Dyslipidaemia refers to abnormal levels of blood fats or ‘lipoproteins’. Lipoproteins are the transporters that move fat around our bodies.
The most common dyslipidaemias are high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels known as hyperlipidaemia, high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c, the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c, the ‘good’ cholesterol).
How is it diagnosed?
A blood test called a lipid profile is used to diagnose the condition, and management of dyslipidaemia is important for people with, or at risk of, cardiovascular disease because we know that a poor lipid profile is a significant risk factor for blood vessel damage.
The risk of heart problems also increases with high triglyceride or LDL-c levels, or with low HDL-c levels.
How does exercise help?
Management of dyslipidaemia aims to reduce the risk of cardiovascular ‘events’ such as heart attacks that may occur within the next 5-10 years — this is called the absolute cardiovascular risk.
Any lowering of LDL-c and triglycerides, or raising of HDL-c, is likely to reduce this risk.
Improving our lifestyle by improving our diet, increasing our exercise to reduce our weight, especially body fat, is a key management strategy for decreasing cardiovascular risk. Physical fitness and regular exercise have both been shown to considerably reduce the absolute cardiovascular risk and death rate.
Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise can:
What types and intensities of exercise are recommended?
People with dyslipidaemia should undertake aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week to improve their lipid profiles and reduce their cardiovascular risk.
This amount can be accumulated in shorter bouts of 10 minutes duration and can be built up over time. We suggest aerobic exercise that uses large muscle groups such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, skiing, playing ball games or other sporting activities.
Research has also found vigorous aerobic exercise to be beneficial and improves HDL-c more than less-intense exercise. Vigorous aerobic exercise is described as a ‘very hard’ effort, and at this level you would not be able to hold a conversation whilst exercising as you would not have the breath to do so.
In addition to aerobic training, progressive high-intensity resistance training (i.e. weight training) has also shown to improve HDL-c.
For this the goal is to undertake 2–3 sets of 8–10 different exercises, at a load that can be performed for 8–15 repetitions of each exercise, at least twice a week.
Don’t forget your warm up before both your aerobic and strength training exercises.
People with known or suspected cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome or diabetes; people with a family history of heart attacks; people with high blood pressure; smokers; men aged over 45 years or women aged over 55 years; and people who have not been doing regular exercise should consult their doctor or Exercise Physiologist before commencing an exercise program.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Most runners believe that in order to be better-performing and faster-running machines, they simply need to run more and hone their craft by following a well-designed running program. But, that's only half true.
The other piece of the puzzle comes from a structured resistance-training program. Even if a runner wants to improve their running time at the middle or long distances, strength training is a must to improve.
How does strength training help?
The main reason is to improve our running economy
Running economy basically means that you are more efficient and able to undertake the same distance in less time and with less energy.
There are heaps of studies showing improvements in running economy and that even in trained distance runners that running economy can improve by up to 8% following a period of resistance training. So for a serious runner who undertakes marathons, 8% off of a 4 hour marathon is 20 minutes, so a pretty good improvement - even shaving 10 minutes off a marathon would make most runners pretty happy!
There is a second train of thought that strength training also decreases our injury risk. However there are inconsistent findings in the literature on associations between lower body strength and running injury occurrence.
So the main reason to strength train is to improve our running economy.
What does a typical program that a runner should undertake look like?
What are some examples of exercises people can do at home?
An example gym program for runners might include exercises like:
Power work is also beneficial to improving running economy:
Check out a few strength training exercises here:
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic condition which results in an elevated fasting blood glucose level due to either a defect of our body to produce the hormone insulin, or an inability of our body to use insulin.
Why is insulin important, what does it do?
Insulin is a hormone that allows our bodies to use the glucose from the food that we eat for energy, and it also acts like a key that unlocks cells and allows glucose to be stored for future use.
Without insulin working well, the glucose from food remains in our blood and our blood glucose levels rise to a high level. This is not normal for our bodies. When left untreated this can cause a number of consequences to our health including blindness, nerve damage, limb amputation, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
How common is diabetes?
It’s estimated that around 1.7 million Australians are living with diabetes, with one person being diagnosed every 5 minutes, and it contributes to around 11% of deaths in Australia.
What are the different types of diabetes
There are a number of different types of diabetes, with the most common being type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, more and more young people, even children, are developing type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is strongly associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity and a poor diet.
How can exercise help to prevent type 2 diabetes?
No one knows exactly what causes type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle factors, such as being overweight and being inactive, strongly increase your risk. Statistics show that 53% of the diabetes burden is due to overweight and obesity alone.
Increasing your exercise and physical activity levels is an easy way to help reduce your risk!
Can exercise help people living with type 2 diabetes?
Yes it certainly can. Although there is no known cure for diabetes, exercise can be a powerful tool for managing this condition. Exercise helps to:
How much exercise is recommended?
