City to Bay: Preparation is the key to success

City to Bay: Preparation is the key to success

219945-city-bay-2010-major-event-650x366-How many times have we heard the saying ‘Preparation is the key to success’? Similarly one of my favourites is ‘In failing to prepare we are preparing to fail’. These sayings can be applied leading into any event in our lives from an up and coming job interview, to a 4 year olds birthday party, to painting the walls of your house. Preparation is crucial, however what comes before preparation???

Identifying the goal
Without establishing what it is we are setting out to achieve we have nothing to prepare for. And on the flip side, without establishing where we are now compared to that goal, how can we direct and design our preparation plan to ensure we are on the right track.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 6.36.23 PMEach year in Adelaide the City to Bay fun run comes around and 35,000 people run, walk or wheel their way either 6 or 12km to the Glenelg. What a fantastic event!!! But every year during July and August we hear people say ‘one day I am going to participate in that event’ or ‘I would love to be fit enough to join in with the team at work’. If your goal is to participate or compete in this event then let’s start setting you up for success. Preparation for an event can:

  • Improve your aerobic fitness and physical capacity
  • Improve the time and ease at which you complete the event
  • Increase confidence and self esteem
  • Greater sense of achievement at completion
  • Reduce injury risk

At iNform we are launching an 8 week training and race preparation program leading in to the City to Bay for 2016 to be held on the 18th September. The program will allow you to adequately set goals for what you want to achieve out of the event, establish your current baseline level of function and fitness and then plan and train for the event from there. For those interested in participating in the program they will receive:

  • Baseline aerobic fitness testing
  • Coaching around goals and behaviour change
  • Weekly 1:1 individualised exercise sessions focusing on running/walking economy and corrective exercise
  • Individually tailored running/walking training program
  • Support and guidance leading up to the event

If you would like to know more about this 8 week program please call iNform on 84312111 or email us on info@informhealth.com.

 

AM vs. PM: Is it better to exercise in the morning or evening?

AM vs. PM: Is it better to exercise in the morning or evening?

Most people generally decide whether to exercise in the morning or evening, or possibly a combination of the two simply due to time availablility or individual preference. Some people swear by the 6am workouts that gets them pumped for the rest of the day, others wouldn’t dare break a sweat before lunch, but is there a ‘best’ time of day to exercise?

Have you ever considered the possible benefits or negatives of which time of day you decide to exercise? 

Several studies have focused on this exact question and looked at varying physiological processes to see the change to morning and evening exercise. One study compared the differences in a maximal exertion treadmill test on untrained individuals randomly performed once in the morning and once in the evening. Recording heart rate, oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio, rate of perceived exertion and total exercise time, they found no significant difference in performance during maximal exercise. Due to variations in body temperature, a longer warm up may be required in morning training due to a slower increase in body temperature, which may have an effect on ventilation responses and rating of perceived exertion.

Exercising in the morning has been linked to a better night’s sleep. Exercising just before bed can affect sleep due to increased levels of endorphin’s and serotonin. If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, it’s best to make sure you don’t exercise within two hours of going to bed.

One study focused on the effect morning and evening exercise had on the hormones; growth hormone (important for human development) and cortisol (helps the body manage stress). Previous research has shown that these two hormones response to exercise is dependent on other factors, such as: workload, mode, duration, anaerobic vs. aerobic, diet and fitness level. When such factors are controlled, it was found that time of day does not alter growth hormone response to exercise; however, peak cortisol concentrations in response to exercise were found in the morning.

Another study focused on the psychological responses to exercise and found no significant changes in anxiety, depression, anger or mood following high intensity exercise in the morning or evening, concluding that mood and anxiety responses to exercises are similar whether exercise is performed in the morning or evening

So what can we take from all of this? While some studies have shown possible benefits to exercising either in the morning or evening the vast majority show no significant change and agree that it really doesn’t matter what time of day you exercise – the most important thing is to pick a time of day that works best for you, because after all exercising any time of day is better than not exercising at all.

Can we really create sustainable change?

Diet-and-fitnessThere would be very few people in the western world who would not want to change one aspect of their health. From reducing weight to moving well, we want to change and most importantly, make that change “stick”.

Take activity as an example. We roughly know the drill; move more, sit less.  However in 2012, nearly 70% of Australian adults (i.e. almost 12 million people) were either sedentary or had low levels of physical activity. 70%!  So even though we know we should move, we don’t. Why? Everyday we hear people explain that they have tried on many occasions to exercise more but they tend to slowly fall off the bandwagon.

Why is change so hard?
As we discussed in our “Creating Change” blog, to create a change, you must first be unhappy / disillusioned with your current behaviour or the consequences from it. If it is not important to you personally, then you will not have the internal motivation needed to create the change you would like to see.

Secondly, it is important to recognize that change is a process rather than a single event and we will often have little setbacks when times become tough (perhaps due to time pressures, motivation levels, fatigue etc). This is inevitable. However success comes about from the ability to recognize these setbacks and best determine how to work around the obstacles. This is an extremely challenging process because habits are deeply ingrained. Unless earnestly focused upon these behaviour’s tend to go unnoticed and we slowly slip back to our starting point.

What can help you create sustainable change?
There are many tools, when used in conjunction with each other that can help regulate the behaviors you want to change and help monitor the progress. These can include:

Adherence tools:

  • Self regulation through monitoring/charting progressions and regressions
  • Rewarding your good behaviours (with healthy/fun rewards)
  • Goal setting – allows specific focus
  • Objective assessment to determine if improvements are made
  • Use of prompts to initiate healthy behavior

Support tools:

  • Social support from close friends and family to influence change, including joining in with the good behaviours, motivation or positive reinforcement.
  • Support from an unbiased outsider (trainer, allied health professional) to aid in motivation and constructive feedback and positive reinforcement.

