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The Sunday That Was.

Westmeadows Fitness Bootcamp Personal Trainer

The breath steamed from my mouth as I walked through the crisp air along the Yarra, sipping my latte and heading towards the Hallowed Turf, the MCG.

Does it get any more 'Melbourne' than that?!

The day was here!

The day we had been training for. Working hard towards. Up early on Sunday mornings for our 'stair training'.

Finally, the day to conquer the 7300+ stair of Levels 1 + 3 in the MCG. Stadium Stomp 2017.

The atmosphere at the 'G was electric that morning! The air was crisp, but the sun was out and the music was pumping. There is something really special about participating in a large event like this. So many people, from so many different walks of life. All coming together for the one purpose - to push themselves physically and mentally, to do something that you wouldn't normally get to do. So much positivity, so much 'Onya, Mate!'. 

If you have not yet done a large scale event - I dare you to! 

Westmeadows Fitness Bootcamp Personal Trainer

I am so proud of all our ladies (and two token fellas) for everything they did to prepare for and finish the 2017 MCG Stadium Stomp. It was so great to get back to our seats and cheer home our own runners! 

But not only that. It was so fantastic to watch all the runners cross the finish line, after running a lap around the 'G. It is such an amazing feeling to do that - after all those stairs, you honestly feel like you are a complete speed demon as you run on the flat, manicured grass.

But the most important part of the day?

Junior Stomp!

Westmeadows Fitness Bootcamp Personal Trainer

From the warm up to the finish line, it was such a party! The kids got to experience what we got to experience. They got to be 'just like Mum'. They got to experience a physical activity of a different nature. I am just so, so, so proud of these little munchkins.

And this is why I continue to do what I do. I want to show my daughters that physically challenging yourself and training for physical challenges is fun, is worth it and is available to them.

I want them to lean into life. I want them to know that they can give these things a go. That everyone can be their own strong.

So, my challenge to you is this: If you are a parent, how can you challenge yourself to try something new, to aim for something higher, to be out and active with your children? Trust me, you'll thank me for it!!



5 Ways To Be More Active With The Kids

If my kids weren't active, I'd struggle to get my own workouts in some days.

But it's not by chance that they are.

We've worked pretty hard to teach them and encourage them to be active. If the sun is shining - even if it's shining behind the clouds - the kids are outside. Our outdoors lifestyle and numerous camping weekends away means that our kids HAVE to know how to play outside. And to make their own fun. We got them off their training wheels on their bikes from an early age (Claire was still 3 when she DEMANDED that I teach her to ride without them!)

So, what things can you do with your kids? How can you get out and about and active with your kids?

1. Bike Riding. This is the obvious one. Put the kids on their bikes, find a suitable track (I use the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail extension pretty often) and run alongside them or ride with them. Stop as often as you need to. Enjoy the scenery. Talk to the kids about what they find and see. Allow the kids to determine the route.

2. Bushwalk. Explore your own backyard. I took the girls on a 4km return 'bushwalk' through Woodlands Historic Park the other day. We stopped often. We looked at the little sights along the way. We looked out for kangaroos. We watched the planes go almost overhead. And we enjoyed each other's company!

3. Go on a Slide Hunt. This is a favourite one for our girls! Every so often, if we find ourselves with a spare hour or two on a weekend, we'll jump in the car and head out to any one of the new estates popping up in our area. The best thing about the new estates is all the new playgrounds going in! The girls love to find and play on all the new playgrounds.

4. Learn a New Skill. Together. When was the last time you kicked a footy? Rockclimbed? Played tennis? Hit a cricket ball? Danced? Embrace your inner child and learn a new skill with your children. Trust me, you'll have a blast!

5. Do Kids Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga is a really cute, story based yoga session for kids. But I think it'd be great for families to do together!



A Physio can help me with THAT?!

So, Brooke and I had a bit of an online chat for you. And  it's probably a good thing that it was an online chat, as most of our face to face chats involve a glass of bubbles! 

Brooke is the director of Back In Motion: Melbourne on Collins, a fantastic physiotherapist who just happens to specialise in Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy and a wonderful friend with a very enviable shoe collection!

So, Brooke, what exactly is Women's Health Physiotherapy?

