How to Reduce the Risk of Muscle Atrophy During Retirement

When you retire you may not be as physically active as you used to be, the risk of muscle atrophy around this time is increased. Muscle atrophy is when your muscles begin to break down and waste away due to cellular shrinkage and a lack of physical activity. As we age the protein synthesis within our muscles slows down and the degradation of the muscle increases, resulting in a loss of muscle mass. A loss of peak force and power in the skeletal muscle occurs, resulting in weakness. Some of the signs of muscle atrophy is one of your limbs may look noticeably smaller than the other. You may feel weaker, or you haven’t been physically active for some time. 

Using exercise as a preventative tool is extremely beneficial in reversing the effects of muscle atrophy. It helps to maintain the strength, force and power of the muscles, promoting a more balanced protein synthesis/degradation cycle. It also helps to lower the amount of adipose tissue (fat) in our body.  Participating in any exercise is better than none at all. To help stay committed to exercising finding a group setting or friends to complete physical activity or any other hobbies you enjoy will enable you to see results as you are more likely to stick to it. It is also important to have a balanced diet, ensuring you are nourishing your body with the right kind of fuel. By doing this our muscles are able to go through their normal cellular processes without being damaged.

At StudioXPhys we offer a range of options suited to your needs. This includes the ability to have individualised sessions in the StudioX PRO room, using top of the range strength equipment to help you reach your goals. Our highly qualified practitioners are able to give you the guidance you need, allowing to enjoy your retirement pain free, happy and healthy. 

References

Bonaldo, P., & Sandri, M. (2013). Cellular and molecular mechanisms of muscle atrophy. Disease models & mechanisms6(1), 25–39. https://doi.org/10.1242/dmm.010389 
Theilen, N. T., Kunkel, G. H., & Tyagi, S. C. (2017). The role of exercise and TFAM in preventing skeletal muscle atrophy. Journal of cellular physiology232(9), 2348-2358.
Thompson, L. V. (2002). Skeletal muscle adaptations with age, inactivity, and therapeutic exercise. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy32(2), 44-57.

How Exercise Can Help Reduce Depression and Anxiety

Almost half of the Australian population will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Depression and anxiety are classified as two separate disorders but can be experienced together. Exercise not only has a range of physical benefits but psychological benefits too, research shows that by participating in exercise it can be beneficial if you are experiencing depression or anxiety. Exercise may be the last thing on your mind if you are feeling depressed or anxious, but this is the most important time to try exercise. 

 

Within the body physiological mechanisms can alter a person’s mood/mental health. Training can elicit endorphins, these are the feel-good hormones that can be described as a feeling of euphoria, analgesia, even relaxation after exercise. When an individual has anxiety or depression neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are imbalanced. Utilising exercise helps to increase the availability of these neurotransmitters, improving overall mood. Exercise is thought to positively influence the serotonergic and adrenergic level in the brain. Working similar to anti-depressant medications. 

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) dysfunction can be characterized by cortisol production, hypersecretion and compromised sensitivity to glucocorticoids. By participating in the exercise, it can reduce the HPA response to stress. As exercise increases of blood flow and oxygen to the brain this can kickstart neurogenesis, which helps in brain functioning and performance. 

 

Benefits of exercise to help reduce depression and anxiety

  • Boosts mood
  • Increase in energy and stamina levels
  • Quality of sleep improves through our circadian rhythms 
  • Increase concentration/mental alertness
  • Stress relief
  • Decreased tiredness
  • Boosts self-esteem (self-efficacy) 

 

Things to remember

  • Start slow and gradual. Exercise doesn’t have to be at high intensities to still have benefits.
  • Make exercise enjoyable. You don’t have to limit yourself to a gym setting. Outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking, cycling, gardening even just walking are great options to boost your mood.
  • Join a group setting for the added social aspect and support.