Education tools:

  • Provision of relevant up to date health information to empowered individuals to make effective behavioural change i.e: the kilojoule content of alcohol and the health benefits of different type of alcohol beverages
  • Problem based learning – identifying personal issues and education around solving them ie: time management techniques

At iNform we have seen a range of individuals change their health behaviours and reap the rewards of a happy and healthy life. We have noticed that the successful clients had all compiled these three facets in some way. This has inspired us to create iNform LIFE, a holistic lifestyle program aimed at improving individual’s health and wellness. We place the focus on helping clients adhere to their individual goals whilst educating them in current research in the areas of food, exercise, sleep and stress

The iNform life program gives you access to:

  • Individualised online training programs with detailed descriptions and images.
  • Weekly educational material based on client’s needs and wants, to help drive self management
  • Support and contact time to talk directly with your Exercise Physiologist
  • Weekly reports of your food, exercise, sleep and stress choices
  • Goal setting and tracking support
  • Fitness and strength testing to help track progressions
  • Interesting and informative health and fitness blogs

If you would like to know more about this 8 week program please call iNform on 84312111 or email us on info@informhealth.com

People watching: do you have enough strength??

People watching: do you have enough strength??

6 Strength levelI love people watching. My ‘creative expression’ is understanding human movement, and helping others move better so that they can get more from life. This is what I do, every day, and I love it. In fact, this is not a job, but somehow, a part of who I am. As such, I would struggle to be in a public setting, and not look at how others move, at their physical strength, and wonder how I could impact their life through some simple tweaks (yes, if we have shared a physical space, I have probably been checking you out!!).

I recently participated in a great community event that had people walking, running, cycling, pushing prams and riding scooters to raise funds for some great welfare projects. And as I watched those around me, I was conflicted. On one hand, I was so happy to see so many people out being physically active, enjoying the outdoors and each others’ company and support. But on the other hand, I was concerned by the lack of physical strength that I saw. Now, to clarify, I wasn’t expecting to see a whole bunch of body builders or rugby forwards walking around! But what I tend to look for, what catches my attention, is the capacity for humans to keep good posture, good joint alignment when moving. I saw a lot of knees that simply buckled inwards with every step, shoulders and ribcages that collapsed with fatigue, and this during not much more than a 6km walk. Please understand, I’m not being critical – it was great to see all those people out there – but my concern is that all those signs of physical weakness tell me that there is a greater chance that they may develop aches and pains; and that they would simply struggle more than they should doing general activities of daily living… such as walking!

So the issue is not that I saw ‘unfit’ people, but people without enough muscular strength to keep their bones and joints in optimal alignment and function. While as many as 60% of Australians don’t do enough physical activity (to get a health benefit), a 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report states that a whopping 80% (!!) don’t do any muscle strengthening activities!

So while general aerobic fitness is important, weight training has greater benefits for bone/joint health, general mobility, and those common activities of daily living such as getting into and out of chairs, bathing, dressing, opening jars, and picking up your shopping!

My strong (pardon the pun!) belief is that we should build strength first, and then focus on overall fitness. This way you will have those activities of daily living covered, and then prepare your body for the greater demands (such as ground impact and repetitive movements) that will come with greater fitness activities.

The current Australian Guidelines (2014) recommend an adult “do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week”. So why does such a small part of the population (only 20%) adhere to these guidelines? There are observed socio-economic trends, which may be driven by education, but primarily access opportunities to gym equipment. This may also be a reason for the population as whole… it is simpler to go for a walk or jog, but strength based moves typically require a little more knowledge and equipment.

Do yourself a favour: get stronger! Your life will thank you! We are here to help!

Creating change: Do you need to be unhappy before you can make long lasting behavioral change

Creating change: Do you need to be unhappy before you can make long lasting behavioral change

There is no doubt, we have all tried to change something in our life. Whether it was losing weight, sleeping better, eating healthier or moving more. Did it work? Has it lasted or have you slipped back into old habits?

Angry-Cat-Meme-No-14A well-respected lecturer in the area of behavioural change and well being has explained that for long lasting change to occur there are four criteria that need to be met:

1) Discontent
2) Vision/Dreams/Goals
3) Education
4) Continuous deliberate action

Discontent
It is very important to realize that changing a behavior (such as inactivity) will not just happen because you know you should. It definitely will not happen just because a fitness professional tells you to or if your partner mentioned that you are putting on weight. Even though we all wish it were easy, it’s not that simple.

Change needs discontentment. You need to be unhappy about the behavior or the consequences of it. Why? Because it means that you deem it to be truly important. If deep down you don’t think it is as important as everything else that is going on in your world, then the change will not last. You may be able to start but all the other important aspects may slowly start taking over again.

Take this common example: You have been warned by your GP that your blood glucose levels are rising and you are at risk of developing diabetes if you don’t do something. They advise that you should look to exercise more and eat less. Whilst this scares you into healthy behaviours for a little while, it isn’t that tangible and while it may make you unhappy at the time, it is not in the forefront of your mind.

Wind this forward 3 years and your doctor informs you that you are now diabetic. You have to start taking medication and pricking your finger to measure your blood glucose levels 1-2 per day. This makes you unhappy and every day (maybe every few hours) you think about it. It is this importance that can truly allow long term change.

Now what happens if you don’t want to get to that stage before you are in pain or diagnosed with a disease? Well, think about what it is that makes you unhappy and why you may really want to change. Really think WHY! It has to be internally driven. You need the other three criteria, but if it is not intrinsically important to you, then the change in behaviour may not last.

Next week we will discuss how you need a vision to change, in order to make your life better.

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