Kayaking – recreational paddling from a Physio’s perspective
Getting into Exercise
Katie Abbott recently started telling us about what she got up to in her spare time. When we started to dig a little deeper, we found a very Proud Dog Mum who has the most incredible little guy Nero who does the most amazing things. On top of this, Katie is also quite an avid mountain-biker, which she came to a bit by accident. So we asked a few more questions and then couldn’t help but put this article together to share her story:
You are the Proud Dog Mum of Nero who you compete in Agility with – can you tell us what Agility is and what Nero participates in?
Nero is my rescue Jack Russell cross who, when I got him, had seemingly endless energy to burn. I needed a way to exhaust not only his crazy fit little body, but his mind too. I did some research and it looked like Agility fit the bill perfectly – I was surprised to find that it wasn’t just for the fast working breed dogs but for dogs of any size and breed. Also, I’m possibly a little competitive with just about anything (I can make yoga competitive), so finding something that was fun, made Nero think, kept us both active and competitive to boot, was a dream come true! It’s true, I am a Proud Dog Mum.
Agility is an obstacle course for dogs and the owners are needed to show the dog which obstacle is next, what speed to take and where the course is going. The courses are made up of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, A-frames, dog walks and see-saws and, depending on the difficulty level, there can be between 15-25 obstacles on a course. The fastest round without making any mistakes is the winner! There are 5 height categories, so thankfully (for them) the big dogs compete separately to the little dogs. Each height category has the same course but the main difference is the height of the jumps. In the ‘mini’ category, Nero competes against other small dogs such as poodles, cocker spaniels, shetland sheepdogs, jack russells, fox terriers and small breed mixes. Teeny tiny dogs such as chihuahua’s compete in the ‘toy’ category all the way up to ex-racing greyhounds compete in the ‘maxi’ category, and everything in between.
Nero has been competing for a couple of years now and he definitely loves being out on the course, going fast and doing his thing with me. Not only is agility fun for both Nero and I, but also it’s been a place where I’ve met so many like-minded, dog-loving, agility-mad Proud Dog Mum Friends.
As a relatively new Queenslander can you tell us what about Brisbane you like and why you chose to live here?
I’ve lived in QLD for 3 years now and it is most definitely feels like home. Going back 5 years, my fiance, Michael and I started a long distance relationship. We met in Paris while on holidays and although we lived in different cities, we were glad we were in the same country! Fast forward 2 years and 100 flights each (yes, EACH) later, the time had come for someone to move. I hadn’t planned to move to Brisbane and was hoping Michael would move to Sydney but we stumbled across an amazing apartment in an awesome location. It was way too nice to have as an investment we planned, so the search was on to find a job up here… which took 3 days. It was just meant to be!
It wasn’t long after I started living here and still flying back to Sydney to see my family, that I realised that landing at Brisbane Airport felt like I was coming home. For me, it’s who I live near that makes the place awesome – so the reason I like Brisbane is because I like the people here. It’s really as simple as that. Yes Brisbane has so many qualities that I love (except the humidity), but the people of Brisbane are what make it so special.
On the weekend we know you can be found on the Mountain biking tracks – how did you get into it, do we have good tracks in Brisbane and how often do you and the trees have a disagreement?
When I wake up on a perfect weekend morning the first thing I want to do is get into the water for a surf. Mother nature doesn’t always provide amazing waves and getting into a wetsuit on a cold morning isn’t so appealing, so another activity was needed to help keep me active and outside. I can’t train Nero 24×7 and he needs rest days too, so I thought maybe biking was an option. I wasn’t super keen at first because the last things I wanted to do were to loose control at speed and get scared. But I bought a bike anyway.
I bought a bike that was good enough to handle the mtb tracks, but not pricey enough that I HAD to go for a ride every weekend to make it worth it. It was a purple bike too – winning!
