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Health and Wellbeing

15 Jul 2013

The Benefits of Exercise; Genetics v Environment

Everyone knows that as part of a healthy lifestyle you need to get active and exercise regularly. Numerous health campaigns have focused on the abundant physical changes that can occur with exercise.  However there exists a large portion of the population that believe that even when exercising regularly they can’t achieve these physical benefits, and surprisingly they are right.

Currently there is an increased number of clinically overweight people in Australia. The main factor for this is not clear. The debate over the cause focuses on two main areas; genetic factors (metabolism) and environmental factors (increased work hours, less physically demanding jobs).

Most importantly what we do know is that regardless of physical changes there are numerous internal benefits of exercising regularly. Some benefits of regular, moderate intensity exercise include; increased cardiovascular performance, a beneficial effect on the immune system, a decreased instance of depression, a positive effect on the brain, a beneficial effect on sleeping and many more.

Therefore we cannot let physical changes be the sole motivation for exercise. This can potentially deter us from changing our environment and making a healthier way of life our long-term goal.

Corporate Core Strength

In Melbourne we are seeing an increase in the amount of hours worked and the amount of hours spent at the desk in a state of inactivity. As a result many corporate workers are feeling the brunt of these trends in their lower backs. The lower back region is an extremely important part of the human anatomy, which if not properly looked after can cause numerous lingering health issues.

Purely on an anatomical standpoint the lower back is significant as it provides strength, support and flexibility as well as allowing for a range of movements. Most notably the lower back houses part of the spinal cord, which is responsible for housing the millions of nerve fibers that allow for movement in the lower limbs. Therefore pain and stiffness in this vital area can lead to decreased productivity at work and an increase in the number of sick days taken. Australia is one country that has recognised the importance of lower back health and is actively promoting the benefits that exercise and physical activity has on this area.

Now that we have greater understanding of the lower back, we can look at some practical methods of reducing the instance of pain and injury in this area.  By strengthening your core muscles you reduce the force being loaded through the lower back muscles, you improve your overall posture and also increase your flexibility.

The Corporate Cup; lunchtime running competition

With all the spectacular sights and sounds that Melbourne has to offer, there is no better method of appreciating these than the opportunity to get active and run. Melbourne has a unique running culture, with many corporate workers using their lunch breaks as an opening for training.  By running at lunchtime these workers capitalise on the benefits associated with exercising, without eating into their valuable time spent at home.  One such event which capitalises on the lunchtime running window is the Corporate Cup, a fortnightly, team-based running/walking program conducted at the Tan Track around the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Corporate Cup provides its participants with individual and team statistical analysis of their times.  This highlights improvement not only for an individual, but also improvement as a team. The Corporate Cup is has a great social aspect as participants familiarise themselves with their teammates and fellow competitors. Registrations open the end of June. For more information on this event, please visit the AMCS website, www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/amcs or call our offices 9604 8600.

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