 

REFERENCE:
https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia/report-contents/summary/prevalence-and-policies
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/supporting-yourself/exercise-your-way-to-good-mental-health
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/resources-support/anxiety/treatment/
https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/5-exercise_depression.pdf
Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56.
Bartholomew, J. B., Morrison, D., & Ciccolo, J. T. (2005). Effects of acute exercise on mood and well-being in patients with major depressive disorder. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 37(12), 2032.
Reul, J. M., & Droste, S. K. (2005). The hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis as a dynamically organized system: lessons from exercising mice. In Techniques in the Behavioral and Neural Sciences (Vol. 15, pp. 95-112). Elsevier.
Sun, L., Sun, Q., & Qi, J. (2017). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis: an important target associated with antidepressant effects of exercise. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 28(7), 693-703.

How to get Shoulder Pain Relief?

You may be experiencing shoulder pain and you are not sure how to get any relief, below are some ways you can reduce pain. The goal of using these treatment options is to aid the return to normal daily activities and regain functioning of the shoulder. 

Cold Therapy 

Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation, as it causes vasoconstriction and reducing the amount of fluid build-up and the symptoms associated. Cold packs should be used immediately post-injury/when you first notice the pain. It should be applied for approximately 20 minutes every 2 hours. Making sure not to apply directly onto the skin. 

Heat Therapy 

Using a heat pack causes vasodilation, this helps reduce stiffness and muscle tension. This is normally used after the first 72 hours once the inflammation has reduced, using heat can increase the circulation of oxygen and nutrients back to the injured site for the healing process. 

Trigger points

This involves using a ball at home or dry needling which is performed by a health professional. You may be feeling a knot/tender area of the shoulder area, this is where you focus on gently massaging it with the ball or where the needle will go. 

Stretching

Stretching the surrounding muscles of the shoulder may reduce the feeling of tightness and pain felt in that area. When stretching it is important not just to focus on shoulder muscles but rather muscles of the neck, mid-back and chest too. 

Range of Motion (ROM)

Regaining our full ROM of the shoulder can lead to a healthier shoulder, this can be achieved by using exercises that include full ROM of the shoulder. Our shoulder is versatile and can move in a range of directions, this also means we need to make sure it is healthy and strong in all directions to minimize the risk of injury/re-injury. 

This includes massage techniques which are usually done by a health professional or can be performed by your own self. Massaging the tender and surrounding areas to try to release the tension of the muscles. 

It is important to note that if pain persists for 3 months or more this is when you should see a health professional to be assessed. From there they will be able to give you an individualized treatment to continue to enjoy life pain-free

Manual Therapy

Asthma or COPD? What is the Difference?

Asthma and COPD both are chronic obstructive respiratory disorders. They involve having difficulty when exhaling which results in an accumulation of air in the lungs, they do have similarities but are actually two separate diseases. 

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. Symptoms of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, coughing can be triggered by a number of things. Some examples include, air pollution, chemicals, emotions, exercise, pollen and smoking. It is separated by periods of mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Asthma can be present in young children all the way through to adulthood. 

Asthma is treated by the use of medication, performing controlled breathing as well as removing the environmental trigger if possible. Common medications for asthma are bronchodilators to decrease bronchospasm by opening up the airways, these are rapid acting and used only when needed. Anti-inflammatories are also used to decrease inflammatory component of the disease and are used usually on a daily basis.

COPD Is a chronic progressive disease which is characterised by an obstruction to air flow, usually presents in individual’s over 45y.o. commonly among smokers or ex-smokers. Symptoms become persistent unlike asthma which are usually intermittent. COPD has some similar signs and symptoms such as SOB, wheezing, coughing and chest pain but individuals can also experience sputum (mucus) production, a loss of appetite, fever and weight loss. It is also not completely reversible with the use of medications, compared to asthma with the use symptoms are usually resolved. 

COPD is treated by medications, pulmonary rehab, oxygen therapy (if oxygen saturation is too low) or surgery (bullectomy or lung transplant). Common medications for COPD include Bronchodilators, Beta-2 agonists (decreases bronchoconstriction), Antimuscarinic (blocks bronchoconstriction), Methylxanthines (relaxes airways) and Inhaled corticosteroids (improves lung function)

Exercise physiology is a viable long-term treatment option as it has range of benefits. By participating in exercise this strengthens the muscles surrounding our lungs, allowing them to not work as hard which results in increase in exercise tolerance, less dyspnea experienced, improved breathing patterns and ability to remove sputum (mucus). When we are able to have improvements in these areas this leads to an improvement in overall health status, reduced hospitalisations and less reliance on medications. Exercise physiology can help by preventing disease progression, as well as prevent and treat exacerbations. 

