literally carry these pathology labels around with them for life. So strong is our desire to know, see and label pain in our body.
Other studies have demonstrated the very high degree of false positives. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25584950 - Nakashima et al. demonstrated this in their cervical spine study
"Most subjects presented with disc bulging (87.6%), which significantly increased with age in terms of frequency, severity, and number of levels. Even most subjects in their 20s had bulging discs, with 73.3% and 78.0% of males and females, respectively. In contrast, few asymptomatic subjects were diagnosed with SCC (5.3%) or increased signal intensity (2.3%). These numbers increased with age, particularly after age 50 years. SCC mainly involved 1 level (58%) or 2 levels (38%), and predominantly occurred at C5-C6 (41%) and C6-C7"
Get that! 73% of 20 year olds with no neck pain had disc bulges on MRI and 87.6% of the 1200 participants had disc bulges and no neck pain.
What does all of this mean? Just because you have xyz pain and an MRI or xray with "wear and tear, disc bulges, degeneration etc etc" - please consider obtaining a clinical diagnosis (also very subjective) from a provider that is going to move your focus from pain and imaging results to movement and function based outcomes.
There is definitely an art, a skill, involved in unpacking, counselling and educating people about their bodies and the lack of support for the use of imaging in the vast degree of spinal problems. Sure imaging has its place but as I like to say though - there is no image that says - here is your pain!
Introducing The Parnells - Gregg and Kim. We love these two little pocket rockets. They have an unstoppable spirit to keep going and to never give up. They signed up for the Health Associates Couch 2 5km in the summer and achieved extraordinary results. What really stood out was there support and encouragement for each other. Kim was first thinking about participating in the program and Gregg quickly jumped in and said "lets do it together!"
Although their health and fitness journey hasn't been without a few speed bumps, their dedication to understanding their injuries and respecting the process of recovering and healing has helped them recover with optimism and confidence.
Stores officer/Purchasing TAFE
What does health mean to you?
Being active in body and mind
How do you keep healthy
Run, walk, soccer
How you stay motivated?
Train and exercise with a friend or group.
I feel accountable to them if I don't turn up!!!
Facebook page to feel encouraged.
Why do you like coming to Health Associates?
Friendly faces with help and guidance and a wealth of knowledge
Advice for others wanting to improve their health?
Start off with small goals
Find a friend to exercise with
Listen to your body
Customer support manager
What does health mean to you?
Keeping fit and healthy means a lot to me. I have a busy life and staying fit helps to meet the day to day demands.
How do you keep healthy
Football, mountain biking and running
How you stay motivated?
Kim and I support each other, but being part of a wonderful group really helps you along
Why do you like coming to Health Associates?
Chris and I play in the same football team and he has been able to help me with many sports injuries I’ve had over the past few years.
Advice for others wanting to improve their health?
Get out and just do it ! The C25K is a great way to start and meet others starting out
Be free to move with Health Associates. We are dedicated to helping you do the things you love by helping you with pain or injuries. Our practitioners are highly regarded in the field and it is our goal to fast track you to being and feeling your best!
Let's face it, as a practitioner I make my living by helping people in most cases overcome injury. However, as a human being first and someone that actually cares about the people I treat and the community I live in, I would much rather see you on the field more, and in my clinic less. Yes, the worse business model around. But if I was in it for the money I would have chosen a different career path.
A lot of the work I do with my patients is educating them. Helping them understand how and why something has happened and then setting them up for future success. As much as I love seeing everyone, in my industry, less is more!
So, this brings me to the topic of pre-season training. What is it and why is it important? Regardless of where you are on the sporting spectrum, recreational to elite, pre-season training could make a significant impact on how well you play, reduce chance of injury and enjoy your season of sport.
What is pre-season training?
Pre-season training is training that occurs in the timeframe directly proceeding the actual sports season. So, for instance, if the sport runs from September to February, pre-season training via cardiovascular activities, weight training, and sports-related drills will probably begin sometime around June. This gives the player a few months to get his or her body into prime shape before the season formally begins.
The amount of pre-season training necessary to get up to playing level is often determined by how much time was taken off after the season ended. Of course, if training was continued during the off time, then getting season-ready will likely take much less work, thus reducing pre-season demands.
The Importance of Pre-Season Training
This type of training is important because it prepares the players for the oftentimes grueling trainings and games that occur in the midst of the season. If no pre-season training were to occur, it would be like running a marathon after having spent the past three months not running at all. It will feel harder than ever and even if you do finish, you’ll likely have some type of injury due to your body not being properly conditioned.
In the end, pre-season training is just as important as training that occurs during the season, if not more so.
By Chris Bowles
Running. Love or hate it, it can be an amazing tool to facilitate enormous social and personal impact.
My journey with running began over 25 years ago. I hated it. I was not good at it. It hurt and it was essentially forced upon me to help me lose weight. I was very overweight as a child and this was how my dad helped me get fit. Leaving the judgement aside my experience as a runner has evolved so much since then.