It was as simple as, after my very first mtb lesson, I was hooked. I was determined to get better, feel that adrenaline rush again and get fit while being outdoors. Honestly, it didn’t bother me too much when I had altercations with trees (sorry Sal!) as I had done equestrian sports for 10 years and competed to 2** level in eventing. While riding horses I had learned that stacks are inevitable and it’s getting back on the horse (now bike) is what makes you learn and grow.
Brisbane has some amazing mountain bike tracks that are specifically for mountain bikes and where bush-walkers aren’t allowed. There are tracks at a few different spots that I’ve been to and they’re beautifully maintained, graded for difficulty and constantly added to to keep things interesting. The places I like to get on the trails are Gap Creek Reserve in Kenmore and also Daisy Hill Conservation Park in Logan. Next on the list of places to check out is the Hidden Vale Adventure Park out past Ipswich.
I now far prefer mountain biking to surfing and am contemplating upgrading my bike to a super fancy dual suspension bike. I just hope they come in purple.
If you liked Katie’s Proud Dog Mum story, and would like to submit something about yourself – we’d love to hear from you. Click here and shoot us a web mail.
It’s all happened to us, even from the most innocuous of activities: picking up my keys. Does our body really start to fall apart as we age?
I just jumped in my car, and as I went to grab the door handle with keys in hand, I dropped my keys. While seated, I twisted and bent over to pick them up – then I felt it – a tiny twinge in my lower spine. Not enough to hurt, but just enough to let me know I’d done something bad down there.
Not thinking anything of it, I drove away, the twinge becoming pain and then acute pain. I drove myself to a physio. By the time I got there, I couldn’t get out of the car without assistance. I had ruptured a lumbar disc.
I’m not alone. Lots of friends have told me similar stories – doing something simple, and then twang – something happens. Generally it’s shrugged off with the statement “this is what happens at our age. Your body starts to fall apart.”
“The age” is mid-30s. The thing is, I heard the same when I turned 40. And I’m sure I’ll hear it again when I turn 50.
There is some truth to it. Your muscles do start to change in your 30s, says Professor Alan Hayes, a muscle and exercise physiologist at Victoria University.
“You have … peak muscle mass in mid-20s and certainly after that point, by about your mid-30s, they start to decline.
“But if you’re that age and just blaming your body, that’s a bit of a cop out.”
James Fell, a sports scientist at the University of Tasmania, says there’s probably no reason to attribute such muscular niggles to age until your 50s.
Professor Hayes thinks it’s even higher: “I don’t think you should do that until you’re in your 70s.”
So if I can’t blame my age, why does it feel like my body is about to fall apart?
Life stage and lifestyle
In short, a lot of it is due to activity — or lack thereof.
“There’s no doubt that the sedentary lifestyle aspect is a major contributor to the injuries that we’re going to sustain,” Professor Hayes says.
When you sit at a desk for hours on end, for instance, your hip flexor muscles, which connect your spine, pelvis and upper legs, remain constantly shortened, Dr Fell says.
“And then you get up out of your chair and expect them to function normally, and you injure them or other associated structures.”
With being sedentary comes a greater risk of obesity. Fat can work its way between muscle fibres, further decreasing strength, and into bone.
The “your body falls apart in your 30s” idea probably also has something to do with that particular life stage, Bond University sports scientist Peter Reaburn says.
Are you over the age of 40 and feel like your body is telling you something? What do you do to keep fit and moving? Do you incorporate resistance training? We’d love to know!
If you’re unsure about what to do, or whether your body is ready to start something knew like lifting weights – then feel free to give us a call or book in for an assessment. You can book on-line HERE, or call us on 1300 842 850. We’ll make sure you don’t fall apart.
Do you suffer Fat Ankles from Flying? With both domestic and international flights having become cheaper over the years, more and more of us are flying. Sometimes these trips can be longer than 2 hours, reaching 13 hours for a long-haul flight, which also might be followed by even more flying. Prolonged sitting, lack of movement, dehydration, pressure on the hips and hamstrings can all contribute to fat ankles from flying.