References
Ubolnuar, N., Tantisuwat, A., Thaveeratitham, P., Lertmaharit, S., Kruapanich, C., & Mathiyakom, W. (2019). Effects of Breathing Exercises in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Annals of rehabilitation medicine43(4), 509–523. https://doi.org/10.5535/arm.2019.43.4.50
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cat. no. ACM 35. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 27 May 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/copd
https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/understanding-asthma/treatment-and-medicines
https://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Book-COPD-X-Concise-Guide_May2020.pdf
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd

Treat Lower Back Pain Without Surgery or Medication

Lower back pain (LBP) affects many people throughout their lifetimes, ranging from acute to chronic stages. Non-specific LBP accounts for about 80-90% cases, with the remaining caused by LBP with specific pathology or serious/systemic pathology. It is important to know that movement can be medicine without needing to use medication or surgery. When it comes to injuries like LBP it shouldn’t be just the injured site that is taken into consideration. Looking at the biopsychosocial side and more of a multidimensional approach is essential for treatment. 

This biopsychosocial model is broken into 3 groups of factors:

  • Biological factors: e.g. biomechanics, Central nervous system (pain sensitivity), genetic predisposition, inflammation, nociception
  • Psychological factors: e.g. fear avoidance, self-efficacy, depression, catastrophizing, coping strategies, beliefs, emotions, behaviours
  • Social factors: e.g. education, socioeconomic status, family, smoking, alcohol consumption, occupation.

All these factors can influence the road to recovery. Although pain is a natural and protective mechanism this is also a major predictor in individual’s decision to commence exercise or not. This is not only from biological standpoint but rather can be heavily influenced by fear induced avoidance, catastrophizing, self-efficacy which results in persistence and exacerbation of pain. This is where support, education and self-management play an important role in recovery.

Physical inactivity can negatively impact individual’s pre-existing injury and also increase the risk of developing a new injury. Adherence is imperative during the management of LBP for  exercise to achieve the best possible outcome. No evidence demonstrates that one mode of exercise is superior to another, so participating in any exercise is better than none at all. For the management, exercise has shown to be effective by strengthening the muscles around the spine for support, increasing spine mobility and muscular flexibility and reducing stiffness. Other treatment options such as manual therapy and acupuncture have shown short term positive outcomes although the quality of evidence is low to moderate, these are recommended over exercise in the more acute/subacute stages. The goal is for non-pharmaceuticals and non-surgical options to be the first point of call of rehabilitation, whilst surgery and medication to follow more as last options.

 

References
Colberg, S., Sigal, R., Fernhall, B., Regensteiner, J., Blissmer, B., & Rubin, R. et al. (2010). Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement executive summary. Diabetes Care33(12), 2692-2696. doi: 10.2337/dc10-1548
Hordern, M., Dunstan, D., Prins, J., Baker, M., Singh, M., & Coombes, J. (2012). Exercise prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes: A position statement from Exercise and Sport Science Australia. Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport15(1), 25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.04.005
https://exerciseright.com.au/diabetes/
https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/exercise

The Positive Effect of Exercise on Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the body cannot convert glucose from into energy properly, which results in accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream. It is broken into 3 groups: T1dm, T2dm, and gestational diabetes. T1dm, is where the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system so less insulin is produced, increasing glucose in blood making them insulin-dependent. T2dm enough insulin is produced but there are issues with the receptor cells making them insulin resistant. In Australia approximately 1.7 million are affected by diabetes. 

Exercise is a valuable tool in the management of diabetes. Participating in exercise can increase lean muscle mass and a decrease in visceral fat improves blood pressure and improve glycaemic control which can lower the risk and potentially delay the disease progression.