Moving through different stages of my life, it has always been a corner stone that I could turn to, and our relationship with each other has gone through some tough times. But we keep coming back together.
My perception of running and health and fitness changed significantly when I became involved with Can Too in 2008. Here I could see that exercise could be more than a means of self improvement. Exercise could be a powerful tool to help heal, to create hope and to impact powerful social change. Can Too taught me the power of meaningful connections, supportive communities and running.
The work that Can Too continue to do today, I personally believe, is creating a paradigm shift in the health and wellness community. The fitness industry has a powerful impact on human transformation in more ways than one, and harnessed with the intention of not just supporting individual goals but community improvement could completely change the landscape we live in - for the better!
Particularly in an era of rapid growth in social media platforms. Meaningful, human connections is becoming more essential for our well-being.
This brings me back to running, why I still continue to run and why I facilitate learn to run programs and running groups to inspire others.
Recently, I completed a local fun run of 11km. Along side me were a dozen other women who put their faith and confidence in me to guide them through a training program and across the finishing line.
The results were incredible. But the relationships, the change in confidence and self-perception and the care and support for each other is what resonated the loudest for me.
We run for ourselves but we run for each other. Regardless of where we are on our journey there is support, encouragement and inclusiveness that lifts you up not puts you down. This not only impacts our health and fitness, it permeates through to all other areas of our life. We are cheerleaders for each other and we are cheerleaders for those we engage with.
I write this blog with hope. I hope that the small changes we make as a community of cheerleaders will create a landscape for our children to grow up in, where they too raise each other up. Where they don't compete to be better than anyone else but they compete to bring out their best and the best in each other. That the destination is not status or power. But measured on how well we lived and how well we helped others live.
By Alana Bowles
Learn more about the Health Associates Couch to 5km here
As a father first, the passion and care I pour into my children's development has no end. I want them to have every opportunity and for them to be able to realise their full potential. At 7 years old my daughter competes in gymnastics, plays soccer attends swimming lessons and dances with school. She is very active outside of these activities and says her favourite thing to do is climb.
Although she participates in many activities I am still cautious about how this may impact her health phycially and mentally. Ironic, no?
Recently, we decided to reduce the training load. So, swimming was cancelled over winter. We wanted our daughter to have time to play and just be. A hard decision, but I think the best for now.
I share this with you because I am one of you. A caring parent that wants the best for their child. I understand that there is a fine line and sometimes it can get crossed. Sometimes we need to know when and what is enough.
This brings me to some recent developments in the athletics arena, but something that is transferable across many fields,
In November 2016, youth development expert Wolfgan Killer facilitated a seminar on the best practices for the development of under 16 athletes. He stipulates that the objectives of a successful training program for young athletes should be to achieve broad physical development focusing on agility, balance, co-ordination, endurance and flexibility. The priority of a training program for athletes under 16 years of age should be general conditioning, not a tailored program for a specific event group.
What I find most interesting about Wolfgan's recommendations is that he suggests that young athletes to engage in multiple sports over the year. Finding that athletes that engaged in at least four sports are more likely to develop a broad range of fundamental movement skills improving their chance at athletic success. Ideally, he recommends that at least one of these sports is athletics, swimming or gymnastics as these are the foundation sports, which develop the fundamental skills of all sports.
Wolfgan recognises the importance of understanding the difference between a childs physiological age and their biological age. Stating that there can often be a 5-year variation in the development and maturity between athletes of the same biological age. An understanding of this is essential when programming for athletes particularly between the age of 11 and 15. Those who develop quicker are often at an advantage during this stage.
Special attentions need to be given to managing the recovery of young athletes. This can vary significantly between individuals and can also fluctuate as they mature or going through periods of rapid growth.
As a general rule an athlete should recover from a normal training session within 2 days. For a high intensity training session or after a competition this may take upto 7 days. Ideally, light training would be scheduled into these days.
Here are some great tips to keep in mind for U16 athletes:
Sport needs to fun and enjoyable and it is important for children to get the rest and recovery they need. It is OK to have some time off to rest and to reduce training loads.
We want to encourage our children to be active for life. Let sport build their character not just their performance and let's create environments that build self-esteem.
I hope this information has been as informative to you as it has for me.
Source: Athletics Coach Magazine, April
By Chris Bowles
Name: Hayden Smith
How did you get into Bobsleigh?
I come from a rugby and sprinting background. After competing in a 100m race back in 2014 another coach told me that I was probably on the "too heavy" side of being a successful sprinter and recommended that I give bobsleigh a try.
What were your first thoughts about the sport?
I just remember getting to the bottom of the track after my first run and thinking "oh no, I just quit my job to do this". The only way I can describe that first run would be like being in a frozen washing machine on spin cycle going >100kph. I ended up going back to the top of the track for another run and liked it a whole lot more the second time round. It isn't a comfortable ride in the back, there are a lot of bumps and unfamiliar pressures; nothing can really prepare you for your first run.
