5 Must-do Exercises for Beginner Runners

Some people might say I’m crazy but I seriously love running. It sets up my day, drags me out of bed, and gives me a boost of endorphins that allow me to drive all the way to work with very few road rage incidents. I use it as a way to catch up weekly with friends, meet new people, and keep myself relatively healthy. It’s easy, basically free, and accessible to almost anybody.

There are a myriad of benefits to running! It’s a safe and effective way to improve cardiovascular health, bone density, muscular endurance, boost mood, and improve energy. With these few exercises, some smart programming, and a few expert tips you too can enjoy all of these benefits – physical, mental and social.

But beware, all of the exercises in the world won’t make up for doing too much too soon. An estimated 60% of running related injuries are linked to increasing mileage too quickly. Get a running plan in place that is tailored to your needs and slowly increase your weekly load in 10% increments. If you’re new to running altogether, start by increasing your daily walking before beginning to add small bouts of running.

Every individual has their own unique injury history, strengths, weaknesses, and running goals. Therefore it may be helpful to speak to the team at Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health, to get screened and assessed on your current capacity, and provided with an individually tailored plan to ensure you hit the ground running! (Pun intended).

Single leg sit-to-stand

Single leg strength, stability, and endurance is a huge component of running efficiency and capacity. The average runner should be aiming to take around 160-180 steps per minute, so for a 25-minute jog, each leg must support the weight of the body approximately 4000+ times! The single leg sit-to-stand is the perfect way to begin loading the muscles of your hip, buttock and leg – in a similar fashion to the way they are required to work during running. Your health practitioner can help ascertain when and how to progress the exercise, by adding weights, increasing the range of motion, and more!

Sit to stand demonstration

Glute bridge

This exercise focuses on hip extension and increasing the control of your lumbopelvic region (from your low back into your hips and buttock). Our hip extensors, such as the gluteus maximus, are the powerhouse of the running stride. The glute bridge can be altered to become single leg, weighted or with different tempos, all of which may be smart progressions for your practitioner to explore with you.

glute bridge demo

Hamstring bridge

Weakness in the single leg hamstring bridge test has been shown to predict hamstring related injuries in AFL players and military personnel. While we may not be reaching the pace of an AFL player, hamstring strains, tendinopathies, and niggles are still very common amongst casual runners. Start double leg and work towards a single leg variation.

hamstring bridge demo

Copenhagen adduction

Hip and groin pain is another common running niggle. This exercise increases the strength and control of your adductors (groin) while also providing a side plank core control exercise – bang for buck! Begin with a short lever (knee on the chair) and progress to long lever when ready (ankle on the chair).

copenhagen demo

Calf raises

calf complex

The calf complex is made up of the gastrocnemius (the big two headed muscle you can see) and the soleus (underneath and severely under-appreciated). The soleus actually produces the majority of force in the ankle during running. To strengthen the soleus do calf raises with a bent knee and to strengthen the gastrocnemius do them with your knee straight. Did anyone notice that I snuck in 6 exercises?

calf raises demos     Bent Knee Variation    |   Straight Leg Variation


Training for strength

Strength training uses the most weight with the least amount of repetitions with long rest periods in-between. Aiming for the ability to lift large amounts of weight for less time. Following the process of task-specific training, this is most effective for people who are trying to increase their overall load to be moved.

Training for Muscle Hypertrophy (growth)

Hypertrophy refers to muscle size as well as strength, you may see this in body-building where they utilise lighter weights, more repetitions and less time resting for particular muscle groups. Muscles require metabolic stress to increase in size, thus as a result of lactate acid build up and micro tears, the muscle then uses its repair process to rebuild and grow larger. This principle is best used for those beginning any exercise program as this utilises the aims of both muscle strength and movement, combining components of strength and endurance principles.

