The following blog was created by Alzheimer’s Australia. For more information on what you can do for your brain health, visit yourbrainmatters.org.au

Many people exercise for the benefits it has for their body and heart. But what they may not realise is that physical activity also has a significant positive impact on their brain health.

Why should we be concerned about our brain health? It is estimated that more than 320,000 Australians are living with dementia in 2013. Without a significant medical breakthrough, that is expected to increase to around 900,000 by 2050. There’s currently no cure for dementia and we’re all at risk of getting it, but there is hope.

A paper recently launched by Alzheimer’s Australia in partnership with Fitness Australia titled, ‘Physical Activity for Brain Health and Fighting Dementia’ showed that around 13 per cent of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide were attributable to physical inactivity. The paper also found that if a quarter of inactive people became physically active, it could prevent nearly one million cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide. Such a simple solution can have such a huge benefit.

But how does physical activity actually improve the health and function of the brain? The latest local and international research, summarised in the paper, shows physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the growth of brain cells and connections between them.

People who are regularly active on average have healthier brains, better memory, and more efficient planning and other thinking skills—this all impacts on your ability to lower the risk of developing dementia.

Although there’s no formula to calculate the amount of exercise that is optimum for brain health and function, or for lowering dementia risk, many forms of physical activity are beneficial for brain health. This could include going to the gym, playing a team sport, as well as other activities that involve bodily movement and are done as part of playing, working, transport, household chores and leisure activities.

So, whatever your stage of life, you should get involved in physical activities – go for a walk or even learn to salsa dance! Being fit and healthy is great for your body, heart and your brain. The best part is that it’s never too late to start!

For more information on what you can do for your brain health, visit yourbrainmatters.org.au.

See you at the gym

by Oliver Kitchingman

Get to the pressure point

Research being presented by PhD student Aleksandra Macznik, at Sports Medicine Australia’s 2013 Asics Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport from October 22 to 25, indicates that acupressure may be effective for  the treatment of acute sports injury associated pain.

‘Acupressure is an ancient technique originating from oriental medicine, and while complementary and alternative medicine is finding its way into western medicine, it is still not fully utilised’ she said.

Acupressure is similar in principle to acupuncture. In treatment, physical pressure, instead of the needles used in acupuncture, is applied to trigger points with the aim of clearing blockages in meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices.

Macznik began her PhD with very little idea what the results would show; ‘On the one hand, why would it be used for thousands of years if it does not work? But on the other hand, the evidence emerging from the literature on this technique was limited and not fully proven’ she said.

She believes more research is needed, but the results of her study show acupressure has some very promising practical implications.

‘The technique is easy enough to be learnt by anyone with some basic knowledge of anatomy and with a little practice can be used by sports medics, physiotherapists, trainers, and coaches to help with the management of pain their athletes are experiencing after a sports-related injury’ said Macznik.

For more information visit www.sma.org.au

Source: Sports Medicine Australia

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Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

‘Fat shaming’ weight loss techniques create obesity

Constant criticism and ridicule of overweight people does little to motivate them to slim down, and has now been proven to potentially cause greater weight gain.

A recent report titled Perceived Weight Discrimination and Obesity published in PLOS One found that those who suffered discrimination as a result of their weight were likely to either become or remain obese.

‘Weight discrimination, in addition to being hurtful and demeaning, has real consequences for the individual’s physical health’ said study author Angelina Sutin, a psychologist and assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine.

Endorsing the findings of the study, Sydney-based weight loss motivation specialist Kylie Ryan said ‘There’s a very unhealthy attitude that being overweight is shameful, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to judge people based on their body size. What this does is intensify the problem rather than solve it. Repeated criticism of overweight people builds self-loathing which results in further weight gain from over-eating.’

Ryan believes that weight-loss reality television shows have normalised a harsh approach to obese people trying to lose weight; ‘Viewers of these shows get the voyeuristic joy of watching the contestants get tortured and change their body shape, but it only works to reinforce the belief that ‘I’m a loser because I’m fat’ and ‘I’ll only be successful and loveable when I’m slim and good looking. Many of the very people who are supposed to help those struggling with weight issues have no idea that their contempt is a big part of the problem. This contempt from others echoes the sense of self-contempt, self-loathing and shame that many people who struggle with their weight feel on a daily basis.’