Goals & aspirations: Compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea
Training requirements: Training consists of 8 training sessions (2 x pushing, 2 x sprints and 4 x weight lifting) and 2 recovery sessions per week. Generally a total of 15-16 hours/week.
Biggest challenges: Unfortunately I had a training injury in September 2015 where I broke my fibula and tore all of the ligaments in my ankle. The injury has been a big challenge with consistent treatment and follow up surgeries. I'm confident I am now back close to 100% with the help of a great team of health professionals and still consider myself somewhat lucky to still be competing.
How do you stay focused? I stay focused by keeping my eyes on the end goal of the games next year. I cascade overall goals down to daily training goals each day which allow me to focus on doing the right things now.
What do you love most about your sport? I love the speed and the adrenaline but also the camaraderie that you get from a close knit team that lives and trains together all season.
How do you qualify etc.?
To qualify as a team we will have 8 races from November to January where we accumulate points which add to our IBSF ranking. If our ranking is high enough we will be given the quota to nominate a sled (hopefully in both the 2-man and 4-man formats). Once we have the quota spot it's a matter of selecting the best team of 4 to go and compete.
Have you been to Korea? Seen the track?
I didn't get to travel to Korea last season for the test event. Unfortunately I had to have surgery on my ankle In February so I was still recovering from that. I watched the team race from back home and it looks to be a great facility with a pretty challenging track.
What's your goal for the Olympics?
Our goal is to start times that are in the top half of the field. Obviously we are challenged with the equipment we use compared to other well-funded nations but it's not really an excuse. Hopefully we can get a good start then have our pilot weave some magic.
Who do you compete with?
I first started the sport pushing Heath Spence but moved over to push Lucas Mata last season as Heath took on a coaching position with the Chinese team. We currently have 3 other brakemen in the team; David Mari, Lachlan Reidy and Gareth Nichols.
What does the road to the Winter Olympics look like for you?
We leave for Calgary in August and complete a training block using the Ice House. We will start sliding on the tracks once there is ice in October and will have races from November to January.
What do you do off the ice?
Off the ice I work as a Risk Assurance Analyst for Lion (a dairy and drinks company) here in Sydney. They are extremely accommodating to my schedule and always flexible with my training requirements. It's a rarity to be able to compete overseas for a few months each year and keep a job that continues my career development, so I can't thank them enough for that!
Can you tell me a little bit about your swimwear company?
The swimwear company is a bit of a side project. I really don't believe in asking for handouts from people without giving anything in return so it's a good way to help me fund my sporting endeavours.
Personal highlights? A couple of podium finishes (top 6 for bobsleigh) in Park City on the North American Cup Circuit last season would have to be my highlight so far. We had a great crew down there that worked together really well and that showed in our results. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come next season!
Advice for young athletes? Definitely to stick with it and keep working hard, with the right attitude and commitment to training you can reach your goals. Too often athletes with buckets of talent throw it all away with the wrong attitude.
Favourite Quote? No quit, all hustle
With changes in lifestyles, footwear and activities of daily living, foot and lower limb structural abnormalities are becoming more prominent.
This increase can also be attributed to the fact that people are now more than ever before, conscious of their feet and the shape that its takes or forms over time.
A common problem that presents to podiatry clinics is one of malalignment of the lesser toes. The most often of these is an affliction referred to as ‘hammer-toeing’ of the toes.
A hammertoe deformity is one that is characterised by a retraction of the middle toe joints (dorsiflexed) whilst the furthest most part of the toe is curled downwards (plantar flexed). The result of which, is a raised, triangular styles middle portion of the toe joint which has a tendency to form pressure sports due to shoe pressure and a front part of the toe that is prone to callousing and corns. Hammertoes are not life threatening, however if left untreated may get worse and more debilitating over time.
Hammertoes have a number of potential causes which are listed below. It is important to realise however, that this deformity can be the result of a single factor or a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Some common causes of hammertoes includes:
Most patients will present to a podiatry clinic with complaints of irritation along the top (dorsal) surface of their toes. This often corresponds to areas of pressure or rubbing along the surface of the shoe. Pressure induced irritation can often be due to callousing, corns or inflamed skin. Secondly to this, people with this deformity can present with concerns about the general appearance of positioning of their toes or pain along the balls of their feet which may be a secondary symptoms from the altered biomechanics caused by retracted toes. This discomfort may then result in an altered gait cycle which may impact on joints further up the chain including knees, hips and lower back.
In order to provide a bit of guidance with regards to treatment options available, below are a few options which may work to alleviate either the symptoms associated with hammertoe, or help correct the hammertoe deformity itself.
There is no magic bullet to dealing with hammertoes. This is why it is essential to have any concerns about your foot, toe or lower limb alignment checked out by a podiatric specialist who can guide you as to the best and most appropriate treatment protocol for your presenting complaint.
By Anel Kapur
For an appointment with a Health Associates podiatrist please contact 9542 3330 or book online