Christmas exercise survival guide

Deck the Halls with Healthy Habits: Healthfix’s Exercise Survival Guide

The holiday season is upon us, and amidst the festive cheer and indulgent treats, maintaining your fitness routine can be a challenge. At Healthfix, we’re here to make sure you not only survive but thrive during the holidays with our Exercise Survival Guide, offering top tips to help you stay on track with your exercise goals this Christmas! Also, be sure to make note of our special Christmas Group Class Timetable, packed with energising sessions to keep you active and engaged.

 

Healthfix Exercise Survival Guide for a Healthy Holiday Season

 

1. Prioritise Consistency Over Intensity:

With a busy holiday schedule, it’s okay to adjust the intensity of your workouts. Focus on maintaining consistency instead. Short, effective workouts can be just as beneficial as longer sessions, especially during the hustle and bustle of the season.    

2. Schedule Your Workouts:

Mark your exercise sessions in your calendar just like you would any other holiday event. Setting aside dedicated time for fitness helps ensure that it doesn’t get lost in the holiday shuffle.    

3. Make it a Family Affair:

Family time during the holidays is precious, so why not make it active? Plan outdoor activities like walks, hikes, or even a friendly game of touch football. It’s a wonderful way to bond, burn calories, and create lasting memories.    

4. Indulge Smartly:

Enjoying festive treats is part of the holiday joy, but moderation is key. Treat yourself without guilt, and balance indulgences with nutrient-rich meals. Balance is the key to guilt-free enjoyment!   This holiday season, let Healthfix be your health and fitness companion, guiding you through a season of joy and well-being. Check out our Christmas Group Class Timetable and embrace the gift of health by joining one of our classes.         We will resume our standard timetable from 2nd January 2024.   We hope that with our Christmas Exercise Survival Guide full of tips and a dash of festive fitness, you’ll not only survive the holidays but step into the new year feeling stronger, happier, and healthier.   Wishing you a fit and festive holiday season!

Healthfix event – How to use a proactive healthcare approach to be your personal best at any age

You are invited!

Early in his career Sean identified that the health care approach of finding and focusing on problems was only leading to people feeling fear and limitations from conditions they were diagnosed with and being more reliant on therapists for maintenance care. He knew there was a better way and that involved getting people active in things they loved to do, using a team of experts with a common goal and empowering people to feel confident in both their ability and understanding of their bodies, were the solutions to achieve long term results.  Then came Healthfix 11 years ago in which Sean has built the systems and quality assurance to deliver these results to client’s time after time. Sean’s approach and vision have been sought by the wider community including NSWIS and various advisory boards.

We invite you to come and spend an evening with Sean to gain an understanding of how this approach can help you with a real result despite any injury or condition you experience.

An Evening with Sean Cooney

Healthfix Founder Sports titled Physiotherapist Manager Performance Health at NSW Institute of Sport UTS Physiotherapy Advisory Board Member Member of the Australian College of Physiotherapists

Topics we will cover include:
  • What is proactive health (health care vs sick care)
  • Why proactive health achieves superior results
  • Common heath conditions (including back pain, headaches, tendonitis)
  • How to be your personal best at any age

We look forward to seeing you there! To reserve your spot please rsvp to getfixed@healthfix.com.au

Healthfix – Then and Now

Joel bates then and now                          

To think that only 9 years ago, only 4 of us were huddled into a corner of Anytime Fitness down in McMahon’s point, pondering where this thing called Healthfix could end up. I always admired Sean’s vision and determination to ultimately have a facility full of great people working towards amazing personal health. At times I would question whether those were dreams of grandeur, or simply dreams that lay the foundation for a thriving business of 20+ staff over two locations. Thankfully I was wrong.

Before I could see develop further, I decided to ditch Healthfix, and chase a girl to Singapore. Luckily this was the best thing I have ever done. Now Lisa is my amazing wife and mother of our beautiful daughter Odette. This move personally was the life experience shift that has shaped me and the way I treat. I created the context for my development as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, but more so the experience to understand what it takes to treat people from all countries, cultures and backgrounds.

This also then allowed me to look back on what Healthfix was becoming. I loved the chance to talk to Sean (he did most of the talking surprisingly) and share stories of our professional and personal development. Not only did the layers of professional assets grow at Healthfix, so did the vision of the facility that now exists in North Sydney.