Training for Power

Power training involves using reasonably lighter weights and longer rest periods whilst the aim of the movement is to encourage speed. Power generally refers to the ability to move at high speeds. Power also includes the use of physics where force equals mass times acceleration and power training aims to practicing the acceleration part of the lift. Power principles are usually seen in athletes or powerlifting where weight is increased but require a high speed to move a certain weight. Power based exercises can also be found in HIIT workouts where explosive movements are completed with reduced rest.

Training for Muscular endurance

Endurance training requires more repetitions to ensure muscle functioning can last longer, usually with lighter weights. Rest is usually less for this principle as endurance is suggestive for long durations with little recovery. Endurance based programs for created for marathon runners, or for the everyday person to be able to withstand loading for an extended amount of time.

Which one is for you?

Consider your goal – what do you want to achieve out of your exercise program?
Consider your day-to-day activities – what do you do each day that requires a specific exercise program relative to your daily routine?
Consider what you have done previously – exercise, work and medical history can all have an impact on the physiological systems used within each of the above principles.
A training program is a variety of structured exercises using the principle FITT will guide you towards achieving your goals better.
• Frequency
• How many times a week for an activity?
• For sedentary individuals, start with 2-3 days/week of aerobic exercise and build up to 5 days/week. Build an exercise regime suited to your lifestyle.
• Intensity
• How hard to exert?
• Someone new to exercise should start at a low intensity, but health changes occur at a moderate exercise intensity
• Type
• Which type of activity should you do?
• Should be enjoyable, affordable, and achievable
• Time
• How long in minutes
• This does not include the warm up or cool down.
• 10 min bouts of exercise can be accumulated throughout the day
• If walking is the exercise – first increase the time before increasing the intensity (walking uphill/at a quicker pace)

Training or exercise programs are always most efficient when tailored specifically for individuals and their goals.

Medical Clearance and assessment is always advised prior to beginning any new exercise regime
Individuals unsure of the correct technique, exercise programming or structuring of a resistance program individual to their goals should consider receiving information and education from a qualified health/fitness professional, or Exercise Physiologist.

Any questions or concerns or if you would like to book in for an appointment to discuss your exercise goals, please contact the clinic on 5253 2345. You can also book online on our website!

Written by Tiarna Preer, Exercise Physiologist


American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia :Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.

This pronouncement was written for the American College of Sports Medicine by: William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., FACSM (Chairperson); Kent Adams, Ph.D.; Enzo Cafarelli, Ph.D., FACSM; Gary A. Dudley, Ph.D., FACSM; Cathryn Dooly, Ph.D., FACSM; Matthew S. Feigenbaum, Ph.D., FACSM; Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D., FACSM; Barry Franklin, Ph.D., FACSM; Andrew C. Fry, Ph.D.; Jay R. Hoffman, Ph.D., FACSM; Robert U. Newton, Ph.D.; Jeffrey Potteiger, Ph.D., FACSM; Michael H. Stone, Ph.D.; Nicholas A. Ratamess, M.S.; and Travis Triplett-McBride, Ph.D. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: February 2002 – Volume 34 – Issue 2 – p 364-380

Tennis Elbow – in the non-tennis playing individual!

What is tennis elbow?

Are you someone suffering from pain on the outside of your elbow and Dr Google is telling you that you have tennis elbow, despite never touching a tennis racquet in your life? Tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylalgia, is an overuse injury affecting the outside of your elbow resulting in pain, tenderness and substantial limitations in functionality of the upper extremity.

Clinically tennis elbow presents as pain that is aggravated with repeated movements of the elbow or wrist, pain with lifting and decreased or painful grip strength.

Lateral epicondylalgia commonly affects those in office jobs, construction/repair, cleaners and healthcare workers and is associated with repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow joint for more than 1 hour per day.

In greater depth lateral epicondylalgia is both a load related and systemic based condition that ch

aracteristically has an acute inflammatory stage and a chronic degenerative stage. Lateral epicondylalgia affects the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon and occurs when there is weakness and decreased capacity of the tendon to manage loads resulting in micro tearing within the tendon. This micro tearing further reduces the tendons capacity and elicits a pain response with in our body such that activities of daily living such as picking up a coffee cup can be sufficient enough to trigger pain.

