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No Gym No Problem – Gym Equipment Substitutes found at home

COVID-19 has well and truly kicked into play however, during these times it is important to maintain strong mental and physical health. With a vast majority of group-based exercise sessions been put on hold looking for alternative ways to stay active is essential.

These changes to your everyday routine don’t mean you have to change your usual physically active lifestyle. Instead, look for options that may be available around your household. Bodyweight exercise are limitless, and you most certainly can do a full body workout within the comfort of your own home. Utilizing household items to replace the usual gym equipment, will allow you to complete most of your usual gym-based exercises. Although you may not have your usual weights you can compensate for this by increasing the volume of exercise e.g. the number of repetitions or sets.

Gym Equipment Substitutes:

  • Dumbbells or kettlebells – milk cartons or shopping bags
  • Weighted vests or dead balls – backpack filled with books or other household items
  • Broomstick – assist in balance work
  • Box or step up – household chair

Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis must ensure they stay as active as possible to limit any potential side effects. Exercise regimes can easily be transferred into your home environment and may include transitions such as.

  • Diabetes – Daily walks at home or around the block, body weight exercises
  • Parkinson’s – Shadow boxing, strength and balance work
  • Osteoarthritis – Home based resistance training
  • Osteoporosis – Home based impact exercises, home based resistance training.

It is important everyone stay’s as active as possible through these difficult times, ensuring to adhere to the following guidelines.

General Guidelines (18-64s)

  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300mins of moderate intensity exercise or 75 to 150mins of vigorous intensity exercise per week

General Guidelines (Over 65s)

  • Aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none.
  • Focus on activities that improve your strength, balance and flexibility
  • Complete at least 150mins of moderate intensity or 75mins of vigorous per week
  • Reduce time spent sitting or lying, break up long periods of not moving with some activity

Please if you have any questions regarding exercise programs during these times, get in contact with one of our friendly staff members who can assist you with all your needs. Click here to view some home-based exercises.

Cameron Galati

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP, AES) (ESSAM)

Exercise and Boosting your Immunity

In light of our current situation due to COVID-19 it is important to think about the little things we can do for ourselves to keep us as healthy as possible. Due to social distancing restrictions; gyms, outdoor group exercise sessions and now even small group sessions have all been postponed until further notice. This does not mean your exercising has to stop completely. There are some great alternatives to these that can be completed in the comfort of your own home while protecting yourself and the wider community.

Exercise is also a great strategy to assist in boosting your immune system. There are several theories as to how this occurs:

  • Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This can assist in reducing your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. It also increases your cardiorespiratory function.
  • Exercise causes a change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before.
  • Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.

Exercise can also assist in the management of any current issues you may be suffering from such as chronic inflammation, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. Keeping physically active in times like these it is a key component in keeping our bodies as fit and healthy as possible. It also helps make us happier humans in times like these.

If you are struggling for ideas on how to keep active at home with minimal equipment head over to the Absolute Balance Facebook page, there are plenty of short videos with at-home exercises you can complete with minimal equipment. Or check out our Staying Mentally and Physically Strong blog for all your exercise recommendations for your age range. If you’re still not sure contact us on info@absolutebalance.com.au for more information

Stay safe and keep updated with the most recent restrictions using:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-the-health-and-aged-care-sector?utm_source=coronavirus-app

 

 

Claire Hills ( B.EXSpSc,Grad.Dip.(Clin.Ex.Phys))
Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)

Reference List

Haaland, D., Sabljic, T., Baribeau, D., Mukovozov, I., & Hart, L. (2008). Is Regular Exercise a Friend or Foe of the Aging Immune System? A Systematic Review. Clinical Journal Of Sport Medicine18(6), 539-548. doi: 10.1097/jsm.0b013e3181865eec

immunity, E. (2020). Exercise and immunity: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved 6 April 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

Staying Mentally and Physically Strong

COVID-19 has well and truly kicked into play however, during these times it is important to maintain strong mental and physical health. With a vast majority of group-based exercise sessions been put on hold, looking for alternative ways to stay active is essential.

These changes to your everyday routine don’t mean you have to change your usual physically active lifestyle. Instead, look for options that may be available around your household. Bodyweight exercise are limitless, and you most certainly can do a full-body workout within the comfort of your own home. Utilizing household items to replace the usual gym equipment, will allow you to complete most of your usual gym-based exercises. Although you may not have your usual weights you can compensate for this by increasing the volume of exercise e.g. the number of repetitions or sets.