Sometimes no matter how much you try and move around, swollen ankles can still result.
So, why do we get fat ankles from flying, especially on those long trips? Is this dangerous? How do we prevent it?
Let’s start with why this happens. Whenever we are sitting for a long period of time in a plane, the muscles in our legs that are usually responsible for pumping blood and fluid back up are legs are not being used at all. Over time, this will lead to an increase in fluid and blood pooling in our lower limbs (ankles).
Additionally, on long flights in a low air pressure aircraft cabin, it is easy avoid drinking lots of water. Firstly, the stress of flights sometimes makes an alcoholic beverage a more appealing choice, and secondly a lot of people avoid too much water because they do not want to be getting up and going to the toilets on a regular basis while flying. This makes it very easy to become mildly dehydrated on airplanes. Being dehydrated can reduce your blood circulation, making it that much easier for fluid to pool in your ankles on those long flights.
Is this dangerous? The ankle swelling itself is not dangerous, however the reasons which cause it can also cause things like blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in your calf), which can be seriously dangerous and has the potential to cause death. So although the ankle swelling itself is not a reason for concern, the reasons which caused the ankle swelling is definitely reason enough to take it seriously and take any necessary precautions to prevent it.
How do we prevent it?
- The biggest thing you can do to prevent poor circulation and subsequent ankle swelling is movement. Aim to get up on a half hourly basis (Assuming you are not asleep) for a walk around the cabin. Aim to be up walking for at least 3-5 minutes each time.
- It is crucial to stay hydrated. This means drinking water before and during the flights. Even if you are having a glass of wine or a beer, try and also have a bottle of water on the go as well.
- It is important to keep your feet and legs moving as much as possible even while you are seated. Pump your ankles from side to side and up and down on a regular basis.
- Some people wear compression stockings while flying to prevent blood clots in their legs. There is evidence suggesting that wearing these stockings can significantly reduce your chance of a blood clot which is great, however it is important to remember that stockings are NOT a substitute for any other of the above precautionary measures, most importantly exercise and frequent movement on a plane.
- There is research that suggests taking aspirin during your flight slightly thins the blood, reducing the chance of deep vein thrombosis and swelling. However, we strongly recommend checking with your doctor before flying if this is right for you.
- Holding or placing your feet above your heart is obviously a great way to keep the blood from pooling in your feet and ankles. If you can, see if you can lift your knees and legs up high, placing them on the seat in front of you – obviously trying not to annoy the passenger in front of you. Handstands in the space outside the toilets or galley is also a fun way to get the blood moving – don’t knock over the food cart!
- After your flight, when finally somewhere you can lie down, put your legs up the wall. This is awesome to drain the legs lymphatic system, encourage oxygenated blood to circulate up the legs and feet.
- Post-flight massage is also a great way to alleviate any swelling. You could do this yourself, or find somewhere close by that you can walk to. The gentle practice of just walking will also assist the body in circulating the blood.
Of course if the swelling doesn’t go down and/or you’re feeling any discomfort or pain, visit a health care practitioner as soon as you can. We’re also here to help, either with some specific treatment before or after you fly. All of our Physios are very well versed in the affects of flying, and are ready to help you make you feel amazing any time you need.
A love for anything health and fitness brought Tristan Forbes into an industry he absolutely loves. Recently starting both Witness the Fitness and Breathing Space, read what brought Tristan on this adventure into keeping people healthy and fit.
What brought you into the health industry in the first place?
As most health professionals, I had a love for anything health and fitness. Mainly sports but I did get into the ‘aesthetic gym scene’ during high-school due to being a rather pudgy kid even with participating in multiple sports at a time since middle school. I’d say my Mum & Dad definitely had an influence as well, Dad competed for Aus in rowing and was a mad-keen triathlete. Mum was into aerobics and workouts at the gym, so looking back at it now, seeing her balance “mumlife” and her health and fitness, would have helped me connect the dots later in life.