Lateral epicondylalgia often goes hand in hand with a mild degree of shoulder girdle weakness. When using our arms for day to day activity we require a transfer of energy along the chain from shoulder to elbow to wrist – in tennis elbow a weakness in the shoulder leads to an increased demand on the elbow and wrist and hence an overload as discussed above.

The good news is that tennis elbow is generally self limiting meaning that within 6-12 weeks you are like

ly to experience significantly less pain, improved functionality and healing of the underlying tissues.

So how can treatment help?

Treatment of tennis elbow may involve soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation/articulation and mild or gentle stretching in combination with strengthening exercises to prevent reoccurrence. The goal of treatment is to reduce the duration of symptoms and associated disability. Treatment is thought to stimulate mechanoreceptors, which in return inhibits or blocks pain signals from nociceptors reaching the brain.

Your practitioner may also suggest a brace or assist you with taping techniques of the elbow to increase your function. Taping/bracing plays a role by placing tension at point on the muscle distally to irritated/damaged tendon site promoting healing of the damaged area.

In some cases injection of cortisone may be indicated however there is research to suggest that injection may lead to poorer long term outcomes in function and movement.

Getting started – What can I do from home?

The best thing you can do to help yourself is to rest from aggravating loads – this may include avoiding repeated wrist, forearm or elbow movements. It is important not to avoid all upper limb movement as this may further decrease the ability of your tendon to load! When completing movement or exercise it is important to take note of your pain levels – if what you are doing is increasing your pain rating by more than 1/10 it is advisable to stop that activity/exercise where feasible.

Caution should be taken with stretching, as overstretching may further increase tension/load on tendon and influence the pain response – when stretching the extensor muscle group you should complete this with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and stop if pain persists. The use of ice (cryotherapy) may be of benefit in reducing the inflammatory response and assist in reducing the acutely painful elbow.

Exercises that may be beneficial in reducing pain and improving the overall function are outline below:

1. Isometric wrist extension

• Start in a seated position with your forearm resting on a table and your palm facing down.• Place your other hand on the back of your affected hand.
• Attempt to lift your affected wrist up, whilst resisting the movement with your good hand (Ensure you keep your forearm in contact with the table.)
• Hold this position for 10 seconds
• Repeat 10 times, 3 times through with a 60 second rest between sets.

2. Scapular retraction

• Start in a standing position with your arms by your side and palms facing backwards.
• Gently push your hands backwards and feel a gentle squeeze between your shoulder blades (Ensure you keep your shoulders away from your ears)
• Hold this position for 2 seconds and slowly return to starting position
• Repeat 10 times, 3 times through with a 60 second rest between sets.

We encourage you to consult a health care practitioner if your pain persists or for more personal advice and advanced care of tennis elbow.


3 Tips to Get You Started on Your Running Journey

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has changed our lives dramatically. It has stopped us from seeing friends and family, made us change our hygiene habits (maybe for the better?) and significantly changed our routines and day-to-day existence.

With gyms closed and outdoor activities limited, I wanted a easy, quick and affordable way to fit exercise into my day.

And so like that, I took up running!

Now I am no expert, that is one thing I am sure of, but I can definitely impart some tips and tricks that I have put in place to keep me motivated and committed to the cause, because to be honest, running in itself is pretty boring.

What keeps me coming back is the post-run endorphin hit that you get with any exercise, what a great way to start the day!

For all the beginner runners out there, this is what I have incorporated to keep me going.

Set Goals

Probably the easiest and most effective tip towards achieving your goals is to create them in the first place! Too many times I have seen clients and patients (and of course me personally!) start exercise classes or rehabilitation programs with vague and ambiguous end points.