Gym Equipment Substitutes:

  • Dumbbells or kettlebells – milk cartons or shopping bags
  • Weighted vests or dead balls – backpack filled with books or other household items
  • Broomstick – assist in balance work
  • Box or step up – household chair

Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis must ensure they stay as active as possible to limit any potential side effects. Exercise regimes can easily be transferred into your home environment and may include transitions such as.

  • Diabetes – Daily walks at home or around the block, bodyweight exercises
  • Parkinson’s – Shadowboxing, strength and balance work
  • Osteoarthritis – Home-based resistance training
  • Osteoporosis – Home-based impact exercises, home-based resistance training.

It is important everyone stay’s as active as possible through these difficult times, ensuring to adhere to the following guidelines.

General Guidelines (18-64s)

  • Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Accumulate 150 to 300mins of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 to 150mins of vigorous-intensity exercise per week

General Guidelines (Over 65s)

  • Aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none.
  • Focus on activities that improve your strength, balance and flexibility
  • Complete at least 150mins of moderate-intensity or 75mins of vigorous per week
  • Reduce time spent sitting or lying, break up long periods of not moving with some activity

Please if you have any questions regarding exercise programs during these times, get in contact with one of our friendly staff members who can assist you with all your needs. Keep a lookout for our upcoming vlog on home-based exercises.

Cameron Galati

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP, AES) (ESSAM)

Managing Major Depressive Disorder

Depression and other mental health disorders are prevalent with 4 million Australians reporting having a mental health disorder in 2014. With 2.1 million people suffering from depression, you don’t have to go far to find someone who is trying to manage this chronic condition.

There are a variety of therapies aimed to help people with depression such as cognitive behaviour therapy, medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), other psychological interventions like mindfulness. Along with these therapies, exercise has shown to be beneficial in the management and treatment of depression.

How can exercise help?

  • Reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins
  • Improves energy levels
  • Combats sleep disturbance
  • Reduces systemic inflammation
  • Provides social interaction and support
  • Creates an opportunity for mastery of certain skills
  • Improves self-efficacy
  • Improves overall health and feelings of wellbeing

The list goes on. A landmark study by Singh et al. (2005) looked at progressive resistance training versus GP care alone (medication and counselling). They found that in 61% of the subjects who were randomised to high-intensity progressive resistance training (80% of 1 rep max) found a 50% reduction in depressive scores which was significantly higher than low-intensity progressive resistance training (20% of 1 rep max) and GP care alone. Interestingly, there seemed to be a dose-response relationship. This means the higher volume and intensity the greater the reduction in depressive symptoms.

It is important to note that all intervention groups had a reduction in their depressive scores, nonetheless, exercise should be encouraged when battling major depressive disorder. Remember to always seek advice from your GP before engaging in mental health treatments.

Taylor Downes

Accredited Exercise Physiologist

BSc/GradDipClinExPhys B.Ed. Human Movement (ESSAM, AEP)

Singh, N. A., Stavrinos, T. M., Scarbek, Y., Galambos, G., Liber, C., & Fiatarone Singh, M. A. (2005). A randomized controlled trial of high versus low intensity weight training versus general practitioner care for clinical depression in older adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(6), 768-776. doi:10.1093/gerona/60.6.768

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome – A Condition Too Close to Home

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS, is a condition in which a change from a supine to an upright position causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate. This condition has interested me over the past few months after personally watching my housemate recently become diagnosed by this condition and experiencing hands-on how it can affect an individual’s lifestyle.

According to Abed and colleagues (2012), to be diagnosed with POTS, the individual must present with the following signs and symptoms;

  • Heart rate increase of over 30 beats per minute from supine to standing.
  • Unexplained Blood Pressure fluctuations.
  • Standing plasma norepinephrine > 3.5 mmol/L.
  • Light-headedness, chronic fatigue, exercise intolerance, nausea, chest discomfort etc.

The pathophysiology underlying POTS is not completely understood and is likely to be multifactorial (Wells et al., 2018). Factors such as increased sympathetic tone, severe deconditioning, moderate autonomic dysfunction and poor venous return may contribute to POTS symptoms. Poor venous return may be a result of impaired vasoconstriction secondary to several factors and concurrent clinical syndromes.