As we exercise the body is able to utilise the glucose stored in the muscles which reduces the individual’s blood glucose levels (BGL), as the exercise intensity increases the more it is utilised. Both resistance and aerobic training increases GLUT4 availability and blood glucose uptake. Once exercise has finished lower BGLs may be experienced for up to 24hours, this is because the body has become more sensitive to insulin and needs to restore its glucose levels. 

Aerobic and resistance training are both found to be beneficial in the treatment/management of insulin resistance and improve blood glucose. It is recommended that individuals with diabetes should engage in at least 210 mins/wk of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 125 mins/wk of vigorous. Resistance training should be performed at least 2 x/wk on non-consecutive days (8-10 exercises for 8-10 reps, 2-4 sets).

References
Colberg, S., Sigal, R., Fernhall, B., Regensteiner, J., Blissmer, B., & Rubin, R. et al. (2010). Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement executive summary. Diabetes Care33(12), 2692-2696. doi: 10.2337/dc10-1548
Hordern, M., Dunstan, D., Prins, J., Baker, M., Singh, M., & Coombes, J. (2012). Exercise prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes: A position statement from Exercise and Sport Science Australia. Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport15(1), 25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.04.005
https://exerciseright.com.au/diabetes/
https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/exercise

How Exercise can Help Osteoporosis from the Point of View of Exercise Physiology

Osteoporosis is the reduction of bone mass/ bone mineral density (BMD), the bones become increasingly porous which leads to a predisposition of fractures. In Australia, approximately 20% of people over 75 years old have osteoporosis, with women being at a greater risk than men. It is diagnosed by an estimation of the BMD using an x-ray machine called a DEXA. A t-score of 1 to -1 is considered normal, -1 to -2.5 is osteopenia (low bone mass), and -2.5 or more is osteoporosis. It can be found anywhere in the body but commonly in the hip, spine, and wrists.

When you think of osteoporosis you may think exercise could make it worse, but in fact, it does the opposite. Participating in exercise creates loading on your bones, which actually helps prevent the loss of bone density, by creating new bone growth and strengthens the surrounding muscles. Some exercises create greater osteogenic effects compared to others. Research has shown that moderate-high impact weight-bearing activities, high-intensity progressive resistance training (PRT) and balance training have the best outcomes. Although, other types of exercise may have a positive influence on overall fitness they do not alter BMD significantly. 

Decreasing the risk of falls, increasing BMD or preventing BMD loss is the main focus for individuals with osteoporosis. This is because if a 

Optimum | Osteoporosis and Exercise | Optimum Health Solutions

person with osteoporosis falls this can result in fractures, even if the fall is only minor. As their bones have become brittle and they cannot withstand the force of the fall, a loss of functioning, mobility and independence becomes an issue. For individuals to be able to maintain their independence and be able to perform their usual activities o

f daily living is critical. Exercise aids in regenerating their bone density and/or preventing even further loss. At the same time building strength of surrounding muscles creates stable structures, which in turn reducing the risk of falls.

References

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Osteoporosis. Cat. no. PHE 233. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 22 April 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/osteoporosis

Beck BR, et al. Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) position statement on exercise prescription for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. J Sci Med Sport (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2016.10.001 

Turner, C. H., & Robling, A. G. (2005). Exercises for improving bone strength. British journal of sports medicine39(4), 188-189.

https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/exercise
https://exerciseright.com.au/osteoporosis/

 

Common Boxing/Martial Arts Injuries

Boxing and martial arts, such as karate, taekwondo, judo and many more, have a high prevalence of injuries to many joints and soft tissues of the body. This is due to the high amount of impact, falls, repetition and overstraining. In this blog, we will look at a few of the most common injuries and how they occur. 

Concussion:

The most important injury to be aware of is head injuries due to impact from a punch/kick or falling to the ground. Concussion can result in symptoms such as loss of consciousness, short term memory loss, confusion, nausea and headaches but can also present with many other symptoms and sometimes last for hours or even weeks. The major concern with concussion is it can lead to second impact syndrome, which occurs when someone who already has concussion symptoms continues to play/compete and receives another concussion. Second impact syndrome can lead to more serious, permanent injuries and even death. The most effective method of decreasing the risk of concussion is to wear protective headgear and learn to fall correctly.

