Britt at barefoot with physio ball

Move Well and DIY

We love people to move well and feel great. As our communities adapt to a new way of life, which finds us all spending the majority of our time at home, a lot of us have decided it is the perfect time to pick up our old tools, bring out the vacuum cleaner or refine our green thumbs while re-landscaping our backyards.

Whilst all these activities are great things to be doing to keep ourselves busy, they like any physical activity can put our body’s under strain and if our bodies are already being loaded up non-optimally, this can lead to us experiencing symptoms of pain. Therefore, it is important to keep our muscles strong and our joints moving well to make sure we can keep ‘pottering’ around our homes in our best shape.

What to do to move well

If you are already a Barefooter your Physiotherapist will have devised a set of muscle releases/ stretches and exercises for you to be doing at home regularly. It is a good idea to work these into your routine before and after any house work or ‘DIYing’. So before you start vacuuming the whole house, do a set of your muscle releases to help your muscles adapt to the strain better, then when you’re done take a break and try and fit in another set of releases.

Furthermore, it is important to work within your limits and listen to your body by taking regular breaks from any sustained postures i.e. squatting whilst weeding, reaching overhead to repaint those walls or vacuuming the endless amount of animal hair out of your carpet.  By changing positions regularly you can help make sure your body doesn’t develop any niggles or pain and it can keep helping you make the most out of being at home.

If you are after some releases or stretches for your body, click the link here, for a list of examples and instructions.

We can help if you need

If you or someone you know is experiencing any muscle joint or possible nerve irritation please contact us. We can determine if it is a musculoskeletal issue before having to see a GP. We are open 5 days a week and a couple Saturdays a month. We have early and late appointments available. Please call us at 1300 842 850 or Click here to book an appointment.

Hiking mental health

Physical activity for Mental Health

The link between Physical and Mental Health

The importance of mental wellbeing for overall physical health is very clear. In our increasingly busy and sometimes uncertain modern world, it is particularly important for us to give our mental health the care and attention it deserves. As physios, we have often seen the impact anxiety, depression and stress can have on the physical body (did you just feel yourself relax your shoulders and unclench your jaw as you read that??). What is not always as widely discussed, is the importance of physical health on mental wellbeing.

There is lots of great research to support the importance of physical activity for aiding in the prevention and management of mental health conditions. While physical activity alone certainly does not take the place of professional help (eg seeing a psychologist), one study suggested that an hour of physical activity across the week can help prevent depression.

The general recommendation is for 30 minutes of exercise a day to positively influence mental wellbeing.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Release of endorphins and serotonin (feel good hormones)
  • Improved sleep quality (poor sleep is a significant factor in poor mental health)
  • Improved mood and energy
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety
  • Improved memory and focus
  • Improved coping and resilience

Getting started

If you are just getting into exercise, it is important to do so in a way that is going to both support your mental wellbeing and physical health… that is, not contribute to an injury! You do not have to do intense exercise to reap the benefits – see here for our return to walking program. We recommend starting with something familiar (like walking, or a sport you played in your youth) and ideally an activity you enjoy (maybe dancing is great for you!). Getting outside for your exercise is ideal, as this has its own benefits. It can also help to exercise in a location that has positive memories or emotions for you and to partner up with a friend.

If injury is getting in the way of returning to exercise, speak to one of our physios to see how we might be able to help you. If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental wellbeing, speak to your GP or psychologist.

Increasing running

Increasing running with Caitlin Sargent

More time for running

With gyms closed and exercise options somewhat reduced compared to normal, a lot of people are turning to running for their endorphin dose. Running is a great form of exercise, with the added bonus of getting some vitamin D and some seeing some fresh scenery. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. A sudden rise in running volume can lead to injuries, so I’ve put together my suggestions for how to safely increase your running.

Gradual approach

Progressive overload is a term used in exercise to describe how we can safely get the body to adapt to new stimulus. It is generally accepted that a 10-20% is safe, but also effective in increasing fitness. This is often a lot less than people imagine – if you were previously running 3km, then an appropriate increase would 300-600m in one run. It also applied across the whole week – so if you were previously running 5km twice a week and wanted to add another run in, a total volume increase of 2km would be appropriate. So you might consider a 5km and two 3km runs.

If you haven’t been running, I would start with a maximum of 2 runs per week. Depending on your existing level of fitness and strength as well as past exercise experience, you may find you adapt to this quite quickly and can increase your frequency quite quickly. If you have little or no past running experience, it is a good idea to start with a run/walk option. Eg Run for 1 minute, walk for 1-2 minutes x 5. As you progress you can increase the continuous running time and then decrease the rest time (until you are running for 5-10 minutes straight!)

Don’t forget about Strength!