According to Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, stigma and discrimination of overweight people can be chronic stressors. ‘And we know that eating is a common reaction to stress and anxiety – that people often engage in more food consumption or more binge eating in response to stressors, so there is a logical connection here in terms of some of the maladaptive coping strategies to try to deal with the stress of being stigmatised.’

Kylie Ryan believes that unless we remove the social stigmatising of overweight people Australia is facing a bleak future; ‘At the moment we’re on track for 80 per cent of Australians to be overweight or obese by 2025. Imagine the knock-on effect of the majority of our population feeling shameful about their bodies and making decisions based on their own inner turmoil? It’s got to change.’

Source: My Mind Coach

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Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

Blueberries and red grapes immunity boosting potential


As well as being a delicious and healthy snack, red grapes and blueberries could have the power to boost your immunity, according  to a new study.

Researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found compounds called stilbenoids in both fruits. In the red grapes the stilbenoid compounds included resveratrol, and pterostilbene in the blueberries. Stilbenoids work with vitamin D to increase expression of the human CAMP (cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide) gene, which affects immune function.

‘Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out’ said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor in the university’s college of science, and principal study investigator.


‘Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing. It’s a pretty interestinginteraction.’

Gombart and his colleagues did note though that the findings were based on laboratory experiments, and therefore do not prove that the consumption of blueberries and red grapes can boost an individual’s immune function.

Source: Molecular Nutrition and Food Research

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Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

New campaign highlights brain-body fitness connection

Your Brain Matters, Alzheimer’s Australia’s brain health program, is urging Australians to take some time out for themselves in the interests of better brain health in a new series of television and cinema commercials.

The ads urge Australians to take some time out for themselves and take up some brain healthy activities, which could include anything from riding a bike, swinging a bat, getting their blood pressure checked, or doing a dance… at their desks.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Glenn Rees says that research has shown that the link between a healthy heart and a healthy brain is not well known.

‘The Australian public knows what it should do for their heart health and for their overall body health, but they don’t realise the impact all these activities can have on brain health’ Mr Rees said.

‘It’s all connected. What is good for the heart, is good for the brain and vice versa. And the good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon or climb a mountain to improve your brain health. There are small things you can do every day, no matter how busy you are, that can make a difference.’

Your Brain Matters is an evidence-based program that shows that activities that are reasonably complex, new, social, challenging and frequent, help retain and build brain cells. Similarly, the things that are good for the heart, like eating well, exercising, and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, are also part of living a brain healthy life. All these things contribute to good brain health and can help reduce the risk of developing dementia.

For more information visit www.yourbrainmatters.org.au 

* * Read the Network article Stretching the grey matter – Exercise and brain health in which Heidi Mitchell discusses the correlation between cardiovascular health and brain health, and highlights the fitness professional’s role in helping to prevent dementia.**

Source: Alzheimer’s Australia

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

Aussie research reinforces sitting/chronic health link

The longer you spend sitting down, the greater your chances of developing chronic illness, a recent Australian and American study has found.

Excessive time spent in a seated position has been linked to various negative health factors for several years now, so this study’s findings reinforce the link.

The researchers, who studied data pertaining to 63,000 men between the ages of 45 and 65 from New South Wales, said that the findings could be of concern to those whose professions require long periods of sitting, from office workers to truck drivers.

Richard Rosenkranz, assistant professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University said; ‘We know… that more physically active people do better with regard to chronic disease compared with less physically active people, but we should also be looking at reducing sitting. A lot of office jobs that require long periods of sitting may be hazardous to your health because of inactivity and the low levels of energy expenditure’ he explained.

The men in the study who sat for shorter periods of time (four hours or less daily), were found to be less likely to have cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, than those who were seated for longer periods. Those who sat for at least six hours displayed a significantly greater risk of diabetes: in fact, the longer people sat, the higher their risk of disease.

