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The Essential Guide for Surfers on Sydney’s beaches

Did you know that over 2.2 million Australians hit the waves and surf recreationally?  With the spectacular Maroubra Beach right on our doorstep, we thought it was “high tide’’ for a post all about surfing. Here is the essential guide for surfers to avoid injury out on the waves.

The Benefits of Surfing

For your body

It’s possible to burn up to 1,000 calories an hour with surfing.  This makes it an energy-hungry activity and fantastic for losing weight, along with increasing the strength and muscle tone of your entire body. It is  good to remember that the amount of calories you burn will depend on your body weight, workout intensity and metabolism. This varies from person to person.

For your mind

Surfing has a positive impact not just your body, but also on your overall mental health. Studies have found that surfing can be useful and beneficial for treating Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Bipolar disorders. Another reason to embrace the beauty of Maroubra’s surfing lifestyle.

Preventing the most common surfing injuries

Surfing is considered to be a safe sort, with 2.2 injuries per 1,000 surfing days. And the majority of injuries aren’t serious.

Don’t believe the hype about shark attacks. You are more likely to get a laceration or sprain through surfing, which account for 75% of all surfing injuries. This is followed by dislocations and fractures.

In terms of the area of the injury, 46% of injuries are sustained to the leg, followed by injuries to the head or face (26%), the trunk/back (13%) and the shoulder and arm (13%).

Precautions, warm-ups, understanding the ocean and checking your equipment before you go out, all significantly lower the risk of injury.

Safety tips for surfers

Surfing obviously looks cool. However it’s more complex and tricky than it looks.  There are a number of things that every novice surfer should remember before catching waves.

  • Get the right board: New surfers will benefit from using a longboard (or Malibu board). This board is designed to be easier to balance, stand up and paddle with.
  • Respect other surfers: Don’t cut in on other people’s waves. Many injuries result from collisions between surfers. Respect other swimmers: Remember that surfers aren’t allowed to surf between the flags on patrolled beaches.
  • Look out for other surfers and swimmers: If you see someone else in trouble, alert the life-guards or if it’s safe, assist the individual.
  • Slap on the sunscreen: Always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
  • Do a pre-surf equipment check: Ensure that your board is waxed up and has grip. Ensure that your leg rope is in good condition. Use the leg rope on your surfboard if you are a beginner.
  • Wear a wetsuit and booties: A wet suit and reef booties aren’t just designed for colder weather. Remember that everyone has a different idea of what constitutes cold water. This extra layer can also offer some protection against sharp reef and rock collisions.
  • Know how to swim to (at least) intermediate level: The Australian coast is a fickle and unpredictable beast. So don’t tackle surfing in the ocean without first knowing how to swim. You should be an intermediate to advanced swimmer before you begin surfing, otherwise surfing will pose additional risks for you.

Learn how to read the ocean

Did you know that there are around 17,500 rips that are operating on the Australian coast on any given day? Surfers and swimmers getting caught in rips account for more deaths than other natural hazards, such as bushfires and cyclones in Australia.

Being out on a board in the water can feel very relaxing. However remember that it can also be a dangerous place. As a surfer, whether you’re a novice or a more experienced surfer, you should know how to read the ocean and avoid dangerous spots.

Where there is a rip, you will see:

  • Murky brownish water caused by sand being stirred up from the bottom of the ocean.
  • Darker colours in the ocean (indicating deep water).
  • A smoother ocean surface with much smaller waves, alongside white water.
  • Waves breaking further out to sea on both sides of a rip.
  • Debris, flotsam and jetsam that’s floating out to sea.

Warm-up before you surf

Surfing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. It involves a lot of different muscle groups when you paddle out, catch a wave, balance on a surfboard and attempt aerial moves. Therefore it’s important to warm-up to prevent injury or painful muscle cramps once you hit the water.

Your warm-up should consist of exercises that increase the heart rate, release tight muscles and lubricate joints.

Breathing Squat: perform a squat movement, exhaling as the body moves down, and inhaling as the body comes back up, extending the arms towards the sky.

Warrior Lunge: Begin in a basic standing position and lunge forward into a lunge position, extend your arms to the sky, push up off front foot and back into starting position. To advance the movement, you can repeat the prior movement and then add a side bend in either or both directions.

Butt Drops: Reach towards the sky and then bend forward to touch your toes. Drop your butt towards your heels as you lift the chest to face forwards. The elbows are inside of the knees, pushing them outwards. Lower your butt as low as possible and keep your chest as tall as possible. Hold this position for one inhale/exhale and then lift your butt back towards the sky, as your head and chest move back towards ground. Stretch the hamstrings and repeat the movement.