The actual dose of exercise that is recommended to prevent and to assist in managing type 2 diabetes is to accumulate 2 and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise across the week, or half that amount of high intensity exercise, in addition to 2 strength training sessions. The strength training exercises should aim to target the major muscle groups within the body.
It’s important to monitor blood glucose levels, particularly for people on insulin, before, during and after an exercise session, and it is also important to wear good supportive footwear and to check feet for problems each exercise session.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist/Diabetes Educator
It has been a very different year in regard to local community sports and how/ if they are running due to COVID-19 restrictions. It is great to see some sports happening again and bringing with it many positive benefits for our physical, mental and over wellbeing. Although the preparation for this year’s winter sports has not ran as usual and as a result meant players physical fitness and condition may not be quite up to scratch.
When the game day and training demands are much higher than a player’s current physical capacity are not quite meeting up it can increase the likelihood of injury significantly. This can be due to pushing your body harder that it is capable of at that point of time, placing increased stress on each of your body systems.
Why is injury more likely?
It’s no secret that the first few games of any sporting season usually make you feel more fatigued than usual and this is largely due to the body not being accustomed to the high degree of sport specific demands that are placed on the body. Weather it is the high contact nature of football or the short sharp bursts of speed needed in hockey, the body takes a little while to re-adjust to sport when you first get back into it. The difference in regard to the 2020 sporting seasons is that as structured trainings during the pre-season have not been able to occur as much, your body has not had the time to prepare adequately.
If you are a player who relies heavily on building your fitness level during structured training sessions and complete little extra independently at home, you may have put yourself at a higher risk of injury due to a lack of preparation. For those not competing in elite level sport and not training regularly in the off season it is normal for declines in muscular strength, endurance and general conditioning to occur. This is then built up again over the off season, conditioning the body for competition intensity and loads. When this conditioning has not occurred the risk of injury increases as the body tries to complete more than it can handle. Depending on the sport and the specific movement patterns, different areas of the body are more susceptible to injury. For example, footballers are more likely to have a knee or lower limb muscle tear whereas netballers are more inclined to experience ankle and knee joint related issues.
Ways to help outside of game day?
So how can you help to prevent injuries and prepare yourself for sport?
How to help on game day?
I know we are all loving having sport back on in the community and we hope that you are too. Try implementing a few of these tips to help you stay in the game all season!
By Aleisha Michael
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
The Hamstring muscle group, often referred to as the “hammie” is often associated with sports injuries like muscle tears, BUT.. they could be causing a lot more than just that.
What make up the Hamstring?
The hamstring muscle group is not as strong as it’s quadricep counterpart, but they are pretty crucial in our ability to move. The group is made up of 3 individual muscles that sit under the back of your thigh, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and Biceps femoris. They all cross two joints, the hip and the knee meaning that they can produce hip extension by bringing the leg back behind you or knee flexion by bending the knee back.
How can Hamstring injuries occur?
In a normal functioning leg, every action in your quadricep muscles at the front of your leg causes an opposite reaction in the hamstrings at the back of your leg. These two muscles work very closely together to allow you to move both your hip and knee joints and stabilise the pelvis. While it is normal and expected for the quadriceps muscles to be stronger than the hamstrings it is important to have a correct balance of strength in both groups. When there is a strength imbalance between the two the hamstrings may be too weak to support the actions of the quadriceps. This imbalance can often be caused by sitting and running and when an imbalance does occur it can cause problems such as lower back pain and an increased risk of hamstring strains or tears to occur.
What can weak hamstring’s cause?
When the hamstring muscles are weak it causes additional load and stress to be placed on it’s surrounding muscle groups, as the hamstrings aren’t able to handle higher loads or intensities. This can result in overuse strains or injuries to occur in the gluteal muscles, the quadriceps and even the lower back.
What can tight hamstring’s cause?
Tight and inflexible hamstrings can often be a contributor to lower back pain. This can happen through tight and constantly contracted hamstrings putting additional stress on the hips and pelvis. This causes the pelvis to tilt back, which subsequentially places added tension and pressure onto the spine and vertebrae. When prolonged periods of tightness occur muscles spasms and strains in the lower back can begin to occur consistently.
Hamstring tightness can also cause patella-femoral pain syndrome which basically causes an increased strain between the kneecap and thigh bone.
How to prevent Hamstring injuries or tightness:
By Aleisha Michael
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Stretching has been a hot topic in the health and fitness world for a few years now and one that everybody seems to have their own opinions on!
When should I stretch?
How long should I stretch for?
What types of stretching should I be doing?
We will discuss all these
questions and more!
What is stretching?
Stretching is the act of getting you out of the posture that you spend most of your time in
and moving joints through their full range. It involves placing parts of your body into a
position that with lengthen the muscles and surrounding fascia/ connective tissue. It can be
done before or after exercise but also throughout the day when in sustained postures, to
prevent muscle tightness, aches and pains and improve circulation.