The average age for onset of POTS is approximately 30 years old with most patients between the ages of 20-40 years. This condition is commonly seen in women, with a 5:1 ratio in comparison to men (Van der Zalm et al., 2019). Although POTS is not known to shorten life, it can be physically and mentally debilitating for the patient. Therapy rarely cures it, but a multifaceted approach can substantially improve quality of life.

Treatment and Management

There is no single universal gold standard therapy and treatment for POTS. Management should be individually determined with the primary goals including restoring function and managing symptoms that persist. Graded approaches should be used, with a nonpharmacologic approach the best option before resorting to medications.

Education

Education for any patient with a chronic health condition is vital for management. Education concerning pathophysiology and symptoms, with numerous lifestyle strategies, are aimed to reduce POTS-related symptoms. Furthermore, strategies to avoid triggers and manage symptoms are more likely to be adopted if patients understand the underlying rationale (Wells et al., 2018).

Diet

According to Lei and Colleagues (2019), increased fluid and salt intake is advisable, with 2 to 3L of water accompanied by 10 to 12g of daily sodium intake is recommended. This is to promote plasma volume expansion and reduce the reflex tachycardia upon standing.

Exercise

Exercise prescription is very important in the management of POTS but should be introduced gradually as physical activity can exacerbate symptoms (Lei et al., 2019). As POTS symptoms are exacerbated from maintaining upright posture, exercise prescription should include recumbent exercises (recumbent bike, rowing etc) for 3 days a week, 30 mins a day.

Physical reconditioning with regular exercise is the cornerstone treatment for POTS, especially for an individual who has been bed ridden, resulting in cardiovascular deconditioning. A structured exercise program featuring endurance reconditioning with some resistance training for the lower body is recommended, and supervised exercise training is preferable to maximize functional capacity in these patients.

A study by Fu and Levine (2018) found that short-term exercise training increased peak oxygen uptake by 8%, cardiac size and mass by 12% and 8%, and blood volume by 6%. Other benefits include an increase in overall body strength as well as reduce fatigue.

Exercise prescription at the end of the day is a treatment and not a cure, and benefits can rapidly disappear if regular activity is stopped. If you would like more information on exercise prescription for cardiovascular conditions you can email us on info@absolutebalance.com.au.

Joel Skinner (B.Sc Exercise Science and Rehabilitation)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (AES) (ESSAM)

 

References

Abed, H., Ball, P.A., & Wang, L-X. (2012). Diagnosis and management of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: A brief review. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. 9, 61-67. doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1263.2012.00061

Fu, Q., & Levine, B.D. (2018). Exercise and Non-Pharmacological Treatment of POTS. Autonomic Neuroscience. 215, 20-27. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2018.07.001

Lei, L.Y, Chew, D.S., Sheldon, R.S., & Raj, S.R. (2019). Evaluating and managing postural tachycardia syndrome. Cleveland Clinical Journal of Medicine. 86 (5), 333-345. doi:10.3949/ccjm.86a.18002

Van der Zalm, T., Alsma, J., Van de Poll, S.W.E., Wessels, M.W., Riksen, N.P., & Versmissen, J. (2019). Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS): a common but unfamiliar syndrome. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine. 77 (1), 3-9

Wells, R., Spurrier, A.J., Linz, D., Gallagher, C., Mahajan, R., Sanders, P., Page, A., & Lau, D. (2018). Postural tachycardia syndrome: current perspectives. Vascular Health and Risk Management. 14, 1-11. doi.org/10.2147/VHRM.S127393

 

 

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease – Is there a connection?

The simple answer to the above questions is YES! There is a closer correlation than what you might think. Research over the past 10 years indicates the increase in Diabetes related Alzheimer’s by 50-150%, with researchers also leading us to the concept that impaired insulin signaling has an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s and the proposal that Alzheimer’s represents “Type 3 Diabetes”. As there is an increase in the aging population worldwide, evidence suggests that there will be 115 million people worldwide who will suffer from Alzheimer’s by the year 2050.

Where is the connection?

Firstly, let’s talk about Diabetes. Diabetes can either be autoimmune (Type 1) or caused by insulin resistance in peripheral tissues and is most frequently associated with aging, a family history of diabetes, obesity, and failure to exercise (Type 2). Insulin receptors are expressed on all cell types in the body, including the brain. Insulin resistance has long been recognized as a central feature of Type 2 Diabetes, but research from the past few years has shown that it also occurs in the brains of individuals.

Insulin enters the Central Nervous System (CNS) across the capillary endothelial cells of the blood–brain barrier. Insulin has intense effects in the CNS, regulating key processes such as energy homeostasis, neuronal survival, learning, and memory. Within the brain, insulin receptor density is highest in the olfactory bulb, hypothalamus, hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum which suggests that insulin signaling has an important and diverse role in the brain.

Evidence suggests that systemic insulin resistance or high circulating levels of insulin affects the function of the blood-brain barrier resulting in a change of permeability which could lead to impairments in glucose utilisation and energy metabolism, resulting in neurodegeneration. This can cause Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) leading to early stages of dementia, in particular, Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia among the elderly and is characterized by progressive loss of memory and cognition.

Will I develop Alzheimer’s if I have Diabetes?

The simple answer is NO! Not if the individual manages their diabetes correctly through intervention strategies such as diet and exercise. Exercise can reduce the risk of further chronic disease progression through changes in; fat mass, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, glycaemic control, neural adaptations and many other cellular adaptations.

A study conducted by Northey and colleagues in 2018 concluded that a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise significantly increases cognitive function through vascular adaptations and promotion of neurogenesis, leading to reduced cellular damage.

Overall, exercise intervention is a promising, cost-effective treatment that can aid in Diabetes management and benefits cognitive function reducing the risk of dementia. On the other hand, for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, exercise intervention could slow down the rapid cognitive impairment.

As Accredited Exercise Physiologists we can help provide these services leading to a healthier lifestyle and providing exercise as medicine. If you would like more information you can email on info@absolutebalance.com.au to book a consultation with one of our team members.

Joel Skinner (B.Sc Exercise Science and Rehabilitation)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (AES) (ESSAM)

 

 

References

Arnold, S. E., Arvanitakis, Z., Macauley-Rambach, S. L., Koenig, A. M., Wang, H. Y., Ahima, R. S., Craft, S., Gandy, S., Buettner, C., Stoeckel, L. E., Holtzman, D. M., & Nathan, D. M. (2018). Brain insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer disease: concepts and conundrums. Nature reviews. Neurology, 14(3), 168–181. doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2017.185

Northey, J.M., Cherbuin, N., Pumpa, K.L., Smee, D.J., Rattray, B. (2018) Exercise interventions for cognitive function in adults older than 50: a systematic review with meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 52 (3), 154-160. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096587

Butterfield, D. A., Di Domenico, F., & Barone, E. (2014). Elevated risk of type 2 diabetes for development of Alzheimer disease: a key role for oxidative stress in brain. Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1842(9), 1693–1706. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.06.010

What is an Exercise Physiologist?

Throughout my years of studying to be an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) I was always presented with the question “What is an AEP?” and “What clientele would you work with?” so I believe this article has the potential to clarify many unanswered questions.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP) are allied health professionals completing a degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. AEP’s treat illness with physical activity and have the potential to prevent injuries by limiting sedentary behavior. Our aim is to restore physical function, improve health and wellbeing and prevent chronic health conditions. Not limited to physical activity, AEP’s can provide education on conditions and explain how exercise can benefit them.

Prior to completing an exercise program an initial assessment is completed. This includes a screening of the client to have a full understanding of client difficulties, coping mechanisms, functional limitations and identifying goals of rehabilitation.

Our Clientele

Accredited Exercise Physiologists work with a large population with a variety of different conditions these include metabolic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neurological, kidney, respiratory, mental health, cancer conditions.

Cardiovascular conditions including but not limited to hypertension, post-heart attack, chronic heart failure, peripheral artery disease. Physical activity assists with effective blood flow and avoiding deconditioning post-cardiac event however most importantly reduces the risk of further cardiac events.

Metabolic conditions including but not limited to diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, sleep apnoea and metabolic syndrome. Physical activity assists in weight loss, improvement in blood lipid profile and preventing the likelihood of further progressive conditions.

Musculoskeletal conditions including but not limited to knee reconstructions, hip replacements, shoulder tears, dislocations. Conservative or post-operative rehabilitation is essential to prevent the reoccurrence of injuries. Physical activity encourages a range of motion and strength improvements post-injury and permits the ability to perform activities completed pre-injury.

Kidney & respiratory conditions including but not limited to kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma, emphysema. Physical activity assists in reducing signs and symptoms such as sputum production and coughing while reducing deconditioning of the lower extremities, common with this clientele.

Mental health & Cancer including but not limited to depression, anxiety, breast cancer, prostate cancer. Exercise assists in improving physical fitness and the ability to complete everyday tasks however most importantly, reduce the risk of falls, muscle wasting and the development of osteoporosis.

Neurological conditions including but not limited to strokes, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Physical activity assists in slowing degenerative conditions and reducing the severity of symptoms.

Upon completion of my degree, I will have the ability to assist those with the above conditions and sympathize with them. The overall purpose for my desire to become an AEP is to impact the lives of those who require it most. Exercise has the potential to reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of developing further conditions therefore if you are experiencing these conditions and require extra assistance in improving your condition, please contact Absolute Balance on 9244 5580 or via email on info@absolutebalance.com.au.

 

Danica Falcone 

Exercise Physiologist (Student)

 

References

Leach, H., Danyluk, J., Nishimura, K., & Culos-Reed, S. (2015). Evaluation of a Community-Based Exercise Program for Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment. Cancer Nursing38(6), 417-425. doi: 10.1097/ncc.0000000000000217

Hansen, D., Dendale, P., van Loon, L. and Meeusen, R. (2010). The Impact of Training Modalities on the Clinical Benefits of Exercise Intervention in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease Risk or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Sports Medicine, 40(11), pp.921-940.

Playford, D. (2011). Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 82(11), p.1185.

 

 

Understanding your energy systems in the fight against lifestyle diseases

It has never been so easy to consume calorie dense foods. With fast food, mobile app delivery systems, and delicious food blogs online, the temptation to consume the sugary goodness has caused an increase in lifestyle diseases around the world. Obesity, fatty liver disease, type II diabetes are on the rise due to consuming more calories than we expend. These conditions are reversible through creating pathways towards a caloric deficit.

A caloric deficit put more simply is creating a decrease in the number of calories we eat that the body can use to convert into usable energy. Decreasing the number of usable calories means the body must begin converting energy that has already been stored. This could be in the form of carbohydrates (glycogen), fats (lipids) or protein (muscle). Creating a caloric deficit is the most effective way of reducing weight and can be done through both diet and exercise.

The duration of exercise and intensity will determine which energy source will be the most suitable to sustain the desired activity level.
Within the first few seconds of muscular contraction, adenosine triphosphate phosphocreatine (ATP +PC) which is stored in the myosin of the sarcomere (muscle complex) is used very quickly. When phosphocreatine is broken away from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), energy is released, and ATP is created as a by-product. This energy source is useful for movements such as a quick take-off in a sprint to a bicep curl. Once this source becomes depleted, the body then looks for its next supply which is in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is the glucose stored in the body. This conversion takes slightly longer but allows the body to convert the glycogen into usable ATP through glycolysis. This equation does not require oxygen which means that the fuel source is suitable for anaerobic activity no longer than approximately 90 seconds. Glycolysis is used for movements that require a lot of stopping and starting and is a useful form of energy for explosive bouts in sports like soccer or netball.

From here, lipids become the next source of energy. Lipolysis is the desired conversion of fat into triglycerides which are easier to be metabolised into energy. This conversion of fats into energy can last from minutes to hours depending on how much fat is available before the body begins to use protein. As expected, by utilising fat as a fuel source, you’re likely to experience fat loss. Exercise must continue past the thresholds of each previous energy system before lipolysis can be used. Oxygen is required for this conversion which means the exercise becomes aerobic. Long walks, running and swimming are examples of aerobic activity and are also common exercise prescriptions for fat loss.

With this information about energy systems, how can exercise assist in creating a caloric deficit? If your goal is to reduce body fat, by understanding how to put yourself into your desired state of energy conversion you can decrease the time frame needed to achieve your goal through diet alone. Whilst different exercise forms and duration and are often limited to their energy source, it is important to include cardio (aerobic), resistance training (anaerobic) and mobility to reduce other comorbidities such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis or hypertension.

If you’re living with a lifestyle disease or chronic conditions exercise has been proven to have a positive effect and decrease symptoms.  The team here at Absolute Balance understands how to exercise you appropriately to your condition and will help you achieve your goals against lifestyle diseases. Get in contact with us today by calling 9244 5580 or via email at info@absolutebalance.com.au.

 

Emily Longmuir
BSc. Exercise and Sport Science

Exercise Physiology Student

 

Berg, J., Tymoczko, J., & Stryer, L. (2019). Fuel Choice During Exercise Is Determined by Intensity and Duration of Activity. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22417/

P, A. (2019). Human fat cell lipolysis: biochemistry, regulation and clinical role. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16311212