It is easy to get focused on running, especially when gyms are closed and the lure of outdoor training is so high. However running is a high load activity on the body- it is essentially repetitions of single leg squat jumps one after another. Ensuring you have adequate strength and endurance in your leg muscles (in particular glutes and calves) is important for helping prevent injury, as well as improving performance. Strength training for running doesn’t need big heavy weights. When done correctly, body weight exercises like step-ups, lunges and squats (ideally single leg ones) are all great for training up strength and control in running muscles.

Rest days!

Most important of all – allow your body rest and recovery time! 1-2 days of either total rest or gentle walk/yoga is very important for keeping your mind and body happy and healthy

If you’d like to know more or ask Caitlin questions feel free to contact the clinic on 1300842850 or email

Cooking pasta

Hobbies and your body – Physio tips to take care of yourself

More time at home can mean more time for hobbies

With many of us spending more time at home, we’re seeing people able to engage more with their hobbies (or even taking up new ones). It’s great to see creativity and passion being nourished like this. While the brain loves being engaged in an activity to the point of losing track of time, often the body feels otherwise. Awkward positions and long periods of sitting are just some of the reasons we may find ourselves more sore as we spend more on our hobbies.

“Hobbies” covers a very wide spread of activities, however many of them are done in some variation of sitting, so that is what this blog will focus on. If you love to cook or bake – there’s a whole other blog about that here.

How you can take care of your body

  1. Think about your set-up
    There is usually another component to hobbies other than just ‘sitting’ – either leaning over a desk – drawing/puzzling /sewing or with something in hand – knitting needles, crossword book or a digital tablet. It is important to keep in mind how these other elements are affecting our posture. A few things to keep in mind
  2. If you are leaning over a table – try to keep your chin tucked in to reduce the amount of strain on your neck. If you have easy access to an adjustable table (like a drafting table with a changeable angle), this is another way you may be able to ease the load on your neck
  3. Try to keep your elbows tucked in – its very easy to let your arms rest out to the sides, especially if they’re engaged in activity. However, this tends to result in extra work for your shoulder muscles so aim to keep your elbows relaxed by your side.
  4. Take breaks
    Bodies are designed to move, so long periods in any one position often result in stiffness or aches. If you know your hobby often makes you lose track of time, then try setting a timer to get up and move every 30-60 minutes. Depending on your hobby, you can also try changing positions – eg sitting, standing, reclining on the couch/armchair.

If your body is sore and stopping you from spending more time on your passions, book in to see a physio to get to the root of the cause and help customise your hobbying posture! You can book online with a Barefoot Physiotherapist here

Shellie – recharging the Energizer bunny :)

Shellie is a superstar – an incredible human who brings laughter and fun to everywhere she is. We have always admired her and even more after watching her learn to take care of herself fully over the last year and becoming an advocate for true self care. Here’s to recharging batteries! Questions by Caitlin

You have travelled to some interesting and stunning places. Tell us more about some of your favourite destinations and where to next!

Choosing my favourite destination is a hard one! I am definitely going back to Egypt because it’s an amazing country and I didn’t get to see all of it, but I really loved the tiny town of Chefchaouen in Morocco. It’s a beautiful town with lovely people and the 6 hour bus trip from Casablanca to Chefchaouen is a chance to see the countryside fly by!  The next big trip I’m planning is a long one covering South Korea and Japan.

Until recently, you were balancing a full time office job and coaching group boxing sessions. That requires some serious commitment! What makes you passionate about coaching?

Coaching was definitely one of my happy places, despite the very early mornings! One of my favourite things about coaching was creating programs that people loved to hate! 😊 I loved getting to know the clients – what exercises they loved/dreaded, and what kind of formats they responded to.

You’ve recently been on a journey of self-care – can you tell us more about what you’ve learned and what changes you’ve made as a result

I’ll try and be as concise as possible with this one, but there’s so much to it! The most important thing I’ve learned – that I thought I already knew, but didn’t – is that checking in with your health (mental and physical) needs to be part of your daily routine regardless of how good you feel. It’s shockingly easy when there’s a lot going on in life to slip down from feeling great and on top of everything, to being unable to handle anything. I jot down (in my awesome wellbeing battery journal! plug!) what my battery level is each day, how much water I drank and how many steps I did. This gives me a clear picture of what is happening in my day, and I can see when I need to slow down to recover from work or physical stress – or when I can push myself more. I started doing this in May last year when my battery was in the red every day, and I still do it every day now that I’m green most days! It’s actually what keeps my battery more full – without knowing where I am today, I can’t make decisions that are beneficial to my tomorrow.

The biggest mental hurdle though, was making peace with resting and going back to basics. Accepting that some days all I can do is go for a long walk, and knowing that other days I can complete a 45 min hiit sesh. The word ‘balance’ gets thrown around a lot, but it absolutely is the key, and listening to my body and my mind about what I really need that day is the biggest change I’ve made 🙂

My tips for healthier camping