What types of stretching should you be doing?
As a general rule of thumb there are two main types of stretching;
● Static stretching – this type of stretch is performed without movement meaning you
would get into the stretch position and hold that position for a given amount of
● Dynamic stretching – this type of stretch is performed with movement meaning you
use a swinging or bouncing movement to extend your range of motion and flexibility.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve from your stretching (eg. Warming up before
exercise or increasing muscle length) will determine which type of stretching to complete
When should you stretch?
It has long been believed that we should stretch for long periods of time before and after an
activity, but this isn’t necessarily true! It is crucial to warm-up your body prior to exercise
through dynamic movements. The aim of these movements before exercise is not to
improve your flexibility but to simply prime the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons that
you are about to use.
In regard to trying to improve your flexibility and muscle length the most effective time to
conduct this type of static stretching is after exercise as the muscles are warm and pliable.
Another great time to stretch can be straight before bed as this is when our muscles and
soft tissues heal, meaning they are healing in an elongated or stretched position that was
achieved before going to sleep.
How long should your stretch for?
When completing static stretching a single stretch should be held for at least 30-60 seconds
and repeated two or three times on each side. This gives the muscle enough time to relax
and begin to lengthen. When performing dynamic stretches prior to exercise the duration ca
depend on a number of things including how tight you may be already, the temperature and
how long your exercise session is going to be. At a minimum, dynamic stretches should be
performed for 5-10 minutes before any exercise, but longer than this for higher intensity,
longer duration activities.
If you would like more assistance or guidance around stretching, get in touch with us!
By Aleisha Michael
Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
“I want to get rid of my muffin top” or “lose my wobbly arms” and “cut back the beer belly” are all phrases we hear regularly in the clinic and I’m sure we’ve all thought at some point. Unfortunately, I’m here to bust that myth and let you know that no matter how hard you try, you can’t target where on your body fat loss occurs. Often these goals or obsessions with a particular aspect of your body can actually be preventing you from being more effective with your training and achieving a range of health and fitness goals, rather than just one.
It has been a long-time belief for many people that by training a specific muscle or muscle group, fat loss will also occur in this same area. This is not the case and yet many popular workouts on social media and in magazines will have you believe otherwise, promising to “tone those trouble areas.” Often what these people are selling is a quick fix and not providing you with a holistic approach to your overall health and fitness goals.
To reduce fat mass, we must have a greater energy expenditure than input into our bodies. We gain energy through consuming food and we burn energy in 3 ways. Firstly, while at rest to maintain our bodies essential functions like breathing, blood circulation and organ function. Secondly the process of turning food into energy and lastly by moving our bodies. Put simply when our body needs energy, it uses a range of resources within the body, one being fat which is then released from fat calls to help produce said energy. Unfortunately, regardless of which body parts we are moving our body removes fat from cells based on your gender, genetics, body shape and a range of other factors.
Often the exercises prescribed in these “spot targeting” workouts are focused around working very small muscles that don’t contribute a lot to improving your overall fitness, strength or energy expenditure. If your goal is to “get lean” meaning to build muscle and decrease fat mass, then targeting small muscles will likely leave you feeling frustrated and unsuccessful. Alternatively focusing on large muscle groups when training will not only improve your overall fitness and strength but also the amount of energy you burn, increasing your energy expenditure for the day, promoting an increase in fat loss overall.
To increase your overall fat loss try focusing on activities that expend more energy and eventually your “target areas” will reduce too. If you find that you really enjoy training the smaller muscles, leave those exercises for the end of your workouts if you have the time and energy!
1. Be prepared
Make sure you have the right gear, which is really just a good supportive pair of footwear and if you're female a good fitting bra. That’s the beauty of running. You don’t actually need fancy workout clothes, a top of the range GPS tracking watch, or a running coach, you just need decent footwear and a desire to get started.
2. Stop procrastinating and just get started
You might feel overwhelmed by how to start running – do you need the fancy watch, a program for what you should be doing or anything else, but just getting started and forming a habit of undertaking regular exercise is the first step. On your first run, try and set a time that you are going to be out exercising for - that might be as little as 20 minutes including your warm up and cool down. And don’t expect that you are going to be able to jog for the whole time you are out on your first run.
3. Use the walk run method
As it says, this is a training method where you undertake walking and jogging intervals throughout your training session. Following your warm up you might start with jogging for 1 minute, followed by walking for 4 minutes, repeating that cycle for 4 times. As your fitness improves you can slowly increase the amount of time that you jog, and decrease your walking time – so after 4 weeks it might be a cycle of 4 mins jogging, and 1 minute walking. It’s always good to finish with a walking segment to cool down, and then end with stretches.
