Posts Tagged sydney cbd

Recovery (part 2): Sleep

Following our introduction to recovery, we’re going to continue the series looking at some of the research around many popular recovery methods and offer some practical take-aways that you can begin to apply right away.

First up on the list is sleep – one of the most important influences on recovery, one of the simplest to address and yet is often the most overlooked of all performance variables.


Sleep is a needed resource for psychological and physiological wellbeing, during which time many of the bodies more potent repair and recovery processes are kicked into overdrive.  It is generally accepted that the primary purpose of sleep is restoration – To recover from previous wake-period operations and/or prepare for functioning in the subsequent wakefulness period. 

Sleep is also vitally important for memory consolidation and metabolic healthby potentially modifying energy intake and expenditure which can undermine dietary efforts.

An individual’s recent sleep history (consisting of both duration and quality) can have a dramatic influence on daytime functioning. Research has firmly established that sleeping less than 6 hours per night for four or more consecutive nights can: 

1. Impair cognitive performance and mood

2. Heighten risk of illness and injury

3. Disturb metabolic health, appetite regulation and immune function

There are many reasons why sleep habits may be negatively affected, some of which include:

Stress, nervousness, thinking, worrying, planning.

Illness

Sudden change to routine

Unsuitable diet/nutrient deficiency

Poor sleep habits and environment (eg noise, lighting, temperature, late television watching, late caffeine use, late activity). 

In addition to the above, Erlacher et al. 2011 asked 632 german athletes from various sports about their sleep habits leading up to important events or competitions, with the results showing that: 

  • 66% slept worse than normal at least once prior to an important competition
  • 80% reported problems falling asleep
  • 43% reported waking early, and
  • 32% reported waking up through the night

Factors identified as reasons for poor sleep included:

  • Thoughts about competition (77%)
  • Nervousness about competition (60%)
  • Unusual surroundings (29%)
  • Noise in the room (17%) 

The value of quality sleep is clear and it is easy to see how it can be impacted by many of the above variables which we all face from time to time. What isn’t so easy though, is how best to mitigate these factors to ensure that you get a good night sleep and subsequently prevent the associated performance decline from sleep loss.

Suggestions for improving sleep:

1. Develop a ‘POWER-OFF POLICY’ before bed

Switch off tv, computers, tablets, and smartphones 1-2 hours before sleep time. These will disturb the production of hormones that prepare you for sleep. 

2. Develop a ‘Wind down’ routine before bed

Slow down and de-stress as much as possible before bed and try to establish consistent sleep and wake times. A shower before bedtime has been shown to improve sleep onset latency. Research has also shown that almost half of all insomnia cases are linked to stress or emotional upset. Avenues to reduce stress are highly individual and situation dependent, so finding ways to reduce stress are paramount to improving sleep, and long-term health and wellness. Some proven strategies include: 

  • Exercise 
  • Deep breathing exercises 
  • Meditation
  • Daily journaling 
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Taking a walk
  • Being outside/sun exposure
  • Social activities / being with friends and loved ones

Habits and Environment

3. A quiet sleep space is a key

If noise can’t be avoided try using headphones with instrumental music at a low volume, or keep a fan on for an acutely distracting ‘white noise.’

4. Temperature, darkness, and clothing

Approximately 18 degrees Celsius is a cool room temperature that has been shown to help comfortable sleep occurrence. Thick bedding and clothing must also be avoided if it causes overheating. A dark environment with limited lighting can also help the body recognise that it’s night time and time to begin the process of preparing for sleep. 

5. Coffee and heavy meals

Avoid caffeine, big meals and heavy amounts of liquid before bed. 

6. Take Naps Where You Can & Need To

Naps can be beneficial to catch up on lost sleep, however, avoid them later into the afternoon if it might impact your regular sleep time. Blanchfield et al. 2018 recently showed that a short afternoon nap improves endurance performance in runners that obtain less than 7 hrs of nighttime sleep. Napping might be an important strategy to optimise endurance exercise in other athletic and occupational scenarios when sleep is compromised (eg long-haul, intensified training etc).

