Gym Hobart

Create More Movement Options

In my previous article , I wrote about the importance of exercise and exercise variability on mental health. I’m going to expand on this topic in regards to what is happening in the brain and the tissue and how that can be incorporated into exercise.

Regular physical activity plays a crucial role in health maintenance and disease prevention. However there is an increasing occurrence of excessive exercise among certain population groups, which have adverse effects on both physical and mental health. I want to set a framework to help you find balance and question your perspective about what exercise is for you and how you approach it.

I believe, all too often in our society we approach exercise as something we have to do often because we want to lose weight or use it as a mechanism to keep on top of our mental health. Both of these reasons are perfectly valid and effective forms to achieve such outcomes, however I want to prompt you to think about why it is you exercise and whether what you are doing is enjoyable.

In my previous article I wrote about the Default Mode Network (DNM) and how it is active when a person is focused internally, e.g. Ruminating, and is less active when focused on attention-demanding tasks. Previously I wrote that a hyperactive DMN is associated with mental health issues such as obsessive behaviour, anxiety and depression. I explained how a hyperactive DMN results in less neural patterning, meaning we continue to strengthen the same neural networks, therefore have the same thought processes, increasing our anxious thoughts.

When relating this to exercise, one of my favourite sayings is ‘create more movement options’. What does this mean? Simple.

Move more, move different and move more often .

It doesn’t matter HOW you move, as long as you are spending time doing different exercises, reaching in different planes of motion and getting your heart rate UP and DOWN in different increments regularly. Any exercise is good exercise, however if relating this to our brain activity, we want to be able to keep exercise enjoyable and variable in order to thrive rather than survive in everyday life.

Having spent a lot of time working with cyclists, I always think they’re the quintessential example of what we’re talking about here. Cyclists are by nature pretty obsessive people! They often have what we term ‘type-A’ personalities, i.e. they’re ambitious, rigidly organised and status conscious. They’re your classic ‘high achievers’. Cyclists spend a lot of time in the same position, often a lot of time in a similar heart rate zone and, are quite often in high achieving occupations.

Which comes first, the obsessive behaviour or the rigid exercise routine? It’s a chicken or egg situation. Someone with a type-A personality is likely to be more attracted to endurance sports, e.g. cycling, running etc, because being driven in this sport is what allows them to excel at it, however too much of this type of activity, ie. low neural patterning, will also result in a hyperactive DMN.

  There is nothing ‘wrong’ with cycling itself (I spend a lot of time riding bikes myself), however for people who spend a lot of time doing one thing, even sitting at a desk, should consider creating more movement patterns.   

This is where at Personal Best Fitness we see the benefit of implementing tools such as ViPRs in your exercise routine. ViPRs bridge the gap between movement and strength. By shifting weight, rather than lifting it against gravity, engaging your muscles with variable stimuli. They allow us to adapt to new movement patterns by stretching and loading as you move, resulting in a lean, long and strong system.

 

“Any exercise is good exercise, as long as what you are doing resembles what you ‘think’ you are doing.”

 

Written by Senior personal trainer, Sofia Tsamassiros  

 

Reference list:

Personal Trainer Hobart

Half full or half empty?

mental We’ve all read that exercise is great for mental health and there is exponential research to support that claim. Exercise releases ‘feelgood’ hormones such as endorphins and serotonin, boosting your mood and reducing stress and anxiety. What if I were to suggest that you can approach exercise in a more effective manner in order to reduce these symptoms? Having recently reading ‘How to Change Your Mind’, a book about psychedelics and their potential as a treatment for mental disorders and higher thinking, it intrigued me from both a personal and professional aspect. I definitely recommend the read! One such discussion was that on low entropy state. Essentially explaining how excess order (eg. Rigid thinking and obsessive behaviour) results in a hyperactive ‘default mode’. This ultimately traps us in a repetitive and destructive state of rumination. – Think classic signs of Obessive Complusive Disorder, anxiety and depression and to a lesser extent, obsessive eating or exercise habits. If on the other hand, we are able to access a high entropic state, the brain becomes less specialised and more globally interconnected. Learning entails the establishment of new neural networks (neuroplasticity) – If we are able to boost the diversity in our mental life (ie. high entropic state), the more possibilities the mind has and the more creative our solutions will become. Where am I going with this, and what does it have to do with exercise? Most of us understand that we need to change our exercise program routinely in order to see improvement; whether it be increasing the resistance, trying a new exercise or trying a completely different sport. When we first try something new, it’s hard and we’re rarely a natural at it. It is this same concept that we can employ with our workout routine. We want to ‘surprise’ our body as often as possible, not only to improve our physical function, but also our mental function. If you always exercise on the same day, at the same time and do the same routine on those days, try changing it up. Come to Personal Best Fitness at a different time or try a different workout routine or class. The members in my small group personal training will know I love using ViPRs and will often introduce a few group activities or exercises in which they’re made to focus on what they’re doing and creating ‘game’ based training. This can be as simple as throwing a tennis ball or other games you used to play as a kid such as Simon says. You’d be surprised about how quickly this kind of exercise can get your heart rate up, all the while putting a big smile on your face. And better yet, you’re improving your brain’s ability to wire itself and improving your mental health. Sofia Tsamassiros Senior Personal Trainer