Now things are different. I look at the younger physio’s here and am so impressed with their knowledge, maturity, and empathy. Their development is incredible, and it provides the glue that creates a great physiotherapy team and keeps us all on our toes. Our ability to integrate with our team, allows our patients to achieve so much more. This can range from the simple things of picking up your kids or running your first marathon. For too long, Physio’s have been trying to do too much, when the answer is creating a team around the patient so they can achieve more. The facility we have (and have access to in Broadway) creates the active environment needed to get the long terms results we crave.

Physiotherapy has changed, and in that change, we are moving towards the model that Healthfix embodies. Integration and drawing on high level Exercise Physiologists, Personal trainers and Dieticians simply mean we get better results for our clients. We now need to consider all facets of the individual in front of us to understand where we can best help them. This is the environment we have now at Healthfix. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be back at Healthfix. Whilst much has grown and developed, the same core of quality results for patients remains at the core. Ultimately that’s why we do what we do.

Shoulder pain

Focus on: shoulder pain | Top 5 tips for managing shoulder pain 

Shoulder pain is a common physical occurrence. Your shoulder is a complex, highly mobile structure made up of several components. When considering the shoulder you need to think about the collarbone connecting to your chest, the collarbone connecting to the shoulderblade or scapula, and finally the arm bone joining to the scapula. Strong tendons, ligaments and muscles support your shoulder and make it stable. In younger people, pain is more likely to be due to an accident or injury. However as you age natural changes occur to your shoulder joint and the rotator cuff tendon, similar to seeing wrinkles and grey hairs in the mirror. We also see pain more strongly associated with how one is using – or perhaps not using – their shoulder. Here are five easy tips to help manage shoulder pain and keep your joint strong.  

#1 Shoulder pain diagnosis

There are many causes of shoulder pain and not all of them are due to problems of the shoulder joints or associated structures. Accurate diagnosis is important. “Common pathology is frozen shoulder, impingent, tendinopathy and referral from the scapular or neck,” physiotherapist and Healthfix founder Sean Cooney. “To treat your pain effectively, it’s crucial to know what to treat.”

 

#2 Using full range

When experiencing shoulder pain, the protective muscles around the joint try to keep your arm by your side in an effort to restrict movement. Activating the muscles that move the shoulder through its full range (these are called the antagonist muscles) can significantly reduce your recovery time.

 

#3 Comfortable and progressive loading

Everyone’s progress is different. Make sure you don’t push yourself or your shoulder beyond what feels comfortable. That said, strength is built with progressive loading – that is, a little more weight and/or repetitions as is safe for your particular issue. “Monitor your pain one to two hours after exercise or the next morning to know if you’re loading correctly,” advises Sean. 

 

#4 Don’t go too far

Pain management is the first step to regaining strength in any part of the body. Sean recommends to first get comfortable with using your arms below shoulder height, gradually moving up to shoulder height before – no points for guessing – graduating to using your arms above your head. “This is a safe way to ensure you’re not going too far when regaining your full range of motion,” says Sean.

 

#5 Stretch. And stretch again.

“Stretching can serve as a great tester and reliever of pain, not to mention the best way to improve flexibility in the shoulder. A daily doorway stretch can help mitigate shoulder pain or find out if you’re lacking some essential range of motion. To do this, find yourself a clear doorway, stretch the arm overhead to grasp the door frame, then lean forward to create resistance. If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, our team of physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can help. Book an appointment online today.
Relieving back pain

Focus on: back pain | Help relieve a sore back with these lifestyle tips

Back pain and posture

Poor posture can make back pain worse, especially if you sit for long periods. Be conscious of your posture: sit upright, with your shoulders relaxed and your body supported against the back of your chair. Try putting a pillow or a rolled towel between your lower back and your seat, and keep your feet flat on the floor. If you suffer from back pain, it might be a good idea to invest in an ergonomic chair.

Stay active

It may feel counterintuitive, but bed rest or staying still is one of the worst things you can do for a sore back. It’s important to move, no matter how slowly. Gentle exercise has been found to be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain quickly. Don’t rest for more than a day or two. Swimming, walking and yoga are all great ways to get moving again. 

Stretch it out

Studies show that yoga can help alleviate neck and back pain. Regularly stretching the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the spine is an important element of all back exercise programs.  Stretching can reduce tension in muscles supporting the spine; tension in these muscles can worsen pain from any number of back pain conditions. It also helps improve range of motion and overall mobility.