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What To Do To Help Recovery

The four main components that we address when building a high-performance program are mindset, movement, nutrition, and recovery. With this post and the few to follow we are going to look at some things that you can do to influence an often overlooked but vital piece of the performance puzzle, recovery.
First up, here is a general overview.
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”Every training element has a point of diminishing returns. Our job (the coach’s job) is to find it shift emphasis and cycle back at the optimal point in time.” ~ Derek Hansen
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It’s important to understand that physical (and mental) exertion is a stress input that requires a recovery process and ultimately triggers a particular adaptation. Within the training realm, your workout is the stressor event. After a difficult session, there is an alarm reaction in the body caused by working out that results in a mobilising response, creates an inroad to your recovery and an acute performance decline. After this, a rebuilding period is required for the body to build back up to baseline and beyond in order to withstand future training inputs.
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The rebuilding or recovery stage is made up of the physiological events that occur between workouts and is helped along by good nutrition, enough sleep and various other activities that we’ll talk more about later.
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 If you’ve done enough to recover from your training inroads and adapted to a higher ceiling of resilience, you’ll notice a small increase in performance (faster time, longer distance, heavier weight etc). It can be said then that you’ve completed the cycle and gained a positive adaptation from your training.
You’ve gotten a little better, and so the cycle continues. Apply an appropriate and recoverable stimulus, and repeat.
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Stress + Recovery = Adaptation
…or 
Work + Rest = Success

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As you can see, improving performance is a delicate balance of measured training and healthy supporting habits to maximise the result of your efforts. Recovery is the necessary bridge between the work that you do and what you get out of it. You don’t progress from simply training alone.
 
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There are two parts to recovery: Rest and Regeneration.
Rest is an entirely passive strategy, involving a deliberate attempt to minimise planned movement and the mental and emotional duress associated with aiming one’s efforts at a long-term training plan.
Rest is aimed squarely on achieving physical and psychological recharge.
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Regeneration involves active, movement-based strategies used to minimise fatigue, replenish energy systems, encourage tissue healing and function, re-sensitise to the training stimulus, and speed up the recovery process.
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Some of these strategies include manual therapy, stretching, low-stress aerobic activity, and cold therapies to name a few.
 
We will discuss some of the strategies in the next instalment.
 
Stay tuned…
 

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When To Change Exercises And Why

When it comes to choosing which exercises to use in your strength training program, we encourage trainees to approach exercise selection with a balance of both pushing and pulling movements for the upper and lower body. This gives you a more complete development and greater overall balance and movement proficiency in a variety of different movement demands.

This usually involves targeting movements and body parts from multiple angles which, aside from symmetry also helps to:

1. Accumulate needed training volume, which is an important factor for building muscle size and strength.

2. Sculpt and shape the body towards ones desired proportions if training goals are more aesthetic driven.

3. Target unpractised or lagging movements and strengthen specific contributing muscles.


We’ll often have new clients show us the strength programs they’ve been using and have put together themselves to get some feedback. Often we’ll see included almost every known exercise variation for a body part that you can imagine in an attempt to cover all angles. This is a fine idea in theory, however, there are a few things to consider when trying to cover all possible angles and one of those considerations is something that I like to call variation preservation.

 

If you use all of the most productive or favourite exercises in your program, you will have too few exercise variations to choose from or to progress towards once you’ve reached training a plateau and are no longer making the kind of progress you used to on those exercises. The human body is an amazingly efficient and adaptive organism and certainly will, over a short period of time adapt to a given training plan, and this is where you’ll begin to see your progress slow and eventually stop altogether.  When this happens, you will need some strategic deviation and a variant go-to exercise that still gives you similar qualities, while offering a fresh stimulus again, and all without losing any of the progress you have built up to this point.

 

Another more obvious problem with this ‘do everything’ approach is that you may end up doing way more than you need with potentially overlapping and redundant exercises, and subsequently using up more of your valuable recovery ability, that could go towards repair and building.

 

One of the possible solutions that I often suggest is to do fewer total exercises and more total sets of those exercises. Specifically, pick fewer exercises, but make sure that you use mostly your high return movements and keep a few of them in your back pocket for a later program. Doing more total sets of fewer exercises allows greater focus to be had, and for the beginner lifter in particular, more high-quality technique rehearsal.