Here is some further reading on the research discussed in the article:

Dufek S, 2002. Exercise Variability: A prescription for Overuse Injury Prevention. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal. Mohan, Akansha, Aaron J. Roberto, Abhishek Mohan, Aileen Lorenzo, Kathryn Jones, Martin J. Carney, Luis Liogier-Weyback, Soonjo Hwang, and Kyle A.B. Lapidus. 2016. “The Significance of the Default Mode Network (DMN) in Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders: A Review.” The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 89 (1): 49-57. Pollan M, 2018. How to Change Your Mind. Penguin Group, United States. Ross R, Goodpaster BH, Koch LG, et alPrecision exercise medicine: understanding exercise response variability. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 12 March 2019. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100328
Injury Rehabilitation

A Fitness Industry Trailblazer

Colin Sept news Many of us can remember the days of leotards, leg warmers, high leg kicks and grape vines, none more so than Colin who has been one of the trailblazers in the Tasmanian Fitness Industry. Colin started teaching aerobic classes back in 1982 and became what was then termed a ‘fitness leader’. He subsequently established the Tasmanian United Fitness Leaders Association in 1987, which later became Fitness Tasmania. Away from the fitness industry Colin had a distinguished career of 38 years at the Australian Taxation Office, during which time he established a fitness centre there. Colin retired from the ATO in 2002, at which point his focus shifted entirely to the fitness industry. During his 35 years in the fitness industry he has presented at FILEX, the largest fitness industry conference in the southern hemisphere and also organized and promoted fitness seminars and workshops in Tasmania. Colin enjoyed competing in aerobics championships and subsequently became the first accredited aerobics coach in Tasmania in 1994, as well as the Director of the Tasmanian Aerobics Championships from 1988 to 1993. In addition to this he was the Tasmanian coordinator for Australian Fitness Network and was Network’s Tasmanian Ambassador. Since 2005 Colin has been a co-owner of Personal Best Fitness, with his primarily role being to ensure that Personal Best maintains its high standard of excellence and meets the clients and staff needs. Colin also enjoys his role as a personal trainer and has been training some of his clients for over a decade and recently had a 14 year anniversary with his first small group “Coot Camp”, Boot camp for old coots! ‘I particularly enjoy working with the 40+ sector as I can relate well to them’. Colin is a firm believer in life long learning and he recently completed the Understanding Dementia Course conducted by the University of Tasmania. He is a Level 2 Strength and Conditioning Coach and a Certified Functional Ageing Specialist. The most rewarding aspect of Colin’s involvement in the fitness industry is the relationships he has developed with his colleagues, clients and the team at Personal Best Fitness. ‘My main focus now is ensuring that Personal Best Fitness continues to lead the way in delivering ‘cutting edge’ personal training and that our members and staff feel valued, recognized and appreciated’. Living by the practice what you preach motto, Colin exercises most days, he is a keen cyclist and has been weight training for some 38 years. One of his long term goals is to always be able to do as many chin-ups as his age! Away from all things fitness, Colin is a devoted father to Sofie and he enjoys reading, a wine or two, the beach and is a fabulous cook of Asian food. He is also one of the most organized people that we know. Colin is a wonderful role model to the broader fitness community and we are so fortunate to have his knowledge and skills to call upon at Personal Best.