Strengthen your core

Strong back and abdominal muscles can help heal most types of back pain, especially the most common form of back pain caused by soft tissue injury or back muscle strain. Back and abdominal muscles, referred to as core muscles, tend to weaken with age unless specifically exercised. The abdominal muscles and back muscles provide the strength to keep the body upright and for movement. When these core muscles are in poor condition, additional stress is applied to the spine as it supports the body, and back injury or back pain is more likely. Exercises that strengthen these core muscles should be a part of a balanced back/abdominal exercise program. Pilates is great for core strengthening.

Lose the luggage

Carrying an overstuffed handbag or heavy backpack slung over one shoulder can force your spine into a rotated position and cause an asymmetrical posture. It makes the muscles on one side of your back work much harder to maintain balance, which puts you at greater risk of back pain and injury. Backpack wearers, use both straps – distributing weight evenly helps to protect against back strain.

Stress less (or at least try to)

Work, home life and everyday worries – these days, there’s more than a few of them – can leave you stressed. Add that to the frustration of back pain, and it’s not uncommon to feel tense. Which in turn can make pain feel worse, and diminish motivation to stay active – which again, doesn’t help your mood. It’s a vicious cycle. Positive thinking, and relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises can help. 

Start physiotherapy

Physiotherapists can teach you how to sit, stand, and move in a way that keeps your spine in proper alignment and alleviates strain on your back. They’re also experts in specialised exercises that strengthen the core muscles that support your back. A strong core is one of the best ways to prevent more back pain in the future. Studies show that when you increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance, back pain decreases — but it takes time. The Healthfix team benefits from being led by our director Sean Cooney, who studied Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney and is completing his Masters in Sports Physiotherapy at LaTrobe University. He’s also worked extensively as a personal trainer . Sean’s approach blends both performance and injury management. Book in to see how he and the team can help with your back pain.
Woman using Foam rolling

Foam Rolling 101

In this Foam Rolling 101 we let you know how you can get the best from these secret weapons for a painless, happier body. Foam rollers essentially look like large noodles, but they’re brilliant. They not only work on releasing soft tissue but they also work on breaking down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. They also improve blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

What are foam rollers used for?

The cylindrical roller can be used to perform a self-massage to release and break up trigger points and tight fascia whilst increasing blood circulation to surrounding soft tissue by using one’s own body weight. A superficial fascia is a soft connective tissue located just below the skin – it connects muscles, bones, nerve and blood vessels of the body together. This fascia combined with muscles make up the myofascial system, which can become ‘stuck together’ from muscle disuse, inadequate amount of stretching and from previous or current injuries. When this happens it’s called a soft tissue adhesion. It results in restricted movement, pain along the myofascial system and surrounding joints as well as stiffness and soreness with activation. Releasing this adhesion is done through a ‘myofascial release’ which is a technique used to soften and lengthen fascia and break down scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles and bone. This is done by producing a sustained pressure on the soft tissue whilst applying traction to the fascia.

Things to be aware of when foam rolling:

– Make sure you understand the technique before use (come and see us if you’re unsure)
– Don’t push through the pain
– Be aware of nerves located near muscles – if the pain is too painful, you start to get pins and needles, numbness and weakness in the surrounding muscles, please stop!

The Iliotibial Band (ITB)

The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a band of fascia on the outside of your upper leg. When it is tight it can cause knee and hip pain.
– Lie side on with the affected side on the foam roller, rest your upper body through your forearm. With your unaffected leg, place over the affected side and place the full surface of your foot on the ground. Start with the foam roller just above your knee and roll back and forth slowly for 30 seconds to just below your hip bone. For further pressure, place the unaffected leg on top of the affected side.

Quadriceps

Tight quadriceps can pull on your patellar tendons (tendons that attach to the knee) causing pain around the knee and surrounding structures.
– Lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Hold your body straight and rest your upper body through your forearms. Roll yourself back and forth slowly from just above your knee to just below your hip bone. For further pressure bend your knees.

Thoracic Spine

A tight Thoracic Spine can cause pain throughout the middle of the back and between shoulder blades. This can result in stiffness and reduced range of movement.
– Lie on your back and place the foam roller beneath your upper back, near your shoulder blades. Bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the ground. Place hands behind your head or wrapped around your chest. Before commencement brace your abs and buttocks (to lift body off the ground). Slowly work the roller for 30 seconds up and down your upper back (near shoulder blades) to around the middle of your back (not to lower back).

Happy Rolling!