“Get fit”, “get stronger”, “improve flexibility”, “increase my core strength” are some common ones that get bandied around. The problem with these is that they aren’t specific enough.

One great way to create clarity with goal setting is to use the S.M.A.R.T acronym. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-orientated. If we take running as our example to create a SMART goal, it might look something like this:

I want to run 21kms continuously, by the start of next year (6months time).

This goal is specific (21kms continuously), it is measurable (we can track progress via measuring Km’s ran), it is achievable (yours may be different based off your level of fitness/experience), it is relevant and has a date attached to it. From this we can work backwards and put a plan in place to reach this goal.

Track your progress

There is now an abundance of ways that we can do this with modern technology – from phone apps all the way up to top of the range wearable watches. If you are a beginner like me, using a phone app would be the best place to start. I have been using the RunKeeper app from Asics. It’s free and has all the features needed to give you the right amount of information and feedback.

Measuring and tracking your progress over time creates buy-in, tells you how you are tracking towards your goals and can create that little extra bit of incentive to stay with the process when the last thing you feel like doing is going out and exercising.

On the flip side, try not to get too bogged down on the day-to-day progress and running times/splits/Km’s ran. Being sick, tired, fatigued from work, dehydrated, stressed etc. are all factors that can influence your run. As long as the overall trend is a positive one, it’s ok to feel crappy from time to time.

Injury Prevention – Warm-up, work on your weaknesses & manage loads

Avoiding any significant disruptions or prolonged time-off from running is going give you the best chance at reaching your goals. As an Osteopath, I could write a whole blog post on this topic alone! (Maybe I will?).

Injury prevention doesn’t mean spending every other day in the gym or getting weekly massages – as nice as that may be!

There are a few simple strategies that you can do to limit your chance of getting hurt:


A 5-10minute warm-up prior to going for your run may help to limit the chance of an injury occurring in the first place or speed-up your recovery post-run. Your warm-up should consist of some flexibility-based and strength-based movements that target all the parts of the body that you will be using during the run. Common stretches and exercises in a warm include dynamic stretching (think leg swings, trunk twists etc.), strength-based exercises (squats, lunges, single leg exercises) and neuromuscular exercises (high knees, butt flicks, grapevines etc.).

Make your legs and trunk resilient and adaptable

Another way to prevent injuries from slowing you down is to build your bodies capacity to be resilient against running, this can be done by increasing the strength in your leg and trunk muscles. Going through a systematic and thorough musculoskeletal assessment with your trusted health professional will help identify areas of weakness and then will allow you to put in place strategies to adjust accordingly. At Peninsula Osteopathy & Allied Health, a common running assessment may include things like testing the range-of-motion and strength in your ankles, knees, hips and spine. From this we can then give you exercises and hands-on treatment to improve these deficits.

Manage your loads

I.e don’t do too much but don’t do too little. Maybe the biggest cause of injuries in any training program is increasing your loads too quickly. This is because your body doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the loads and stresses you are putting it under. Again, another topic that we could dive deeply into with various guidelines and protocols, but for beginner runners (like me) splitting your running program into 2 week blocks and not increasing your overall running load by more than approximately 10% each block can limit the chance of any flare-ups. A multitude of factors can contribute to overall ‘load’; running distance, speed, elevation and amount of rest can all be altered to make runs easier or more difficult. Tracking your progress via an app or watch gives you more data to make informed decisions and prevent any excessive fluctuations in load.

Should you have any questions or wish to know more about a warm-up or how to reduce your chance of injury during running, give the clinic a call to speak to one of our experienced Osteopaths, Myotherapists or Exercise Physiologists on 5253 2345.

Tradie Tips

Are you a Tradie? Here are 5 tips to help you manage your aches and pains

Tradies are some of the most likely members of our community to be injured at work. The most likely injuries to occur to tradespeople are low back injuries, neck/shoulder injuries and elbow injuries.
Prevention is the best form of treatment. Here are a few things for tradies to be aware of in the coming months, to help prevent injuries in the workplace.