 

For example, a typical upper body pushing program might look like the following:
  • 5 total exercises per session,  3 sets of each exercise, 2 pushing sessions per week (30 total sets)
  • Combination of flat, incline, barbell and dumbbell exercises on both pressing days
You could instead try performing the following: 
  • 3 total exercises per session, 5 sets of each on each exercise  (30 total sets per week)
  • Flat or Incline exercises only for 2-3 training cycles
  • Barbell or dumbbell exercises only for 2-3 training cycles

You’ll notice that with option 2, you can manage the same total weekly training volume and focus it towards fewer exercises. Option B also offers a complete pressing program and leaves you with plenty of effective variations to utilise once progress begins to slow or stops.

 

It has been well documented that strength adaptations can drop off at around the 3-4 week mark using the same schedule. From here you may try changing the grip that you use, the set & rep scheme, the rep speed, and even the rest period between sets. Any of these as well an intermittent deload week can provide enough of a small change and a fresh stimulus, and still be fairly consistent enough to make continued improvement. After approximately 2-3 training cycles, however, it may then be a good idea to swap out those exercises and bring in the reserves.

 

In closing, try not to do every exercise possible – leave some high-return favourite exercises on the bench for variation preservation, to call in when you need fresh options to go to and for continued success in your training.

Have options.

Do less and do it better.

DJ

 

If you like us to take a look at your training programming or would like some help with building one, reach out to one of our performance specialists and we’ll point you in the right direction. 

 

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Shoulder Impingement Is A Common Cause OF Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder Impingement Is One Of The Most Common Types Of Shoulder Pain

One of the most common complaints we see as physio’s is shoulder pain, and it doesn’t just affect athletes. While acute shoulder injuries often happen in collision sports or because of a sporting accident, people performing overhead activities such as lifting in the gym, throwing, racquet sports or swimming are also prone to shoulder pain.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is the most common cause of shoulder pain in the general population & with many types of sports activities. It can be very debilitating for people such as swimmers, racquet sports players and gym-goers. Throwing, bowling or pitching sports like cricket, baseball and softball are also common places to find shoulder impingement injuries.

Some occupations that involve lifting, carrying, and other repetitive tasks, especially if they are performed with the arm away from the side of the body, are also common causes of shoulder impingement. Even some common DIY tasks like painting walls or ceilings, repetitive drilling at shoulder height or above, and digging in the garden can bring on the pain.
 

How Does Shoulder Impingement Happen?

The shoulder is made up of three bones: the scapula (shoulder blade), the humerus (arm bone) and the clavicle (collar bone). The joint itself is a ball-and-socket joint, and the tendons of four muscles called the rotator cuff muscles are very important to hold the ball in the centre of the socket. The supraspinatus tendon is the most common tendon to get impinged.

As the arm is raised, the rotator cuff muscles keep the ball of the humerus tightly in the centre of the socket of the scapula. If this position is not maintained well, the tendons of the rotator cuff may be pinched between the top of the arm bone & the bony “roof” of the scapula. This can cause irritation of the tendon which can lead to inflammation, weakness and pain. Eventually it can lead to more significant problems like tearing of the tendon. 

How Do You Know If Your Shoulder Is Getting Impinged?

The classic presentation is a painful arc, which is when you feel pain as you lift your arm away from your side and up to your ear. This corresponds with the narrowing of the sub-acromial space, which is where the tendon gets pinched.

Many people also feel pain with twisting movements such as putting on a jacket or when reaching behind your back. When the inflammation is active you may feel pain at night and be unable to sleep comfortably on that side, and your shoulder can ache even when your arm is resting. Sometimes people describe a ‘locking’ sensation in the arm on certain movements.

What can you do to fix shoulder impingement?

Initially, avoiding painful activities to help settle your symptoms is important. If you have recently started or significantly increased your exercise regime you may just need to progress more slowly once your pain has resolved. However because most shoulder impingement is caused by an imbalance in muscle length &/or strength around the shoulder, you need to fix the underlying cause of your pain otherwise it is likely to return again in the future. This is especially true if you have had more than one episode of pain because recurrent pain strongly indicates an underlying imbalance within your shoulder, often within the rotator cuff muscles or the muscles that control your shoulder blade.

Keeping correct shoulder alignment relies a lot on keeping the right balance of length and strength within your shoulder muscles. Having a balanced gym program of pulling and pushing exercises is a great way to help achieve this. If you don’t normally go to the gym then you may need to do some extra strengthening for the muscles at the back of your shoulder, especially if you are an office worker and tend to hunch over your desk a lot. Shoulder and pec/chest stretching can also help.