Single Leg Upper Body Rotation: Stand on one leg with the knee slightly bent, and your hip pushed backwards. With your arms placed in front of the body, rotate from side to side slowly. Control the movement and remain balanced on one single leg.

T-Rotation Push-ups: Begin in push-up position, and then rotate one arm towards the sky, while simultaneously rotating the body onto one side. You are now balanced on one hand, with the other hand/arm extended towards the sky. Rotate back into push-up position and repeat on the other side.

Bent Shoulder Circles: Keeping a straight back, with slightly bent knees, bend the torso forward. Get to an angle where you begin to feel a light stretch in your hamstrings and bring the arms out to the sides into a T-position. Perform small arm circles for 30 repetitions in each direction.

About Maroubra Road Physiotherapy

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy treat muscle sprains, joint injuries, back, neck and shoulder injuries. In the past, we have treated many novice and experienced surfers in the local area. Coming in for treatment early on reduces recovery time and also the risk of injury recurrence. If you have a surfing injury, the experienced and friendly team here at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy hope to hear from you.

If you would like to book an appointment with one of our experienced physiotherapists, please make an online booking or give us a call on 02 9314 3888.



ABC Science (2013) Australian Surf Deadlier than Bushfires

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2019) Want to be healthier and happier in 2019 – dive in!

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) What exercise burns the most calories?

Sports Medicine Australia (2017) Surfing Fact Sheet

Surfer Today (2018) The Complete Guide to Surf Training

The Victorian Government Better Health Channel (2019) The Health Benefits of Surfing

7 Things Parents Can Do About Kids And Sports Injuries

Kids And Sporting Injuries – 7 Things Parents Can Do

Exploring and experimenting with different sports can create fantastic memories for children. It helps them to burn off their exuberant physical energy, as well as gain confidence and social skills.

Nevertheless, there is a worrying increase in the number of serious injuries sustained by children playing sport. Medicare data cited in an ABC article showed that number of kids undergoing Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstructions has tripled over the past 15 years. Many of these ACL injuries in children arose out of them playing high risk sports like netball, Australian rules football and soccer.

Being a parent is challenging at the best of times. On the one hand you want to swaddle them in cotton wool, and on the other hand you also want to give them free rein to explore their physical capabilities. As a parent, the best way to do this is to empower yourself with knowledge.

The top ten

Just for your reference, here are the most high risks sports in Australia for sporting injuries, ranked from highest (1) to lower (10).

  1. Australian rules football
  2. Soccer
  3. Cycling
  4. Wheeled motor sports
  5. Rugby
  6. Water sports
  7. Roller sports
  8. Equestrian activities
  9. Basketball
  10. Netball

Source: The Guardian

  1. Try many sports, not just one

While children are still growing, they are developing motor skills in many different ways. By focusing on one particular activity too early in their lives, your children could develop injuries that relate to repetitive stress and overuse of particular muscle groups.

Instead, get them to try a broad variety of physical activities like dance, performance theatre, different types of sports and more gentle, calming exercises like yoga for strengthening and balancing their growing bodies. Over time, they will develop a preference for a particular sport and want to continue this into their teens. To ensure they don’t burn out and to help prevent injury, give them at least three months off this sport per year.

  1. Downtime and recovery is important

People of all ages and stages of life will injure themselves when they don’t eat right, stay hydrated or get enough sleep. Even though sport and physical exercise is a key part of a healthy life, so too is recovering and resting.

If your sporty kids want to spend the entire weekend at a netball or football tournament, then make sure they get a hearty and nutritious lunch, plenty of water and plenty of sleep the night before.

  1. Warming up is key

Starting a sporting activity without warming up is a recipe for disaster at any age. Before they hit the pitch or the court, make sure your children do at least 10-15 minutes of dynamic warm-ups. YouTube has countless great warm-up videos which are a great place to get inspiration.

  1. Are we having fun yet?

Ensure that your child is enjoying the sport in question. Each week if they drag their feet and look all mopey at the prospect of going to football or netball training, then question them about why. In order for them to get the benefit of the sport, they need to enjoy it and want to continue, otherwise it’s just a chore.