If you have a higher level of base fitness, you might start straight at 3 mins jogging and 2 minute walking or even more. Basically you want to be at about a 6 or 7 out of 10 in terms of challenge or exertion level by the end of your jogging interval.
Some of the mistakes people make are trying to do too much too soon which can lead to injury or burnout.
So, when you are starting out don’t try and run too fast, try and stick to a steady cruisy pace that you can maintain for the entire run.
When progressing your running program, you need to progress the total time of your runs, or frequency of running each week slowly. If you have worked up to 3 times a week for 20 minutes continuously – you're undertaking 60 minutes of jogging each week. To progress that we want to use the 10% per week rule. Therefore the following week would include 66 minutes in total. Or 3 x 22 minutes.
5. Use tools to keep you inspired
Keep a running journal, or use an app like map my run which can track your distance, pace, and even talk to you along the way.
Run with a friend
Find a running partner as it can then become a social catch up as well.
Your favourite music played through your phone or ipod can motivate you; or search spotify for a running playlist; or make your own playlist of motivating music. There are also apps which will select songs with the same beats per minute as your running cadence to keep you on track.
Podcasts or movies
Listening to a favourite podcast, or if your’re on the treadmill catching up on your favourite netflix episodes can help the time pass quickly.
Interval training apps
There are a number of interval training apps that you can download for free or purchase that you can program your planned work:rest schedule into so that it beeps to let you know when to run/walk. I use seconds pro for my workouts but there are many others in the app store.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
The weather and change of seasons affect many things in our lives from our social calendars, mood, motivation levels and exercise routines. It’s no secret that going for a walk on a nice warm, sunny day is much more inviting than heading out into the cold and wet to get your movement in for the day. Although it is just as important to keep your regular exercise routine from summer continuing throughout the cooler months too. Consistency is the key to exercise and is crucial to maintain and promote all of the positive health benefits we gain from keeping our bodies moving.
Where to exercise
Everyone has their own preference about where and when they like to exercise. Some people prefer the gym while others prefer fresh air and getting outside to be active. Regardless of the space you feel more comfortable in there is still ways to stay active in all environments during winter.
Studies have found that regular gym goers are more likely to stay consistent with their exercise routine in the cooler months as they are inside and unaffected by the weather.
If you are more the outdoorsy type? Fear not, as there are still many ways to stay moving outdoors too! As most of us know when we get moving our body warms up, so when exercising outside in the cooler air you will soon become toasty warm! There are a few tips to remember when exercising in cooler conditions though. Longer warmups are often required to get our body warm and limber before getting into the main section of your session in cooler temps. It is also important to be aware of the conditions and avoid extended exposure to extreme conditions and dress appropriately too.
How to stay motivated
By Aleisha Michael
Your gluteal muscles are one of the largest and
most powerful muscle groups in the body,
but they can also cause a lot of grief if not
given enough attention!
What are the ‘Glutes’?
Your gluteal muscle group is made up of three main muscles; gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Each individually play a part on moving the leg and acting on the hip joint and pelvis.
What can weak glutes cause?
Lower back pain:
As we have previously mentioned, the muscle groups within our body are all inter-related and can act upon one another. The glute max provides lower back stability through its connection and relationship with the muscles deep within the back that help us to stand up straight, and the connective tissue that surrounds them. If the glute max is weak and fails to contract when we are doing movements that involve lifting or bending, then extra load and pressure is placed on the lower back extensor muscles. This over time can cause lower back pain to develop due to muscle tightness or even deeper joint injuries.
Poor knee stability/ pain:
As stated above the glutes can impact on the surrounding joints and specifically the anterior portion of the knee joint. When your glutes are weak and in particular glute med, it can cause the leg to internally rotate more than it should, due to the quadricep muscle group at the front of the leg being stronger or tighter than the glutes. This as a result increases the pressure on the knee cap and can cause pain at the front of the knee. Overtime it can cause more serious alterations such as knee valgus or ‘knock knees” to occur.
Weak glutes can often cause poor movement patterns and incorrect activation sequences to develop. If the glutes are not activating during a movement then it causes a different muscle to overcompensate and this can often be the hamstrings. The glute muscles are predominantly stabilisers of the hip and when they do not activate first it can cause the hamstring to try and both stabilise and produce power during a movement. Over time this can cause the hamstring to become more prone to strains, tears or niggles.
When the glutes can’t produce enough force during hip extension there is an increase in forward movement within the hip joint capsule. This increased forward angle can eventually lead to a higher amount of force and wear and tear within the hip joint. This can cause conditions such as osteoarthritis and other joint related injuries to develop or progress at an increased rate.
These are just a few of the common injuries that weak glutes can cause, but they can contribute to so many more! If you feel that you may be suffering from some weak glutes head on over to our Facebook page to learn some glute specific strengthening exercises that can help!
By Aleisha Michael