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Men’s Health: Why exercise matters this Movember | Blog | Maroubra Road Physiotherapy

It’s that time of year again. When men all over the world begin to sport fluffy facial hair on their upper lips. Movember sees the nation’s men band together to raise funds and awareness of men’s health. It’s a big topic and sadly one that isn’t discussed enough in circles of blokes.

The statistics about men and health are pretty worrying. Which is all the more reason why Movember is really important. 

Men’s health in Australia: A snapshot

  • Men have a higher mortality rate from most leading causes of death.
  • 70% of Australian men are overweight or obese.
  • Men visit the doctor less frequently and have shorter visits, compared to women.
  • One in seven Australian men experiences depression or anxiety (or both) in any given year.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for men. They are four times more likely to take their own lives compared to women.
  • Six out of every eight suicides in Australia are men.
  • The number of men who die as a result of suicide in Australia is almost double the national road toll.

Despite this bleak picture, there are ways that men can proactively take control of their mental and physical health. And also for the women in their lives to support them to do this. Research shows that exercise is a powerful way to prevent and manage mental health challenges.

Why exercise is vital for men’s health

Exercise is one of the most effective ways that men can reduce and manage the symptoms of many chronic health problems such as depression, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Despite the benefits of exercise for mental and physical health, men in Australia simply aren’t moving enough. Around 51% of Australian men don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity.

Physical benefits

  • Regular exercise increases men’s cardiovascular fitness, strength, bone density, muscle mass and the mobility of joints and muscles.
  • It also improves energy levels and the ability to concentrate on complex tasks.
  • It positively impacts blood pressure and helps to regulate glucose levels.

Emotional benefits

  • Exercise releases ‘feel-good’ endorphins in the brain. It acts as a mood booster, can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as improve your quality of sleep.
  • Regular exercise can help with improving self-esteem and confidence.

Social benefits

  • Regular physical activity when done with other people helps men to develop friendships and to network with others, and communicate more about any challenges they are facing.

Exercise helps with many health conditions

  • Back health: Regular exercise can help to keep the back strong, through the regular movement, stability, posture and pelvic control.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Lowers the risk of heart disease and CVD by lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, aerobic capacity and endurance.
  • Mental health: If men play regular team sports, it helps them to develop social networks and social confidence. The endorphin release of exercise promotes feelings of well-being and reduces the amount of stress hormones released in the body, thereby helping with anxiety.
  • Diabetes: Helps to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin efficiency.
  • Erectile dysfunction: One recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that exercise has a protective effect on sexual function for men under the age of 40. Men who have active lifestyles are likely to have better erectile function than men who don’t regularly work out.
  • Obesity: Helps to regulate weight, increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle mass.
  • Arthritic conditions: Regular exercise promotes musculoskeletal resilience, joint mobility, range of movement, and strengthens connective tissue and muscle around joints.

How much exercise is optimal?

The Department of Health has recommendations for how much exercise men should get every week.

  • 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise each week. For example running, walking, cycling, gardening, group sports activities.
  • At least two muscle strengthening sessions. For example body weight exercises, circuit training in the park or in the gym or in groups.

This equates to around 5 x 30 minute exercise sessions per week. This exercise prescription might sound overwhelming. However remember that the working day provides a lot of opportunities to get moving more, in Movember and all of the time.

Variations on this will occur depending on an individual’s fitness, age, and the existence of other health conditions. It’s always a good idea to get advice and guidance from a physiotherapist if you have any concerns about the exercise programme you have started, to ensure that you are taking the right preventative measures against sports injuries. Speak with the helpful and professional team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today on 02 9314 3888 or book an appointment online.

Tips to get moving this Movember

Here are some ways that men can inject more exercise into every day.

  • Grab a mate for a cycle or a run together. Exercising when others are relying on you to show up, increases the likelihood that you will stick to it.
  • Take the stairs instead of using the lifts. This is essentially a stair-master in your own office building.
  • Park the car further from your workplace and walk each day.
  • Go and grab a coffee outside of the office with a colleague and then have a ‘walking meeting’ instead of a normal sit-down meeting.
  • Get off the bus or train a few stops earlier during the morning or evening commute and walk from there.
  • Choose to walk to do errands during lunch hour instead of driving around.
  • Offer to do in-office errands in order to get away from your desk during part of the day. You will also get brownie points for being so helpful to team-mates.


One research study by the Black Dog Institute found that just 1 hour of exercise each week is shown to have a positive impact on a person’s mental health. So get moving this Movember!

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy would love to see men prioritising their health and finding the time to move more, not only in Movember but in 2020 and beyond! If you would like our advice on how to improve your fitness and regular exercise habits, get in touch with us today for an appointment via our online booking form or call 02 9314 3888.


Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) Why Exercise Matters this Movember

Emory University (2012) Exercise may protect against erectile dysfunction. The Conversation

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) Why exercise is important for men’s health

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) How exercise keeps men alive, longer

The Black Dog Institute & UNSW (2017) One hour of exercise per week can prevent depression

Four Smart New Year’s Resolutions for your health that will actually work in 2019!

Four Smart New Year’s Resolutions for your health that will actually work in 2019!