  1. Choose a bike helmet that meets Australian safety standards

If your child’s chosen sport is BMX racing, skateboarding or cycling then ensure they have the right protective gear. In Australia, all bike riders are legally required to wear a helmet. Although there is no law for skateboarding and rollerblading, it’s still a good idea. That’s because research shows that wearing a helmet can lower the risk of head injury by 69% and brain injury by up to 74%. When you buy a helmet for your child or yourself, ensure that it meets the Australian Safety Standards (AS/NZS2063) and that it is right size and fit. If you buy one online, it may not meet the Australian safety standard.

  1. Tread carefully with equestrian sports  

Horses are beautiful there’s no doubt about that. But My Little Pony and your daughter’s dreams aside, you should consider that there are many risks and variables to equestrian sports. That means you should plan wisely for this sport and choose an experienced horse trainer and a horse with a calm temperament. Ensure that your child has access to high quality gear and that your child gets adequate training on riding before jumping in the saddle. There is a lot to consider. Although horse-riding can become a life-long passion. Speak to any horsey person and they will tell you that it’s worth it.

  1. Choose the right mouthguard

In one Queensland study, over 50% of young rugby players had sustained an injury to the face or teeth while playing sport. It’s really important to use a mouthguard when playing sports like rugby, Aussie rules, soccer and boxing. This is because a custom-fitted mouthguard will absorb the impact of a blow to the face more evenly and reduce the risk of injury to the mouth or jaw. The Australian Dental Association says that self-fitted, boil and bite mouthguards don’t provide adequate protection. So you’re better off getting a custom-made mouthguard that’s designed to fit in your child’s mouth more comfortably.

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy strives to keep everyone in Maroubra healthy, active and moving. The best medicine is preventative and educational. So make sure you like, share and subscribe to this blog to stay in the know about the best ways to look after your and your family’s health. Book an appointment today!

Congrats on finishing your half marathon. Here is some essential advice on what to do next

Post Marathon Recovery!

Congratulations on finishing your half marathon! It’s a huge achievement! In order to maximise on all your hard work, here is some advice on what to do next…

1) Don’t stop! Although the temptation is to cross the finish line and collapse (while you kiss the ground!), try keep moving. After running for the last few hours, your muscles and your heart need time to adjust to your change in activity. That walk to the car will actually do you good!

2) Have something light to eat, and eat again later. If it’s been hot, be sure to rehydrate adequately as well. Running a marathon will deplete your body’s resources, so it’s important to refuel!

3) Cool down! As lovely as the idea of a nice warm bath might be, a quick jump in the pool or a cold shower can help reduce inflammation and help in your recovery. Compression leggings may also help.

4) Rest! Although the temptation might be to “maximise on your training ” and get out there again quickly, the marathon will have taken a huge toll on your body. You won’t lose fitness in resting for a few days, but returning to running too soon could result in an injury. One rule of thumb is your body takes a day per mile to recover. That means after a marathon, give yourself 26 days before pushing yourself again!

5) Use this time to sort out any problems you may have experienced during your training or the race itself. Have a massage or see a physiotherapist to help sort any niggling injuries. Focus on doing some core strengthening or stretches. Maybe do some  cross training  like cycling or swimming, which will keep you fit without pounding your body!

Are You Thinking About Buying New Shoes For Running Or Sport? Here Is Some Good Advice:

What Shoe Should I Wear?

Are you thinking of picking up a sport or maybe some running? It is really important to consider your footwear. The sport shoe serves as a structural and functional extension of your foot. A poorly chosen shoe can affect your walking/running patterns, which can then lead to injury. The best designed shoes in the world will not do their job if they do not fit properly.

Your foot is designed for stability and shock absorption. The chosen shoe should enhance these qualities. It is also important to know that most people DO NOT have perfect biomechanics! Suboptimal biomechanics can be corrected with the correct footwear.

Avoid foot problems by following these simple guidelines:

  • Have your feet measured to fit instead of going by what ‘size’ you are
  • Although your feet may not smell like roses after a workout, try to visit a shoe store at the end of the workout when your feet are the largest
  • Wear the sock you normally wear when working out
  • There should be at least one thumbs breadth of space from the longest toe to the end of the toe box
  • If you have bunions or hammertoes, your best bet is a wide toe box to let your fore foot breathe

Are you starting to feel some foot or lower limb pain while running or exercising? Book an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist today.

10 Week Half Marathon Training Schedule

Running and training for a marathon or half marathon can be an incredibly enjoyable, social and rewarding experience. However, preparing for the big day will ensure you get the most out of the race and more importantly ensure that you don’t get injured in the process!

Our physiotherapists at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy have prepared an easy to follow 10-week half marathon training schedule to help you get ready!