A lot of trades require heavy, repetitive lifting and other activities. This can put strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints of the body. It is absolutely vital that you take the necessary steps to prepare your body for the days work ahead. Some simple stretching and movement allows your soft tissues to warm up, which can decrease the risk of muscular injury.

Lift with your legs

Low back injuries are very common amongst tradespeople. This can often be associated with heavy lifting and poor lifting posture. When lifting something heavy, remember these few steps to help avoid the risk of a back injury.
– Keep your knees and hips bent.
– Keep your back as straight as possible.
– Hold the load as close to your torso as possible- closest to your centre of gravity!
– Use your gluteus and quad muscles as your main lifting muscles. These are the largest muscles in your body for a reason, so make sure you use them!
– Get somebody to help you! Assess the load, and if it is too heavy to lift on your own, make sure you ask someone to help you

Take regular breaks

Trade related work such as using power tools, overstretching your back and heavy lifting can take a serious toll on your body. It is vitally important that you take the necessary time to have a rest and a stretch ever 1-2 hours for 10-15 minutes. This will help reduce the risk of an injury, as it gives muscles, ligaments and joints time to recuperate after long periods of activity


Although most trades work hard during the day, it is important to exercise regularly throughout the week also. Something as simple as going for a walk, or some basic resistance training can greatly reduce the chance of a workplace injury.

Don’t ignore injuries

Treatment and management of workplace related injuries can significantly reduce the effect they have on your body, and your business. Feel free to contact Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health to make an appointment and see what Osteopathy, Myotherapy or Exercise Physiology can do for you! Call us on 5253 2345, or book online at www.peninsulaosteopathy.com.au.

Correct lifting posture

1. approach the load- feet should be shoulder-width apart
2. bend your knees and hips
3. keep the load close to your torso
4. use your quads and glutes to drive yourself up


Hip Anatomy and Impingement syndrome:

The hip joint forms a solid connection between the lower limb and pelvic girdle, thus meaning it is designed for stability and weight-bearing rather than to offer a large range of mobility. The joint is a ball and socket joint formed between the thigh-bone (Femur) and the pelvis (acetabulum) and gains its stability from large supporting ligaments and muscles.

In the healthy hip joint the femoral head is able to glide smoothly within the socket of the acetabulum however this can be impaired in patients who suffer from femoral acetabula impingement syndrome (FAI). Hip impingement or FAI is a condition in which the structure of the hip joint become modified causing an impaired capability of the femoral head to move freely and smoothly within its socket. Typically this will present as stiffness or tightness of the thigh, hip or groin, poor ability to flex the hip past a right angle and pain in the groin or front of the hip when flexing the knee towards the chest, running/cycling or sitting for periods of time.

FAI commonly arises from high impact sports or exercises that involve a large amount of jumping, changing direction and recurrent movement of the hip joint outside its normal range (such as football, dancing and golf) placing excessive and abnormal load through the hip joint. The stress of ongoing excessive load can lead to either a thickening of the femoral neck (CAM lesion) or deepening of the hip socket (PINCER lesion), or a combination of both which over time can result in damage to the cartilage of the hip joint.

In other cases FAI can be present from birth and be largely asymptomatic until later in life.

What are my treatment options?

In some cases surgical intervention may be required for successful treatment of FAI however there are many conservative measures that can be taken to improve hip functionality and reduce symptoms associated with FAI.
Osteopathic treatment may be able to assist in reducing symptoms of FAI. It is not uncommon with FAI for the muscles of the hip, pelvis and lower back to become tight acting on further limiting the range of motion available at the hip joint. Treatment of soft tissue massage and muscle stretching techniques can be used to help relax and lengthen these muscles, assist in reducing inflammation and ultimately reducing pain.

Exercise based rehab focused around promoting hip mobility may also assist in the ongoing management and reduction of symptoms – Here we have provided you with 3 of our favorite at home stretches and exercises to give a try!