Could we please have a show of hands if you’ve ever promised yourself that in the new year, you would magically transform into sparkling new human being?

It’s very reassuring to know that we all make these promises to ourselves! Don’t worry, you’re not alone in that!

This ultimate guide from Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will show you how to bootstrap yourself in 2019 with pragmatic goal-setting. You will learn how to realistically stay the course towards a new and improved you and not become disheartened along the way.

A word first about goals

If you want to take on a big change to your health in 2019, then it’s best to attempt this in bite-sized pieces. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll break your commitment or feel demotivated if the goal is too lofty and seems unreachable along the way. A good way to think about health goals is to make them SMART.

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Here are some common new year’s resolutions and then a SMART alternative goal that is going to be far more effective, to get you where you need to be…

Faulty: “In 2019 I’m going to eat healthier”

SMART: “I’m going to replace 2 take-away meals per week with 2 home-cooked and vegetarian meals every week”

If you focus on changing your entire diet, you will literally bite off more than you chew. Instead of telling yourself you need to eat healthier in 2019, you should focus on making the goal concrete, measurable and realistic.

By doing away with an ‘I can’t eat that’ restrictive mindset, you won’t feel guilty each time you want unhealthy food. This kind of restrictive mindset might lead you into an unhealthy food binge. Instead, by having a concrete goal of adding healthy food to your overall diet, you will be able to monitor how close you get to achieving this every week. When you do, you can pat yourself on the back!  

So how do you define healthy food? That’s a rather complex question. But it’s a good idea to steer clear of heavily processed foods with additives and preservatives in them. Instead opt for organic wholefoods or unprocessed foods like lean meats, organic dairy, vegetables and fruit. For quick and portable snacks, replace chocolate and chips with fruit and nuts. These are real fuel for the body that will keep you fuller for longer. For more detailed information on nutrition, read the Guide to Discretionary Food and Drink Choices by the Australian Government’s Eat for Health program.

Faulty: “I’m going to look really muscly/really skinny in 2019”

SMART: “I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes every other day”

This kind of faulty new year’s resolution fails to take into consideration that exercise is a constant daily commitment towards overall health. If you make exercise a daily habit, combined with a balanced diet, you will get results.

The problem with this faulty resolution is that you may hit the gym initially with gusto and determination. This overzealous exercise may lead to a strain, sprain or sporting injury, because you’re being too extreme with your workout.

A smarter approach to exercise would be to commit to a manageable and realistic amount of exercise every second day. This may be a lunchtime walk around the block during work hours, kicking around the football with the kids in the backyard in the evening, or walking the dog.

When we are realistic and have an easily achievable goal, this becomes less of a chore and more of a pleasure. Eventually this turns into a healthy habit that totally changes your life.

As a bonus, with this approach you may look into the mirror one day and see a hot version of yourself staring back, just not instantaneously.

Faulty: “I’m going to lose 10 kilos in a month”

SMART: “I’m going to eat five healthy meals per week and exercise for 30 minutes every other day”

While we can control our own behaviours towards eating healthier foods and exercising more, we can’t fully control how much weight we will lose. Looking at the scales and seeing the scales tip in the wrong direction may make you feel bad and discouraged. Instead of worrying about what the scales say, focus on what you need to do to make it happen.

This might mean committing to going to the gym every other day to do a workout. It might mean fitting in more vegetables and lean protein into your diet, rather than getting take-away foods. Measurable and practical goals are far easier to achieve.

Faulty: “I’m going to quit my job because of the physical pain I’m in at work”

SMART: “I’m going to get an ergonomic assessment of my work space and desk. And I’m going to do stretches at my desk every working day”

Before making any dramatic decisions, like quitting your job, it’s always a good idea to work out the core reason why you’re having pain during working hours. Whether you have an active or sedentary job, the way you’re moving and the way you interact with objects in your workplace affects how you feel. A desk that isn’t calibrated to your height will result in back, neck and eye strain over time. For people who work in a warehouse or other industries, a poor technique with lifting items in a warehouse will result in problems with their lower back.

The great news is that you don’t need to take drastic action to resolve that kind of pain. With a personalised treatment approach to workplace related conditions, the friendly team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy can help you to resolve this issue with our therapeutic approaches and techniques. This will help you to return to work quickly and prevent further injury.

Would you like some help with making some realistic SMART goals for your fitness, health and injury recovery? Book a consultation with the team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy today and get a customised approach to sports injury recovery.

Sleep and recovery: Five ways that sleep mends your body

Sleep and recovery: Five ways that sleep mends your body

Sleep is a free and powerful tool that only nature can provide! Although we sleep around a third of our lives, we put little faith into the miraculous benefits of sleep.

If you have recently had a sporting injury, or sprain, then sleep could be just the tonic you have been searching for…and best of all…you do it anyway and it’s free!  This post will explain five fantastic benefits of sleep and why you should start taking your sleep more seriously.

  1. Adequate sleep regulates inflammation

The hormone prolactin, which helps regulate inflammation in the body is secreted while you are sleeping. This means that if you don’t get adequate sleep then you my be more likely to experience inflammation in the body. This lengthens the recovery time after an injury and may also put you at risk of further injuries.