If you have had a significant episode of pain, or several mild-to-moderate episodes recently, then you should get it checked out by a physio because you are very likely to have an underlying imbalance that will keep giving you problems in the future. Treating the pain when it is only recent and relatively mild is usually fairly simple. However, recurrent episodes can lead to more tendon damage requiring prolonged treatment, costly investigations such as an MRI, potentially more invasive management like cortisone, and much more time away from doing the things that you love.


If you have shoulder pain then we can help. You can speak to one of our friendly physios by calling us on 9280 2322.  We also have a dedicated Shoulder Program and you can  book an appointment online or contact us for more information. 

 

 

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Runners Knee

Runner’s Knee – Patellofemoral Pain

Sydney-siders love a good run! And with the Blackmores running festival coming up, beautiful scenery & awesome weather it’s easy to see why. So today we look at the most common type of knee pain that can affect runners as well as people playing many other sports that involve running and jumping.

 

The knee is the most common site for pain in runners, but it’s not just “runners” that are at risk. Many other sports that involve running &/or jumping have a relatively high risk of knee injuries. One very common cause of knee pain is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which accounts for up to 40% of all knee problems in sports medicine centres. The pain is felt around or behind the kneecap & occurs when the kneecap (patella) does not align correctly into the groove on the end of the thigh bone (femur). It is common in young people, & affects more women than men.

 

 


Symptoms Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Pain is either felt around the front part of the knee or along one or both sides of the kneecap. It can sometimes be hard to find a specific spot where the pain is felt the most, especially because sometimes it feels like it is hidden away behind the kneecap. Your knee may be making some grinding or clicking noises, & there may be some swelling.

Often there is no specific cause (eg a fall or twist) of patellofemoral pain. Sometimes you may be able to relate it back to an increase in running or jumping volume, or things like new shoes or more hill running. It often begins as a niggle then gradually gets worse if you continue to exercise on it, eventually stopping you doing your normal training. It usually settles temporarily if you stop exercising but keeps coming back when you return.

Patellofemoral pain is usually made worse with anything that increases the load within your knee, eg taking your weight in a bent-knee position. Examples of painful activities can include;

  •    •  squatting, lunging & kneeling
  •    •  going up & down stairs or hills
  •    •  jogging or running, especially on hills or slopes

Some people also get pain from sitting in a bent-knee position for long periods of time, eg working at a desk or sitting in a movie theatre. This is because this position squashes the inflamed back surface the kneecap onto the end of the thigh bone, causing pain after a while.


Causes Of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

The main cause of patellofemoral pain is when the kneecap doesn’t “track” properly in the femoral groove when we bend our knee. It can get pulled out to the side of the groove, meaning that it rubs on the wrong places & becomes inflamed. Excessive or rapid increases in loading, usually due to increasing training or running volumes too fast, are also common factors that contribute to patellofemoral pain.

Poor biomechanics (i.e. the way our body controls movement) is the major factor that contributes to incorrect tracking of the kneecap in the femoral groove. Common biomechanical problems include:

  1.    1.  your pelvis drops to one side, increasing the tension on the outside of the leg & pulling the knee cap outwards
  2.    2.  poor glutes (hip muscle) strength means that your knee collapses inwards & rolls inside past the line of your big toe
  3.    3.  there may be an imbalance between the muscles on the inside of your quads (VMO) versus the outside (VL).
  4.    4.  you foot rolls in too much (pronation), causing the knee to collapse inwards so that your quads muscles have an outwards angle of pull on your kneecap.

Females are more likely to develop patellofemoral pain than males (3:2). This is due to women having a bigger “Q Angle”, which is where the quads muscles have a more outwards pull on the kneecap because women’s hips tend to be wider than mens.


What Can I Do About My Knee Pain?

Assessing & correcting your biomechanics is a big part of getting your knee pain resolved. You need to release any tight muscles on your outer thigh & hip, usually by using a foam roller or spikey ball. You will also need to strengthen muscles that are not keeping your leg and knee in the right alignment. The usual problem is that your knee rolls inwards over your big toe too much, so strengthening your glutes muscles to correct this is critical. Making sure that your inner quads muscle (your VMO) is strong enough to balance your outer quads muscle (VL) is also important. 