1. Kneeling hip flexor stretch

2. Pelvic bridges

3. Hip adduction stretch (Frog stretch)

If you are currently suffering from hip or groin pain and would like further personalised advice on treatment and management options feel free to contact the clinic today to discuss whether Osteopathy or Exercise Physiology may be able to get you back into what you love doing!

A Real Pain in the Neck – 3 strategies to help ease your neck pain

Neck pain can be bloody debilitating. It affects our concentration, our mood, our movement and more. It can also be really frustrating and stressful too, especially if its more intense and not common for you.

Many different things can be the cause of your neck pain, from more benign causes like a joint sprain or muscle strain to more sinister causes like an irritation to the nerves or structures further up in the skull.

A thorough assessment by your healthcare professional (Osteopath!) can determine the cause of your neck pain and if it is neuro-musculoskeletal in origin.

If so, there are 3 things that we tell all of our patients that can be of benefit:

Keep moving!

In almost all cases, movement is THE most important factor in your recovery. Our spine and all the joints and muscles that surround it are made to move. Limiting or restricting movement can lead to your pain worsening and even make it hang around for longer than it needs to. Check out our instagram page for my favourite exercise to keep you neck healthy with movement!

Manage your stress

Stress in any form can heighten and worsen any musculoskeletal pain that we have. How often have you found that when we are stressed that all our old aches and pains tend to flare up? Always at the worst possible times! Of course it is never as easy as it sounds, but putting into place some simple strategies like taking deep breaths, taking adequate breaks or trying some mindfulness activities are easier short-term strategies that you can try to help limit stress and its influence on your pain.

Get some good sleep

Again another thing that’s easier said than done! Sleep is so important in recovery and helps the body recharge and regenerate and return to health. Making sure you are off devices at least an hour beforehand, making sure you are comfortable and if necessary, speaking to a pharmacist or to your doctor about some medications to help with the pain in the short-term throughout the day and to aid in your sleep.

Is your low back holding you back? Here’s how to manage it!

Managing your low back pain

Most of us have had some sort of low back pain before. From a minor ache and tightness that resolves in a couple of days to more intense, sharp pain that can take a little bit longer and be much more intimidating and frightening!

Regardless of the severity and the duration, there are a few things you can do to make sure that the pain doesn’t linger and affect your life anymore than it has to.

These are some tips we end up saying to the majority of people who present to us with various types of low back pain.

But of course, if there are more serious symptoms like pins and needles, numbness and weakness in your legs then it is important you seek a healthcare professionals opinion.

Keep moving and stay at work

This is probably the most important thing that you can do. Movement is the best medicine for any episode of low back pain. Go for gentle walks and do some gentle stretches. Keep that back moving. Also returning to work and if needed, returning with modified duties improves your chance of recovery and decreases how long your low back pain will hang around for. Some activities may need to be modified to make them easier for you to do and your healthcare professional can help you with this.

Use heat, not ice

A lot of confusion about whether to use heat or ice exists in the community. Of course it depends on the type of your back injury, but generally in acute back injuries or in back injuries that have lasted a long time there is unlikely to be much inflammation, so icing the affected area is unlikely to help. Using heat instead can help relax and decrease the tension in those tight back muscles and help you feel and move better.

Hands-on treatment can help

Your healthcare professional (osteopath etc.) can give you information on what is happening, why you are in pain, recognise if something more sinister is going on and educate you on what you should and shouldn’t do. They can also help relieve some of those aches and pains and give you stretches and exercises to help keep you moving.

Some medications may help, but try conservative treatment first

A great adjunct to movement and hands-on treatment is the addition of certain medications. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about what may be suitable for you, dependent on your past medical history and complaints. This may not be a long-term option so it is important that medication is used in conjunction with some of the other strategies we have mentioned above.

