Articles in Category: Training and Performance

Exercise and Mental Health

on Monday, 03 July 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Training and Performance

Exercise and Mental Health

By Emily Holzberger

B.ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys. Memb: ESSA

ACSA level 1 Strength and Conditioning coach, Sports Medicine Australia Sports Trainer, Level 1 Volleyball coach

 

Research has shown time and time again the significant influence exercise has on an individual’s mental health and well-being. Being physically active plays a major role in the prevention of mental health conditions.

 

Below you will see a figure demonstrating the link between physical activity and depression using the Centre of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Individuals who performed moderate or higher levels of exercise had a much lower score than those who performed no exercise, especially for women.

For individual’s with mental health conditions, exercise is crucial in helping to manage their condition; it should go hand in hand with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. The reason for this is because of the wide range of benefits exercise and physical activity provides:

 

    • High levels of subjective well-being and improvements in mood (Biddle, 2000; Sharma 2006
    • Release of endorphins and serotonin post-exercise lead to improved mood and reduced depression and anxiety symptoms (Health Direct, 2016
    • Exercise has an ‘anti-depressant effect’ (Mutrie, 2000
    • Improves self-esteem and cognitive function (Callaghan, 2004
    • Leads to improved sleep (Sharma, 2006
    • Increases energy and stamina (Sharma, 2006
    • Reduces tiredness that can increase mental alertnesss (Sharma, 2006
    • Reduction in weight which may be necessary because of the weight gain commonly associated with anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication. (Sharma, 2006
    • Provides social interactions, and allows people to build social networks and communication skills. (Peluso, 2005)

 

The figure below clearly outlines the phenomenal effect exercise has on people with depression. The exercise group of participants had the highest rate of recovery and the lowest rate of relapse out of the three groups.

Professor Jorm, from the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, provides a good explanation of what often is the case for most individual’s with poor mental health;

"When people get a problem like depression or severe mental illness, it affects their motivation and enjoyment of life, and that can drive physical activity down. But there's also probably a reciprocal effect, in that when they exercise less, that seems to make [their mental health] matters worse."

 

This cycle can be very difficult to get out of, however by taking small steps people will be able to feel the benefits for themselves. Supervised exercise has been shown to have greater adherence rates than unsupervised sessions, especially for this population group (Courneya, et al., 2012). This may be a strategy people could use to get back into exercise.

 

Emily Holzberger, the Clinical Exercise Physiologist here at Institute of Sports and Spines has experience working with patients with mental health conditions. Through her experience Emily’s seen just how much exercise can do for a person’s mental health. If you think incorporating exercise into the management of your current condition or need help with motivation give her a call (3398 7022).

 

Exercise Myth Busters

on Friday, 29 March 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Training and Performance

How Can I Exercise when I Don’t Have the Time?

Lack of time or perceived lack of time is an excuse that will often stop people from maintaining or even starting an exercise regime. It seems like a lot of people have this idea that they need to be exercising for at least an hour to make it ‘count’ but this is not the case.

Australian Physical Activity guidelines recommend we perform 30mins of exercise on most, if not all days of the week. It is important to note that this 30mins doesn’t have to be completed in one go. Research suggests that you can receive the same benefit from performing three 10minute blocks of exercise a day. So maybe you could start your day with some body weight resistance exercises before work, go for a short walk at lunch time to get out of the office and then do some stretches at the end of the day to unwind. There we go, we’ve hit the 30mins!

It can also be a good idea to have a look at your week and see if there is time here or there for you to exercise. It’s often the case that you do find some spots that are available. Or maybe you might need to make some small sacrifices; for example instead of spending two hours in front of the TV of an evening, you go for a half hour walk and then reward yourself with some TV afterwards.

You may find some days that you really do struggle to fit in your exercise, that’s when incidental physical activity can be really useful. This is where we perform physical activity doing daily tasks. Maybe you could take the stairs instead of the escalator, park a little further away from work and walk the remaining distance, or do some housework. By being more physically active throughout the day we burn more energy and keep our body’s happy (by not sitting all day)!

At the end of the day ANY exercise is better than no exercise. It has been found that you can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by performing as little as an hour of gardening or walking a week. We don’t need to be spending hours a day at the gym to see health benefits.

Planning is what can really help you break down the ‘I don’t have enough time to exercise’ excuse. So at the start of each week have a look at your diary and see what opportunities you have to exercise or at least be physically active!

           

Written by Emily Holzberger

Qualifications: B. ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys.   

 

Resources: Australian Physical Activity Guidelines (2014), Nurses’ Health Study (2016)

Exercise Myth Busters - ‘No Pain, No Gain’

on Friday, 18 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Training and Performance

Exercise Myth Busters - ‘No Pain, No Gain’

Exercise Myth Busters - ‘No Pain, No Gain’

The ‘no pain no gain’ motto often gets thrown around in the fitness industry, but is there any truth to this type of thinking?

First of all let’s break down the difference between muscle fatigue and soreness versus pain;

Generally the muscle fatigue we experience during a workout is normal. The burn we feel when we exercise is due to acidic protons, called hydrogen ions, being released as we breakdown glucose for energy.

The days following a challenging work out you may experience Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) where you find your muscles are stiff, sore and tired. These symptoms should pass after a few days. If they continue for a longer period of time you may have worked a little too hard, lifted too much or gone for too long. If you find yourself experiencing this it is a good idea to take step back to avoid putting too much strain on the body.

Pain you experience when exercising might be joint pain (e.g. knee or back pain), stabbing or shooting pain in a muscle, or cramping. This type of pain we don’t want during a workout.

When we ‘push through the pain’ bad things can happen. Pain is our body telling us there’s something wrong, you may lack the strength or stability to perform a particular exercise properly. This leads to improper loading of your joints which can cause injury. If we overload our system by ignoring this pain we can see serious injuries like muscle strains, tears, and impingement, spinal disc injuries, ligament injuries, the list goes on.

So the next time someone tells you ‘no pain, no gain’ you can set the record straight that muscle fatigue and soreness if fine but pain is something that should not be in our work outs.

 

 

By Emily Holzberger

 

B.ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys. Memb: ESSA