Sports Shoes – Friend or Foe

Barefoot running is one of the current ‘hot’ topics in fitness. Barefoot aficionados point to human history, and the fact that the modern running shoe has only been in existence since the early 1970′s to suggest that the human foot is designed for locomotion without support. Indeed evolutionary anthropologists such as Daniel Lieberman suggest that the human lower limb is ‘designed to run’ and is perhaps a key aspect in the progress of the modern human species. In light of these theories, how then can we justify supports and external devices designed to control foot motion? Is the ‘control of motion’ a misguided concept doomed to failure on the basis that the foot and ankle actually function as mobile adaptors to the terrain underfoot, and external control simply inhibits the neuromuscular feedback from the propulsive system? Comment and justify your position- the shoe; to control or not?

Sugar and Spice….. Not Very Nice!

The link between sugar and diabetes, sugar and heart disease, sugar and prostate cancer…. Fact or Fiction?
I would urge readers to at least read the blog of a very passionate and informed gentleman, David Gillespie, who has critically reviewed the literature on the links between health and sugar consumption. Some effort considering David had to educate himself on the science involved!
It’s not often that I throw my support behind a cause- but David’s writings- and make no mistake, it is “his cause”, make valuable reading and really encourage one to question the reliability, validity and relevance of the Australian Heart Foundation’s Tick of approval. Do your health a favor and check David’s blog regularly.

Australian Bone Marrow Registry

Please consider one of the greatest gifts you can offer. As a Father I would do anything for my children, and in promoting this site I hope that I am able to help many other children. Indeed I do have a friend whose 17 year old son is currently searching for a matching donor, and I honestly (even as a health professional) was not aware of the process or existence of the registry. Please consider.
The following is an excerpt from the Australian Bone Marrow Registry Site

Many Australians each year are diagnosed with leukaemia or other fatal blood disorders. A bone marrow or haemopoietic stem cell transplant is the only possibility of cure for many of these patients.

Donors need to be specifically matched to the patient which can make it very difficult to find a donor for certain patients with rare tissue types. Only 1 in 1000 donors will be asked to donate for a patient requiring a transplant in any given year.

Siblings are the ideal donors for a patient in need of a bone marrow or haemopoietic stem cell transplant, but only one patient in three will find a matched donor within their family. The other two in three patients rely on the ABMDR or other international registries to find a suitable match. With your commitment to become a donor we can continue helping those patients in need.

Incidental Fitness

Surprising how many people think regular exercise is only something for ‘athletes’. Im trying to increase my fitness ( and drop weight), and as a 45 year old with commitments including work and family am finding riding to work ( about 45 mins each way) helps fit in some exercise; but more importantly gets me to work feeling better about myself, more relaxed and generally healthier.

Obviously there are many benefits of looking for opportunities to exercise, but it’s surprising how many people think it’s ‘too much’. This week my wife’s car wouldn’t start, no worries – my car was there as I had ridden to work. However my surprise to hear her friends and colleagues reaction when she explained how she managed to have my car available to her! The general populations attitude towards activity, exercise or physical effort probably goes a ling way to explain the increase in “lifestyle diseases” related to reduced fitness and increased body fat. So do yourself, your health and your family a favour and look doe opportunities for exercise in your daily routine. Start small, build up- but above all start!

Passing Healthy Habits to the Next Generation

Okay, I’ll admit it. I love exercise, sport and anything to do with the water. I don’t own golf clubs, but I have enough surfboards, stand-up paddle boards, racing skis and various sporting equipment to sink a small ship. In many ways my love of the water, the surf and anything to do with the ocean helps to keep me fit now that I am in my 40s. It’s just not possible to enjoy these activities unless I maintain some basic fitness and conversely continuing to participate in these activities keeps me active. By extension staying active helps me to reduce the risks of type II diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression and colon and prostate cancer to name a few of the “ lifestyle diseases”. However today I also realised that my love of these activities is a gift and a habit that I can pass on to my children.

How did this happen? Well today I had a visitor who is originally from Fiji. I took great delight in introducing my friend to the sport of stand-up paddling which he took to like a natural. however it wasn’t long before my three-year-old son demanded that he become the chief paddler and teacher. The videos below show his delight to be participating in this activity amongst his father’s friends, something which is certainly not new to me. Countless hours are demanded of me to “take me paddling daddy” or “watch me paddle dad”, hours I do not begrudge given my friends comment today that his neighbours children have no interest in physical activity and were currently hidden away inside playing online computer games. How sad, and perhaps the most accurate reflection that children’s attitudes and behaviours towards exercise and activity is truly formed in the initial years and so heavily influenced by parents behaviours, attitudes and beliefs.

So perhaps rather than saying that we must reintroduce physical activity in preschool, a more appropriate plan to combat rising levels of inactivity and obesity is to make parents come along and undertake physical activity with their children so that these children and parents learn the value of fun and physical activity.

Click on links below to view videos

He aint heavy, he\'s my mate!
3 year old boy and stand up paddling

4 Hour Body

I’ve been reading with some interest the new release by the author of the best selling book “The 4 Hour Work Week”, Tim Ferriss. This book, appropriately titled “The 4 Hour Body” details Tim’s passion to achieve the best results with the “minimum effective dose” in regards to diet and exercise amongst other things (including the 15 minute orgasm!). Although by no means a “traditional” how to book (The “4 Hour Body” is not designed to be read from start to finish, but rather digested piece by piece according to whatever topic takes your fancy). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Tim’s “Hacks” for improved fitness, body composition and the like, and am happy to say am currently enjoying good results losing the body fat I accumulated after my shoulder operation.

For those whose interest I’ve piqued, check out Tim’s Blog (thoroughly recommended)
The 4 Hour Body


Power Balance Wrist Band Sham

Well the genie is well and truly out of the bottle with Power Balance bands being exposed as “not meeting their marketing claims” and having no actual therapeutic effect. Indeed Power Balance Australia have been exposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) who has ordered Power Balance Australia to refund all customers who feel they were misled by the supposed benefits of Power Balance bands. The wristbands were touted as providing better balance, strength and flexibility by working with the wearer’s “natural energy field”. This whole episode is simply another example of the old adage:  “if it sounds too good to be true, it is!”

The interesting part of the whole Power Balance Band  is the willingness of elite and recreational athletes to believe  marketing hype in the hope of obtaining a competitive advantage. One needs to question these athletes self belief in their own training and preparation systems if they are so willing to accept that a piece of rubber worn around the wrist would improve performance. Let’s hope this is a lesson in “healthy skepticism” and a move forward for the Sports Science profession, so easily pushed aside by clever marketers.

Read more on ACCC and Power Balance Australia