Rosenkranz said ‘We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat. The group sitting more than eight hours clearly had the highest risk. It’s not just that people aren’t getting enough physical activity, but it’s that they’re also sitting too much. And on top of that, the more you sit, the less time you have for physical activity.’

Source:  Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity


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Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

Need to get fit and lose weight?

What does it take to get fit and lose weight?

As a Personal Trainer at Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington, Mount Eliza, Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula I often get asked how do I lose weight, how do I get fit or what am I doing wrong with my fitness or nutrition? One evening recently I received an SMS from a client who was lacking motivation and wanted to know what they needed to do to get back on track. I spent that evening thinking about what it takes to succeed and maintain your fitness and nutrition. I came up with some key factors which I think everyone can benefit from and I’d like to share them with all of you over the next few months.

The first factor or topic:

Be driven:

If you search the internet about what it means to be driven you come up with terms like ‘being compelled’, ‘being obliged’, “having no choice’ or ‘being one’s fate’. If you truly want to succeed at anything and this includes your fitness and nutrition these are the ways you need to feel about it. It may seem extreme to some but this is what it takes make it happen. A good way to narrow down exactly what you’re driven about is to write out a list of 10 reasons why you want to be fit and healthy. Then for the next 9 days mark off the least important reason until you’re left with the one thing you’re most driven about. Make a big sign of it or have it as a notification that pops up on your smart phone or computer each day reminding you what you’re striving towards or trying to maintain.

See below a YouTube video with the words of Eric Thomas an American public speaker which I think embodies being driven:

YouTube Preview Image

Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News


Milk in childhood linked to fitter old age


Drinking milk as a child may lead to increased fitness in older age, according to a recent UK study.

Researchers found that people who drank more milk as adolescents were more likely to be able to walk faster and less likely to suffer from poor balance in their senior years.

Historical diet records from two large studies were used to gauge the juvenile nutrition habits of 1,500 men aged between 62 and 86. The impact of diet, with particular reference to protein, calcium and fat, was then assessed in relation to their current-day physical fitness and mobility.

A correlation between childhood intake of calcium, protein and milk, and better mobility on older age prompted the researchers to suggest a ‘public health benefit of childhood milk intake on physical function in old age’.

Source: Age & Aging


Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

Australian breakfast tables set to get healthier

Uncle Tobys recently announced that from January 2013 its entire range of 44 breakfast cereals will meet the nutrition requirements of the new food standard, designed to ensure that health claims only appear on healthy foods.

The announcement is the culmination of a five year program to reduce saturated fat, sugar and sodium across the Uncle Tobys cereal range, while increasing wholegrain and fibre.

Uncle Tobys Nutrition Manager, Nilani Sritharan, said ‘by the end of January our entire range of Uncle Tobys cereals will meet the nutrition eligibility criteria of the new standard, meaning that every one of our cereals could carry a health claim.’

She said that changing cereals to improve their nutritional value while maintaining the taste and texture consumers prefer has been a challenge: ‘We made a series of small changes to our cereals over the years to allow consumers to adjust slowly.’

Announcement of the approval of the Standard for Nutrition, Health and Related Claims, which will become law in early 2013, creates stricter controls about on-pack health claims, including the need to provide scientific evidence to support claims and meet specific eligibility criteria including nutrition criteria.

Source: Nestle

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News

Cup of tea keeps the diabetes away

Green tea always gets great press, but black tea also has many health benefits – as recent analysis has illustrated.

Researchers studied data from 50 countries and discovered that the nations with the highest consumption of black tea had lower rates of type II diabetes than other countries. Although the finding appears to corroborate previous research results, the correlation seems to be something of an anomaly with regards fighting diseases, as higher rates of black tea consumption were not linked to lower incidence of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease or cancer.

Although the researchers highlighted potential inconsistencies arising from the comparison of data from countries with different data collection methods, they expressed confidence in the findings, saying ‘These original study results are consistent with previous biological, physiological, and ecological studies conducted on the potential of [black tea] on diabetes and obesity’.

Source: British Medical Journal

Australian Fitness Network
Right NOW Fitness – Personal Training based in Mornington News