Women’s health physiotherapy, is a sub-branch of musculoskeletal physiotherapy that has arisen from a need for specialists to treat and manage all things pelvic floor based. There’s been a real push in the last 5 yrs or so to call ourselves “Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists” because we treat so much more than women. We are involved in:
  • all things Continence based (both urinary and faecal),
  • all things bladder and bowel related (pain, constipation, long term diarrhoea),
  • all things pelvic organ prolapse related,
  • and any pelvic pain (vaginismus, vulvodynia, painful intercourse, erectile dysfunction).
And in fact, there is a large area of my work that covers Men and the management of their conditions which can include many of the above areas too. Most of the male treatment has arisen very recently with the advent of better Prostate Cancer diagnoses, treatment options and thus better referral on to us to assist in helping these men recover from their surgery, which nearly always results in a stint of significant incontinence and long term erectile dysfunction.
Given the pelvic floor is a muscle, it makes sense that Physios, who are experts in all things muscle and rehabilitation, would be perfectly placed to manage these types of problems. We should be the first line of treatment for anyone who experiences any kind of pelvic floor dysfunction – incontinence, prolapse, chronic pelvic pain, because we are so well trained in fixing it and luckily for us, the research and many studies back this up :-)
Many in this field will also treat children and their pelvic floor issues, but for me, after learning it at university, I haven’t had any clinical experience so I wouldn’t say I can treat kids as confidently as I can a woman or man who presents to my clinic.
We also manage pre and post-natal musculoskeletal pain; pelvic girdle pain/instability, spinal pain related to pregnancy, mastitis, blocked breast ducts, teach and run exercise classes for pre and post-natal ladies and generally manage the women who are in that peri-natal period.
All “women’s health Physiotherapists” or continence and pelvic floor physiotherapists will have gone back to university and studied either a masters or a post grad certificate on top of their bachelor degree to become one. We have the skill set to perform vaginal and rectal examinations and are thus able to identify the type of incontinence, or the extent of a prolapse and manage the very painful and debilitating chronic pelvic pain syndromes. This makes us or sets us apart from a regular physio who may have a real time ultrasound that can image your pelvic floor through a full bladder. These physios and this treatment can be quite useful in many circumstances, but as a general rule, if you are suffering from any of the above, we’d always recommend you see someone a little more qualified to get a more rounded examination and assessment of the condition.

How do I know if I need to see a Continence and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?

If you experience leaking, either of urine, wind or faeces, then you should definitely see a Women’s health physio :-) The important thing to realise is that it shouldn’t be seen as something embarrassing; in fact 1 in 3 women who have ever had a baby will wet themselves. And 50% of the population will experience a prolapse. So as I like to say, it is quite common, but please don’t consider it normal. I think women particularly, are hopeless at looking after themselves and tend to organise everyone around them before taking the time to attend to their own health needs. I see this a lot in my clinic, mums coming in years after the delivery of their first child and they’ve been leaking or suffering the whole time. If you can’t get through an hour of high impact exercise eg. A body attack class/ aerobics or running without stopping half way through to toilet, then you would most definitely benefit from an assessment.
Similarly, if you experience pain with/after intercourse, pain when passing a stool, if you couldn’t consider riding a bike because it would be too painful, then you would be helped immeasurably by seeing a women’s’ health physio.

What made you want to specialise in this field of physiotherapy?

Like a lot of career pathways, I pretty much fell into it. I was working in the UK at the time and accepted a locum/contract position on an obstetrics ward and fell in love with it. I had done a placement at uni in my undergraduate course at the Mercy Hospital and got a taste for it then so when I landed the role in the UK I realised that it was for me. One returning home from the UK, I completed the Post Graduate and have been doing it ever since! I’m now the clinical lead across the Back In Motion network, of which I’m a Practice Director. I now mentor the junior physios, run professional development sessions and am the go-to for all the network’s clinical questions.
My real love for this type of physio is more to do with make a real change to my patient’s lives and their day to day activities. Something that is so simple as being continent can be life changing for many. It’s the small wins and the average Joe who is helped by my skills as a clinician so this makes be very happy. It’s also pretty fun seeing all the babies too!!

If you had one message for the ladies reading this, what would that be?

If any of the above resonates with you, take action! You can do something about it, you can fix it and it’s not nearly as hard as you think!!!