10 Week Training Schedule:































































































Walk 3


Walk 4



(all distances are in kilometres)

If you would like some more tips on how to get the most out of running, please read our blog post here on how to get started!

Ankle Sprains – All You Need To Know!

Ankle Sprains – All You Need To Know!

A sprained ankle occurs when your ankle ligaments are “overstretched” or “torn”.

There are 3 grades of ankle sprains, depending on the severity of the injury.

  • Slight tearing of the ligament with mild tenderness, swelling, and stiffness (Grade 1).
  • A larger but incomplete tear with moderate pain, swelling, and bruising. Although the ankle may feel stable, the damaged areas are tender to the touch, and walking is painful (Grade III).
  • A complete tear of the affected ligament or ligaments with severe swelling and bruising. The ankle is unstable and may feel “wobbly.” Walking is usually not possible because the ankle may give way, and there may be intense pain especially on weight bearing (Grade III)

Assessment and Treatment

Treatment options will vary, depending on the severity of your injury. Your physiotherapist will assess your injury and give you guidance to promote optimal healing. If we are concerned by the severity of your injury, we will refer you on to your doctor for further investigation.

Until you’ve been accurately diagnosed, use the following guidelines:

Rest, Ice, Compression, & Elevation (first 48-72hrs) are great steps to ensure that your injury is on the correct road to recovery.

It is important to book an appointment with a physiotherapist. During the session, we will assess your strength, range of motion, walking patterns and biomechanics to ensure normal function is restored following your injury.

We will help to keep you moving, as your ability to move your ankle is often restricted following a ligament sprain. We will use manual therapy techniques for joint stiffness, and massage and soft tissue release techniques for muscle spasm and tightness. We will also give you rehabilitation exercises to improve your strength and function. These exercises will include:

  • Range of motion Exercises (foot and ankle)
  • Gentle strengthening exercises
  • Band and body-weight resistance exercises
  • Proprioception/balance exercises
  • Functional weight-bearing activities to improve walking patterns and return to function and sport

Book an appointment with an experienced physiotherapist at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy to facilitate healing, prevent re-injury, and get you back on your feet!

Do you want to start running? Here are 11 simple tips to get you on your way.

Do you want to start running?

One of the greatest aspects of walking or running is that it can be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone. All you need is motivation and a decent pair of shoes. It may also be advisable to get clearance from your doctor. Often people don’t know where to start.

Here are 11 simple tips to get you on your way.

Tip 1: Use appropriate gear

Even though you only need shoes to get you on your way, it is important that your shoes are correctly fitted and appropriate for your goals. Incorrect or worn out shoes are a common cause of injury. And of course don’t forget to Slip, Slop, Slap.

Tip 2: Set your goals

Setting realistic goals not only helps keep you motivated, but it is also important in injury prevention. Think short and long term in your goal setting. For example, The City to Surf this year can be a short term goal with a marathon next year as the long term goal.

Tip 3: Use a training guide

A well designed program will help you progress your training safely and reach your goals. It should include periods of base training and peaking, as well as allowing for a taper before the event. Click here to see how easy to follow 10 week half marathon training plan to help you get started!

Tip 4: Start slowly and gently then gradually progress

Too much too soon is a sure way to cause injury. By slowly increasing the time you spend running you ensure you aren’t over doing it.

Tip 5: Train first for distance then for speed

It is important to know you can run the distance before you run it fast. Build up the time you spend (from 15minutes to 20minutes, then up to 30minutes) before you increase your speed.

Tip 6: Allow adequate rest

Scheduled rest days are an important part of you training week. Your body needs time to adapt and recover to your new training load. Failure to do so will result in injury.

Tip 7: Vary your training

Variety is the spice of life. Try cross training on your rest days. Vary your route, train on different surfaces and vary the distances and times.

Tip 8: Specificity of training

Your training program should reflect the terrain, conditions and style of the event. Eg: Hill reps for a hilly course, speed work for short a course, Long Slow Distance runs when training for a marathon.

Tip 9: Nutrition and Hydration

Diet is an often neglected component of training. Don’t forget to get plenty of complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables. It is also important to fuel your body during the event. If you are exercising for more than two hours then your body needs more than just water.

Tip 10: Listen to your body

“The human body communicates effectively, we are often just deaf”. It is normal to feel a little achy after training but any persistent niggles should be addressed. Your training program is only a guide and should be adjusted for illness and other misadventures.

Tip 11: Have fun

Don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Run with friends, take your dog along for a walk, or even consider joining a running group. Making it fun means you’re more likely to stick with it and achieve your goals.