Your foot position also needs to be checked. The most common foot problem is over-pronation, where your inner arch collapses & rotates your shin and knee inwards too much. You will need to ensure that you have the right shoes for your foot type, eg if you are an over-pronator then pronation control shoes or orthotics are likely to help you. However as physio’s we always find that shoe type or orthotics alone are not the full solution – they are only one component. You must correct your other biomechanical factors like hip control as well.


We can help you beat your knee pain

Every day our friendly & experienced physio’s work with runners & athletes at all levels, from weekend warriors to national champions. We can help you with fast relief & get you back out there on the road, track, field or court. We specialise in finding & fixing the underlying cause of your problems so that once we’ve got you feeling good, you stay feeling good. 

If you need help with your knee pain then you can book an appointment online or contact us for more info, or give us a call on 9280 2322 to chat to one of our friendly team. 

 

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Probiotics and Prebiotics – what’s all the fuss about?

Have you ever wondered what people are talking about when the words probiotics and prebiotics get thrown around? It seems every food company these days is marketing their products on TV, magazines and bus stops as being beneficial for gut health due to their prebiotic content. But what does it all mean and do you need to be including them in your diet? Read below if you want help making sense of it all!  

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside the digestive tract, and are found in bacteria, yeast or fungi. Probiotics are the good kind of bacteria that keeps the digestive system healthy, helping to break down food as it enters the system, and has also been found to be beneficial in relieving constipation, aiding recovery from diarrhoea, reducing harmful bacteria that lead to gas and bloating, and supporting the immune system. Probiotics can be taken as a supplement form or found in food products. If using a probiotic supplement, look for one that contains at least 10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units), check the storage recommendations on the label, and take the probiotic with breakfast for at least a month to be able to see the effects on your health. There are various strains of bacteria that will have benefits for different conditions, so your doctor or dietitian will be the best source of information when looking for a supplement.

Top food sources of probiotics:

  • •  Yoghurt and kefir
  • •  Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso
  • •  Kombucha

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible carbohydrate found in certain foods. These food components pass through the digestive system relatively unchanged and arrive in the large bowel, where they become food for the good bacteria living in there. Prebiotics help to balance the digestive system and maintain regularity by providing fuel for the beneficial bacteria that live in the body.  

Top food sources of prebiotics:

  • •  Plant foods including: bananas, onion, garlic, leek, asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes, green vegetables
  • •  Whole grains: whole oats, barley, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans)
  • •  Nuts and seeds

Tip: the prebiotic fibre in these foods break down over time and with cooking, so try enjoying them fresh and raw wherever possible!


Want more diet advice?

Our dietitian Kelsey Hutton can help you with all your nutrition & diet needs including;

  • •  weight loss
  • •  nutrition for recovery from injury 
  • •  sports nutrition
  • •  training & race-day meal planning & recovery
  • •  diet for conditions including diabetes & heart disease
  • •  nutrition for all-round health, energy & well-being

To contact Kelsey call us on 9280 2322, email us for more info or book an appointment online.


 

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Nutrition For The Female Athlete – Part 3

Eating Advice For Active Women 

In Part 2 of this blog post series, we covered the hormone changes that occur in the first phase of the menstrual cycle, the follicular phase. This week we will go into the second phase of the cycle, the luteal phase.

Hormones during the second phase of the menstrual cycle

The luteal phase occurs from day 14-28, assuming a 28-day cycle. We know this phase all too well as this is when PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms occur! Be aware of food cravings, especially if your symptoms sideline you from your usual workouts.

This phase is the high hormone phase with progesterone at its peak. Progesterone increases the body’s core temperature, lessening tolerance to heat during workouts and increasing sweat which causes the body to lose more sodium. Because of this you need to really make sure you stay on top of your hydration when working out in the hotter months of the year in the second phase of your cycle!

During the luteal phase, the body uses carbohydrate less effectively for energy, instead utilising fat. If you are trying to reach high exercise intensities or need to perform at your best during this time, extra carbohydrates around training sessions may be necessary for you to be able to exercise at your best. Protein breakdown also increases, so its really important to make sure you are recovering adequately with protein sources after a workout.

Examples of high protein snacks to enjoy post-workout includes plain yoghurt with nuts, a fruit smoothie made with milk, yoghurt and fruit, or some boiled eggs. 

Try having red meat or salmon for dinner post-workout to aid your recovery and help you get in your essential nutrients during this time of the month.


This image summarises the main nutrients the body will use during your workouts at each phase of the cycle.

 

If you are looking for an effective periodised nutrition plan to suit your cycle and training demands, our sports dietitian Kelsey Hutton can give you everything you need. Your initial assessment with highlight your goals, current nutrition levels & areas to focus on. Your personalised plan gives you a practical & effective way to fuel your body with everything it needs for peak performance.

Contact reception on 9280 2322 or head to our online bookings page to book in your first session with Kelsey.

 

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Build A Strong Healthy Spine With Clinical Pilates

Clinical Pilates To Relieve Back & Neck Pain 

Up to 80% of people will have back pain at some stage in their lives, & 10% will experience significant disability as a result. It’s one of the most common things we see here at Central Performance, & our Clinical Pilates program is one of the main tools we use to strengthen your spine to keep you active & moving in to the future.
 

How is Clinical Pilates different to regular Pilates?

Clinical Pilates is an exercise system based around core/central stability, balance, posture, movement control & breathing. Each person with back or neck pain will have a different injury history, lifestyle factors (eg desk workers compared to retail assistants) & a wide variety of things that aggravate or ease the pain. It is for this reason that specific individualised programs are vital to target each person’s pattern of instability, weakness or tightness.

New research has found that “exercises that are distinctly targeted to a patient & their individual needs have a strong correlation with improved symptoms, both immediately after exercise & over a three month period.” This individualised program feature is one area where Clinical Pilates differs significantly from more generic group-based Pilates classes.

Another way Clinical Pilates is different from regular Pilates is that your program is based on a specific initial assessment that clarifies patterns of movement (flexion or extension) that aggravate & ease your pain plus boost or inhibit your muscle function. Left & right asymmetry is also assessed to clarify target areas for your program. You are also regularly re-assessed throughout your sessions to ensure that you are improving & building strength as expected. Click for more information on Clinical Pilates. 
 

Who Should Try Clinical Pilates? 

Clinical Pilates is ideal for you if you have, or have had, pain in your back, neck or pelvis. It can be especially effective if you have had several episodes of pain in the past.

Many people will recognise the feelings of weakness or instability that often follow an episode of pain in the back, neck or pelvis. This happens because of our pain inhibition reflex – which is when our brain switches off our stabiliser muscles in response to pain signals. These muscles do not then automatically switch back to on to normal strength after the episode of pain passes, so we are left with a weak spot. This increases the risk of recurrent or continuing pain.
 
Research shows that there is an 80% risk of recurrence within one year after an episode of lower back pain. This risk can be reduced by 65% with a directionally-specific core re-training program such as Clinical Pilates, & the situation is similar for neck pain. Your Clinical Pilates program kick-starts your core stabiliser & other spinal muscles & builds their strength so you can confidently get back to doing the things that you love. 

 

Clinical Pilates at Central Performance

Your Clinical Pilates program starts off with four 1-on-1 sessions. This is known as our Quickstart Program & in these sessions you will be fully assessed, be guided through your personalised program, & get confident in correct form & technique when using Pilates equipment including the Reformer bed, Wunda chair & barrel.

Following your Quickstart program you may choose to join our small group classes (max of 4 people per class), or if you prefer you can continue with 1-on-1 sessions. Even in a group environment you will still be doing your own individualised program & be under the close supervision of our great instructors. 

Our Clinical Pilates program is achieving excellent results for our clients. The most common benefits reported include;

•  reduced pain in their back, neck & pelvis

•  increased confidence with exercise & daily activities like lifting, carrying & pushing

•  better & taller posture

All of our instructors are fully qualified & experienced physiotherapists with further certification in Clinical Pilates training. This gives you the confidence of knowing that your program is designed & supervised by highly skilled clinicians every step of the way.  