Stay positive

Above all else, stay positive. Most episodes of more acute low back pain settle within a few weeks and rarely have a longer lasting impact on your quality of life. Keep moving, modify a few things and let the body do its job. Our bodies are amazing at healing themselves and some things just take time.

For personalised advice regarding your low back pain come in and see one of the PO+AH team to help you on your recovery.

5 Things A Exercise Physiologist Can Do To Help Arthritis In Your Knee

‘Degeneration of the knee’, ‘wear and tear’ and ‘bone on bone’ are common terms that people will use to describe knee arthritis. Knee arthritis may present as pain and stiffness in the knee joint that occurs generally in the morning, after sitting for a long period of time or when you are doing exercises such as walking or kneeling, it may also include pain or swelling at the joint. This can be quite debilitating, as it often means that movements that require bending the knee can be painful, such as cleaning the house, gardening or bending down to play with the grand children.

Knee arthritis is caused by cartilage loss in the joint space, which leads to remodelling of the bones and weakness in the surrounding muscles. It is a very common condition and its prevalence increases with age, occurring more in women than in men. Risk factors for development include obesity, prior knee injury or surgery and excessive bending and lifting motions with poor technique. Although surgery is a common form of treatment, there are much less invasive ways to treat and live with your arthritis without having surgery.

Danielle, our Exercise Physiologist, explains 5 things that you can do to help improve arthritis and decrease knee related pain:

1. Exercise!

Whilst it probably doesn’t seem like something that you want to do at the time, the best way to improve your knee pain is to strengthen the muscles around it. Increasing muscle strength is going to provide support around the knee joint for you to be able to do movements safely and without pain. Strength training doesn’t mean that you’re going to be lifting massive weights and putting a lot of stress through your body, instead it means that we’ll be working within pain free ranges and finding exercises that don’t leave you feeling worse than when you came in. We will also aim to strengthen muscles in other body parts to help support the knee and take the stress off the joint.

2. Give you management strategies for at home!

Some movements may be painful to complete, however there are ways that you are able to move that will protect the joint and avoid pain. This may involve using larger body parts to alter weight distribution during tasks or changing the way an activity is done to avoid pain.

3. Help you to understand pain and degeneration!

Degeneration is a scary word, but occurs in nearly every person and is believed to start as early as in your 20’s. However, this does not mean that every person will experience pain from their degeneration. Pain is a natural response that tells your body when it is in danger, hence why there may be pain when you are bending due to the loss of cartilage. This should be listened to, but also shouldn’t stop you from doing activities that you enjoy. If you enjoy gardening but get pain after kneeling for an hour, take plenty of rests in between to avoid the build of pain so that you can keep doing activities you love.

4. Teach you about pacing strategies!

Pacing strategies involve including rest periods into daily activities to avoid painful symptoms and avoiding the activity all together. Pacing strategies work the best when they are pre-planned – that is knowing how long it takes for a task to become painful and having a rest before this occurs, rather than waiting for the onset of pain to rest. This also means that if you’re having a ‘good day’ where there is no pain, still stick to the pacing schedule and not over-doing a painful activity.

5. Help you prepare for surgery to make recovery easier!

I did previously say that surgery is not the only option for treatment – however you may prefer to get surgery or have your doctor tell you that this is the only option. In which case, doing ‘pre-hab’ and working with an Exercise Physiologist prior to having surgery to increase the strength in the surrounding muscles will help your rehabilitation post-surgery. Patients who have increased strength in their knee often find that their recovery time is shorter and they are able to return to full function.

Break Those Barriers To Exercise In Older Adults: Exercise Right Week 2019

There is no doubting the effect and the importance of exercise for us as we age. The physical, mental and social benefits involved are enormous in helping older adults maintain their independence and a high quality of life.