  1. Adequate sleep regulates growth hormones

Hormones also play a role in sleep too. When your body enters into a deep state of sleep where you aren’t dreaming, (also known as the non REM phase of sleeping), your pituitary gland secretes growth hormones which stimulate muscle repair and growth. Likewise, if you don’t actually get enough deep sleep, then the amount of growth hormone in your body is depleted, thus you will take longer to recovery after an injury.

  1. Adequate sleep regulates blood flow

During the non-REM deep stage of sleep, your body heals itself by increasing blood flow to your muscles and tissues. Increased blood flow in the body means more beneficial nutrients and oxygen to aid recovery of injured muscles and to repair and regenerate cells.

Sleep is particularly great for healing blood vessels and the cardiovascular system including the heart. Conversely, without enough sleep, over sustained periods of time, you increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

  1. Adequate sleep helps you to learn and retain information

Research from Harvard has found that getting enough sleep helps to improve brain function and aids your memory and decision-making abilities. So you should give credence to the idea of sleeping on a complex problem and then making a decision on it the following morning. While you sleep, your clever brain will be highly likely to formulate a remarkable solution to a problem, which was troubling and confusing you the night before!  

  1. Adequate sleep helps you to regulate how hungry you feel

When you get enough sleep, the hormones that regulate how hungry or full you feel (ghrelin and leptin respectively) are in balance.

Ever notice how, when you’re extremely tired you also feel like eating a lot? That’s no coincidence! It’s because your body’s hunger hormone ghrelin has gone up and your leptin has gone down, making you hungry and craving unhealthy food. Sleep also regulates the body’s insulin levels which control blood sugar levels. Thus, a  lack of adequate sleep over time can lead to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

So what is ‘adequate sleep’ anyway?

Well it depends on how old you are, or if you have recently had an injury.

Babies, children and teens have a lot of growing to do. So they therefore need a lot of time for sleep. Adults need less sleep because they are fully grown, so their bodies are simply in maintenance mode. In general, if someone has a serious injury, they will need more sleep to recover from it than a non-injured person.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years):  11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17):  8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-65): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (66+): 7-8 hours

Source: The Sleep Foundation

How to get a good night’s sleep

In the sensory-overload of the modern world, it has become increasingly difficult to shut off our minds and bodies each night, in order to let our natural healing mechanism of sleep to gently kick in. Here are some things you can try. These activities when done together will help to stimulate melatonin in the brain – the sleep triggering hormone.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on the weekend.
  • Try watching the sunset each night
  • Exercise each day
  • Avoid caffeine after 2 pm
  • Ensure that your bedroom is the right temperature, and doesn’t have too much sound or light intruding into it.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Avoid the alcoholic ‘nightcap’ before bed, it will actually wake you up once it wears off.
  • Avoid having a late dinner or snacks before bed.
  • Use the blue light filter on your phone and laptop. Blue light affects your wakefulness.
  • Don’t fall asleep in front of the TV – the ambient sound and light will affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Go electronics free at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep your bed for sleeping and enjoying time with your spouse, don’t use it as a home office.  

The team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy strongly recommend sleep for the accelerated recovery from muscle strains, damaged tendons and injuries.  Make sleep your friend and your body will heal itself quicker and get back into fighting fit form. Maroubra Road Physio offer a holistic approach to physiotherapy that examines and treats the whole person and their lifestyle, visit the caring and friendly team by booking an appointment or give us a call on 02 9314 3888.


Five Tips To Help Keep You Pain Free At Work.

5 Tips to keep you pain free at work.

The standard computer workstation can pose a minefield of ergonomic hazards, simply from the way we type, read off our monitor, answer the phone, or perform other required work functions. Millions of Australians suffer from painful work-related disorders, such as – carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, neck pain and headaches. These disorders account for between 56% and 65% of all occupational injuries.

Simple interventions such as physiotherapy and ergonomic work-place adjustments play a major role in keeping you healthy.

Here are a few basic tips to get you started!

  1. Move …Get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. Having a stretch gives those muscles a break from getting too stiff. Researchers have found that activities like walking to the water cooler can have a cumulative effect on one’s cardiovascular fitness. Those stairs aren’t going to climb themselves! It’s an arduous task but your body will thank you.
  2. Sit up straight – Balanced neck and head posture (chin in). Make a conscious effort to press your bottom against the back of the chair, and avoid slumping or slouching, which places extra stress on the lumbar discs and other structures of the lower back.
  3. Support Yourself – Footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a towel or small pillow can be used while sitting in an office chair.
  4. Set up your environment – Have your monitor directly in front of you, with the top 1/3 of the screen eye level. The keyboard and the mouse should be close enough to prevent excessive reaching, which strains the shoulders and arms. Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible. Your chair’s backrest should support the natural curve of your lower back. Or consider a standing desk, which is becoming increasingly popular! Feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  5. Get in the Habit – These tips may feel awkward at first due to the conscious effort needed, however with time, it will become more comfortable and natural. Set up alarms on your phone every hour to remind you to take a break.


This information is sourced from: