Month: May 2021

Jen Gunter: Body Talk

What does it mean to be healthy and to care for our bodies? Physician and writer Jen Gunter empowers us to cut through false medical claims and make informed decisions about our health.

Why Senior Golfers Should Strength Train

Why Senior Golfers Should Strength Train

The backbone of the golfing population is its senior players, as it is regarded as the sport of a lifetime.

Unlike most physical activity, golf increases in popularity as you get older. Reasons as to why vary, whether you find more time to master it or you simply discover more of an appreciation for the game.

Plenty of seniors thoroughly enjoy the sport of golf. It isn’t overly hard on the joints or ligaments, and a career in golf can go a lot farther than one in a contact sport. It does provide its challenges though, especially for over 50 golfers.

After the age of 50, strength and performance can diminish significantly. That’s why it’s important for seniors, more especially senior players to incorporate strength training into their weekly routine.

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING IS IMPORTANT – NO MATTER YOUR AGE:

A typical aging adult will lose 30% of their muscle mass and maximal strength from ages 40 – 70. But as significant as these changes are, it’s important to recognise that they can be minimised through the scientific application of functional strength and power training exercises.

Strength training’s purpose isn’t to just build your biceps, it helps develop stronger bones, tendons and muscles – which ultimately is important for injury prevention. As you get older, this becomes a priority.

WE SPOKE WITH AN EXPERT:

Exercise Right spoke with Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline for Exercise and Sports Science of the University of Notre Dame, Dr Chris Joyce.

Dr Chris Joyce is an accredited Exercise Physiologist and approved Australian PGA Education provider and owner of the Golf Rehab Clinic in Fremantle, Western Australia.

We asked Chris to provide his thoughts on why senior golf players should incorporate strength training to help not only their game but prevent injuries of discomforts while playing.

SHOULD SENIOR GOLFERS STRENGTH TRAIN?

Less than a month before his 51st birthday and at odds of over 200-1, Phil Mickelson won the 2021 PGA Championship. In doing so, he became an inspiration to all older recreational golfers who desire to play well into their retirement.

The Australian population is rapidly ageing. Golf Australia reported the average age of male and female club golfers were 56 and 64 years old, respectively in 2018. Many age-related musculoskeletal impairments such as osteoporosis and joint replacement negatively affect physical ability, golf performance, as well as the effects on mental health through reduced participation in golf caused by these impairments.

Research undertaken at The University of Notre Dame Australia showed that as little as a six week strength-focused exercise intervention was enough to improve physical measures such as weight loss, posture, lower body strength, aerobic capacity, and balance in a group of male and female golfers over the age of 55 with an age-related musculoskeletal impairment.

Golf performance also improved with faster clubhead speeds, increased hitting distance, and accuracy. Mental and social well-being feedback was also positive based on physical improvements and group-focused exercise intervention. Many of the participants continued with exercise intervention after the study, as part of their weekly routines enabling them to continue to enjoy participation in golf for mainly social purposes.

It’s never too late to begin an exercise programme and incorporate it into your weekly routine. Consulting with an exercise professional will produce positive physical measures and see you enjoying golf participation well into your twilight years.

Golf stronger and happier for longer.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

 For all golfers, incorporating flexibility, strength, and power training into your exercise program has been proven too:

1. Increase hip and shoulder turn by reducing muscle stiffness resistance to your natural swing path

2. Develop a ‘dynamic’ posture increasing stability and balance in your golf swing

3. Reduce muscular fatigue to maintain performance throughout your round

4. Increase trunk rotational speed

5. Generate faster clubhead speed!

TRY YOGA:

An activity recommended for seniors in general is yoga. As golf requires balance, coordination and flexibility, yoga can provide a great use for you as you age.

Incorporating yoga into your routine can be a great way for you to gain more strength and flexibility. Train for golf, use strength training to get more powerful, and then utilize yoga to improve the small things.

This approach can lead to a great increase in performance and decrease in injury.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

It’s never too late to start and if you want to improve your game then golf strength exercises are designed to help you play and function at your best.

Golfers are no longer putting the clubs down at 50 and are continuing to play well into their later years to a good standard thanks to golf specific exercise programs that will help maintain your strength, mobility, balance and function.

Want some advice to improve your golf game?

An Accredited Exercise Professional can assist you by guiding you through an individualized, safe and evidence-based exercise program to “bulletproof” your workouts. Get in touch with your local exercise expert today by clicking here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started. 

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We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series.

The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

How to Prepare for your First Triathlon

How to Prepare for your First Triathlon

Are you up for a new challenge?

Enter a triathlon.

Many who have taken the leap will quickly tell you it becomes addictive.

A traditional standard distance triathlon incorporates swimming (1.5km), biking (40km) and running (10km) all in one race. I know you’re thinking completing such an event is impossible, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s no secret that triathlons are physically demanding and intimidating, but with over 3.5 million participants each year, it has a reputation for being unusually welcoming and supportive for beginners.

WHY DO A TRIATHLON?

If you participate in a triathlon regularly or have signed up for one, the first question you’ll likely be asked is “why?”.

“Why on earth would you want to put your body through over three hours of exercise?”

Although the reasons people do triathlons differ, the benefits remain the same. The whole process from training to completing the race will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. If you ask anyone who has completed a triathlon, they will tell you the same thing.

The beauty of triathlons nowadays is the social aspect of the events. As thousands swarm popular locations such as Noosa and Mooloolaba in Queensland, the triathlon brings a festival feel to it all.

No matter if you’re a beginner just wanting to finish, you’re there for a laugh with friends, or you’re competing as an athlete – the event will have something for everyone.

Training and preparing for a triathlon won’t consume your life either. In fact, if you’re already regularly exercising, it can only take roughly six weeks of training to get you to the finish line.

IDENTIFY YOUR WEAKNESS:

The one thing most people are concerned about is the swim leg of the race. It is often the most grueling part of the event and should be a priority to those who aren’t regular swimmers.

Identifying what your weakest leg is will help you set the standard for your race goals and help you to prepare appropriately.

HEAR FROM AN EXPERT:

Exercise Right spoke with Accredited Sport Scientist, Dr Kellie Pritchard-Peschek.

Kellie has worked as a sports physiologist in high performance sport for over a decade, first at the Queensland Academy of Sport and then the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport, supporting their national swimming teams through 3 Olympic Games. Kellie also happens to be a triathlete herself, competing in the Ironman 70.3 distance triathlon at various levels over the years, including local events, the National Series where she placed 3rd in her age group, and 2 World Championships.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON:

For someone who has just signed up for their first tri, what are the key things to consider?
  • How many days you have available, and how many hours per day you can devote to training
  • What your goal/expectation is for the event
  • Your starting level of fitness and familiarity with all 3 legs
  • Whether you will join a squad for coaching, or whether you will follow a general program online and train individually
  • Plan in advance when you will have time to train each day so the training gets done
  • Choose someone who will keep you accountable to your training/goal
  • Plan your nutrition for training sessions and race day
How long out should you start training?

For a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon – generally start structured training approximately 8 weeks out from the event depending on fitness level and time available, but 6 weeks could work.

For a long-distance triathlon (i.e. Ironman or 70.3 Ironman) – generally start structured training 16-20 weeks out from the event depending on starting fitness level.
 

Key equipment needed?

Cycling – A bike, cycling shoes (optional – running shoes will suffice), helmet, water bottle and sunglasses

Running – Running shoes, socks, Hat or visor and race belt

Swimming – Goggles (a must), a tri suit or swimmers

Other tips – Anti-chafe cream (hot tip!), nutrition for pre-race, bike and run and sunscreen!
 

Should you focus on all 3 legs or focus on the legs you are weakest?
  • There are 4 legs: swim, bike, run, and transitions (1 and 2)
  • Focus on training all legs, but you can emphasis training on your weakest leg/s if preferred
  • Training the strong legs can also improve your advantage over other competitors and make training enjoyable
  • Focus on transitioning between swim/bike, bike/run and swim/bike/run in training sessions, called “brick sessions”
What does a sample program look like for someone training?

Phase 1: base training (i.e. maintaining stable distance and volume to build endurance)
Phase 2: build phase (e. moderately progress training intensity and volume weekly, and intersperse with recovery weeks
Phase 3: race preparation andtaper (e. drop the volume substantially in the final week of training and maintain some speed)
General guidelines: start with 3-4 sessions per week, progress the number of days of training to the maximum you can fit in (i.e. 6-8 sessions per week).
Tip: adding a stretching and mobility session at least once per week will help your body recover from training, maintain joint range of motion, and enable good technique in training

Note: Sessions can be completed either in the morning or evening depending on your schedule. If you’re just starting out, try to allow 12-24h between sessions for adequate recovery.

Top 3-5 tips for someone entering their first triathlon?

1. Don’t underestimate the value of training the transitions T1 and T2 and doing brick sessions!
2. Periodise your training program to include recovery weeks once per month (i.e. reduce the intensity of training sessions every 4th week)
3. Remember easy is easy and hard is hard – mix easy and hard sessions throughout each week for variety, optimal adaptation and progression of fitness and strength
4. Aim for consistency in training (e. avoiding long breaks) to prevent injuries and build fitness
5. Practice open water swimming (if your event is in the ocean or a lake)

Are you ready to enter?

The moment you finish a triathlon, you will be astounded at the new realm of possibilities that open up to you. Forget about the obstacles standing in your way and the self-doubt! Once you overcome them, you won’t look back.

Want to get the most out of your first triathlon?

An Accredited Exercise Professional can assist you by guiding you through an individualized, safe and evidence-based exercise program to “bulletproof” your workouts. Get in touch with your local exercise expert today by clicking here.

The Nike Run Club gives you the guidance, inspiration and innovation you need to become a better athlete. Join Nike Run Club to reach your goals and have fun along the way. Download to get started. 

read more blogs

We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series.

The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.

Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.

The Gift of Asking for Help


It’s not an overstatement to say that this last year (or more) has felt deeply overwhelming at times. And if you’ve felt this, you’re far from alone. One of the major effects of the pandemic—and one that I think contributes to our sense of overwhelm enormously—is being physically isolated from our loved ones and the people who used to form our safety net.

In that long-term isolation due to physical distance from so many loved ones, one of the things that has created a lot of overwhelm is the fact that we have been trying to do it all, all by ourselves.

If you are a people-pleaser by nature or prone to taking the weight of the world on your shoulders, this may be doubly true for you.

You may know, intellectually, that you’re trying to do more than ever before, and you may understand theoretically that you can’t rescue everyone. But if your pattern is to try anyway, it can feel totally overwhelming—and it may be time to ask for help.

Notice how even the thought of asking for help feels. Scary? Sad? Impossible? Like you’re letting others down?

Observe what it’s like to admit that maybe you can’t keep doing it all yourself and that it’s time to talk to the people around you and maybe even call in reinforcements. Maybe that looks like delegating tasks, asking others to step up, or outsourcing some of what you do. It might also look like simply asking for a safe space to vent or let it all out.

At this stage of trying to hold the world up by yourself, you might be feeling not just overwhelmed, but resentful of others. When you take that first step to tell just one person how you’re feeling (to start), some of that resentment might start to fade.

Just by getting your feelings of overwhelm off your chest, you can begin to dissolve them.

This could be a co-worker, a family member or friend. Ask permission first. Just asking, “Do you have energy to hear me out for a few minutes?” works well. And then once you’re done venting, you can switch.

You might be pleasantly surprised. Maybe they have an insight or idea you hadn’t thought of. Maybe they’ll help you pick up some of your extra work. Or maybe just venting and being heard helps you sort out your own feelings and feel like there’s someone who’s on your team. Often just being able to say what you’re feeling out loud can help to ease the burden you’ve been carrying.

And if you’re willing to play that same role for someone else, it can grant others permission to reach out for help or let their feelings out. One of the things that’s been so difficult with our distanced year is not knowing whether we’re alone in our feelings—the sense that we’re the only one, and that everyone else is doing fine.

But the truth is that you’re never alone. All of us could probably use some help at this point, and that first step toward connection can be a beautiful one—even if it’s a little scary at first to admit. Our society is not set up for that interconnection, but we can choose to forge it anyway. 


Christy Tending is an activist, educator, and writer. She teaches online courses about sustainable self-care to students all over the world, and hosts the podcast Tending Your Life. She lives on occupied Ohlone territory (Oakland, CA) with her family. You can learn more about her work at www.christytending.com.

Image courtesy of Gustavo Fring.

We Write to Heal, but How Do We Heal from Writing?


My past trauma has been on my mind lately, and it seems I can’t stop writing about it.

While away on a trip, I rediscovered some new triggers for my sexual abuse through a text message from an old friend. I had my phone in my hand when it happened, and I was able to write as many of my feelings as I could in my notes app.

My unedited, unfiltered, tearful ramblings would have to hold me over until I could get home, sit in front of my computer, and really write.

That’s how we work as writers. We live and love and lose, and then we write. How the rest of the world heals from life, I’ll never understand.

But for us writers, writing is everything. Even writing about the painful things — especially writing about the painful things. It’s how we heal.

When we write of our trauma, we relive those dark days

Those low moments. Those feelings of vulnerability. We place ourselves, as briefly as our hearts can withstand, into our former selves so we can remember and write.

Almost as if we’re floating above, narrating our hurt, and remembering the pain, but this time, with wings to keep us safe and off the ground.

Of course, no one wants to remember the abuse they suffered under someone else’s power. No one wants to relive it. No one wants to face the criticism there is when we speak up and share our trauma.

So why come forward at all? Why rewind and go back to those dark days? Why bring up old wounds and write about our pain?

Because we are finally ready to heal.

We have lived and learned, and we want to give courage to those who have already gone through something similar and also to those who have not, and hopefully never will.

Because I’ve been writing more than usual about my trauma, I’ve been finding myself exhausted after every piece I write.

After I publish an article, I feel absolutely drained, with no desire to write articles for clients or poetry for myself.

I feel sad, even though I’m writing to heal. My eyes feel tired from the crying, and my heart feels especially heavy.

I haven’t written so many consecutive emotionally exhausting articles in a long time. It’s almost as if I forgot how grueling the process is when we heal through our writing.

Yes, it is therapy, it helps to ease the pain, and it brings me as close to closure as I can get, but writing emotional content is not easy.

I never knew I needed to heal after writing about healing, but apparently, I do.

So, I made a list of some helpful things I can do to fill my heart after writing about heavy material, and I wanted to share those here, just in case someone isn’t practicing self-care after writing about their trauma.

1. Reach out to a friend

After writing an emotionally exhausting article, reach out to a friend in the writing community who also writes to heal.

They will understand your exhaustion more than anyone else. It helps to have someone around who knows exactly what you’re feeling.

For me, it’s my Fearless She Wrote co-editors, Gillian and Maggie. I head over to our group chat, and these girls bring me back to the real world with laughter, empathy, and kindness.

2. Call someone that will make you smile

If you don’t have anyone in the writing community to reach out to (hello, I’m always here), you can phone a friend.

Call someone that will make you laugh, someone that will listen, and someone who won’t make you feel bad for feeling bad.

3. After you click publish on that heavy piece, go outside

Take the dog for a walk or go for a run. Get some Vitamin-D on that skin, and some fresh air in those lungs.

Try to leave your phone behind and take in Mama Nature. Close your eyes, meditate and breathe her in. She has amazing healing powers.

4. Avoid social media

After you publish, do your best to stay off social media.

In my experience, mindless scrolling through Twitter never gives me the emotional pick-me-up that I need after writing about my pain.

5. Don’t reread

Finally, after you publish a sensitive article, don’t sit and reread it.

Don’t refresh your stats. Take care of yourself and walk away from your words, even for a little bit.

You’ve just opened up old wounds, and the writing will help, but give it time to work its magic.

After I submitted a heavy and emotional piece to a magazine yesterday, I put on my walking shoes and took my pup Neville Longbottom for a walk.

Without a thought about any deadlines or unfinished articles, I left my phone behind and soaked in some badly needed sun. We walked a mile total, and my little old dachshund was as ready to go home as I was. I was tired, but a good kind of tired.

I felt refreshed and alive, and more importantly, I felt satisfied and happy that I had written about something so hard to write about.

Final words

There is incredible beauty in vulnerability.

Writing about your pain brings out a special part of you. It allows you to be the stronger you in the present and take care of your former self.

Writing to heal is, in a way, writing as we breathe until our breath becomes our words. It’s a beautiful process, but please don’t neglect your heart after you write about your trauma.

There are enough of us on this platform, also writing about our pain, to hold each other accountable.

After you publish, if you’re not feeling great, give yourself a moment to breathe and catch up.

The rest of the writing community will be here waiting for you when you’re ready to come back.


Jessica Mendez is a full-time writer living in Las Vegas, NV. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from NAU and her master’s degree in family and human development from ASU. In 2018, she left her career in mental health to pursue a career in writing. She is currently working on her debut novel and a collection of bilingual poetry. Follow her on Twitter and Medium to read more of her work.

Image courtesy of Vlada Karpovich.