As we age, our muscles can decrease in size and strength, our balance can decrease, our flexibility can reduce and our cardiovascular fitness can decrease. As well as this, our cognitive function and memory can decline. However, we cannot use our age as an excuse for these things happening. All of these things can be improved or maintained by exercising regularly. Even with this in mind, some people still find exercise challenging to regularly partake in. There are many different barriers that older adults seem to have when it comes to participating in exercise, but here are 6 of the most common barriers and ways to overcome them.

1. Discomfort and Pain

You may experience joint pain, back pain or even chest pain with exercise, which may make you apprehensive about continuing to exercise. Excessive weight may also make it uncomfortable both physically and emotionally to participate in exercise and group classes.

Solution: Exercise can be a great way to actually alleviate specific types of pain. If you are having pain when exercising, it is recommended to visit an exercise physiologist so they can assess you and provide you with the exact type of exercise to do to avoid this pain or make it better. There are also many alternative options of exercise if you are finding one type is causing you pain. For example, sufferers of osteoarthritic pain often find they can manage their pain through exercising in water, with hydrotherapy and water aerobics activities. The warm water and low impact create a much more comfortable environment. It is also always important to know that no one should ever feel uncomfortable in choosing to participate to exercise. No matter what age, gender or size you are, people will admire and appreciate the time and effort you are putting in to look after your health.

2. Fear of Injury

You may be concerned about hurting yourself or having a nasty fall whilst you are exercising, which may put you off exercising altogether.

Solution: With the appropriate supervision and programming, exercise should always be a safe option for people of any age. If you are worried about injuring yourself whilst exercising, you should consult an exercise physiologist to prescribe you a safe and achievable program you can work from. It is important that if you are exercising for the first time in a while, that you take it slow and aim to gradually progress. Balance and strength training are also great in improving mobility and decreasing falls risk.

3. Expense and Accessibility

Gyms, classes and exercise equipment can be costly and hard to get to for those retired or on an aged pension.

Solution: There are many cheap or free options to consider when you are looking to exercise. Walking, bodyweight resistance exercise, playgrounds, use of furniture at home and free community exercise groups (walking groups, ParkRun) are all very accessible. Local community health centres also offer very cheap supervised exercise classes, as well as Medicare rebated allied health consultations, some of which can be bulk billed. Incidental exercise such as gardening, cleaning and walking around town also contribute to your overall physical activity levels.

4. Lack of Time

You may find you have people to care for, jobs or other commitments and don’t have enough time during the week to set aside for exercise.

Solution: Try to sit down and look through your weekly commitments. Work out how much time you have available to do things around those commitments, then aim to fit in at least 15-20 minutes of exercise a day or most days. Utilise incidental activity as much as possible – park further away from work, walk to the shops, gardening, take the stairs instead of the lift. Incorporate family and friends into your exercise – instead of going for coffee, go for a walk. Instead of drinking a few beers with mates, have a hit of golf/tennis. Small changes to these habits make a large difference to your overall energy expenditure.

5. Isolation

Older adults may find that they don’t have anyone to exercise with as they may have retired and relocated, lost their spouse or their partner is not able to exercise at the same intensity as them. This may decrease their motivation to exercise.

Solution: There are often walking groups run by local community centres or allied health clinics that anyone can join at a cheap price or free. Community health centres also offer supervised exercise classes, as do private allied health clinics. These are great places to meet like-minded people of a similar age striving towards the same goal. Practitioners such as exercise physiologists are also great people to help motivate you and create realistic goals for you to achieve.

6. Unsure Of What Exercise To Do

Often people are more than willing to exercise, but are unsure where to start and what exercise is best for them.

Solution: The best way to find out what type of exercise is best for you is by visiting an exercise physiologist! They will provide you with a thorough assessment of your physical capacity, then prescribe a specific exercise program for you, which will be reviewed and progressed regularly to keep you on track. There are also many apps that can assist you in choosing the correct exercise, including Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer.

If you are still struggling to overcome barriers to exercise and can’t quite the motivation to get out and get active, come see our exercise physiologist Jack for a comprehensive assessment and individualised exercise program today!