Rotator Cuff Injuries, AC Joint Injuries or Shoulder Impingement:

Due to the repetitive nature of boxing and striking in other martial arts, as well as positions the arm may be placed during submission techniques, the shoulder joint is another area we often see injuries. Once again poor technique with repetitive striking at training and competition can lead to overuse of the rotator cuff resulting in tendinopathies or tears while the constant work in front of the body to strike and block, can result in an increased risk of impingement. A fall onto the shoulder is a common mechanism for AC joint ruptures and injuries as well.  It is important to learn correct technique so as to not overstrain during a strike, and to ensure you build up your training sufficiently and correctly, to minimise the chances of overuse injuries. Learning to fall is once again very important to decrease the risk of shoulder related injuries.

Traumatic Hand/Wrist/Ankle/Knee Injuries:

Wrist and hand injuries as well as ankle and knee injuries are very common in contact sports, especially due to the high impact of arm and lower limb strikes (punches and kicks or knees). This can result in bruising or tears to the soft tissue such as muscles, tendons or ligaments as well as the risk of fractures. Protective gear is extremely important to minimising these injuries but the importance of technique should also not be forgotten. I poorly timed or placed strike could be the difference between a knockout and fracturing your wrist.

Achilles Tendon Injuries:

The achilles tendon is another area we often see injuries in martial arts and boxing. This is due to the nature of the stance during most of these sports which involves placing a lot of the weight on the balls of the feet or the toes. This puts an increase strain on the calves and achilles and injuries are frequent, particularly in the older population. Ruptures of the achilles occur and result in a long time off training/competition with overuse injuries to the achilles also being very common. Make sure to build up your training correctly while continuing to work on calf flexibility and strengthening as well as correct biomechanics and technique to decrease your risk of these types of injuries.

Exercise: Boost Your Immune System

As the winter months draw near and the cooler weather sets in, it is essential to maintain a healthy,well-functioning immune system. There are many ways you can boost your immunity, one of the most important factors to consider is regular exercise. While it is tempting to hibernate throughout the chilly season, maintaining your regular exercise routine poses a wide range of benefits that can keep you healthy throughout the year. Current research has shown that:

●There is an inverse relationship between regular moderate exercise (approximately 60 minutes) and illness risk, meaning that the more regularly you exercise, the lower your illness risk becomes

●Regular exercise improves immunosurveillance, so your body can more effectively track down and fight bugs

●Regular physical activity reduces systemic inflammation – a strong contributor to a variety of illnesses – which decreases the overall likelihood of getting sick

●Physical activity slows and decreases the effects of aging on immune system function, which is especially important for those aged 65 and above

●Exercise contributes to the maintenance of a healthy body weight which also decreases illness risk

Everyone should be aiming to achieve 150 minutes per week of moderate-level physical activity, and there are plenty of options for staying fit and healthy that you can do from home, either alone or with a partner.

Remember that getting adequate sleep and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is also key to maintaining a healthy immune system. For tailored advice on keeping yourself healthy over Winter, whether in-studio or at home, speak to one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists today.

5 Exercises that are Easy to do During Isolation

Having no access to gym facilities during isolation means we need to start utilizing our home as a gym. Continuing to stay active during this pandemic is crucial, remaining physically active can help support your immune system, mental health, and overall physical health.
Some exercise is still found to have benefits compared to nothing at all, so the goal is to stay active. You don’t need to have copious amounts of equipment to still achieve a great
workout. Here are 5 easy exercises you can do during isolation.

  • Squat
  • Shoulder press
  • Stationary lunge
  • Dead bug
    – variations include bent knees with a toe touch, bent knees to leg extension, straight legs.
  • Push up
    – variations include standard push up, knee push up, push up onto a bench or on a wall

To start off with aim for 12-15 reps of each movement, 2-3 sets of all the movements.
Making sure to have a break between each movement and before starting a new set. To increase the difficulty of these movements you can add weight or increase the reps and sets you complete. Remember you can use any item lying around your home if you do not have normal weights. An example could be using the canned sauce to replace dumbbells.
The videos below explain how to perform each exercise correctly and safely.