 

For More Information On Clinical Pilates Click Here.
 Or Click Here To Book Online 

 

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Eating Tips To Battle Cold & Flu This Winter

After a long summer it seems the Australian winter is finally upon us; the time of year when cold and flu symptoms are on the rise. It seems as though everyone around you will have advice for how to beat your cold or flu, from drinking honey, ginger and lemon teas, or jumping into a sauna to relieve congestion. It can be hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the abundance of remedies, so our dietitian has some simple and reasonable advice for you to follow this winter.
Food can play a really important role in preventing and reducing the severity of colds and flu, which is no surprise because 80% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. Healthy gut bacteria, proteins and other chemicals are just some of the warriors in the digestive system that help to fight off infections. Before illness comes on, it is important to eat a healthy diet to provide the immune system with these nutrients it needs to fight off infections. Here are just some of the foods that help to protect your immune system and should be included in the everyday diet:

BERRIES

Berries are a great source of Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that has antimicrobial properties, protects immune cells from damage and contributes to maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can also help to reduce duration and severity of colds. Frozen berries have the same nutrition value as fresh berries, so it doesn’t matter if you buy frozen.

CAPSICUM

Capsicum contains twice the amount of Vitamin C as citrus fruits. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to help fight infections. Include capsicum in stir fries or salads.

BROCCOLI

Broccoli contains Vitamins A, C and E which are antioxidants. Antioxidants assist in preventing cell damage and reduce risk of certain illnesses. Broccoli is best when cooked for the shortest time possible, to keep in the good nutrients

ONION, GARLIC AND GINGER

These all have anti-microbial properties, helping to prevent illness. Use these together when cooking stir fries and pasta dishes.

YOGHURT

Yoghurt is a good source of probiotics to keep your gut healthy and boost immune function. Choose the unflavoured varieties for benefits e.g. plain Greek yoghurts or plain Chobani/Yo-Pro yoghurts

SALMON

Salmon is high in Omega-3 (essential fatty acids) which will help to maintain healthy cells and assists with reducing inflammation, particularly important for recovery for those with heavy training loads.

BRAZIL NUTS

Brazil nuts are high in a nutrient called selenium that helps to protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage. Deficiencies of selenium have been associated with increased risk of illnesses. Incorporate brazil nuts into your diet a few times a week to reap the benefits.

 

But what happens when you do get a cold or a flu?

Being sick will often result in a decrease in appetite, so every meal consumed while sick is an opportunity to choose nutrient rich foods that will help to fight off infection and speed up recovery. Some foods that should be included in the diet during a bout of cold or flu includes:

Citrus fruits, tomatoes, pumpkin, capsicum and sweet potatoes

What do citrus fruits, tomatoes, pumpkin, capsicum and sweet potatoes have in common? These foods are all high in Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that has been found to assist with reducing the severity and longevity of colds by protecting cells from damage. Try a roast vegetable tray with tomato, pumpkin, capsicum and sweet potato, or snack on some oranges or mandarins.

Garlic

Garlic has antimicrobial properties so acts as an antibiotic that can help to reduce the severity of your cold.

Vietnamese Pho

Chicken soup has long been a favourite of Mum’s everywhere to help fight off a cold, but Vietnamese Pho is another great option! This big bowl of warming soup will help to rehydrate you by providing plenty of fluid and electrolytes and provides a source of protein. You can even order extra meat to boost the protein content!

Supplements that reduce the severity and duration of colds can be really useful, particularly when you don’t feel like eating a lot! The following are good quality supplements that I recommend you to use while sick:

  • Luckily, we can get a lot of vitamin C from food, so it isn’t always necessary to have Vitamin C supplements daily, but they can be helpful once you do get sick. Vitamin C supplements come in many forms so choose one that is of good quality and is non-acidic (so you don’t feel sick/get reflux when using).
  • Probiotics help restore gut bacteria after illness, supporting a healthy immune system. Look for a good quality probiotic with 40-50 billion CFU’s (listed on the product).
  • Zinc has an antiviral effect in the body and is usually obtained in the diet from poultry and red meats. If you find you are eating less than normal while sick, a zinc supplement can come in handy to assist with reducing the longevity of your cold.

Lastly, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to eat a healthy and varied diet to protect your immune system. Make sure you rest and eat well when sick, using supplements if needed to help reduce the longevity and severity of colds and flu. Book in an appointment with our dietitian to find out more about how a healthy diet can positively affect your wellbeing.


This article was written by Kelsey Hutton, our Accredited Practising Dietitian.

To book an appointment with Kelsey or to ask her a question call her on 9280 2322 or contact the clinic.

 


 

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