You build great communities around you, Witness the Fitness and now Breathing Space – can you describe your passion creating these places for people?
Witness The Fitness was created because we saw how easy it was to transform and help people if they followed a precise plan for 8 weeks. 6 years ago there wasn’t too much out there for anyone and everyone to have access to something like that, to become empowered through education and community/people around them to help change their lives. Because that’s exactly how I did it – I educated myself, surrounded myself with people doing the same thing and over time personal goals were achieved. Some people have had more to transform than others, some people didn’t even need to ‘transform’, a lot of people just wanted to be part of a fun and healthy community. Breathing Space is really an extension of that but more towards the wellness side of things. If you can imagine a scale from fitness (strength, speed, endurance) to wellness (health, balance, longevity), I found that Witness The Fitness really did focus on the fitness side of things – even though we do 10-15 minutes of mobility each session, have an infrared sauna in our gym and preach the importance of sleep and a healthy diet.
With Breathing Space, we can extend our community for one thing, we can shine a light on the importance of yoga and meditation and we can then have this amazing cross over where those who are currently well into their wellness side of things, can get the amazing benefits of introducing a little more ‘fitness’ into their lives and vice versa.
Above all of this.. it’s a passion to help people see and feel the positive side effects of health and fitness. So much so that they want to help their friends and family become healthy and fit. A healthy and fit mother and father is most likely going to one; produce healthy and fit children and two; help those children live healthy and fit lives so that they themselves one day produce healthy and fit children! We aren’t just helping our current members, we are literally helping generations and generations to come!
What drives you and motivates you day to day?
Pretty much everything answered in question one and two.. Ha ha. But also now creating the life I envisioned almost ten years ago now. A successful bunch of businesses that help people, give back to the community and provide my future wife (her name is Matilda by the way, totally envisioned that) myself and our kids our ideal lifestyle. Goals in both personal and business life are forever changing but that really is the one thing that remains day in, day out.
What drew you to open a yoga studio?
Ever since developing a personal passion for Animal Flow (google it!) two years ago, I have wanted to have a suitable space to run classes, year long intensives and workshops to show people how amazing it really is and how much it can help any athlete, father, mother, anyone! Since learning the importance of energy and vibe in a particular space, I knew that our current Witness The Fitness studio just wasn’t going to work. So when my now Breathing Space business partner, Adam from Nowhere Espresso, mentioned that a yoga studio would go great in the laundromat that was closing down next door.. we hit the ground running and before we knew it – introduced a beautiful space to a quite suburban community in Toowong.
We recently had you at our clinic for an animal flow workshop, explain to people who weren’t able to attend how you got into animal flow?
First, seriously google ‘This Is Animal Flow’.. That’s how I got into it. I watched that video by Mike Fitch, the creator and from there I was hooked. I travelled to the Gold Coast for my first workshop / proper introduction and totally geeked out on the intricate details of how developing animalistic movement abilities improved today’s Homo sapien body.
Where to from here? (things you’d like to accomplish next, where you see yourself in 5 years, any new ideas/ambitions)
This year is a big one.. Last month I secured a contract with W Hotel Brisbane where our trainers facilitate the PT sessions for their hotel guests and use their incredible rooftop areas for events, this will help our brand exposure and develop some international relationships for future WTF expansions. In September I am opening a second gym, this one is called FORME Fitness and will have the same health and fitness ethos as WTF but with a deeper focus on 1 on 1 coaching. Very fortunate to get a spot in the new Calile Hotel on James St, cannot wait to see it come to life! Apart from that, build the WTF and Breathing Space community plus ensure everyone is moving forward. Personally; if it were a Saturday or Sunday – watching over a couple of kids, in a house, with a dog or two, chilling after a flow and just be enjoying life really – most likely barefoot too – I like being barefoot.
As you know, Tristan recently conducted an Animal Flow workshop here at Barefoot Physiotherapy. Due to its popularity, we’ll probably be holding another workshop later this year.
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